Every now and then you come across something that you wonder how you ever did without. The Bench Combo Kit is one such item and one is now happily living on my bench. At Seattle Findings we call it “one of the best investments you can have” and this is so true! I am really happy with it.
The kit comes with a ring mandrel, a slotted wood bench pin, an oval bracelet mandrel, a flat metal bench block, and a clamp-on bench mounting system. Let me take a moment and tell you about each one of the components.
First off, the clamp on bench mounting system, this is great and extremely versatile. Even if you do not have a bench you can mount this on whatever work surface that you are using as long as it is not over 2 ¼ inches thick. It is very sturdy and you can tighten the system down firmly without fear of it moving. I have a bench and just attached it to the side.
The 4 ½ x 3 “bench anvil is part of the clamp down system. I really like this bench block.
Now I polish all most all of my tools and work surfaces and the pieces in the kit were no exception. But this set has smooth enough surfaces that it does not leave scratch marks on hammered pieces and the edges are nice and crisp.
This bench block is ideal for flattening, layout work, stamping and chasing and forming 90° bends. It’s very sturdy, and so is an excellent base for hammering.
The polished oval bracelet mandrel is the perfect size for making and working on items from child to adult size. Good solid construction and very heavy so you don’t have to worry about really getting serious with a hammer while you are shaping your metal. The bench anvil holds the mandrel securely. I have also used this mandrel as a base for wire weaving. The bracelet mandrel is 6″ plus tang (metal portion that inserts into holder)
The next tool is the Bench Pin; okay technically, speaking you could argue that the bench pin is really not a tool but part of a jeweler’s bench. But the slotted bench pin is great part of this kit and it attaches whether or not you have a bench! Its purpose is to make it easy to support and maneuver your work in a way that jeweler’s saws and files can be used away from the main workbench. And don’t be worried about cutting, drilling or filing into the pin since you will definitely do that at some point in time anyway and a replacement pin is easy to get and inexpensive. The bench pin measures 1 3/4″ W x 4″L.
The last item in this kit is the tapered ring mandrel in US sizes from 1-15 is for forming, sizing, and shaping rings. This well-made mandrel is very nicely finished. Its heft makes it a quite sturdy tool well suited to metal work. The mandrel is 8.75″ plus tang and can be used by hand or held securely by the bench mounting system.
I highly recommend this to all home jewelers and also to teachers/ instructors that keep a travelling set of tools: the price makes them highly affordable and the workmanship is very good quality.