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.
Step 1: 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.
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.
Step 2: The Table
The main part of this workbench is the table. The frame of which was built out of square cedar posts and thick boards.
Since I was making the workbench, I had the problem of no workbench to work on. So I made a saw horse using two items of the same height such as bar stools, which just happen to be at the right height. I found that the sawing action of my high strength man power saw would transfer too much vibration to the ground, making a loud noise that may prematurely end my project via an eviction. A quick solution was to put tea towels between the lumber and "saw horse" to absorb most of the vibrations.
Assembling the pieces as given in the pictures.
- Left side assembly,
- Right side assembly.
- Boards across the top to to make the main working surface. Top boards should allow for an overhang, so camps can be used on future projects.
- Screw everything together. Used at least two screws at each connection/joint to ensure some sort of strength.
- Beers on hand
- ** a cross bar along the back is not shown... you should see it in later pictures.
Step 3: Modular Sections
The modular workbench sections were built out of smaller pieces of cedar to help save on costs.
- At this point in time I forgot to take intermediate pictures, so all I have to show are the final views. There should be enough in these pictures to depict how it was put together with some legitimate guessing.
More bells and whistles:
- Modular section is on caster wheels so the sections can be mobile. Chose what I hope are non-marking wheels.
- some random screws jutting out act as fancy tool hangers
- left over lumber makes a shelf.
- Modular work surface is not attached, but is more of a lid so that I can see and find the stored items easily.
- Jars lids screwed to bottom of modular working surface to act as some sort of compartmentalized storage (mostly screws/nails)
- Magnetic tool hanger. Made of a flat metal bar screwed to the wood. Bar magnets lined up in a row on the metal bar. Tool were hung by the tips (except the heavy ones which hang on the ground). This system will probably cause your tools to become magnetized, which can be helpful.
Step 4: Done
- make sure the modular work sections fit under main work table. Should have mentioned that earlier.
- put modular sections under the main work bench = Done
- The modular sections can be pulled out as required for quick easy access to tools/supplies.
- Additionally the modular section can be pulled out to make several fun arrangements to suit and extend your work area as required.
- A modular section(s) can be wheeled around your apartment to different rooms, like the your bedroom, so you can also have fun in bed.
- Put it all way so everything is out of sight when people come over.