Each One Like A Snowflake: Learn to Customize Your Bench Pin and Workspace

I bet I’m not alone in loving old jewelry-making tools–the worn wooden hammer handles, the chippy paint on old metal shears and files, the interesting little vials and boxes and drawers that watchmakers used. I especially love finding the modified or handmade tools that a jewelry-making craftsman created to suit his own particular needs. But I didn’t realize how personal and interesting the holes and cuts, dents and dings on a bench pin are until I learned about a really special thing those creative folks at Penland School of Crafts did with student bench pins.

At the end of one of Penland‘s recent metal jewelry-making courses, jewelry instructor Sarah Loertscher and studio assistant Samantha Meyer, with help from print studio coordinator Sean P. Morrissey (not shown), printed their students’ bench pins. They shared this photo of their process on Facebook with the caption, “Every bench pin is a snowflake!”

Photo courtesy of Penland School of Crafts.

I’ve seen many interesting, nubby bench pins and I agree, each one is like a snowflake, or perhaps a fingerprint–incredibly individual. So I asked some of our jewelry-making friends to share their bench pins with us, for a fun little peek inside their studios. Check out the bench pins of . . .

metalsmithing tools: Francesca Watson's bench pin

…Francesca Watson, jewelry artist, instructor, and owner of The Makery jewelry arts studio–so we know she knows a thing or two about outfitting a jewelry studio!


metalsmithing tools: Jeff Fulkerson's bench pin

…Jeff Fulkerson, whose bench pin looks like it spends lots of time with a saw and not too much time with a drill.


metalsmithing tools: Lexi Erickson's bench pin

…Lexi Erickson, who made her bench pin from a bed slat 30 years ago and prefers to use it with a C-clamp for easy repositioning.



metalsmithing tools: Robert Lopez's bench pin

…Robert Lopez, whose bench pin shows as much personalization, detail, and uniqueness as his jewelry designs!


metalsmithing tools: Michael David Sturlin's bench pin

…Michael David Sturlin, who actually has several bench pins, each full of personality.


metalsmithing tools: Brad Smith's bench pin

.…Brad Smith, author of the incredibly useful Bench Tips for Jewelry Making book, who also uses his bench to make his own amplifier! Amazing.

Aren’t they fabulously nubby and worn and full of tales? Just think of all the beautiful jewelry these bench pins have seen. These bench pins got this way from hundreds of hours of supporting sawing, drilling, filing, and who-knows-what-else. Slowly they develop the nooks and crannies that we need through repeated movements during our work, and they morph into our own customized bench helpers.

Learn to customize your own bench pin a little faster while you’re doing all of that sawing, drilling, filing, and who-knows-what-else) and make the most of your other jewelry-making tools and workspace with expert help. In our exclusive Get the Most from Your Bench Pin Collection, you’ll get:

  • Michael David Sturlin’s video about customizing your jewelry-making tools and bench to make the most efficient workspace
  • the current issue of Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist magazine that includes Michael’s “35 Bench Tips” article
  • a project download to help you cut and customize your own bench pin

Order your Get the Most from Your Bench Pin Collection now and learn how to make this hard-working tool and other jewelry-making tools work harder for you. And don’t forget to #showusyourbenchpin on your favorite social media channels and tag @interweavejewelry!








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