You don’t think of needing to perform heavy lifting while working at the bench, but certain jobs require precise movement of thick and heavy precious metal materials that often are not easy to bend. In this article, we look at a prong lifter modified by Jeffrey Mathews, a JA® Certified Master Bench Jeweler™ from Dallas, Texas, that he uses to perform a variety of bending procedures.
Starting with a standard prong lifter:
Illustration A – Mathews uses a sanding disc to round out and smooth one side of the prong lifter. When sanding is finished, he polishes the specific area. This ensures that the tool will not scar the material with which he will be working.
Illustration B – The tool is originally designed as a prong lifter and is used in the fashion illustrated. Because of Mathews’ finishing technique, no tool marks will be transferred to the prong.
Illustration C – When fabricating any ring with a split shank, Mathews will lift the portion requiring the shape so the bottom or inside of the ring will remain perfectly round.
Benefits for the Working Bench Jeweler
Efficiency The polished surface of the tool allows the bench jeweler to make minor and major adjustments to fine jewelry articles without leaving tool marks that would require additional metal removal, polishing, and buffing.
Versatility This tool modification is invaluable for both fabrication and stone setting procedures.
Continuing education. This tool and technique will be helpful to those taking any levels of the JA® Bench Jeweler Certification™ practical bench tests.
Bench Tricks is an exclusive monthly column designed to give jewelers a quick and handy reference for solving many common jewelry repair dilemmas. Be sure to look for Bench Tricks every month in JCK. We extend many thanks to Jewelers of America for providing this valuable service to our readers.