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Michele Dodge - Bench Exchange

I have three work benches arranged in a U-shape. To my left is my soldering bench, in front of me is my jeweler’s work bench with bench pin, and the bench to my right is my “misc” bench (ultrasonic, steam cleaner, and bench shear live here, and I use the space for different techniques such as etching or electroplating).

My soldering bench includes an acetylene/air Smith torch, and a variety of small butane and propane torches. I work on a large solderite pad, and use charcoal blocks and fire bricks for various tasks. I like to keep my silver solder chips in color-coded medicine bottles for easy access. I use a dropper bottle from @RioGrande with My-T-Flux for 90% of my soldering work. I prefer the dropper bottle to using a flux brush - no more burnt brush bristles! I installed a small drawer just under my soldering area that holds my extra torch tips, pipe cleaners, and strikers.

A couple of @RioGrande tools that are especially handy are my GRS bench vise and Jet Sett compound. I use the bench vise for most of my stone setting work. The vise enables to me keep pieces steady while I work on them, using Jet Sett around pieces that have an unusual shape. I’ve stopped using dopping wax entirely since getting the Jet Sett. Unlike dopping wax, Jet Sett comes off of my pieces easily and cleanly.



I love your re-purposing use of container lids as parts holders! I have been using disposable paper plates, but will be switching to lids as soon as I collect a few…!

(how do you like your wolf belt sander? I am contemplating a purchase…)


Hi Julie!

I’m glad you like my lids idea - I’ve always done that, but I don’t particularly know why… I guess I had takeout containers around and they were the right size for jewelry. :slight_smile:

The Wolf belt sander I would rate as just ok. It’s convenient to be able to power it with my flex shaft, but it’s not as robust as I’d like it to be. If I were in the market for one now, I’d research generic mini belt sanders that aren’t targeted to the jewelry industry. I think they’re less expensive and more robust.