Friday, June 15, 2012

New Studio!

Happy Friday Everyone!

So in setting up my new studio, I have been thinking about how to make do with what I already have.  In my old studio, I was down in the garage, and my space was not all that great. I didn't have a great workbench down there where I could sit down, and so most of my fabrication was done standing up.

Sawing was pretty much non-existant in my old workspace.  To saw ergonomically correctly, you need to be sitting so that your bench pin is about chest level.

Years ago, when living temporarily in Houston, I bought this small tabletop jeweler's bench for about $100.  I love this thing, in that I can travel with it, and still fabricate jewelry when we were on the road for so long.

I have taken this little bench into hotels and worked from our hotel room too many times to count! I had a foldable tray that it would sit on, but I wore that out long ago!

When we went on our Round the US trip a couple of years ago, I used it almost exclusively in all of the short-term rentals we stayed in. Now that we are going to try and find a house to purchase in North Carolina, I thought I would go ahead and splurge on a big, 60" professional work bench; but, I have decided to again modify my small one until we find our permanent digs. Since I don't yet know what my permanent studio will look like, and after a heartfelt talk with the hubs (he thinks he can build me a custom one when we find our home!) I have decided to stick with my tabletop bench for now.

Small, tabletop bench...
I went to Goodwill and found a small computer desk with a keyboard slide-out tray for 9 bucks (more room for small tools!). I only intend to use this bench as a place to saw and sand my pieces using a Flex shaft, along with setting cabs with the aid of the bench pin. I have a heavy-duty larger desk behind where I am standing, taking this photo.

I love this little bench because it has an aluminum lined catch tray for my filings and metal dust. It also has enough space for my files and for any bits that I use regularly. Here is what it looks like now....>>>

I have a good overhead light, a pole for the flex shaft and space enough to some serious sawing!

Since this is a rental house and I don't want to mess up the carpet, I bought two, cheap welcome mats to catch any filings or bits of metal.The mats are black, so that the metal will show up and not get lost in the berber carpet. I am putting the other one under my soldering station.

Which brings me to the soldering station to the left of the mini-bench. I am using a table that my father and I built for my soldering station.

For additional protection and safety, I bought a piece of sheet metal from Lowe's and folded it in half. I placed one end along the wall, to help with any spattering or steam that my pickle pot might do to potentially damage the wall.

I folded it with the writing facing me, but that can be wiped off with some steel wool! I bought a few ceramic tiles and set them on top of the sheet metal; however, this weekend, I plan on buying some K 23 Fire Bricks from a local pottery supply place. Connie Fox uses the K 23's for her soldering station, and I want to give that a try.  But in the interim, I will use my charcoal and tile set-up since I need to get some jewelry made before I can get to the pottery place.

Here is what my soldering station looks like... I use a smoke absorber when I solder, so it takes away any fumes that might burn off and I love my swivel annealing pan for annealing larger pieces of metal.

I am getting a brand new chair for my little space...a stool that is stationary and has an adjustable height. When you are sawing or doing something that requires a lot of concentration, you don't want your chair to move or it could contribute to having a heavy metal fit!

I am excited to get back to fabricating, and knowing that in one more move, I will hopefully have my dream bench. But in the meantime, I will make this little space work. I think I am just so excited to have reliable heat and air conditioning that not having my dream bench is ok for now!

Do you have any studio tips? Or are you contemplating any new tools? Please share!


Anonymous said...

Your space looks great. I so wish I could have my studio where I are so lucky you can do it right there....have fun.

Kalaya Steede said...

I ♥ it! Your little bench is so cute! I wish you were here because there is a jewelers bench for sale ($25). What a deal huh? Sorry no studio tips. I tend to move all about in mine. Ha! Have fun setting up your studio!

ciaolucia said...

Your space is wonderful and so organized! I hope to be that organized too someday!

Stacie said... is only organized because I haven't used it a week it will an unmitigated disaster!!!! But I am pretty pleased with this little space. It has another large table in there where I will be doing some other work too...but I am a complete studio slob. I have high hopes this year of changing some messy habits. My mother won't believe it, though, until she sees it. My messiness is sort of a family joke!!!

stacilouise said...

I have to stand to solder, but sit for the rest of the production. I actually wish I could stand more.

My solder area looks very similar to yours, but its in front of a window AND I have the same smoke remover and a small fan behind me (to the side sort of) to create wind flow in the right direction. So fun setting up a studio. Enjoy!@!!!

Cynthia@Ornamental Style said...

I love seeing how artists and designers set up their spaces. I don't do much in the way of metal fabrication so have no permanent space in my studio for such. When I solder or enamel (immersion method), I move it out to the dining room table, which is right next to the slider for ventilation. But I think I need to get one of those smoke absorbers.

I'm thinking Shayne could use a woodworking project now. And have your dad come for a visit to help.

Libellula Jewelry said...

In the end, you'll have exactly what you want--especially with your husband planning to make a custom bench! Congratulations :)

Kalaya--would you mind emailing me that link for the $25 bench? I'd really appreciate it! libellulajewelry at yahoo dot com

Stacie said...

Cynthia...yes...once it really dawns on him that he has some freedom...I think he is still in shock! And Staci, I have my soldering station right next to a window too...the room is just so small the photos are wonky!

Julie Holmes said...

I love your set-up Stacie! It's hard to find that perfect thing...but for me it's my chair. I got it at the local university surplus. I think it was a "clean room" chair. It's uber actually have to use the attached stool to get in it, but it means that getting up and down to fire my enamels is easy and not hard on the knees!

Kelli said...

Love this!!!!! I've got to look for one of those smoke absorbers!!

Barbara said...

love the portable! I thought you were going to work in your new garage? Anyway, studio frugality always pays off!!!! do the best with what you can and save for what you need most!

Michelle said...

I have a question about your benchtop jewelers bench.
I have been eyeing those
(exact same model) and want to get one, but the reviews I've read say it's particle board covered with a woodlook paper veneer.
How long have you had yours and is it sturdy?
Glad you're waiting to get your "perfect" bench until you have a permanent space and that your hubby might build it for you. Nothing like having something custom built!
Your studio looks well thought out and you should be able to get alot done! I like it.

Stacie said...

I have had mine for about 7 years. It has traveled all over the country with me, and the top of the one of I have has a formica-like layer on top of wood. Other then the middle of it coming apart due to me traveling and taping it down, chasing on it, ect. I have been very happy with it. It is a tabletop bench, so I use it now mostly for sawing (has bench pin holder) and the aluminum catch tray which is great for sawing and the bits that come off when I use my flex shaft. IF you have a good work table already, with plenty of storage space, I think that this a great, cheap alternative to the more expensive benches. Good luck!

Stacie said...

Barbara, I was...but the critters and spiders ran me, it has no heat or air...I decided to use a small room inside instead! And it is going to work out great, as I was in there all day yesterday making some new jewelry!

Michelle said...

Thanks Stacie! I can order one and see how it is. So many things aren't as well made as they were even just 5-7 years ago. My son is a cabinet maker, but he is sooooo busy.Would love it if I can get him to make me one of these out of hardwood. I have a large solid table that was my Mom's that I love working on....just need some height for sawing etc.

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