We have had positive feedback of our repair/custom shop visible from the showroom. I have great response regarding this blog. We have found that people are genuinely curious and interested in what happens at the jeweler’s bench.
After watching some videos on sharpening my goldsmithing skills, I thought how cool it would be to have a bench monitor for our customers. My Mantis bench microscope, that I love, has an awesome big brother that is outfitted with a webcam. That would be nice to have, however, it is $2500, so that is not happening any time soon. My solution: I took an old laptop and dedicated it to a good webcam and ran a wire through the wall to a monitor in the showroom. The WebCam is aimed towards my bench pin and covers a pretty good viewing area of where all the action takes place. When jewelry is brought back to me for inspection, the customer can see how I am poking and prodding, checking for loose stones. They can watch me, from a close up perspective, tightening their stones. I can even press record and document the entire inspection including audio.
side notes: I do not have a live feed of the microphone to the show room. My singing would surely drive away customers.
Also found it frustrating that the Logitech C920 webcam software does not support a full screen view. I found free third party software to fit the bill.
Here is a GRS benchmate modification that has really helped me save time. I made a mini wood bench pin to cover the metal hand rest that comes with the Benchmate system. I have been using the metal brace for a quick cut or support for drilling. But a wood bench pin is much better for that. I used a scrap 1/4″ strip of hardwood. Cut out some notches for a screw and wing nut to attach it and a few odd shape cut in the front for saw piercing and filing.
If I have a job more suited for a sturdy bench pin, I switch out the ring holder for the quick-change pin. But this is a nice, time saving addition so I don’t have to.
This method takes a little bit longer, however, the results are much better then just sanding out blips. Another bonus is that burnishing the ring “work” tempers (hardens) the metal so it scratches less for the customer.
On our custom pieces, after casting, we beat the surface with the burnishers to harden them. Especially the shanks of rings. This works great on sterling silver. Burnishing with the bent burr also can get rid of porosity.
I bought this cable curtain kit from Ikea and placed it on the wall next to my bench. In the morning we go through the current repairs and custom work. I hang mine up so I can see all the dates and can see what needs to be performed and prioritize them. The staff can easily see what is in the cue and can move a job envelope to the left to put it on deck for the next job to be done. I like it better then them stuffed in an overloaded jobs box. I clip up just the daily goal of jobs and see how the day is going and I feel more on top of things.