Casting, Bench Pins and the Beauty of San Francisco

Every day I ask myself, what can I do in my small shop?  Am I willing to buy some big equipment? I have bought some already.  But that huge torch?  A kiln for heating the molds? A wax injector?  One of the advantages of our Jeweler Technician Intensive (JTI) is I get a realistic view of what I need and in what order for the types of jewelry I plan to make.


The centrifugal casting machine was delightfully low tech!  You crank up the spring, pour the metal, and spin! Of course, I'm simplifying here. However, as the mystery cleared like a fog, I kept thinking, "This isn’t that hard! I can do this!"

Pouring my ring ...

My first casting!

In the afternoon, Alan showed us how to customize our bench pins.  The V is cut out of the center, and the right corner is sawn off at an angle to match our filing stroke.  Over time, each bench pin develops its own personality, just like jewelers.

I stayed late to practice my solder seams, and got some positive feedback from others.  It was incredible watching the sun set on the streets of San Francisco from my bench window. When I left, the cool night air was lovely. 

Leaving for the day into a gorgeous Autumn San Francisco at