Bench Tips and Tricks

Course Description

About this course

Tips and tricks – Let’s think about how we work with tools to make art, and discover small changes that can make the work go much faster and be stress-free.  David has been teaching at Metalwerx since the very beginning.  Although he’s been a jeweler for more than three decades, he still enjoys taking classes from different masters to see how they work. 

“It’s amazing how many ways there are to do one thing.  It’s true -- Ask 6 jewelers how to do a bench task and you’ll get 9 answers.   Over the years I’ve learned many different tricks to make working at the bench much easier.  Even still, I’m always looking for a faster, easier, better way! “ – David Baird

This workshop is all about better methods to hold our work for all types of tasks, make soldering trouble-free, and when you might want to use a different bur or tool for a job.  David will share ways to modify tools so they work better for you and even show low-cost household items everyone should have at their bench.   There will be demos on different ways to do the same or similar tasks, and why one might work better suited for you.  Of course, the class will spend time altering and making some tools.

So often we have learned how to do something such as create a bezel -- it worked fine, it’s in our memory, so we repeat the process without thinking. This class will open up student’s minds to new ways of approaching common tasks.  Come and ask questions, bring problem pieces, and explore different ways to work through the fabrication process.

Meet the Instructor

David Baird

David Baird has been making jewelry for nearly four decades. He received his bachelor's degree at the Evergreen State College, and his MFA from The School of the American Craftsman at Rochester Institute of Technology. He also has a GG (Graduate Gemology certificate) from the GIA.

David sells his work nationally and has taught classes and workshops for at least 30 years around New England including Metalwerx, DeCordova Museum School, and Lexington Arts and Crafts Center. More recently he has been developing specialized jigs to make bench processes easier for his students. The Directed Open Studio courses at Metalwerx are led by David because of his vast knowledge about the many facets of metalworking.

Over the past 15 years, David has expanded his repertoire to include lapidary cabbing and carving. He now devotes his time between two studios, both lapidary and jewelry, taking on commissions by request. His studio is located at the Waltham Mill Buildings, near Metalwerx where still he teaches regularly.

Materials & Tools 

There will be a $10 materials fee payable to the instructor at class.  It includes miscellaneous household supplies that will be turned/modified/used as bench tools.

Students should bring 
  • Old/used pliers, hammers, tweezers, or tools you don't mind modifying.
  • Any burs you have handy (no need to bring everything)
  • Pieces you've had problems with for discussion.



Materials Cost

Payable to instructor in class.


David Baird


February 13 -14, 2016


10:00 AM -5:00 PM


2 days

Intermediate and above
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