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Tidy bench

Hi All; I do not have a digital camera yet so will describe my
benches. I live in a town home that does not have a garage and where
we are limited in what we can do to the outside of the property. My
work bench consists of four separate areas.

  1. I turn and shape wax at one desk in my workshop inside my house.
    I have two desks in there.

  2. Wax work and carving take place inside my home as I sit in my
    chair in the living room with a tray in my lap to catch the scrap

  3. I do my spruing and wax injecting at the other desk in my inside

  4. Casting takes place on the West side (the afternoon sun side) of
    my home in a very small fenced off area on my patio. I am not
    allowed to build a cover over the area so I am limited to casting in
    sunny weather. It very rarely rains in Phoenix but I swear planning
    to cast is another form of a rain dance. I fooled the weather once
    and cast one afternoon when the temperature was 122 degrees.

  5. Grinding and cutting of metal take place at my first desk inside
    my home. This desk was home built when I lived in an apartment. It
    is a large high walled box on which there is a bench on one side.
    It has a floor built into it to catch shavings, etc. while I am
    working at it.

  6. Soldering and polishing take place in my casting area on the
    patio. The area is so small I can cast and turn around and polish
    without moving my feet.

  7. Stone cutting is accomplished in my storage room on the opposite
    end of our three home building. This area has my stone grind
    equipment on one bench and at my back three feet away is my saw.
    This area is very confined. No matter what I am doing I need
    something that is in one of the other work areas. Needless to say I
    get lots of walking exercise when I am working.

My wife has always been worried that my inside workshop will expand
into the rest of the house. Once I was carving wax in my living
room chair, when she was in our bedroom recovering after an
operation. She was taking pain medicine. She woke up and started
down the hallway yelling, "Get your stuff our of the guest room."
In order to quiet her down I had to take her into the guest room and
show her that none of my workshop had exploded into there. Thanks to
all who have shown their workshop on the net. Your orchid friend,

Lee Epperson

 4.  Casting takes place on the West side (the afternoon sun side)
of my home in a very small fenced off area on my patio.  I am not
allowed to build a cover over the area so I am limited to casting
in sunny weather.  It very rarely rains in Phoenix but I swear
planning to cast is another form of a rain dance.  I fooled the
weather once 

Dear Lee and the rest of you, I will be rearranging my studio this
summer and was wondering if it is safe to move my Neycraft caster
and possibly my oven to a covered patio. My concerns involve
protecting them from the elements but I would love to move the heat
and investment powder outdoors.

Thank you,

I have to get my digital camera fixed.

However, my bench is easy to describe. There is a 6 inch stack of
in process projects on my desk (right behind my bench), a 2 inch
stack of scattered tools, sawblades, mandrels, sandpaper, drillbits,
etc. on my jewelers bench. In short, my bench is a mess. I clean
it off daily and move stacks of paper from place to place. I bought
an “in and out” basket which in my struggle to get more organized,
has become more stackable horizontal space.

I DO have a fairly organized file cabinet, although the “MISC” file
is getting quite full now.

I may run a very tidy school, but I confess…I am a slob.

Ok, I fell better now. Confession is good for the soul.

Karen Christians
10 Walnut St.
Woburn, MA 01801
Fax: 781/937-3955
Accredited Jewelry Instruction

Pauline, Be careful about storing your investment plaster in high
humidity areas. Th e plaster is constantly trying to pull moisture
from anywhere it can. This, i n conjunction with the small size of
the powder particles, is what makes investment so dangerous to your

A carton of powder can absorb enough moisture to adversely affect
the qualit y of the mold if you continue to add water at the rate you
would unaffected plaster.

Also, don’t just assume that if you do your mixing in a covered area
that yo u are totally safe. Especially if the area is a high traffic
area. The particles are so light that they can float in the air for
some time. You don’t want this stuff settling on furniture, rugs or
the floor where it coul d later be inhaled by yourself, small children
or animals. Make sure plaster is only mixed over a hard surface that
can be mopped in case of spills. It probably is best to mix plaster
outdoors rather than in an area that might b e occupied by people.


Dear Pauline, I have been casting on my patio since about 1982. I
have an oven controller and a handy melt that I and store in one of
those large plastic storage sheds I bought at home depot. The shed
has a lid that hinges up and two front doors that swing out. I hide
the equipment behind closed doors when not in use. I lined the
plastic shed walls around the oven with large solder pads. I built
shelves in the shed that provide storage and a surface to place my
vacuum casting machine, oven, handy melt and controller. Home Depot
sells several types of storage sheds. If you have a covered patio
you should have no trouble with rain. Ventilation is not a problem.
I store the investment inside which provides a constant temperature
and low humidity.

Quenching is the most messy part of the process. Investment loaded
quench water will splash on the floor. You might want to place
plastic or wood under the quench bucket. Cleaning investment off
pores concrete or tile can be a real pain. My uncovered patio does
not protect the area from leaves, however dead leaves are what led
me to my fire scale free casting technique which is another story.
Our winters in Phoenix are mild so casting outdoors in the winter is
not a problem. Your biggest problem with casting outdoors would be
the weather temperature. if you can brave the temperatures you will
get a sense of freedom that you will not have while casting indoors.
I don’t think I would move my casting equipment inside even if I had the room.

Hi Karen. Your bench sounds exactly like mine. A couple of months
ago,I deceided to clean my studio which was about to be condemed.
It took me a week to do it and looked so beautiful,I just couldn’t
go in there to work and mess it up. Finally,after a week or so I
was back and after a couple of days same old mess. I was so happy
and able to be back in my usual state of creativity. Having a messy
bench top works for me and one of these months,I may try cleaning my
studio again. Louise