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"......