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New & Improved Shop
I'd been using a set of utility benches (link) for 14 years
me extremely well, but the time had finally come to improve upon their
storage and efficiency. Here's a composite picture (since
it's a made of several separate pics that have been pieced
together it's a bit skewed):
I wanted to accomplish/incorporate a number of things
with these benches:
I'm thrilled with the way these turned out. They're
everything I hoped and planned for, and since I re-used a lot of
material and incorporated a bunch of other leftovers I had on hand they
were fairly low cost.
- Reuse as much of the material from my old benches as
possible. I was able to keep just about everything
out of the landfill in the end - using the melamine for the top and
bottom surfaces and using the 2x4's for other utility construction
- Maximize the space available. These go from
a non-movable pole on the left to the far wall of the house on the
right. Every inch available has been used.
- Maximize the storage available within the benches.
So I packed almost every cubic inch with drawers on full
extension slides. I can't believe how much stuff I have
stuffed in this bench, and to my amazement I ended up with
leftover drawer space that's unoccupied (for now). I even
have storage boxes built into the toe-kick spaces.
- Incorporate my toolboxes to free up the floorspace
they were occupying for other things. I sized the right side
bench around the toolbox base cabinets. They fit nicely down
there, and the shallower cabinet (that was the side unit on the base)
makes a nice recess for my legs while sitting on the stool working on
the PC above it.
- Incorporate my miter saw and keep the benchtops level
and coplanar with the saw table. My old bench was never
leveled perfectly, but for these benches I borrowed an auto-leveling
laser that shot a beam all around the room. I shimmed the
bottom of the new benches such that the tops were all nicely level (side
to side and front to back) with the laser beam.
- Use a surface material that is more durable than the
melamine I used previously but keep it light. So I used white
formica that I glued over the old melamine (after sanding the
old melamine top surface).
Here are a few more pics that have not been distorted by the
compositing feature I mentioned in the picture above:
I had planned to cover the drawerfronts on the left
side cabinet in my original plans. But once I got everything
assembled I liked having a visual look at the contents of each of the
drawers. So I decided to live with the bench like this for a
while to see if I wanted to cover the drawerfronts or not after some
use. I'm a bit concerned about sawdust getting into the drawers,
but that may end up being a minor issue compared with the benefits of
having them open and visible. Time will tell....
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