Friday, June 8, 2012

Jewelry Benches

Happy Friday everyone!

I thought I would talk about jewelry benches since I am now in the market to purchase one after seven years of working from portable hard plastic tables.

Hubs and I have moved to North Carolina this week and are excited about our new adventure into finding permanent residency.  I have lugged around 3 portable tables to each of our temporary digs, using them to set up my makeshift jewelry studios.

NO MORE! (major happy dance, here...)

I have made a decision to work as efficiently and as ergonomically correct as I can from here on out, especially as I notice my neck and shoulders becoming stiffer and more painful after a day of creating.  I have a room dedicated as my studio now, and when we purchase a house, a large studio room will be a must have item on the checklist. But I want to get a bench now that will carry me through the rest of my creative career. After sticking with it for seven years, in some pretty rustic conditions, I feel confident that my decision to be a jewelry designer is permanent!

I have been looking at benches on the internet and I have had to think long and hard about what is important to me.  Plenty of storage, bench pin and mandrel holes, a desktop organizer and a great metal catch tray are my main considerations, along with an ergonomic height that is right for me and a great chair. I love the idea of three deep lighting, and I am also concentrating on making sure that my 'jewelry cockpit' is one that will last my lifetime, so I am willing to pay a premium if the workmanship is top notch.

I know I would saw more if it were convenient and comfortable to do it, and now I am re-engineering every aspect of how I want my studio laid out for optimum comfort and convenience. The most important determination that a jeweler must consider in pricing is their labor cost. If I can optimize my workspace so that I can cut my labor down for doing production work, then my jewelry can be priced more competitively at the retail level.

I have also been scouring Craigslist and Ebay for used benches, but they are really hard to find and most of the ones I have found won't ship; they must be picked up. So, after much discussion with Hubs I think I am going to get a new one.

Since most benches are so heavy, they have to be truck freighted in, and that is going to push the price up anywhere from $175 to $250. I have been letting that sink in some today, and trying not to hyperventilate too much about it.  And this feeling shows me I still have issues about taking my work and my career seriously.  This opened up quite the can of worms for me today, and I recognize that this is a hurdle that I have to clear if I am going to continue to grow my business in a healthy way.

Ah... creativity is such a teacher, isn't it? I am constantly amazed at the lessons and insights I learn about myself by bending metal!

I have found a great video by Mark Nelson at Rio Grande about what to consider when purchasing a bench that I want to share with you.  If  you have a favorite bench or anything you want to contribute about jewelry benches and workspace considerations, please do!




11 comments:

stacilouise said...

Good luck in your adventure to set up a new studio! That is so exciting. Loved the video. Makes me want to run out and re-do my studio (aka- the old bedroom). Perhaps this winter......dreaming....

mairedodd said...

best luck - and thank you for the video... cannot wait to view it... efficiency does become important, doesn't it? i work from a bench my grandfather built... so while it may not have the drawers and such, at least it is very sturdy...
happy searching -

Izzy said...

Welcome to NC! =) Good luck on your search for the perfect bench.

Jenni said...

That is quite a fabulous bench in the video..all those add on/ take off with ease bits all come at a big price.. But how fantastic it all looks. Good luck with your search... Right height is important.. Mine is I a bit high I think... Chair won't go lower and I get aching neck quite often! Need to fix that!
Jenni

Kalaya Steede said...

Hi Stacie! I have a bench and I still saw at a table...haha! I had considered building one or having someone build it the way I wanted. That is also an option. I bet you can find someone to build one there. Just a thought. Have fun finding your bench and merci for the video.

Libellula Jewelry said...

I hope you find the perfect bench--at the perfect price. I won't be getting one anytime soon because I've spent a mint on tools & classes in the last couple of years. But, I have been considering making a temporary bench from the plans that are available on ArtJewelryMag.com.

Artisan Beads Plus said...

What a great video!!! It gave me soooooo many ideas. Since Bill is so handy, I think I'm going to ask him to watch this. I definitely see things that I would like to make to my bench which is basically a VERY sturdy table that he made me. I'm quite sure we can add to it. Thanks for sharing this, Stacie!
MaryAnn

Tracy Kruse said...

I love this article and your work. We too are getting ready to move, again for us it will be a temporary place. My husband is quite handy and made me a work table that can be moved easily and he wants to make a bench. The FIRST thing he did was make me choose a chair, sit it in and get it right, and then checked my posture. He also took my standing measurements, and calculated a stool height. The math he did freaked me out...yellow pages with lots of calculations! I got my PERFECT work table yesterday! So I am a fan now of custom built and my husband!

Laura Twiford said...

I just last week did a post on a jeweler's bench/watchmaker's bench that i found on Craig's list! haven't set it all up yet and so I enjoyed the video to give me ideas on organization. Loved the info on the lighting! Good luck in your search!

Michelle said...

I've also just started to contemplate getting a jewelers bench for my studio. I'll probably have it locally built so it is customized. I like the idea of supporting a local craftsman too.
Thanks for the video, I have lots of research to do.
Best of luck to you in finding the perfect bench! Can't wait to see what you come up with.

Shaiha said...

What a great article and I just loved the video. I am not to the point that I need a bench but I sure loved the one he was working at.

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