Lighting for the bench

As I am setting up my bench, I need a good light source. Who makes a
good bench light (or on that can be used as such) that is VERY
affordable? What do you all use and where can I find them in the US
(Phoenix area or catalog)?

Thanks in advance!


One word… Ott Lite. They are full-spectrum fluorescent “natural
daylight” lights available in a variety of configurations. You can
get small “desk lamp” lights in the $30 - 50 range, they have
gooseneck lights designed to attach to a drafting table for about $90

  • 120 and floor-standing models for about $130 - 160. The light is
    very gentle and easy on the eyes, with even illumination and no color
    distortion. I even use mine for my jewelry photos to avoid color
    correction issues. I really do love the light from them, and feel
    that it decreases eye strain.

I got my little ones at Costco, but I’ve also seen all of them at
craft shops, lighting stores, and hobby stores.

Best of luck!
Karen Goeller


Handcrafted and Unique Artisan Jewelry

Hi Jim, I believe that natural (full spectrum) lighting is great. A
few models incorporate magnification, and you could get a regular
the swing arm task lamp and purchase a full spectrum bulb. Ott-Lite
makes a wide range of true color task lamps that you may like.

Jon, Montreal

I use a halogen light hanging above my bench. It has two 350 watt
bulbs set in either end of a metal tube and comes from Home Depot
for around $50.

Your question is going to have replies relating to personal
preferences, I imagine. There’s only one caveat for sure, though, is
that you use florescent lights (perhaps there’s a more high-tech
type, now) - incandescent bulbs are orange or yellow light, and drown
out the colors of heated metals.

I have 2 small quartz lights I bought from IKEA on my bench, about
12 bux each, and I could not work without them for Optivisor work.

I have about 9 of these 12 volt quartz lights around the house in
various locations of assorted styles. They jusst simply last forever.
I have never replaced the bulbs in any of them, and only replaced 1
transformer adapter that plugs into the wall in over 10 years.

As an electrician for the last 25 years, I know lots of different
lighting, with a strong preference to 100 watt metal halides and for
flourescent lights, I always use a combination of what trade name is
known as daylight and a warm warm white in a 2 lamp 4 foot fixture.
There is a good mix of color temperatures this way.

Cheers… Tim Randles

Then again, I always turn off my bench light when I am annealing.
Gives a much more accurate picture of the metal color.

Hi Jim, I have never spent more than five US dollars for any kind of
bench light, I shop at local thrift store (second hand) They seem to
have an endless supply of swing arm lamps of the very kind most
jewelers use.

You have probably already discovered that jewelry supply catalogues
sell them for MUCH more. These plentiful lamps can be found mostly in
the incandescent type but I have also found them in the more
expensive and heavy duty style of fluorescent with magnifying lenses
and sell for incredible amounts!

Due to the abundance of used lamps in thrift stores, I have a studio
fully and sufficiently lighted with them, at every work station and
corner. If one should fail, I have spares, Heck of a good deal!

When they have some of the mounting hardware missing, no problem! I
just took my hole saw ($10 a set at Harbor Freight) and cut a hole to
mount it in.

This is how I acquired my 5 wheel swivel, pneumatic chairs, both
short and tall, for the studio… price there, $10 highest!

Haha, call me cheap, but I love a good bargain, and have prided
myself in finding the best ones to enable me to put together my
studio, Good grief, with an easy $30,000 in an almost complete
studio, I saw no point in spending anything that was not absolutely

Happy planning!

Hello Jim: As I am setting up my bench, I need a good light source.
I use a 24" single florescent “under the cabinet” type fixture with a
"cool white" bulb. I have mounted it up inside of the “kitchen stove
type” exhaust fan housing that I mounted 18" above my bench top. When
I anneal, I turn this light off and get a great shadow to work in
real cheap and rigging up some exhaust over your bench should
be a priority in my opinion. Michael R. Mathews Sr. Victoria,Texas USA

Dear Tim: Where does one purchase these & are they good for shows as

Regards, Audie’s Images-

Most everyone uses the default Dazor lamps from most jewelry tool
suppliers. I have found a new possibility recently. Check out this
link for further

Ken Weston

This is an old thread, but going thru my lengthy mail, there it is
again! It reminded me of why I don’t use fluorescent lighting at my
benches. They give me headaches. The frequency of the lighting
process has that effect on many people.

The other reason is that regular, non- full spectrum flourescent is
known for causing cancer of the nose, It’s common among teachers, for
some reason. but affects all people who work under it for many years.
Jewelers included,

I use incandescent, and full spectrum ones at that, No headaches,
a great view of the color of stones (fluorescent distorts color of both
stone, metal and fabrics, if you are using display or packaging
materials at the bench.

my second 2cents worth …

The other reason is that regular, non- full spectrum flourescent
is known for causing cancer of the nose, <snip> 

Wow, Frif… this sure caught my attention! Can you provide any
documentation or corroboration of this statement?

Between schools, corporate life, my studio, etc., I’ve spent most of
my non-home hours under fluorescent lighting. I suspect many of our
colleagues are in the same situation. I’m now working in a retail
environment (managing a dive shop) and guess what… it’s back under
fluorescent lights.

A bit of research on the 'net reveals the possibility of PCBs (known
cancer causing agent) in the fixtures, but I couldn’t find anything
that identified a cancer risk just by being exposed to the light.
I’d hate to have us scaring the heck out of people based on a rumor
or hearsay.

If fluorescent lights were “known” for causing cancer, wouldn’t the
government place some restriction on their use? They always seem to
be in the business of trying to save us from ourselves.

Not doubting you… just a bit of healthy skepticism…

All the best,
Dave Sebaste
Sebaste Studio and
Carolina Artisans’ Gallery
Charlotte, NC (USA)

   The other reason is that regular, non- full spectrum
flourescent is known for causing cancer of the nose, It's common
among teachers, for some reason. but affects all people who work
under it for many years. Jewelers included, 

Do you have any medical references to this?


Staples (the business supply store) has several halogen lamps that
are amazingly inexpensive. If you don’t have one in the Phoenix area,
try on-line.

Jim, Do this, Go to this link, a GOOGLE search, (5900 kelvin) and
study up on Light, then purchase 5900 kelvin 4ft tubes and the
cheapest flourescent shop light fixture with an electronic balast
you can find, should be between $7 & $9.00 Hang it or screw it to a
shelf above your work area. Total cost at the Max $40.00 us. You
will be amazed at how good your work looks, The following link is
only the first from the search. Have fun Art

I will try to locate the documentation on the problem with
fluorescent light and nose cancers. The average plastic surgeon has
done a load of them, for that reason, I used to schedule these
procedures for a big medical center, and was curious about it, and
inquired about the cause. Meanwhile, some of my own teacher friends
were having the cancers removed from their noses,

:Lighting is an amazingly interesting subject. Much of what is
known today … or what lead the inquiry, was the work of a dentist who
did time lapse photography documentries for Disney. He found that
the plants he was shooting using fluorescent lights died at stage of
growth. He found a full spectrum light, they lived long enough for
him to complete the film about their growth The next finding was
that chinchillas bred in hutches furnished with regular fluorescent
lights were predominantly one sex, When the lighting was changed to
full spectrum, the ratio of male to female returned to that which is
normal in nature.

I read this, I think, in Scientific American about 10 yrs ago. And
who would have thought that light could affect X and Y chromosomes?
Or fail to provide adequate life support for a plant?

And yes, there are some dangers to our health that our government has
not given much attention… Is that a surprise?

I will hit the books for the documentation you requested…

Someone responded about carpal tunnel with the caution that some
wrist problems may actually be tendonitis. True! Nerve conduction
studies are necessary in arriving at a correct diagnosis and
treatment options.


Hello All, I want to warn all of you please NEVER to use halogen
lighting as your primary light source. The light emitted will cause
damage to the cornea with a condition known as Thygeson’s
Superficial Punctate Keratitus or SPK. It results in fine scattered
areas of loss of the epithelium (the outermost layer of the cornea)
from the cornea- the clear part of the surface of the eye. The
lesions appear punctate (looking like dots or points) but can
sometimes appear dendritic (linear and branching).

UV light is the most common cause of radiation injury to the eye,
such as over exposures to the sun or solar eclipses or exposures to
the sun on highly reflective snow fields at high elevation.

Artificial sources of UV radiation also cause corneal damage. Injury
from a welder’s arc commonly is known as flash burn, welder’s flash,
or arc eye. Other sources of UV radiation injury include suntanning
beds, carbon arcs, photographic flood lamps, lightning, electric
sparks, and as I mentioned, halogen desk lamps.

For years I have suffered with a burning sensation on my eye-balls,
like sand paper, painful light sensitivity (which I personally
believe triggered my cluster headaches), and tearing, to name a few
things. An opthamologist finally told me what was going on.
Fortunately, I have yet to experience any decrease in vision.

I hope my experience with this condition will alert other people to
the dangers of UV light. So, folks, please protect those beautiful

Regards to All, Mollie p.s.-thank you Orchid members for all the
incredible I have learned as a result of this forum!

Past week someone warned about the risk of cancer when using
fluorescent light. I think it was Jim Binnion who asked whether this
could be substantiated. I just read an article about light pollution
in the newest edition of Discover (Vol. 24, # 7, july 2003, pp.
60-63). I knew some of this already. Fluorescent bulbs, among other
ones, emit quite a lot of UV and, although the article doesn’t deal
with it, it makes total sense that this has to be seen as a hazard
(UV is accumulative) for developing skin cancer. This is, I think,
esp. relevant for jewelers who really need loads of light and are
exposed to it for many hours a day, day in day out. However, there is
something else. The article in Discover cites two studies (originally
published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute (2001)
which reveal a significant correlation between exposure to light at
night and breast cancer risk. Others have proven that light coming in
through the retina at night (even when sleeping) can reduce the
production of melatonin, which acts, among other things, as an
antioxidant. The idea behind the light at night - breast cancer risk
link seems to be that melatonin suppresses a certain estrogen which
is associated with breast cancer. This is not such good news, since
we not only produce melatonin at night, but all the time
(although it peaks very highly at night (in a dark room)). Best, Will

 Hello All, I want to warn all of you please NEVER to use halogen
lighting as your primary light source. The light emitted will
cause damage to the cornea 

Hmm. I think perhaps you were using a defective or improperly made
halogen lamp. Most of the ones I’ve seen are built with a U.V.
filter glass over the bulb, to filter out the U.V. produced. With
such a filter, assuming it’s properly effective, I would expect a
Halogen lamp to be safe enough… Is there something else involved
that I’m unaware of here?

Peter Rowe