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Metalsmith Newsletter

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Hello Fellow Metalsmithers,


The Workbench, Workshop and Tools, a reflection of ourselves, our creativity and our workmanship....the holy grail for every metalsmith.

This is the place where designs are dreamed up and come to fruition, work is done for hours on the finest detail and where we expand our skills, all the while doing what we love doing. There is no getting around it. This is where we spend most of our time.

That is why we must make our space work for us. Set it up to be efficient. Set it up comfortable. Make your tools work for you.

This Metalsmith Newsletter Edition is all about the workbench and tool organizing
16th century artisan's cottages in Golden Lane, Prague Castle
                                                   Credits: Angus Kirk

“Although the eleven charming 16th century dwellings in Golden Lane (once Goldsmith's Lane) look like a Disneyland set they were once the homes and workshops of goldsmiths, alchemists, fusiliers, artists, and castle servants.” …... by Angus Kirk

Lalique enamel dragonfly choker photographed at Tefaf by Hans Meeivs
Tiffany Story - jewelry workshop
Faberge - aterlier
Fabergé - the atelier

Building a mobile workbench

I'm a VW Kombi enthusiast. I had this idea of having a bench in my Van travelling from coastal village to coastal village with stop-overs everywhere to pick up work and orders along the way.

That prompted me to build a compact mobile workbench.

In hindsight it has stood me in good stead during several continental relocations.

I can literally unpack my bench and be ready to work in a couple of hours.

Metalsmith Newsletter Workbench - my second mobile bench

My second mobile workbench.....
the first was never photographed.

This is my mobile workbench that I have worked on every day for the last 7 years.

It is compact ( fits in a Van too)
My tools are all within arms length.

Much consideration is given to time and motion.

That make for efficient work.

I have a complete description of how I built my workbench here.

Metalsmith Newsletter Workbench - my current mobile bench

Organizing my workbench top

When I started jewellery making I simply copied my teacher, as most young learning jewellers would do.
My journeyman, Shane, is left handed, but used his hanging motor and soldering with his right hand.
That was because his journey man was right handed.

I am left handed as well, so because of copying my journeyman, I solder, file and use pliers mostly in my right hand.
Therefore my soldering pad is on my right side.

Here, I show how I set up my workbench space.

Metalsmith Newsletter Workbench Tools Solder Station

A steel framed solder tray slides in and out. The different solders are sorted separately (little circles) in the solder holder.

Metalsmith Newsletter Workbench Tools Pliers Files Tray

The pliers, files, and hammer, tray that slides out when I need it.
My file handles are colour coded and marked.

Metalsmith Newsletter Workbench Tools Burr Tray

This is my sliding burr tray. This video show my burr marking method and read more on organizing burrs and drills here.

Metalsmith Newsletter Workbench Tools Acid Station

My acid box made out of glass and silicone glue with a sliding top containing water, Sparex ( sodium bisulfate) and bi-carb.

It's exciting to get to work with an efficient bench setup and with that here are a few of the many new tutorials available on the website.

Making Asymmetrical Modern Ring Design

This is a ring design with an interesting manner in which to set the gemstone which appears larger due to the reflections on the plate. 

Asymmetrical Ring Design Tutorial - US$25

How to Make a Box Clasp

A box clasp is a very secure and great for any weight necklace, that is also very easy to use. There is a safety latch that swings closed for security.

How to Box Clasp Tutorial - US$25

Making Star Cluster Ring

This tutorial will show you how to make this beautiful star cluster split shank ring which uses a few gemstones in a star shape to accent the center gemstone.

Star Cluster Ring Tutorial - US$27

Traditional Gents Ring Tutorial

This step by step tutorial shows how to make a gents square panel ring also known as a plate ring. This ring has decorative accent with a diamond.

Traditional Gents Ring Tutorial - US$25

The gravity soldering clamp is a useful tool to help hold plate sections while soldering. It was used on the gents ring while soldering. It's very easy to make yourself. Click here on how to make a Gravity Soldering Clamp. On that page is a link if you want to request the pdf instruction.

Gravity Soldering Clamp Instruction

The texture seen on the gents ring is created in the manner shown in this video clip.

And there is always some one who takes mobile work to a new level.

Chest of Master Carpenter Henry Studley

This picture above is the awe inspiring vintage 19th century tool chest of master carpenter Henry O. Studley. 

It holds 245 tools in a space that takes up about 40 by 20 inches ( 102 x 51 centimetres) with a 9 inch depth when closed.

The chest is made out of mahogany, rosewood, ebony, ivory and mother of pearl and opens up to become a 40 inch by 40 inch tool chest.

The fine craftsmanship is exhibited by the fact that each tool fits snugly into its space, often with an audible click as the tool snaps into its close-fit cavity.

Sections of the chest swing out of the case to allow access to a second, and even third, layer of tools.

It is work like this, that inspires and makes me think ----Never Stop Learning!


Very best regards,

Hans Meevis

Previous Metalsmith Newsletter Editions

- Antique - Inspiration from antique designs, plique-à-jour enameling and workshop wisdom.
- Circles - Design jewelry with circle motif such as decorative circle collet
- Nature - Flower, Owl, Dragonfly Brooches and Insect Casting
- Gems - Gem Carving and Making Halo Ring Tutorial
- Wallace Chan Exhibition and the making of a Celtic Style Ring
- Masonic Unfurling Ball Pendant and "Ring in a Ring" jewelry tutorial