Modern workshop

by Jamie Hall on February 22, 2010

These photos are from the modern workshop at my family’s business. The first image shows (left-right) the Rofin laser welder, which is an amazing and indispensable machine. Beyond this are my dad’s bench and then mine, followed by the heavy bench. We aren’t a highly specialised in any discipline, so we use a surprising small selection of hammers and forms compared to some workshops I’ve seen, but overall, I think we have quite a lot of tools – some are from auctions of old toolboxes. You’ll note that the floor tiles are the worst colour for a jewellery workshop – the room was never meant to be a workshop; it was converted when I started working there.

The second photo is the Revo CAM mill. Dad uses a CAD system called Matrix, by Gemvision, but I don’t use that yet – it’s a craft in it’s own right, and one that I will come to in time. Besides, I prefer making physical things.

The next photo is the polishing room. It’s a dirty unpleasant place, and guess who gets to spend the most time there. We use a single double-spindled motor for polishing – it seems to meet our needs, although I would like smaller, sharper spindles, so I can try using smaller brushes and mops.

Lastly is my bench. I know that it looks terrible, but that is a sign of prosperity, honest. I do try to keep it clean, but it’s surprising how hard that is on a busy day. To the left and right of my bench are, respectively, an oxy-hydrogen and an oxy-propane torch, which are the only sources of heat that we use on a regular basis. One of the problems I have with this project is my lack of experience with diffused heat – we don’t have a hearth of any sort, just charcoal blocks and other heat-proof materials.

I should be able to do various types of casting, like sandcasting and cuttlefish casting, including ingots, which I can then forge. In the latter case, I will initially be using modern steel tools, but I hope to get something more appropriate later on.

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