I’ve just finished up a bunch of orders, and would like to work on some new designs. This is a good stopping point to address some studio issues.
Often, people are surprised to learn that I work sitting on the floor, but I do have some good reasons for working this way. As a painter, I work mostly with my canvas on the floor. I use a lot of layers: heavy thick layers, wet, washy layers, and everything sets up best if the canvas is layed out. So I’m used to working that way. But also, I’m not a very big person. At 5’3″ and 118 lbs, there isn’t a lot of me. Metalworking takes controlled force, and working on the floor allows me to get what little bulk of me there is over the piece I’m working on, and the floor provides stable work surface. A good table would provide a stable surface, too, but most jewelers’ benches are sized for people much taller than I am, and it’s taken me a very long time to decide what I want in a worktable, and get around to building one. When I started goldsmithing, the floor was the most stable surface I could afford, and I’ve gotten used to it!
But this week I’m building a workbench, and the impetus? My wardrobe. I’ve realized that every single pair of jeans I own has a hole in the heinie from sitting on tiny bits of metal while I work. I need to go shopping so that I can go out in public without making a spectacle of myself. It’s time to get off the floor.
I’ll be building a 3 x 4 foot table. It will be 25 inches high to allow a chair underneath, but still be low enough for me to get over it. The legs will be 4×4’s, and the top is 3/4 inch ply, which I’ll cover with galvanized steel. The steel will take a beating and be a good base for hot work, and also be easy to clean. The 4×4 legs might seem like overkill, but I’ll be mounting my rolling mill on the table, and that causes a lot of torque, as it exerts thousands of pounds of pressure when in use. The 2×3’s you see will be for reinforcing.
If there is ever a tornado in Charlotte, NC; if we are ever under attack? I invite all of you over to huddle under my worktable, because it will be the sturdiest thing around.