Portable jewelry bench

Hi does anyone out there know of a source for a design or ideas for
building a portable jewelry bench. I would like something I could
take with me so I could “work while traveling”?


why not a simple tressle table? depending on the work that you’re
thinking of doing, even a wooden tv tray could suffice as a portable
bench (filing, piecework, other light tasks that won’t find one
tapping away on metal) i bring along work to all of my shows, and find
that i have to think through what is really necessary to bring to be
effective, given the environment…for sawing or shaping metal, i
have a separate setup, something small and away from the main work
area…i’ve seen some metal shapers work with a 3-legged stool,
padded up, which they simply set in front of wherever they’re
sitting…hope some of these ideas are useful…erhard.


I have been working on this project for over 25 years and, just like
building the ultimate studio, there is no end to this. The best
portable bench that I ever used was simply a small sheet of 3/4"
plywood, with a maple block in the center that held a bench pin and a
steel block. This evolved into a box, so that when the top opened, it
could be propped and there were places to hang some tools. The front
of the bow hinged down, and formed a small shelf in front of the
bench. It was based on the “campaign desks” used by armies on the
march. With it, I could convert any good table or desk into a
jeweler’s bench in minutes, using only a couple of clamps. I carried
this to many workshops, since I never knew what I would encounter
when I showed up to teach.

Now, I’m working on an entire portable studio. I have a classic 24’
Airstream trailer that I have remodeled, and I am currently equipping
it with a full sized bench, rolling mill, drawbench, lathe, polishing
area, sandblaster, even a desk with a laptop connected to the
Internet via cell phone. Has a safe and alarm system built in. I
have known several gold/silversmiths who do the show circuit, and
travel with a similar studio towed behind their motor home. What a
life! I just want to be able to take long vacations, and create when
I feel inspired.

Hey, this could be a great “coffee table” book: The Gypsy Goldsmiths,
or “Fly-By-Night Jewelers”…

Have fun!
Doug Zaruba

I’ve seen a few where someone used 1 or 2 of the “workmate” type
folding workbenches as a base to hold a work top. The top had either
a wood strip or a chunk of metal angle on the underside to allow the
clamping mechanism to hold it securely. They looked pretty sturdy.
I’ve been thinking of making one myself. They come out a little low
for regular chairs, but close to perfect for a folding camp chair.

It depends on how frequently you are moving around, but how about the
"Gorilla bench" from Home Depot ($99.00)? It is an ingenious work
bench/storage area made from the same industrial quality steel
shelving that they sell. The design is great and it is definitely
tear-downable. The only disadvantage is that, because of its design,
it will generate a lot of noise if you hammer on it. However, you
could probably solve this though the use of fiendish cleverness.

Best of luck,

The best little portable bench that I have seen was an apprentice
bench from Switzerland and it is made from 3/4" ply, had a tools
draw, a bench pin holder and a leather apron for the dust collection.
The leather apron part made it very costly so we eliminated the apron
and put a metal lined tray for the dust. This portable bench is
available from a retail outlet in Manhattan. 46 Jewelry Supply and
the price for this is $75.00 plus $ 12.00 shipping which is pretty
reasonable. If you need thier address it is 46 W 46 St, NY NY 10036. I
would like to see it a little taller but that is me. If you can
afford a leather apron then you do not need it any taller and then
you can comfortably use the bench for sawing.

I built a portable bench about 8 years ago and take it with me a lot
of places. Its a box like a wooden machinists tool box, but it has a
piece of oak stair tread built in to it for a good solid work surface.
when the front is open, it exposes 2 chubby hole and 2 drawers, There
are also 2 hidden drawers. There is a engraving block holder that
pivots out so that the work is the same height as the bench pin. Is
set it up on what ever table I find or sometime use a work mate. my
apron clips to each side to form a tray and when I take a brake I just
hang the head loop on the bench pin. the whole box is about
24"x12"x13". I have thought of selling them, but you are welcome to
see it if you would like me to send pictures . Any one interested send
me an e-mail and I will send you atached jpgs off the list.