Crafts Blog Jewellery Home Improvement

Restoring an old jeweller’s bench

Three years ago I bought an old jeweller’s bench.

It wasn’t in bad shape but it needed some work, especially because I had just remodelled my studio and didn’t feel like placing a rusty piece of furniture in my nice work space.N

Restoring the bench was a lot of work but it was worth it.

First I had to remove the rust and chipping paint. I covered the metal in paint stripper and managed to remove most of it that way. Then I used a drill with a steel brush to get rid of the rust and remaining paint.

This was the most labour intensive part of the project and my arm got numb from the vibration of the drill.

Once the metal structure was clean, I applied some primer and then painted.

I know the colour is a bit much but it matches the color scheme in my studio and I like being surrounded by bright colours.

I managed to make most of the mess outside but at this point it started to rain and I had to paint indoors.

Next I dealt with the drawers. One of them had a really nasty stain on the bottom and I had to replace it with a new piece of wood.

After that I applied wood primer and painted the inside bottom of the drawers in the same colour as the metal frame.

The wood on the front of the drawers was heavily stained but I didn’t want to paint it. Instead I sanded it and then coated the wood with a coloured varnish that evened out the tone but still allows the grain to peek through.

I didn’t want the bench to lose all character, despite the color, so I replaced the handles with similar ones, in brass.

I added some final touches, like a hook to attach the torch to the side. I chose one of those round hooks that are used to hang lamps from the ceiling and it works quite well.

The stand for my flex shaft is meant to be attached to a table top but it didn’t work in this caso, so I attached it to the side bar that connects the table legs. The flex shaft is still high enough for me to work comfortably, so it will do for now.

Since restoring the bench I’ve also bought a fume exhaust unit to help with ventilation while soldering. I feel that I now have a functional and safe work environment and I’m happy with it.

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