Watch Makers Bench

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  • #49418
    virginia restore
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    • Topics Started: 3
    • Total Posts: 6

    Good morning,
    I am in the market for a new watch makers bench. I have searched the internet and found several companies on the west coast and one in Ohio that sells various benches. Has anyone purchased a new bench that would have insight on their purchase ? I am willing to spend around $700.00. All the companies show a 15 drawer unit that I would consider. I’m concerned about build quality and overall quality. Any recommendations would be appreciated. I am retiring from the US Air Force and I guess you could call this a retirement present.

    Thanks,
    Mark

    #61494
    chris mabbott
    Participant
    • Topics Started: 119
    • Total Posts: 1525

    Hi Mark, & welcome to the forum.

    Would it be possible for you to post links to the benches that you’re considering? It would help immensely in determining the quality of the ones you’re considering..

    You can also take a gander in the MEMBER SHOP PICS forum to get a few ideas.

    Myself, and I think most of the guys on this forum (I could be wrong) have possibly purchased some form of table and adapted it to their needs. Other have built their benches to personal specs, or had them built by a carpenter.

    From what you say in your post, it sounds like you have not yet fully entered the hobby as a repairer, simply a collector, would this be correct?
    If that is the case, or even if you’re just starting.. my suggestion would be NOT to rush into an expensive bench at this moment.
    Work at watches/clocks etc and develop your own personal list of requirements before you buy something that may not suit your needs at present.

    Do you have all of the tools required yet to perform surgery on clocks? For me, with watches, I purchased the tools first, then finally sorted my third bench out just recently, 6 years later 😆 I used a variety of tables until I kinda found my footing..

    Although I’m not a clock guy, it seems that more space would be required over a standard watchmakers bench, also the need for movement hangers, so possibly a longer work bench may work better??

    #61495
    virginia restore
    Participant
    • Topics Started: 3
    • Total Posts: 6

    Here is a link for one of the benches……

    http://www.ofrei.com/page241.html

    Please let me know what you think……thanks

    #61496
    chris mabbott
    Participant
    • Topics Started: 119
    • Total Posts: 1525

    Mark, like anything from a small photo, it is really hard to tell quality and size, but in my personal opinion, to me, it looks kinda cheap and flimsy, it isn’t something I would buy for myself, but that just reflects my opinion & taste. Sorry I can’t offer more on this item…

    Do you know of a good carpenter localy that might make you one for around that price? Have you checked ebay or craigs list for a good used one??

    #61497
    willofiam
    Moderator
    • Topics Started: 75
    • Total Posts: 1437

    Hey Mark, Chris brings up a good question, are you planning on watches, clocks or both? I have 3 watchmakers benches (one almost exactly like your photo) and 56 feet of other bench space, why….because I am spoiled 🙄 , I use almost every inch of bench area and I do prefer a large area for clock work. I am a x cabinetmaker so to me the cost of furniture always seems too high since I can build myself. The 2 things about a watchmakers bench that make it special in my opinion are the amount of drawers and the height. I was able to buy mine at a very low price secondhand, I think that if I did not have them and with what I know now I would almost like a roll top desk with some height added to it = lots of nooks and crannies and small drawers with a larger top. Try some experiments for top size and heights which will help with a decision either way you end up going. There are many other factors in quality of furniture. Keep us informed on your process, can be very helpful to others, thank you and have a wonderful day. William

    #61498
    virginia restore
    Participant
    • Topics Started: 3
    • Total Posts: 6

    Thanks for your replies Chris and William. I have thought of finding a small second hand desk and making modifications as necessary.As I will only be working on clocks I may need more room than a watchmakers bench provides. Either way, I will continue to do research on the best options.

    Mark

    #61499
    chris mabbott
    Participant
    • Topics Started: 119
    • Total Posts: 1525

    Mark, like William, I started out with a narrow type bench, which soon filled up, now I have a much longer antique bench that I’ve just raised up, this extra length I “needed” to put my little lathe on for quick use, staking set, pliers/screwdrivers etc etc , all handy, plus the light and elbow room. Oh, and an ashtray and drinking glass 😆 space is good because you will always occupy it.. or is it bad because you need to fill it with more stuff 🙄

    #61500
    bernie weishapl
    Participant
    • Topics Started: 58
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    I started doing clocks on a antique watchmakers bench and I can tell ya you will be cussing the lack of room. I have a bench I built in a U shape that is 24 ft total in length and 32″ wide. It is not as high as watchmakers bench because I need elbow room to work on the clocks and don’t have be on top of them with a loupe. I wish I had another 24 ft but no room. I am going to build a bench kinda like a island in the middle for my lathes and metal working which will gain me about another 6 ft of bench space. Good to go for now.

    #61501
    david pierce
    Participant
    • Topics Started: 90
    • Total Posts: 1360

    Mark,
    A watchmakers bench is great for watches. Mine is an antique bench that was in a jewelry store for many years. Tom just posted a picture of my bench a couple of hours ago under PRODUCT REVIEWS. Ebay items: 151557887061, 161569988897, 200940309261, 201225243173 are all benches suitable for watch repair and are time proven designs. These benches probably would not be suitable for clocks as was brought up by several of the forum members. Youtube has a number of clock repair videos and the benches used on these videos seem to be a lot more like sturdy tables or workshop benches than a watch or jewelers bench. There is certainly a reason for this as Bernie pointed out. Remember, a workbench is a tool and not a piece of furniture. Do your best to make sure that the bench you end up with is suited to the work you want to do on it. The best way to start finding out what you need is to observe and study what others have been satisfied with doing similar work. You may find that what you actually need might cost far less than a specialized watch bench designed for a different purpose than clock repair.
    david

    #61502
    chris mabbott
    Participant
    • Topics Started: 119
    • Total Posts: 1525

    Mmm that antique roll top for 800 beans is sweeet :D

    Mark I don’t want to infect you with my love of old 19th century roll top tables ;)
    Actually, if your mind is set on the watchmakers type, the one David has posted for 5 bills is a lot nicer looking than the one from Otto baby, not sure if it is because it’s finished, but it does seem sturdier?

    That being said, I still stand behind my original opinion that you should wait and see what you really need before doling out a bunch of cash, only to regret it later…

    #61503
    virginia restore
    Participant
    • Topics Started: 3
    • Total Posts: 6

    Wow, you guys are great with the added inputs….thanks so much. Well, after more thought I decided to find a desk on the small side that has good top space and drawers for accessories. I happened to look in Craigslist and found a soild oak teachers desk made by Myrtle desk company of High Point, NC. Well I took a look at it and purchased it today. It’s top is 32 inches x 42 inches. A center desk drawer and three drawers down the right side. And did I say solid oak for $40.00? It does need refinished but that will wait for spring. I can add rails around the three sides of the top and it should provide a very sturdy American made (probably around the 1940″s) clock work bench with modifications as I need them. Thanks again for all the comments. I will send before and after pictures when the project is complete.

    Mark

    #61504
    david pierce
    Participant
    • Topics Started: 90
    • Total Posts: 1360

    Mark,
    This will give you almost enough money left over for a Taig lathe (like Bernie’s) and a Harbor Freight milling machine (like Tom’s). With those two machines you can make a clock from scratch.
    david

    #61505
    bernie weishapl
    Participant
    • Topics Started: 58
    • Total Posts: 1218

    Sweet find Mark. Like David said now you can get a taig lathe and milling machine. You can put them on a bench you can build beside you repair desk. I have my Taig, jewelers lathe, and bushing machine on a bench.

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