Picture of A toolbox-bench for workshoplessness
Want to build a boat or some furniture in your apartment or in some other nonworkshoppish space? I suggest having a toolbox-workbench. It will hold your main tools inside and even outside (intrigued?), hold your workpiece on top or on the side, and you can sit on it and at the same time -- yes! -- reach for your tools beause of its clever side-door. Four feet of your body can also lay on it (I used it sometimes as a weightlifting bench, but not so often, because lonely exercise inside a room never quite worked for me).

It is a perfect stool-height for sitting on, as well. Many a morning passed when I sat on it sipping coffee, looking out my giant sliding glass doors toward the comely retaining wall that was three feet away. Similarly, evenings passed when the toolbox-bench held up my plate of spaghetti as I sat on the floor pretending to be again a cool dude (well, I was never very cool) college kid who eats on the floor with the world to conquer ahead of me.

Though my conquered world was owned until recently by a landlord, and so much of my world of free time orbited that toolbox-bench (which I will tell you about any time now), I set my mind toward what could be yet accomplished if only I rejected the common measures of success that Cursed Ideology and Cussed Convention curses us with so often. And thus I pondered the comforts of a liberal education as I recalled what Hamlet said: "...I could be bounded in a nutshell and count myself a king of infinite space..." but I digress.

Though some will say, "Oh it's just a box, while waste the space of the kindly Instructables people?" I hope to gently prove otherwise.

PS: If someday you get a workshop, you can still keep the box. There is no physical law against the idea. I now have a basement shop and continue to find uses for my box, as I shall prove right now: the photo below shows the toolbox-bench in use even as I write this; it holds wood being edge-planed for my new ama for my second-generation outrigger sailing canoe; the toolbox bench is highly adaptable and functions well in either dire straits or spacious luxury.

PS 2: NOTE the stool to the right (or your bottom right if you are not holding your head sideways). It started as an anchor box with a padded seat-top for my cramped sailing canoe. I never used it much, and, inspired by the creative energy of Instructables, just this week I turned it into a fashionable padded stool. If I lose water pressure, I could put a pan inside it and use it as a chamber pot. More likely I would pee and poop outside, but I could offer it to squeamish guests who happen to be visiting when the world ends. Just a thought. I had two cups of coffee tonight, brewed with a dash of cinnamon, which, no doubt, people in California invented.

PS 3: Very very VERY observant readers saw another box in the back of the room and felt an echo as they did. Yes indeed, it has the same dimensions as the toolbox being considered now, but was built more plainly. It functioned as an extension in case I worked on very long wood (such as a mast). But most often it simply held my larger tools (grinder, small drill press, and small bandsaw, on top, and belt sander, electric drill, and jigsaw in the compartments).
lgamer3 years ago
Seriously, as the pseudo (don't ask) only-child of a mechanic, I would date a guy who told me about his box. This is cool along the lines of Martha Stewart (whom I love, but in a different way) cool. The holes for clamps, the wheels, the vice, it's all so wonderful I could shed tears...
Wade Tarzia (author)  lgamer3 years ago
Thanks. Sure thing, a box for Martha Stewart's more rugged twin sister :-) What is not to love about practical boxes? They are the Swiss Army Knives of furniture if you build them with features that adapt to you and your space.
chrisbaker6 years ago
Given to understatement, I can only say "nice box, nicer prose." Well done, Sir.
unjust8 years ago
very nice. how heavy does it end up when laden?
Wade Tarzia (author)  unjust8 years ago
I never weighed it, but it was easily towed around or lifted. 30 to 50 pounds? The heaviest things in it were the planes.
hmmm i suspect i own more metal ended whacking sticks than you.... i'm still pondering making one, a bit sized up to hold the power tool cases, although with weight as a concern i'm not certain it'll remain stair portable. i suppose bigger wheels and bottom skids would help... hmmm... in wonder if the anvil is as bad an idea as it seems.... (small 20lb one with a nice horn and clamp....)
Matt_Costa8 years ago
I must say this is an excellent instructable. Great idea for people like me who already have too much stuff in their living space.
Wade Tarzia (author)  Matt_Costa8 years ago
Thanks, although this box would count as 'additional stuff. ;-) At least if you made it a bit differently, add your own touches and build it high-quality, it could look like just another piece of unobtrusive furniture. Benches are low-profile and can be hardly noticed under the right conditions.
Legend8 years ago
Ironic how you made this instructable for people without workshops when the picture is clearly taken in your workshop! :-P
Wade Tarzia (author)  Legend8 years ago
Not as ironic as fortunate: when I built the box, I had no workshop, nor did Instructables exist. Later I had a workshop, and also Instructables came to be. The only photos I had of the tool box was the one you can see on the first page of my "sailboat-in-a-closet" instructable, which you will find acceptably workshopless ;-) .
drmorbius9 years ago
Excellent! Now I can have my workshop and keep the missus happy at the same time.. onyer mate!
trebuchet039 years ago
Thanks for posting this :D I too suffer from crampedspaceitus with the side effects of 10lbs of fun in a 5lb room :P If I do end up building (really considering), I think I am going to use bigger wheels and make this trailerable behind my bike :D
Wade Tarzia (author)  trebuchet039 years ago
Nice idea! How about two sets of wheels: small permanent ones for wheeling around the room, and detachable bike wheels for transport? Just pop off a cotter spring thingie and pull bike wheel axle through.
Wade Tarzia (author) 9 years ago
radiorental's name reminds me to add that you can design a toolbox-bench according to your lifestyle. I envision versions adapted for mechanical, metal or electronics work! I was thinking of a powercore version: box holds deep-cycle marine battery and required electronics; outside has outlets for various voltages; part of the top folds to reveal solar panel. Of course, leave enough room to sit on part of the top, and incorporate a draw for commonly used everfyday items. Live in a flat open area? A windturbine mast can tilt up (though rethink the sitting accomodations). Wheels and handle, as on the box discussed here, would permit wheeling around the room or yard to catch the best sun angle. MIT people can also design for you a motorized lateral third wheel timed to turn the box at the rate the sun passes through the sky. Some would say motorizing the solar panel is a better idea, but this sounds cool. --wt
radiorental9 years ago
this is a really awesome idea. I love it!