Saturday, March 6, 2010

Studio Tour Part 2: Organize Small Parts

Do you ever have something in your hand, and 5 seconds after putting it down, forget completely where it is? This happens to me all the time. It can be really frustrating. If it was something valuable like a gemstone, you get all upset about it, but if it is a tool, it is frustrating that you are spending so much of your time looking for it. Your jewelry making workbench, table, or tackle box is most likely full to the brim of small parts and hand tools. It is easy for things to get lost in the shuffle.
To remedy this problem, I have a few solutions.

1) Have designated container for all small parts pertaining to the current project. A small plate will do, or some people use their steel bench block. Also, try to keep small parts from different projects separate, in labeled envelopes or plastic bags.

2)Have a small table adjacent to your workbench or within an arm's reach of your workplace where you can keep all of the tools that tend to get lost. I keep all measuring devices on my separate table so that I never (or rarely) spend 20 minutes looking for a ruler. I keep my coffee here is farther away from all the dust and metal that flies around the workbench. The drawers below hold respirator and safety glasses, it is too tempting to get to work anyway even if you can't find your safety glasses. I keep several pair at an arm's reach, so there is no excuse...if you love your vision, keep it safe!

3) Also pictured, I keep wire solder in coils tacked to the wall. Everyone has their own system for labeling solder by putting a different type of bend in the end of the wire, be sure to write down your system somewhere that you wont loose it. I wrote it on the wall...There is nothing worse than being unable to use the solder you bought because you can't tell what grade it is.

4) I couldn't keep track of my scale for the longest time. It was a little pocket scale that had a black cover, and it would just disappear whenever I needed it. So a friend of mine gave me a tip: spray paint the cover of the scale hot pink or some really bright color. I did this, and now I never loose track of the scale. I'm sure it would work for any number of tools that just seem to get lost.

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