Garage Conversion Part 6: Workbench

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Finally I had the stud wall up, and an official workshop! It became apparent very quickly that the next thing I needed to do was build a workbench, as my tools were everywhere and I couldn’t find anything. I wanted something that could store my big powertools, smaller tools and fixtures/screws/nails etc. I also wanted it to be portable. It’s a small workshop and I’d be moving arcade cabs in and out quite a lot to work on them, so something on castors seemed a good idea. As usual, I loaded up Sketchup and designed something after getting some inspiration online. What I ended up with had a bottom shelf for big tools (would get my router, circular saw and mitre saw on there), a middle shelf for smaller tools and fixtures/screws etc, and a large deep worktop so I would have plenty of working space…

workbench sketchup plan


The frame was built with some 38x89mm CLS studwork timber (I had quite a bit left over from the stud wall), the shelves were 12mm plywood and the top was a 38mm thick laminated oak block effect chipboard kitchen worktop that I ordered online (and got them to cut it to size). With the worktop, I allowed some overhang at the back to give room for the plug sockets on the wall, and a small amount of overhang at the front for if I needed to mount a vice.

The first step was making each of the 4 upright corner legs. I needed to cut away some notches for the front and back beams. I clamped all 4 legs together and used my circular saw to cut these all at once, then tidied them up with my router. That was the tricky bit. Cutting the pieces for the rest of the frame was easy and soon I was ready to start assembling…

workbench pieces cut and ready


Clamping, gluing and screwing was in order as I put together the front part of the frame…

workbench frame side 1


Then the same for the back of the frame… slowly coming together…

workbench frame side 2


I got some massive heavy duty swivel castors from Bunnings – 2 with a brake, 2 without…

workbench castor


With the castors on, the floor of the frame was soon put together….

workbench base


And then very soon after that, the top of the frame was assembled. To make sure the whole thing wasn’t wonky, I used a ratchet strap to pull it nicely square before I put the diagonal braces in. The ratchet strap worked a treat and the frame ended up very rigid and pretty much spot on…

workbench top


After putting the brace on the middle shelf, I cut the plywood to size and put the two shelves on. Then I moved the workbench into position to ensure it fit. I love it when a plan comes together…

workbench test fit


The final question was would all my tools fit on it! Sketchup said there would be space and Sketchup turned out to be correct as usual. 🙂

do the tools fit in the workbench


Hmm… looks like I’ve still got a lot of tools to find a place for. More on that later. The worktop arrived and was already pre-cut to the perfect size, so it was a doddle to fit. I used some small brackets underneath on the inside of the frame. It’s nice and secure and isn’t going anywhere…

workbench worktop


Hindsight is a wonderful thing. Soon after this was built, I invested in a shop vac, and a compressor. I really wanted to fit these somewhere, but they were both too tall. The solution was to cut a bigger space for them…

workbench amendment plan


Quite happy how that turned out…

workbench amendment done


Next up, some finishing touches to the workshop. See you in Part 7.

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