Instructables

A DIY type person without a workbench is like a chipmunk without pouch cheeks. It just doesn't work and can have fatal results (can't collect the nuts eventually starving in the winter). The simple solution is to get a workbench, but to have workbench in an apartment posses some challenges.

1. There is no space. All space in an apartment is valuable real-estate, i.e. sacred and should not be soiled.
2. Workbenches tend to be unsightly and may have odours from time to time. Thus it will have to be beautiful and capable of combating anything but rose smells. All in all visitors should not be able to know it is a workbench (it's a secret).
3. Noise. Time hammering to the beat of some loud music or action movie. The neighbours will never know.

My solution was a cedar workbench with modular parts that act as storage and expandable work surface.

 
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Step 1: Plan

Picture of Plan

My plan.
To be honest I did not have much of a plan, except for a high detail chalkboard image that I spent too much time on.

Material
I did know I wanted to use cedar lumber because:
- it has a nice smell that may mask some of the odours that may come up from time to time.
- the look of finished or unfinished cedar is just beautiful (I have no intention of putting a finish on a work bench; that would be a waste of time and effort).
- While there are probably better choices on the strength front, the cedar should be reasonably durable for what I intend on using it for.
- Cedar is readily available, although unfortunately more pricey.

guardrail3 months ago
looks pretty cool. I plan on giving this a go. I'm going to put in my model train room as the layout takes up most of the space but I need something I can move around to work on pieces at different locations. very awesome
dackermans84 made it!6 months ago

I made it !

Had a few wood panels and some pallet wood laying around.

Put some wheels under it, and voila, a nice place for my tools! etc.

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Eh Lie Us!6 months ago

Man, o-man! Great stuff. Adding to my Favorites.

Katzsta6 months ago

Beautiful and functional. This would also work great in a small kitchen as a prep table, storing pans, pots, supplies, etc. in the rollouts. One suggestion to make it even less expensive (cheaper in a monetary way) is to get cedar fence boards. The used ones you may want to plane to bring the bright cedar color back. And you may need to have two layers on the top. Then just glued, clamp, nail, whatever to keep them together. Measurements for the rollouts might also have to be adjusted if you only used them single ply.

MercuryCrest6 months ago

Excellent project and Instructable. Love the tongue-in-cheek commentary.

Duly voted for.

alcurb6 months ago

Brilliant. I live in a small apartment and I want to set up a workbench in the bedroom, but I was vexed as how to get it to look pretty for my companion's decorative sense. This is a great solution, but I have a lot of tools and electronic parts that I have in a stack of bins that are difficult for me to access. Problem is I have nowhere else to put those things.

@Blair0, any suggestions? I think you might have run into a similar challenge.

Blair0 (author)  alcurb6 months ago

Extra storage --> I would hang some tool on the wall and then put a picture frame around it. If there is a frame around it, it is called art (that also just happens to be useful).

DennisTheBald6 months ago

very nice

Excellent work... had similar issues when living in downtown Amsterdam with zero room and nosey neighbours on three sides.

Might suggest hinges on the pull-out cabinets with a cheap pneumatic strut to hold the tops open. You can buy them from Ikea, the kitchen section of any DIY shop or eBay.

Also, if you glue hardboard on top of foam padding (the kind used on the floor of aerobics classes), you can hammer all day on it with little or no sound.

Thanks, Jim

Tex Arcana6 months ago
great Instructable!! voted on both contests! Suggestions: 1) home improvement stores sell thick rubber pads to put under the legs of a clothes washer, to absorb vibration and prevent "walking": these can be used under your bench and the casters of the modular sections to absorb vibration and noise, preventing eviction. 2) forget MDF, it'll disintegrate into oatmeal under mild usage or fluid spills. instead, get hardboard and fasten it to your top, it's more durable and dent-resistant, more fluid-resistant, cheaper, and easier to handle (lighter). 3) future mod: pegboard in the modules and at the back under the top.
chuckyd6 months ago

That's a pretty clever solution, and well worked out. My only concern is that the modular units may rack as they are pushed around. A little bracing in the horizontal direction would help.

srilyk6 months ago

This instructable is so full of win! Awesome!

You may want to consider keeping a chunk of MDF around if you're doing any/much hammering: it has the handy property of being extremely durable (and easy to replace) against strikes. It would help protect your cedar against such violence.

mvillalpando6 months ago

COOL!!! Thank you for the Instructable! I am so doing this!

marhar6 months ago

Brilliantly done, and nice looking too! I like how the modular pieces just roll out. I was expecting a much more difficult build where they would swivel out on pins, etc. I'm going to try a magnetic tool holder.

bonymorales6 months ago

Congratulations!, you have a excellent idea for a workbench for small places.

marcioat6 months ago

Great job. Can you put a video showing the modules, the magnetic lid opening and other things? I'm very curious to see it more that pictures.

Anyway, congratulations.

awesome
clockworkfish6 months ago

So many props for this! First off awesome use of hand tools, and secondly awesome design! How well does the magnetic tool holder work? Any slippage or drops?

Anyway great work!

Blair0 (author)  clockworkfish6 months ago

With the bit of hammering I have done on it, the magnets hold well for small-med size tools. Heavy tools will probably fall with some good banging. I added a picture that shows the magnet holding the tools when the lid is opened. Everything stays in place as long as there is room for the tools to freely hang. If you do something like that, don't skimp on the magnet size.

kc8hps6 months ago
Being a nerd trapped in an urban apartment this might work well for me.
Akdil6 months ago

Nicely done but I'm not sure it will stay long as tidy :)
I'm still working on the plan for my apartment workbench but I had not thought to add modular work section. Maybe I'll add them, thanks for the idea.
You could add an handle to be easier to pull out the modular section.