I was originally putting together a guide of essential tools for the beginner metalsmith just starting out and ended up getting totally distracted by my own workshop non-essential essentials/ items that aren't essential for metalsmithing but that I wouldn't want to be without in the workshop.
First up would have to be my seat, comfort and good posture is so important at the bench. Hours of being hunched over the peg with bad posture with leave you with a tight neck and sore back, not good! One of the perks of having a drummer for a husband is there is always a spare drum stool floating around and I have claimed one for myself in the workshop. Padded to keep my toosh happy, height adjustable to keep my back happy and swivelling to I can transition from the bench to my soldering station easily. (Also not too comfortable that the dogs try to claim it)
Working with your hands often means wrecking your hands - if you are clumsy like me it does anyway! When working on particularly fiddly and fine things I like to use finger protection tape, it is easy to file away half a fingernail or stab yourself repeatedly with a needle file and end up with red raw hands by the end of a day at the bench and this tape will bear the brunt of the trauma for you! I like the Alligator Skin Finger Protection Tape from Kernowcraft, at £4.95 for a 90ft roll its pretty good value!
Kindred and Wild Balm is a healing balm for everyday cuts and scrapes and can be used on your lips, hands or wherever. I love this balm for applying to any sore patches on my hands at the end of a long day at the bench, a little goes a long way, plus it smells phenomenal and works a treat! Kindred and Wild is a small company that make all natural and organic products, plus how gorgeous is the packaging?!
Metalsmithing is tough on the hands... as I have mentioned already, this Ring Clamp is a lifesaver for when your hand muscles are weary, it is described as for using with rings but honestly I use this for anything big enough to fit in the clamp that is sturdy enough not to get squashed or damaged. Find it on Cooksongold for £9.62 I would recommend this as part of anyones bench arsenal.
Tea. Need I say more? Everything is better with a cup of tea and this is most definitely a workshop essential, I won't witter on about it though and if you want to hear more about my love of tea head over to Bugs & Birds Blog to read mine and a friends musings on tea...
So those are my workshop non-essential essentials, I realise they are mostly focused on saving my poor weakling hands but working with metal is tough! I would love to hear other metalsmith's bits they couldn't survive the workshop without so let me know in the comments or come and say hi over on Instagram!
*Any products mentioned in this post are ones I use regularly and feel are great quality and value for money, all views are my own and I have not been paid to express them.