I hate getting old. I used to have terrific eyesight. These days, not so much.
But rather than try to ignore the inevitable, I’ve decided to throw money at it instead. A few years ago, I bought awesome reading glasses, which also get a regular workout at the hobby bench. (They’re even slim enough to fit inside safety glasses.)
Yesterday, I took another step, and purchased a magnifying bench lamp. There are many of these on the market, but I picked a nice one offered by Canadian-based tool specialist Lee Valley because I trust the company to source quality products that are designed for people who build things – whether it’s furniture or F-units, carving or cabooses.
The lamp does not have a brand name – but given that the box is clearly printed with the Lee Valley catalogue number I suspect they’ve sourced this directly from a manufacturer.
The lamp is catalogue number 17J30.30 – and here’s what Lee Valley has to say about it:
This is an excellent magnifying lamp. Its array has 56 LEDs with a color temperature akin to daylight (6500 kelvin), making it well suited for task lighting.
The 5″ 3-diopter optical-grade glass lens focuses at a comfortable distance (3″ to 9″) for detailed work. Its spring balance mechanisms are fully enclosed and the lamp has a maximum overall extension of 47″.
The lamp head is adjustable for viewing angle, has an integral flip-up lens dust cover and comes with a 2-1/2″ capacity table-mounting clamp. The LEDs are rated to last 50,000 hours, equivalent to 5 hours per day for 27 years. UL/CUL certified.
To let you mount the lamp in a dog hole, stainless-steel bushings with a 3/4″ or 20mm outside diameter are available separately.
I also purchased the 3/4″ bushing and installed the lamp in a dog hole on my work bench.
The 3-diopter really makes a difference. In the following photo, you can see identical bottles of Vallejo wash both inside the lens, and outside to the left:
I’m really pleased with this purchase. While I hope I don’t have to use it all the time, it will certainly help with those fiddly operations, such as reading mouse print on decals or painting figures. In fact, I actually bought two of these lamps and installed the second one on my desk in my home office, where I frequently paint war-game miniatures while waiting for clients to call me back.
I’m not yet ready for an optivisor – and maybe with these lights, I can put that off for a few more years. If you have a Lee Valley in your area, check out this lamp: They’ll have one on display, and I bet you’ll add one to your “must have” list.