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Living and Working in the Same Room?


Has anyone ever done this? If so, do you have advice about safety
precautions to be taken by those who live and work in the same room.
Thank you.


Ok, I might be crazy, but here goes. I do live and work in the same
space. My house is small and I do not have room for a separate shop
so I work off a coffee table in the living room and my kitchen
counter. I can hear the groans already, but… I work mainly brass
and copper as I am trying to learn how to, and I can not afford
"real" metal as of yet. I use a Smith min-torch and brazing rod,
electrical solder at times, and a “flat strip” from Rio (sorry the
name of the “solder” escapes me). The maximum amount of time that I
have anything going is just a few minutes at most. Am I crazy? Don’t
know, but I’m sure from the reading that I’ve done with past posts
that the opinions will be flying. By the way, thank you all for
sharing at this site. It is invaluable for a rookie like myself (and
others I’m sure). peace.


Get a big air filter and keep it near your work area to suck all the
junk out of the air.



Have a very understanding spouse. In my case a wife who is willing
to share her kitchen counter with my (it does take over) Jewelry



Hi Annabel:

Has anyone ever done this? If so, do you have advice about safety
precautions to be taken by those who live and work in the same
room. Thank you. 

This seems like it would be a bit difficult to do. There have been
safety discussions in the past from the standpoint of someone
working in an apartment where they lived. Probably, if you search the
Orchid Archives under something like, “oxygen tank apartment” a lot
of safety tips would come up. I’m thinking about the dust as well.
Wouldn’t the dust of everything (even if you have a good dust
collection system) get on the furniture?

As an aside, I work at home and find it a bit hard to stay focused.
During the workday, I find myself saying things like “I’ll work, as
soon as I vacuum, do the dishes, do the laundry etc etc” During the
off-time (night time) I’m always having to be in the same room with
my unfinished work. That’s stressful as well.

If you do end up working at home, remember to take time to get out
as well. See people and be out in society a bit. Being alone can
drive one batty in about 3 days.

Good Luck
Kim Starbard


Be very careful, everything from pickle to polishing dust has the
potential to do harm if you breathe enough of it. I have a shop in my
basement and there are processes and chemicals I won’t allow in the
house. Keep all chemicals stored properly, even in an industrial
situation. I can’t state this enough. I grew up in a small house and
my father was a watchmaker, who kept a repair bench in the corner of
his bed room. You wouldn’t think that to be a dangerous trade, but
the solvents used in the cleaning process are now known to cause
cancer. My mother, a non smoker, died at forty six and my father died
at sixty two, both of lung cancer. Take no chances, all the jewelry
or money in the world aren’t worth your health. Sorry to sound like
an alarmist, but if you take proper precautions you can have a
wonderful life working in jewelry. I have had a shop somewhere in
every home that I have lived in over the last thirty two years, and
plan on having one for the rest of my life. Other than being a little
cranky and the odd ache and pain I have suffered no serious side

Christopher Arnett


Thanks to all of you who replied. I really appreciate it. Thus far, I
have been able to work from home, but I have been using jewelry
techniques that don’t involve things like soldering, pickling and
sawing. Now that I would like to try this, I was wondering if I could
do it from home, which in my case is a studio. Any more comments
would be greatly appreciated.


Hi Annabel:

At one point, I had to set my studio in the same space where I sleep.
I have a small bungalow so I would work downstairs (gave up to a nice
small living room and little kitchen that became my soldering spot)
and I slept upstairs (is all one space under the same roof, no
walls). At first I loved it because I was working more than ever, if
I couldn’t sleep I would just jump out of bed, turn the music on and
get into finishing a piece, and when my friends came to visit they had
to seat in a chair and we would talk while closing jumprings or so…

I live in Mexico, so of course there are no regulations what so ever
in that matter, no insurance problems (no insurance at all anyway).

Even though I kept all the windows open and lots of fans, after a few
months I realized that it wasnt such a good idea, at first, all my
cloths smelled like pickle and smoke, same with my bed… but then I
started feeling some trouble breathing, you know, a cuff that didnt
go away, irritated eyes and skin (nothing really horrible, but it
started) and one day a new boyfriend came for the first time and that
was allmost the last!! I was getting used to it but when someone else,
somebody not used to our materlias and fumes hated it I baceme aware
of the situation.

I now rent a great space for my studio and love it. I think that
being a jeweler has a price: you are constantly exposed to toxic
materials, that is a price I’m willing to pay without thinking that
it will kill me because I love doing what I do, but then, if you are
not working, at least try to be in a healhty enviorment that will
give your body a break.

If your problem is about money, like my case, I think that you could
set your studio and live in the same space for a while, just don’t do
it for a long time and good luck!. I hope this helps.

Maria Bracho



Over the course of the last 10 years, I lived and worked in the same
space, except my studios have grown. I now have several thousand sq
feet for studios, have my office across from my bedroom. Plus I have
2.5 acres to put work buildings and foundries on.




I just started doing jewelry this year (which I love and am totally
obsessed with). Since I have slightly weird hours, and my class is
only once a week, I’ve set up a workbench at my home, since I can’t
afford anything else. Our place is quite small, only one bedroom. I
have an old desk which I use as my main workbench, which works out
fine. I spread out a mat to catch stuff on the floor, etc. My
soldering/polishing station is a bit more of a pain. I do that in the
kitchen, as it’s the only non-carpeted room in the house. I have a
nice big square of steel sheeting that I put down under all my
soldering equipment, and I keep my pickle pot near the window (which
is usually open at least a bit, even in the winter), which, in any
case, is a safety pickle. This arrangement has worked out perfectly
for me, apart from the pain of having to clear everything away when
I’m done with it. It would be nice to have a proper studio, but you
know, needs must and all that! Currently I’m just using a creme
brulee torch (I found a fantastic one that has a 15cm adjustable
flame, which surprisingly can do most jobs!), I’d really like to get
a proper mouth-blown torch that runs on bottled gas, which is what we
use at class, but since we live in a flat, I’m hesitant about it
since there’s no proper place for me to store it when I’m not using
it, and again there’s a space issue. But you can totally be safe at
home, if you give it a bit of thought and set things up in a
reasonable way, and let’s face it, we can’t all afford to have a
separate studio, especially if you’re just starting out, or are
really a hobbyist!

just my two cents worth.

Robin Cassady-Cain
Cambridge UK


Do you have a bathroom with a ventilation fan? If you do, you could
at least put your pickle pot in there. And a small HEPA filter,
running behind your soldering station, can make a lot of
difference–especially if you set yourself up so that you can keep
your face in front of (not over) your work. If you have a good
ventilation hood over your stove, you might want to set up
there–I’ve used a trivet on top of a firebrick on top of a stove
burner (but only with a butane torch).

Finishing is a different story. I suggest reading Judy Hoch’s book, and learning to use a tumbler as
much as possible. You do not want to be breathing dust of any kind.
If you hate the noise of the tumbler, at least you can go out and
get away from it.

Lisa Orlando
Albion, CA, US

Finishing is a different story. I suggest reading Judy Hoch's
book, and learning to use a
tumbler as much as possible. 

I also carry Judy’s book.

For keeping tumbler quiet: Put it on a small stack of newspapers,
then put a big box over the top, add towels to the top of the box if


Elaine Luther
Metalsmith, Certified PMC Instructor
Hard to Find Tools for Metal Clay