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Time For a Workbench Makeover!


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When we moved into our new house in 2006, I converted one of the bedrooms into an office/model work room. I built a long desk along one wall that included space for my model workbench and lap top and my wife's desk and her computer And included a peninsula in between for shared stuff like a printer and scanner, etc.  The top surface was simply a plain sheet of MDF that I left unfinished. Well, as you might expect, over the years that work surface got rough with stains from spills and the front edge was getting pretty rough and worn. It also had a tendency to stay cluttered all the time. Like this:

2v22TU1tox2mJNT.jpg

 

It was definitely time for a makeover. So I started to clear everything out of the way.

2v2EbzjDgx2mJNT.jpg

 

I removed the MDF desktop, flipped it over and painted it with some semi-gloss white paint. 

2v2Ebzj4Wx2mJNT.jpg

Looking better already. Then I put everything back and things were looking much brighter and better.

2v2EbzjmGx2mJNT.jpg

Some of you may remember the article I did in that "other magazine" about making that paint bottle rack. It served me well over the years but I found something much better.

This:

2v2EbzjTnx2mJNT.jpg

 

These are modular workbench components available through HobbyZone USA. Check them out here:

https://www.hobbyzone.biz/modules.shtml

I also treated my self to a new, much larger, cutting mat!

2v2EbzjSqx2mJNT.jpg

And there's the finished new work space. Each of those drawer units, the tool rack, two paint racks, etc. are separate modules that all fit together in any configuration you want. They are made of MDF and are very high quality and easy to assemble. There are multiple videos on YouTube showing you how to build them. Just do a search for "HobbyZone modules" and you'll find plenty of information.

These drawers hold all of my materials and supplies, the tool rack has all of my tools out and visible and within easy reach. Everything I need is readily accessible. This was a considerable investment but it will make my model building much easier and more efficient. 

What do y'all think?  

 

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10 hours ago, 2002p51 said:

It also had a tendency to stay cluttered all the time. Like this:

2v22TU1tox2mJNT.jpg

Cluttered?

(Crocodile Dundee voice) That ain't cluttered, mate. This is cluttered.

P1120399.thumb.JPG.22ad18bcb058de3b9ad3a4a1b4a35e31.JPG

:blink:

Seriously, that's a great job - gives me something to shoot for, especially the paint racks.

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That looks much better and more organized, nice job. I recently upgraded my workbench lighting to a couple of OttLites from Hobby Lobby, including one with a magnifier and what a difference! My next task is to clean up and better organize my workbench like you have so my tools and paints are sorted and easy to find. 

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On 1/28/2019 at 7:35 PM, iamsuperdan said:

I like the paint can racks you have. That's my biggest peeve about my bench. I have no proper paint storage. 

 

Nice makeover!

I built this paint shelf a few years ago. I should have made some of the shelves a half inch taller, but otherwise, it's worked out well. 

IMG_2518.JPG

 

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I was thinking that it was a little dark in the right hand corner where I have misc. bottles of stuff, micro brushes, and Q-tips, etc. So this morning I browsed around in my local Home Depot and I found what are called "puck lights". This one is a battery powered LED light with two intensities at the push of a button. I mounted it under the model shelf directly above this end of the bench. It takes 3 AA batteries and only cost ten bucks. Much better.

2v2EKq47zx2mJNT.jpg

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I have used an old roll top desk I acquired many years ago. The previous owner had knocked out a couple of the little shelves that go across under the roll top for some reason. I use some spice racks that I got at Bed, Bath & Beyond for my paint bottles. The cubbies that are left hold different tools and the drawers hold my sanding pads and paper. The desk drawers are perfect for spray paint cans and Plastruct storage. I'd try and post a picture but #1 I'm not good at that and #2 right now it looks like a bomb went off on the desk top as I'm in the middle of two different builds and I'm the type that struggles to walk and chew gum at the same time.  

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That came out great Drew, but before you get paint and glue on that nice white surface, go and get a sheet of glass cut to fit, with a polished front edge for safety.  You are a racecar and hot rod builder like me, and glass is the only way when you are trying to fab chassis, setup suspensions, keep the wheels upright and all fours etc etc etc.  You will never regret the very small investment.

Cheers

Alan

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9 hours ago, alan barton said:

That came out great Drew, but before you get paint and glue on that nice white surface, go and get a sheet of glass cut to fit, with a polished front edge for safety.  You are a racecar and hot rod builder like me, and glass is the only way when you are trying to fab chassis, setup suspensions, keep the wheels upright and all fours etc etc etc.  You will never regret the very small investment.

Cheers

Alan

If you're a racer too then you know what a surface plate is.  I have a piece of a glass medicine cabinet shelf that makes a perfect 1/25 scale surface plate.  :)

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I should have guessed!  When you were doing Bench Racer we were very much on the same page as far as short track builds go.  And I love your A modified. 

Another thing I love about my glass top is that I can be a complete slob with glue, paint or putty and a few seconds with a scraper and I am looking sweet again!

Cheers

Alan

Edited by alan barton
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IMG 4222

I'm agreeing with my friend Alan that you need a piece of glass to work on!  Here's mine. It is the glass from a Xerox machine and has a finished edge all around. 

Glass is great for a number of reasons. First it's absolutely flat, which works for many assembly processes where you need to square up things.  Second, to clean it, all you need is a single edge razor blade.  I scrape mine between projects.  

The board under the glass is also a good thing. It saves my bench surface (which is brown paper over a hollow core door) and gives me an edge to work with.  I also have a few holes of various sizes drilled into it to hold items while I'm working.

And I have to agree with Chris... your bench isn't messy!  In fact this photo is as clean as mine gets!

Edited by Tom Geiger
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One has to be carefull about doing work bench do overs. I moved a couple of years ago and I'm still finding myself reaching for things where I used to have them and then having to look around wondering where I relocated things to. Two years later and I still have lost stuff.

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6 hours ago, robertw said:

One has to be carefull about doing work bench do overs. I moved a couple of years ago and I'm still finding myself reaching for things where I used to have them and then having to look around wondering where I relocated things to. Two years later and I still have lost stuff.

Funny thing about old habits.  I own a house in New Jersey. It was our first house and we lived there for 5 years.  Rented it out for 25 years.  Then renovated it for my daughters to live in.  Part of this renovation caused the kitchen light switch to be moved from one side of a door way to the other.  Wouldn't ya know when I stay there I still reach for the old side?

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  • 4 weeks later...

So, as a sort of a follow up, it's been over a month now since the makeover and I have to say how much nicer and easier it is to to build models here now. 

Even makes me want to be a better modeler  :)

You may also notice a minor change. I moved the tool rack to the center position to make everything easier to reach. And yes, the paints are sorted, flats on the left, gloss colors on the right. 

2v2EfbzMGx2mJNT.jpg

 

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My work space isn't as finished as your's Drew (I started with just a rough framed closet).  However I installed peg board on the walls, provides lots of visible storage for parts and tools.  If you don't want to go that route you might consider putting cork board on the walls to make pinning things up easier.

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I have been using an expandable spice rack from BB&B and it fits against the back of my roll top and extends between the hang down drawers. I also have been using one of their plastic/rubber cutting boards for a work surface and with the small drip catch around the edge nothing rolls off the work area. 

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