Large Scale Central

Workbench makeover

My main modeling workbench is a desk which I hauled out of a gov’t supply depot dumpster, some 30 years ago. It’s built like an Abrams tank. Unfortunately, it’s also the desk I use for my work-at-home job… and sometimes things get, er, seriously messy, between hobby and work needs.

Anyway, a couple weekends ago, Bruce C. gave me one of those Akro Mills drawer units. I already had one, but hadn’t “populated” it much. It, and lots of cob job “organizers” were all over my desk, to keep tools roughly at hand, but out of the way.

I’ve been using small shotgun shell boxes and square fruit containers from the grocery store to org my crap. But in recent weeks I’ve needed to sometimes use two computers, or a second monitor, and the lack of free desk space has started to drive me nuts.

Back to Bruce’s drawer unit. I heard a recent podcast on how an unexpected condition can jolt one into a new mode of thought. And this Akro Mills unit was that jolt for me. Last week I cleared my desk, put the two AM drawer units on it, and tried to picture a storage whatever to handle all the rest of the stuff that wouldn’t fit, yet needed to be at hand. I had 20 inches to work with, and spent 10" on a design matching the height and depth of the AM units. This is a “dry run” at seeing how the new rack would work.

I’d done it up in CAD and lasered the parts out of scrap from a project last year.

The more difficult rack had to hold my WIHA drivers… Ain’t cheap, so can you blame me?? I’d made a holder for those a couple years ago, and basically designed the second 10 inch rack around those design features. And today I made / adjusted the shelves over the whole thing.

Not everyone’s cup of tea, but this bench makeover will make my life a lot more pleasant switching between hobby & work activities.


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My dedicated workbench seems to get a makeover every couple of years. It’s slowly improving the work flow. Every project for the workbench/workshop seems like a waste of modeling time until I’m done and it changes the whole process of thinking. I’ve got a massive collection of paint that desperately needs version 2.0. Version 1.0 is working okay for non intense painting but I can already see the failure points.

Nice solution Cliff, those storage drawers are just the ticket.

Actually I’m in awe that you can fit work and trains in that space! Hats off to you sir!

For better or worse I have about 3x that bench space in the garage and it is totally overrun with crap. High quality crap, mind you… :grin: And that doesn’t take into account the mobile workbench I use for building outside. Here’s an unexploded view of it at the end of a day.

Are you getting an upgrade in the new shop?



Looking good. I really need to do a giant clean in my workshop, it’s a huge mess. Too many unfinished projects, etc.

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Great job! Mine still needs “a little bit” of organizing. Despite that, I think I have figured out how to mount Kadees on the Roundhouse Darjeeling Beyer-Garrett.

Best, David Meashey

I am constantly at war with my bench. MIA tools that are right in front of me under another tool.
There are prolly more screws, washers, and other tiny parts on the floor than I have in the parts bins.
It’s amazing that you can drop a screw on the floor right at your feet and never find it again!
I have at least 2 or more of the same small tools because of losing one somewhere in the shop.
My work area is just big enough for the project I’m working on because of the clutter.
Fun, ain’t it! :laughing: :grinning_face_with_smiling_eyes:

My paints aren’t nearly as accessible as I’d like Craig, so I’ll look forward to your v2.0!

Thanks Niel, and I love your mobile workbench, hahaa!! But you know, I’ll bet there would be a market for a four-wheel cart, that had an upper work surface… perhaps on a hinge… so you could stow your tools quickly in the event of rain or beer time, and yet easily present a flat place to work on through the day.

I’m sure my garage workbenches resemble what you said… Things are piling up there until I get the shed finished… and its work benches. For now I’m keeping the shed as empty as possible for the coming ceiling paneling, filling / sanding, trim install, and staining work. It’ll be a dusty mess for awhile.


The current version is just scrap something stair stacked. I have way too many paints for the limited space. And it’s up on a high shelf ( which considering the age of my boys and their desire to get into stuff it’s probably a good thing).

i made a mobile storage rack.
two wheels, two simple feet.
(so i have all the stuff, where i need it for backgrounds or landscaping)
the packages from sweets serve as one way palettes.

That just creates a problem with what to do with all the sweets though, doesn’t it Korm? :yum::drooling_face:

NOPE. no problem, whatsoever… :cake: :pie: :cookie: :doughnut: = :yum:

Since there is a lot of work out of doors, and tools are always needed on location a mobile work bench and tool storage is rather handy.
I have a strong 4 wheeled cart with an upper shelf, that we use all the time.
The upper shelf has a vice mounted on it, and a large tray taking up half the flat space to hold small tools. The bottom shelf holds two large tote boxes which are used to store the large C clamps, drills, skill saw and other bulky tools; the other contains all the small boxes of screws/nails/drill bits, etc.
It is easily pulled to job locations by hand, or by the lawn tractor.
I gave up on using a wheel barrow, soon after it got accidentally dumped !!
One day I’ll get someone to photograph the tractor and cart, after they finally get lettered as IPP&W RR, maintenance of way equipment !!


I’m sure I’m not the only one who’d like to see that, Fred!

Me too. Happy not to wait for the lettering Fred.

I haven’t tipped the wheelbarrow yet, but I’m pretty tired of the small tools always being buried at the bottom.


I’m agreeing with Neil, Fred. A preliminary quick pic or two of your cart, sans lettering, would be great to see in the here and now… :grinning_face_with_smiling_eyes: