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.
When we moved our store to the new location years ago, we wanted the work shop to be visible from the show room. It is a great bonus for us bench jewelers because we get to see all the action. The down side is that we have to keep our shop area and benches a lot cleaner and more clutter free. (A very tough job for goldsmiths.). Our shop and show room are partitioned by two large windows to keep the noise level down.
We are majorly spoiled with really nice work benches. They have lots of drawers and great features. The center point of the bench is the GRS benchmate system. I am a huge fan of it. It offers a lot of flexibility of working on pieces of different needs. We bought micro motors for our rotary tools mainly for visual purposes. This was to avoid having the hanging flex shaft motors. I have really fell in love with the light weight hand pieces and the added dexterity gained by losing the semi-ridged flex shaft. One of my favorite add-ons is the LED light that floods under the bench for WHEN, not IF, I drop a stone.
We have lots of storage. We have kitchen cabinets on the back wall for loose stones, chemicals, findings and findings books etc.and a large counter top for our shop tools: Magnetic tumbler, rolling mill, mold vulcanizer, engraving machines, shank bender, band stretcher, microscope, scales etc.
My favorite new tool is our laser welder. We can do repairs that was never possible before with traditional methods. I will do future blog posts featuring repairs done with the laser. We retired our standard jewelers benches to our unexposed shop room right next to the bench room and use them for a dedicated wax carving bench and emergency bench use.