Sunday, August 8, 2021

How much do you bench? Buying a jewelry bench

The jewelers bench is often described by our students as the missing tool. It's what brings all of your jewelry tools together in one place, in an organized cockpit of creativity. The torch is ready, the flex shaft is mounted. The bench pin is in place, front and center. You've got drawers, bags, hooks, cups, rotating organizers. So many tools at your trembling finger tips... and then you wake up and realize you don't even have a bench yet. WTFudge? Well, that's just not right. Time to fix that!

A jewelry bench can be an expensive investment. And a tough decision. Do you buy one? Make one? If you're buying one - where can you get it? And how much will it cost to ship? Let's talk about jewelry benches, from starter options to budget busters. 

If you're not up for some DIYJB (Do it Yourself Jewelry Benching), and you need something inexpensive and lightweight, try these student benches from Otto Frei. The Durston Basic Starter Jewelers Cedar Workbench comes plain. BYOB (Bring your own Bag). You can add your own leather sweeps bag. Or you can get the Durston Student Jewelers Workbench Plus which comes with one. You've got a leather bag for a sweeps tray, which some people prefer. You can snap it and everything  - tools, stones, dust, and memories - comes down to the center where you can find it. It's at the right ergonomic height and it's light enough to put away if your studio needs to turn back into the guest room.

Need a little more? Then you can try a more robust bench, like the American Made Jewelers Workbench MO-60. This model is what our students use at school and we have it tricked out with the works when it comes to jewelry tools. It's sturdy, heavy duty, and has all that you need. 

If you need something that will be less expensive to ship, try these UPS friendly versions of the jewelers bench. What you get when something is UPS-able is a bench that is made of lighter, softer wood and the drawers are usually smaller. But then again, the price and shipping cost is usually less, too. Oh, and expect to spend some time with a wrench and instructions, because they are flat packed for shipping. 

Finally, if price is no object, well step right this way into the VIJ (very important jewelers) area. Let me just lift the woven gold rope for you. Can I get you something to drink? Would you like us to clean and tighten your Optivisor? I bet you would! Now buckle up, mate. Welcome to lush. 

What can a custom bench get you, besides a case of the thrills everytime you sit down at the helm of your very own luxury work area? Let's talk about sweeps trays with rounded corners or that curve to meet your svelte belly, aka the gemstone ski slope. You can already see the precious metal dust trickling into that chromed beauty as they fall into its embrace. Ahem. Excuse me. I don't know what came over me. Well. You also can get more drawers, anvils built into the bench top, and lots of places to store your best tools. 

Whichever bench you choose, to buy or make, to budget or bust, be sure to make it your own. Need some inspiration? Check out some free videos on how to organize your bench for fabrication or wax work. And check out Charles Lewton Brain's fantastic book the Jewelers Bench Book. 

And I'd love to hear your comments and tips about jewelers benches. What was your choice? What kind of bench did you get? Did you make one and how was the experience of doing that? 


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