Bench Tips

Compiled by GIA's Jewelry Manufacturing Arts Instructors

Bench Tip #1: How to Sharpen a Drill Bit
Bench Tip #1: How to Sharpen a Drill Bit

This bench tip will teach you how to sharpen the cutting edges of a fine drill bit. There are different styles of bit tips, but this example features a chisel tip.

Bench Tip #20: Make a Plan to Improve Productivity at Your Workbench
Bench Tip #2: Make a Plan to Improve Productivity at Your Workbench

Success as a bench jeweler depends on many factors, but having a plan to continually improve your business is one of the most important ingredients for long-term success.

Bench Tip #3: Discover the Benefits of CAD/CAM
Bench Tip #3: Discover the Benefits of CAD/CAM

CAD/CAM is a term that describes the two-part process of designing three-dimensional objects on a computer (CAD) and manufacturing them with a computerized machine (CAM).

Bench Tip #4: How To Adjust Earring Backs
Bench Tip #4: How To Adjust Earring Backs

Adjusting the tension of springs so that earrings fit comfortably and securely is a routine service task for the bench jeweler.

Bench Tip #5: Repair a Fine Chain with a Soldering Technique
Bench Tip #5: Repair a Fine Chain with a Soldering Technique

Chain repair is a set of fundamental skills and techniques every goldsmith needs to master, but the structure and design of the chain dictate what you need to do for a successful repair.

Bench Tip #6: Use a Split Mandrel for Finishing Round Bezels
Bench Tip #6: Use a Split Mandrel for Finishing Round Bezels

With minor modification, you can use the split mandrel as a holding device to finish round bezels and other small jewelry components quickly and consistently.

Bench Tip #7: A Modified Tool to Bezel-Set Round Faceted Stones
Bench Tip #7: A Modified Tool to Bezel-Set Round Faceted Stones

The same split mandrel discussed in Bench Tip #6 can also be adapted into an efficient tool for setting multiple round faceted stones into those bezels.

Bench Tip #8: How to use the Conduction Soldering Technique
Bench Tip #8: How to use the Conduction Soldering Technique

The soldering process, used extensively in all aspects of jewelry manufacturing and repair, joins two or more pieces of metal together—and when done properly, will result in a virtually undetectable seam.

Bench Tip #9: Use the Touchstone Method for Testing Purity in Karat Gold
Bench Tip #9: Use the Touchstone Method for Testing Purity in Karat Gold

A simple method for determining gold purity in jewelry is the “touchstone” testing process, an age-old technique that is relatively nondestructive to jewelry and offers quick results.

Bench Tip #10: Use Vector Tightening to Overcome Metal Memory in Prongs
Bench Tip #10: Use Vector Tightening to Overcome Metal Memory in Prongs

Gemstones that become loose in their settings can cause damage to both the gem and the setting. Vector tightening prong-set stones is a quick, safe and effective way to secure gemstones.

Bench Tip #11: Turn an Old Brush into a Whip Burnisher
Bench Tip #11: Turn an Old Brush into a Whip Burnisher

A worn-out bristle brush can easily be recycled into a useful tool called a whip burnisher or rotary hammer to improve or even eliminate minor imperfections and surface porosity in castings and other metal surfaces.

Bench Tip #12: How to Make Spiral-Cut Rubber Molds
Bench Tip #12: How to Make Spiral-Cut Rubber Molds

Master models used in mass jewelry manufacturing range from simple one-part pieces to intricate multiple-part forms. Rubber molds made from these master models are the key to reproducing consistent replicas of the original in wax form for casting.

Bench Tip #13: Ergonomics for Bench Pin Modifications
Bench Tip #13: Ergonomics for Bench Pin Modifications

Ergonomics is the safe and effective relationship between a worker and the work environment. For the bench jeweler who spends hours working with a bench pin, it is important to make it work efficiently and effectively for you.

Bench Tip #14: How to Handle the Flexshaft and Handpiece
Bench Tip #14: How to Handle the Flexshaft and Handpiece

Since jewelers often use more than one handpiece during the workday, the procedure of connecting a handpiece to the flexible shaft is a common operation, but is often done incorrectly.

Bench Tip #15: Modify Your Prong Pushers to Make Them More Versatile
Bench Tip #15: Modify Your Prong Pushers to Make Them More Versatile

Many stone setters would agree that one of the most challenging aspects of prong setting is getting the prongs down tight on the stone. It’s easy to take this process for granted.

Bench Tip #16: How to Modify a Goldsmith Hammer
Bench Tip #16: How to Modify a Goldsmith Hammer

One tool a jeweler can’t do without is a hammer. Today, many styles of hammers, made in a variety of shapes and materials, are available to the jeweler.

Bench Tip #17: Avoid Stone Loss with Quality Assurance Benchmarks
Bench Tip #17: Avoid Stone Loss with Quality Assurance Benchmarks

Even one missing accent stone renders jewelry unwearable. Loss of a significant gemstone will also impact the retailer who sold the piece and the manufacturer who engineered and produced it.

Bench Tip #18: How To Modify a Wooden Ring Clamp
Bench Tip #18: How To Modify a Wooden Ring Clamp

A simple modification to a wooden ring clamp—which holds rings and other jewelry items—can turn it into a useful, multi-function holder for tiny, delicate objects.

Bench Tip #19: Quickly, Accurately Saw Around a Sharp Corner
Bench Tip #19: Quickly, Accurately Saw Around a Sharp Corner

Sawing is an essential skill for a bench jeweler. This tip will demonstrate a technique that will increase your sawing speed and accuracy when you need to make sharp corner cuts – and reduce your likelihood of breaking delicate saw blades.

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