This project began as an ordinary, stock jeweler's workbench. With additions, modifications and the occasional major makeover over a period of years, I have transformed it into the single most vital jewelry-making tool I own. To call it a workbench doesn't do it justice: It's far more than that: it's a cockpit. Together with a few other pieces of workshop furniture which were or modified or built from scratch, this suite forms the heart of my metal arts studio.
My bench was a years-long exploration into how to create the most effective user-interface (UI) for this jeweler and his tools. While at the bench, I was continually fascinated -- and often distracted by -- traditional bench features that inhibited my creative flow and hindered greater productivity. So I made change after change, sometimes undoing modifications that did not work, always in search of a better bench.
My bench features:
- vertical slide-out panels promote efficient tool storage and retrieval.
- a unique "drain" system for sweeps.
- a customized, positionable ventilation system to remove lung-damaging particulates.
- a fold-away rack for pliers - accessible when needed, out of the way when not.
- a unique, magnetically actuated saw blade dispenser
- a finger-friendly "points down" needle file storage rack
- elimination of the customary sweeps tray, which too often serves as a bottomless junk drawer for tools.
- under-bench lighting, which opened up under-bench real estate for productive development.
- high-capacity, low-profile drawers on slides replaced the bulky, space-wasting OEM offering
- a European-style leather "bag" catches stray sweeps or roll-offs and doubles as a protective at-bench apron.
- fully outfitted with industry-standard GRS Benchmate tooling.
- quick-release latches for securing saw frames, arranged by blade size.
- unique, fit-to-the-tool holders and mounts to secure my most frequently used tools in easy-to-reach, easy-to-return locations.
My workbench has been prominently featured in jewelry industry press:
- The Jeweler's Bench Book, By Charles Lewton-Brain - 2007 MJSA Press
- Ever A Work In Progress, By Gerry Davies - MJSA Journal, April 2008
- Rack 'Em: Building an efficient pliers rack for your bench, by John de Rosier, MJSA Journal, October 2010
- This Bench Sucks (about ventilation), by John de Rosier, MJSA Journal, April 2013
I have also featured it on my website and blog: