Can you see the newest and most likely the final piece of equipment added to my personal bench in the studio?
I've waited a long time for this and spent months researching and hoping to find a good deal on a microscope with an arm for my bench. Ever since I took the engraving & stone setting course at GRS Training over the summer, I've been dying to get a scope. Now, the waiting is over!!!
I use an AirGraver by Steve Lindsay and I love it for two reasons: 1.) it's quiet and 2.) I love it way more than I did the GRS system I learned on. Not for any particular reason, just my personal preference. So, while researching, I found that Mr. Lindsay uses and recommends scopes built by AmScope. I checked them out and for the price and a beginner, it was a perfect match. I ordered and tried to wait patiently...
It's here, set up and I've been practicing quite a bit with it. Don't believe anyone if they tell you they can engrave just fine without one - I was one of those people. Believe me, the magnified view of the piece your working on lends itself to much more control, accuracy and nuance in your graving.
I've designed my personal workbench to be a modular unit so I can accomplish all or any tasks at one station. This frees up the other stations for my students to use while I'm working in the studio at the same time. I use the BenchMate system for my pins, ring holders, engraving plate and soldering station. Each one is housed under the bench on a shelf I requested when I ordered my custom workbench from American Workbench. Let me tell you, these benches are sturdy, heavy and so awesome, I can't even begin to describe it. They're on very heavy duty caster wheels so whenever I need to rearrange or move the big benches, I just unlock the wheels and push them where they need to go.
Eventually, I plan to have all the workstations and student benches made by American Workbench, but that will have to come one at a time and as needed. In the meantime, I'm practicing my engraving skills, developing new classes for my students and designing a whole new collection of jewelry for Spring 2015.
I'll have some practice pieces up in the WIP gallery soon, so stay tuned!