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[Tool Time] Bench lights

Dear Tool Timers,

Sometimes there is a product so good it is worth whatever you have to
pay for it. This weeks comments are based on using this item for over
25 years with no problems or major difficulties. The item is the
Dazor brand floating arm bench lamp. I’m not cheap when it comes to
my vision and eye comfort. These are available at Gesswein, Rio and a
few other suppliers. They cost between $105.00 to $135.00 new. They
are always shown as Dazor brand lights. They are available with
either two or three bulbs. I don’t like the round bulb style. The
long flourescent tube lamp spreads the light over a better area for
me. The positioning these lights have over my work area is excellent.

We have a few of these at school here that were purchased in 1968
and are still working. I find them used and snap them up for about
$35.00. No other lamp has held up as well as this brand. I’ve tried
some with springs and some with just the single bulb. Not as good as

When I sit at the bench I like to sit low so that the top of the
bench is at or close to my shoulder height. That way I’m not stooped
over my work. My bench pin is right in front of my face so I can see
very clearly and my neck is not strained. My arms can also rest on my
bench tray for additional comfort or I place a ring mandrel in a hole
in the bench top sticking straight out for my arm to rest on if
needed. Good posture will also keep my sore lower back straight and
less sore. I’m trying to get all you folks to sit up straight!

When I was an apprentice one of the hardest this I had to do was to
sit in one place for an eight hour day. We had a ten minute break in
the morning, 35 minutes for lunch and another ten minute break in the
afternoon. I notices right away back then my body needed a little
adjustment to these working conditions. Going from being a kid with
ants in his pants to sitting all day was about a six month
adjustment. We also sat lower than I had been used to sitting.

The jeweler I apprenticed under did some simple explaining. He showed
me how to hold the work and work comfortably all day. In this
position the lighting had to be right over the bench pin. The best
light they had was from these Dazor lights. In this shop with no
windows, my vision had some adjustment (along with my rear end) to
make. This was also the time I found out I needed glasses. As a stone
setters apprentice my eyesight became very important.

At this shop we had only the two bulb units. In my own shop I bought
the three bulb units and for a third bulb I use a plant bulb. This
gave my eyes a full light spectrum and caused less strain than just
using the plain fluorescent bulbs the units are supplied with. In the
school I attended before my apprenticeship we also had windows facing
north so that gave us great natural light. Our present facility has
also a northern window light which has one on the most beautiful
views of the downtown Minneapolis skyline anywhere in the city. If
you have window light count yourself lucky. Many shops because of
security purposed don’t have widows. You might try a Dazor light and
plant light bulb and see if you have less eye strain.

To have them service or repaired you can contact Dazor directly:
Dazor Manufacturing Corp. 4483 Duncan Ave. St.Louis Mo 63110. Their
phone # is 314-652-2400. I do not believe they sell direct. For all
you folks who will try to persuade me on anything else, sorry I wont’
use anything else. My vision is too important.

All the Best,

TR the Teacher,
Todd Hawkinson

Todd Hawkinson’s posting about bench lights, seating position, arm
rests, etc. brings up one of the most important tools any of us use
every day and often pay little attention to. Your chair. Over many
years I have tried a number of chairs and found all of them to be
lacking in one or more areas. That is, until I found the perfect
chair, for me any way. It is made by Herman Miller Inc. and is called
the Aeron. It comes in three size ranges and allows you to make many
adjustments, depending on your need. In my studio I sit at a jeweler’s
bench, a computer station and a desk. Each has a different set of
seating requirements. This chair works well at all three without
compromise. Every thing is quickly and easily adjustable; seat height,
tilt, tilt resistance, arm height, arm swing (in & out), lumbar
support, vertical seat locking and tilt, etc. The seating surface is a
high tech mesh, it breathes, no heat build up from fabrics or leather.
It has five wheels so with a good push I can roll from one task to
another in my studio.

This is an expensive chair, about $700, but well worth every $ when
you consider how much time most of us spend seated at our work. Using
this chair for about three years now has saved me from previously
experienced neck, shoulder and back pain. I highly recommend it.

Joel Schwalb