Back to Ganoksin | FAQ | Contact

Nifty bench tips


Was: saw storage solution

Hello Bob and Orchidland,
Great idea - thanks!

Some time back Charles Lewton-Brain asked Orchidians for their bench
tips - this saw storage solution fits that request perfectly. May I
suggest that weonce again contribute our nifty ideas and bench tips
to the group.

I’ll start:

I reuse an empty body spray bottle to mist on Prip’s flux. Be sure
to keep the cap because it can be filled with water to immerse the
sprayer. Simply upend the bottle and snap on the water filled cap,
then store upside down in some sort of heavy container like an old
coffee mug. The water prevents plugging of the sprayer.

Your turn!
Judy in Kansas, where temps are cold and a few flakes are in the air.
Can’twait for spring!


I make & repair jewelry for a living.

One of the things I do for fun is build and repair computers.

I have a lot of old hard drives laying around and so take the rare
earth magnets out of them, and screw them to my bench. They hold
burs and saw blades and files, etc.

And I can casually toss my chuck key in the general direction of my
bench and those super-strong magnets reach out with their magic
waves and grab my chuck key so I don’t spend countless hours
searching for it.

Paf Dvorak


I use a broken saw blade with the teeth pointing towards the hole to
insert mixed epoxy into a pearl for gluing on a post. It perfectly
removes all the air from the hole and lets the epoxy get deep into
the hole. Have been using this trick for 35 years.


After nearly 40 years at the bench there are so many tips and tricks
that one has come up with or picked up from other jewelers…

All my hammers, extra handpieces and GRS ring holders hang within
arms reach, in short sections of PVC pipe, screwed either onto the
end of the bench, or along the wall beside the bench.

A setting tip I also came up with:
When I am setting a stone, and see that I need just a tad more relief
between a prong and the crown girdle area, to prevent possible
pinching the girdle as the prong is brought into full contact, I make
a very thin relief cutright at the girdle, using a razor blade that I
have turned int a thin, rigid saw blade, by cutting fine teeth in it
with a cut off disc. The razor blade saw is thinner than a saw blade,
and much easier to control.


Here is a cool little bottle I found this weekend


I use a broken saw blade (2/0 to 4/0) about an inch long chucked up
in an Exacto knife handle with about a half inch exposed to do fine
cuts in wax, like those found in an airline shank. I also grind the
back of a number 11 mold knife blade (careful not to over-heat it) so
the width of the cutting edge is about two millimeters along the
blade (like a graver) and use it to clean up the slight roughness
left by the saw blade. One of those little buggers can fit in almost
anywhere. You’ll find a hundred uses for it in wax carving.

Dave Phelps


To manage all the burs and bits I cut 2x8’s down to fit into one of
my bench drawers, then marked a tight grid and drilled hundreds of
holes with a drill press. Now all the burs stay in their nice
organized rows and are easier to find.



I also use magnets from old computers. But I also put a strip of
metal on the front of my bench that I just stick my magnets to.
Everything has a place. I even took my mini torch and glued one to
it. Great… I just stick it to my bench or workmates soldering
system etc. Only problem it tool me 40+ years to figure out to use
magnets. My solder sheers I glued a magnet too aswell as all the
tweezers I use and they stick where they are easy to reach. Saves
bunches of time and time is money.

Panama Bay Jewelers


I bought an old Pyrex fuse from a local hardware store. Look what I
turned it into…‘an oil-receptacle’. All I did was put some folded
piece of felt inside. It’s flat on the bottom & can’t overturn.
Beside this, is my permanent bench-container for oil as well. The
glass container travels with me, while on my teaching assignments.
As fuses are getting more obsolete, I’d like to keep a few on hand,
just if I loose this ‘little friend’! BTW, the rubber padding on my
bench-top prevents any stones from bouncing around. I hate to have
stones moving on me. Gerry Lewy


This what my bench-peg looks like. Those little rubber ‘rails’ on the
edges, prevent any diamonds from dropping off while setting or even
hammering stones. If you look at the center of the peg, I drilled out
a little dish as well for those smaller .001 pointers. I frequently
rub ‘mineral-oil’ on the peg to keep the wooden luster. Gerry Lewy


I use a plastic coat hanger to hang rings on for the ultrasonic

Plastic is good since it will not scratch the inside of rings.
Plastic is easily sawed and easily bent by gently heating with
torch. I also cut notches in it to keep the rings separate from each
other (which keeps them from scratching one another).

Dale Pavatte
Diamonds For You
Decherd, Tennessee


I like to hang up my tools and other objects in my shop so that they
are organized, make sense, and are near by. I don’t like to pay a lot
for hooks and can never find what I want. Now I usually make them out
of 3/8" ridged PEX tubing or a similar material and a deck screw that
is a little bit longer than the piece of tubing. The trick is to make
sure that the ID of the tubing will let the screw threads thru, but
not the screw head. Put the screw thru the piece of tubing and screw
it into whatever and you have a custom hook or pin that is as long or
short as you want. They are also fairly water proof and can bused to
hang wet items. I do this in my lapidary shop to hang sanding belts,
blades, and wheels. You can also use larger pieces of PVC pipe, but
you have to put a washer under the head of the screw. Another idea to
hang pliers is to screw a short metal towel rack to the wall and hang
your pliers on it. Have fun. Rob


WOW! I think Orchidians must qualify for Mensa. Brilliant tips.
Thanks everyone.

Judy in Kansas, where winter seems to be trying to take over.


Rare Earth Magnets are available in a variety of shapes & sizes from
a variety of sources on-line. Is there a difference between those &
the ones found in old computers? I work in high end interior
construction & these magnets have been making their way into a
variety of applications from cabinet catches to metal moldings where
the desire is to have no visible fasteners. They’re great.

And also good for removing steel particles from filings.

Rare Earth Magnets are available in a variety of shapes & sizes
from a variety of sources on-line. Is there a difference between
those & the ones found in old computers? 

Not really.

The ones in computers are usually mounted to a steel thing with
holes so I can attach them easier to my bench.

Oh and the ones I get from computers are free.

Paf Dvorak


I tool some 14 ga bronze wire and every 1/2 inch I bent a V shape
section into it about 1/4 inch deep then bent the ends to grip the
ends of my ultrasonic cleaner. I have 3 of these on it. Then I use
plastic coated paper clips and open them up in half. Then I can hang
anything I need on them or between them. Small paper clips and large
ones depending on the piece I need to hang.

You could use a metal coat hanger instead of bronze wire. I like the
bronze because I had it and it will not rust.

Panama Bay Jewelers



I have a bench mate. I needed a better system to set large solid
backed settings for coin rings.

Got a wooden bench pin and cut straight into it a slot 8 mm wide and
30 mm long and another off it at right angel 8 mm wide and 30 mm
long. Lets me hold the ring and gives it good support when setting.

Just take out my bench mate wooden pin and put this one in.

Also I glued a rubber bench pin to the T section that came with the
bench mate. Great for giving traction when filing or setting
pendants. No slip. Just put it in metal bench mate jaws and tighten.

Also use the metal ring holder to hold jump ring mandrels when
sawing them off.

Store my most precious tools, dapping set, mandrels, ring bender etc
in a guitar case $120 sits on an old table.

It is full of silica gel packets and sprayed well with Inox. Keep my
files in an old wooden bread box with silica gel and sprayed with

Inox is like WD40 but no fish smell.

My daughter took photos of some of my jewellery, guess who just
cleaned the whole lot? There was some customer ‘residue’ left on some
pieces. Also had been lazy and rinsed in town water after using the
Ionic JCR cleaner. Now have replenished rinse bath with demineralized
water and methylated spirits.

The methylated spirits breaks the surface tension of the water and
dries spot free. Also dry the jewellery with generic tissues so cheap
no chemicals in them, so fancy residue.


Here is a cool little bottle I found this weekend 

I like that! Too bad I hadn’t read this tip before I ordered the
gift bottles for my home made gourmet chocolate liqueur. Could have
thrown a few of these into the order.

Linda in central FL


I save any plastic coated paper clips I come across so I can bend
them and use them to hang little parts in the sonic without
scratching anything.



For small straight tools I made a flat plate with lots of copper
tubing sticking up sabout 2 1/2 inches to hold them. It was great for
needle files and saw blades and such. Then one day at WalMart I saw
the new (then it was new) a plastic bottle ice cube freezing tray.
They are long thin tubes in a nice plastic tray with a cover. I put
my chasing tools in it, but they were just a bit too short. So I
stuffed old bits of paper into the bottoms and they stand up just
right and When I need them I just pull the tray out and they are all
there. When I travel out west, I just pull out the paper bits, and
let the tools go below the top and seal them in with the cover.

The above gave me another idea. I bought some plastic grid stuff
from a local arts and crafts store. I hot glued it to the top of a
small bread pan that I had cut down, and trimmed the sides of the
plastic. Now I just place my flex shaft mandrels into the grid. It
will accept all sizes. Nice thing is when I need extra space at my
bench, I can just move the pan to another surface and I’m ready to
go. Wrapping it with tin foil and it is ready for the trip west as

Have to understand that I was one of those who thought those old
trays on a computer that popped out when you had to put a disk in,
were great drink holders when not being used for a disk. It drove my
uber computer geek hubby crazy.