Bench Envy: Jim Grahl

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Bench Envy

Jim Grahl’s studio is a mix of old meets new

By Jim Grahl

Editor’s Note: While Jim Grahl of J. Grahl Design in Balboa Island, California, loves technological developments that have made certain tasks in jewelry making easier, he sees no need to replace the trusty older tools and equipment that fill his 1,500- square foot studio.

Jim Grahl’s primary bench setup

1. I worked with a master woodworker to create all of the benches in the studio. These were made about 40 years ago, and they have a lot of mileage on them. They’re made from solid oak and each weighs about 500 to 550 pounds—weight is to your advantage in jewelry work. They’re built at standing height so they can be used standing or while sitting on a high stool. The bench top is comprised of five sheets of three-quarter inch particleboard with a layer of Formica on top. They’re designed to take a lot of abuse, and they’ve held up pretty darn well.

2. The benches are designed with a shallow cutout, which works best for me. Rather than round off the...