Peter McBride
Goldsmith / Jeweller

Antique and Old Tools
Updated :- Thursday, 24 April 2008    home | antique and old tools | links | email     (click on the images for a larger picture)

A guided tour of my work bench : the tidiest it's been for years.

The bench was a gift to me. It was the foreman's bench in a large diamond jewellery manufacturer in Melbourne, Australia. I purchased some tools from the owner about 8 years ago, and after I admired the bench, he just said put it in the truck. Originally it was equipped with a skin and not the white melamine tray I made. I prefer the tray, and I like it white for light reflection. The top is made from 2 solid planks of English Walnut, and the rest is local eucalypt and plywood. I use an ash peg, simply screwed to the top and they last about 5 years. The bench has a circular cut-out, and you sort of put the bench on like a piece of clothing.

02.jpg (90366 bytes)


To my left: gravers, drills & burs, diamond sharpening stone, brass swage block and steel bench block. Top center of the bench is a shelf with all my gold, silver and platinum solders, and a vernier caliper.

top_left.jpg (98181 bytes)

To my right: saw blades, three tubs with odds and ends, a small bottle of Methyl Salicylate (oil of wintergreen) lubricant and various sanding disks and spindles

emery.jpg (83096 bytes)

Using the mouth blown torch to solder a ring.

torch4.jpg (79966 bytes)

The mouth blown torch and above it a micro Oxy and LP Gas torch in a wire stand.

torch1.jpg (101117 bytes)

I use the micro torch in a swing-out cradle, or in the left or right hand. Under the bench hanging on a wire are  the most commonly used pliers.

torch2.jpg (86014 bytes)

Close up of the bent coat hanger wire cradle.

torch5.jpg (77879 bytes)

"V" plate for piecing saw, swings back onto the bench, out of the way. On the tray are the soldering pad, soldering devil (or wig) and 2 jars of flux.

saw_plate.jpg (67086 bytes)

Scribe, dividers, auto center-punch and needle files with wax and shellac buttons on the ends.
A small block of bee's wax is stuck next to the peg, used to lube drills, burs and saw blades
needle_files.jpg (111726 bytes)

To my right: saw frame, suspension drill, and the most often used files.

saw.jpg (141778 bytes)

Pin vices, tweezes, two gauges of binding wire, tin snips, files and a jar of Boracic acid in Methylated Spirit.

pin_vices.jpg (116614 bytes)
Shelf & Draws on my left. Shelf & Draws on my right.
On the shelf, ring mandrel and steel rules. In the top draw pliers less commonly used, and some solders and trays for the small bits and pieces on the bench top.

draw_left1.jpg (110475 bytes)

On the shelf, the 5 hammers used most often, two rawhide mallets, 2 ballpien, and a small jeweller's crosspien riveting hammer. In this top draw most of the tools used often including ring and other clamps, saw frames with finer saw blades, brushes, emery sticks, squares and repouse hammer.

draw_right1.jpg (92682 bytes)


Second draw: gold and silver paste solder in syringes, hallmarking punches, spare and alternative handpieces for the drill, and spare drills and burs.

draw_left2.jpg (91827 bytes)

Second draw: files less often used.

draw_right2.jpg (82725 bytes)

Left cupboard: all shapes of ring and setting mandrels, both commercial and home made.

door_left.jpg (78960 bytes)



Right cupboard: Storage boxes of bits and pieces, and a jeweller's anvil on a hardwood block.

door_right.jpg (79283 bytes)

A few pictures of how the bench is used to support the body when working.

Filing the sides of a ring on the peg, using a groove cut into the peg as a fence or  stop against which the ring is held.

peg2.jpg (82096 bytes)

Filing the outer surface of a ring holding it against the peg.

peg1.jpg (55414 bytes)


Working on a ring held in a ring clamp pushed up against the peg.

clamp.jpg (88447 bytes)

Using the drill and resting the work against the bench.

drill.jpg (99997 bytes)

Using the bench to support the left arm which holds the work steady.

left.jpg (85762 bytes)

Using the bench to steady the right arm when engraving.

right.jpg (81258 bytes)

Hammering a ring on the ring mandrel, placed into the hole in the bench top, and pressed against the chest.

mand.jpg (89725 bytes)

In another bench to my left, an arms length away that I can reach without moving my chair are another 7 draws.


Engraving and diamond setting tools, burnishes, scrapers, and more bits and pieces like small rods to bend wire around to make links etc.

bench_draw1.jpg (152767 bytes)

Mostly for the drill, grinding, cutting and polishing disks, brushes and buffs.

bench_draw2.jpg (82663 bytes)

Emery paper, and emery sticks.

bench_draw3.jpg (72727 bytes)

Soldering pads, and charcoal blocks.

bench_draw4.jpg (73622 bytes)

More files less often used.

bench_draw5.jpg (75153 bytes)

Ring and other clamps, and more pliers less often used.

bench_draw6.jpg (93666 bytes)

Shellac and wax sticks, and spare handles.

bench_draw7.jpg (83791 bytes)

Copyright Peter McBride 2007