Tips from the Brains Trust

This month we visit the bench of Alistair Kelsey, an award-winning jeweller based in Jervis Bay, on the NSW south coast.

Bench tour and DIY dust extraction system

Alistair has a passion for precise-cut coloured gems and diamonds, and creates bespoke jewellery pieces to an exacting standard. His bench set-up reflects this and, always keen to share and connect with other jewellers, Alistair has provided a video walk-through of his workspace. Use the QR code to take a look.

One of the many efficient hacks to Alistair’s bench is a dust extraction system he set up recently. Alistair describes the inexpensive rig and how well it’s turned out.

“I used a shop vac piped through the wall with pvc, then through the back of the bench to a flexible hose and funnel,” Alistair explains. 

“I bought a Festool CTL for $700 but you could get away with a cheaper one if you needed to. It’s a very compact unit and fits in small spaces. It’s great for under benches. The funnel and hose is an extraction kit from Timbercon (which cost around $40). The vacuum hose is a Dyson knock off from eBay ($30) and a rubber seal from Bunnings.”

Alistair positioned the funnel just under the bench and close to the peg.

“It’s great for collecting dust while working, or just for using when sharpening rubber wheels etc,” he says. “It’s controlled by a remote power switch, also from Bunnings and also only around $40.

“I used to just sweep up the dirty waste with a dustpan and broom, but it never cleaned everything thoroughly. The extractor and vac-hose combo is quick and easy to use and keeps the bench top clean so you reduce the risk of contaminating your lemmel.”


Facebook: Alistair Kelsey Jewellery
Instagram: @alistairkelseyjewellery

1/3 Alistair’s impressive bench set-up, with Ikea hacks, slide-away soldering station, 3D-printed stands and more.


2/3 The under-bench funnel for Alistair’s dust extraction system. It pipes back through a false wall behind the bench to the pump and compressor in the far corner of his studio.

3/3 Alistair says he’s yet to fully enclose the working end of the extractor kit and that doing so would cut down on the noise, but he’s satisfied that the system is working well.

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