Bench Tips #4 Creating Tools and Equipment From Household Items

by laurie jane kern on July 9, 2009

Coffee Filters for ‘dust’ collection.

Before I explain what I use these for, I should tell you that I use the flat bottomed fluted (Mr. Coffee) type of coffee filter as these can also be spread out flat. Now, on to the why!

When Sawing:
A real jewelers work bench has the leather drape which is used to collect all sorts of smutz from silver dust, fillings, to dropped parts. I don’t have one of these but when I saw, the bench pin is clamped to the front edge of my table. This means that when I saw the dust will fall on the floor and get all over the place and tracked around the house. I remidied this by placing the pin over the 3 rows of drawers that I have in the table. I then pull out a drawer that is midway down, on top of the drawer I place a few sheets of paper as this stops the dust from falling into the drawer, and on top of that, I put the flattened coffee filter. The filter usually catches most of the silver dust and what it misses is caught by the paper. When I am done sawing, I can lift the filter and paper off, I then tap the dust from the paper into the filter and all of this is put into the silver dust jar for recycling. The filter can then be set aside for the next time.

When Filing:
Again this is when a drape would be handy, instead I place the flattened filter on the table top and do all of my hand filing over the filter to catch the removed material. I also clean the file with a brass brush on the filter before I put my files away. The filter is once again folded in half and dust slides down the fold into the collection jar.

When Cutting Coils:
Earlier I mentioned using liquid soap as the lub for cutting coils and how the soap also traps the dust. This mix, when you are done cutting the coils, is now over not only the cutting fixture but the coils as well. From inside the bag I use as a dust hood, I place the cut rings in a (all together now) flattend filter. I place this in the bottom of the bathroom sink, but first a close the drain most of the way. I then turn the water on to a slow trickle which I guide over the coils with my hands. At a slow trickle, the water will pool in the filter but the water will also slowly drain through the filter. As the rings get rinsed I transfer them to a clean towel and let all the silver dust collect in the bottom the filter. When I am done, I once again fold the filter in half and place it on the clean towel as well. Taking the towel, I can then move back into my workshop area and place the now dried rings in a holding container for future use. The folded filter stays on the towel overnight to dry and from there I can then tap the silver dust into the dust holding container.

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