View Full Version : Workbench Space

Quetico Bob
06-29-2009, 05:27 PM
Is it just me or does there never seem to be enough workbench space? This weekend I managed to scrounge a couple av carts and some steel shelving. For the first time in a long while I can actually work on my benches as of today, just tickled pink... No more heap of stuff. Would be interesting to see what some of you do for work space and how you manage it. Apparently I canít help myself, more space more stuff.
Cheers, Bob





Quetico Bob
06-29-2009, 05:30 PM
My new layout table.:)
Cheers, Bob


uncle pete
06-29-2009, 05:44 PM
HA!!! In 2 months you'll fill up that space and be back to square one. You've been in my shop so you know how it works. There is a not well known law of physics that states a HSM type is not allowed to have empty space for very long, The second unknown law is that space in your wallet is very common.


06-29-2009, 06:03 PM
Okay, I have to ask...What's the story on the kiddie-sized mule??

The Fixer
06-29-2009, 06:07 PM
Pete, do you suppose those two laws could be relative.........
I built a 16' x 34" bench and it lasted about 3 months then turned into a heap. Interestingly enough though is that the heap seems to cycle itself as to what's on the top at any given time.
One thing for sure tho is you always know where that __tool/thing__ you need is!! I am just recalling a recent visit from my son (he always thanks me for building "his" dream shop) and him asking "where's your drill index?" "It's on the bench" "Oh I see it, where's your... oh never mind I see it too"! LOL!

06-29-2009, 06:18 PM
Sorry, workbench space does not compute.:(

Forrest Addy
06-29-2009, 06:35 PM
I could have a work bench the size of a basketball court and have it cluttered in a week. Stuff and flat surfaces: I tend to inflict one on the other without regard for order or netness.

Frank Ford
06-29-2009, 07:06 PM
Oh, yeah. My bench is usually so cluttered I look for another surface for a quick job. I came up with this "solution." I use these "Slim Jim" Rubbermaid wastebaskets in the shop, so I made some 18-gauge covers for 'em. Plop one on the top, and I have a bit of work space:


When not in use, the "top" hangs on the inside of the container:

It makes a handy dustpan, too.

Unlike any other horizontal surface in my shop, this one is temporary, so I simply can't keep it jammed up with stuff.

uncle pete
06-29-2009, 07:37 PM
Frank, I just got a new puppy/soon to be shop dog, Maybe I can teach him to eat the metal chips and convert it to "bar stock"

(For the few guy's here with no sense of humor I'm joking)


06-29-2009, 07:48 PM
I'm not going to show any pictures right now. Pete knows how it looks though. Suffice to say I like working on the floor after all those years with Xerox and never a workbench to use. I'm actually getting ahead a bit on the cleanup now that it's summer. I need room to work on winter projects.

John Stevenson
06-29-2009, 07:49 PM
My God, an SN50 with paint,
so that's what one looks like...............................

[edit] what's the bit on the left of the apron with the knob on it.
Not got that on mine.


Quetico Bob
06-29-2009, 08:11 PM
Had a recent phone call saying Iíd have better luck inventing time travel. Hmm, I donít give up that easy. I have assured myself, this time, it will remain in an orderly fashion. And with the help from Intel over several calls, it has to computeÖdoesnít it??!

Started building the six wheeler for my son a few years ago, my own design and scratch built. Electric power, fwd/reverse, clutches for drive wheels (soft or hard ground ie kitchen floor :eek: ) blinking lights, horn, rack and pinion steering , dump box, the whole she-bang.
Having a problem with one of the drive gears right know, pressed to shaft but under high load (tight turn on dry) it slips a bit. Mind you thatís with Uncle Rob sitting on the crazy thing taking it for a spin and thatís a sight. Think I need to weld.

Frank, great minds think alike. This ones full of swarf, so is the other one at the tail end of the lathe. Cripes, just emptied them at Christmas. Swear this crap reproduces.


John, here we call them a 38EE cup, and they do look good in orange. The thingy on the left is what oils it, six positions, once per shift. :rolleyes: Boy, you guys over there need to get out of the shop a little more often.:D

Cheers, Bob

John Stevenson
06-29-2009, 08:29 PM
?? No this thing in red.


06-29-2009, 08:48 PM
One can consider bench space to be a tool...a valuable tool..and the value is in how you use it.

So how much is it worth to you?

An empty bench is worth nothing...a full bench is worth what you have on it.

Sometimes my bench is clear and sometimes it is full...and the point is that its condition reflects the activity of my shop.

When your bench status doesn't change, you either have dead shop space being taken up by a big square object or a storage unit that is full.

But hey...it's your shop...your call.


Quetico Bob
06-29-2009, 08:55 PM
Thought you were talking about the poster on the wall. Where is my mind.

Itís carriage lube, six positions, front- V way, rear-front V way, back way, left dove slide, right dove slide and gear box. Once per shift recommended. Operating usual on gear box (0 position). Pump runs off the apron drive, not the lead screw.

Wanted to reply to many a way lube post, but how do you compete with the proper way lube???? This calls for hydraulic oil in the apron and as its sumped from it, guess itís the proper way lube. I use ESSO hydraul.

Cheers, Bob

06-29-2009, 09:38 PM
Nice shop! I too find it difficult to find bench space but that's because I don't put things away like I should. When I absolutely cannot put anything else on the bench top, I put everything back in its place. It is a vicious cycle.

06-29-2009, 09:54 PM
I have a small shop with far too much in it. I was ALWAYS running out of bench and storage space. Bench space was the most critical, and I figured out that one of the main reasons I ran out of space is the things I stored along the back of the bench. Not wanting to tear them apart to add more surface area, I pulled them away from the wall, then built double shelves along the back of them. Shelves are secured to the wall, and the top of the bench so they hold the bench perfectly well. Now I have the full width of the bench (minus 2 inches) for actual use, and shelves all along the back to hold the bench fillers.
Second step in the uncluttering plan was to build carts to fit under the benches, these are as tall as the clearance for the benches, and have shelves and trays built into them, and I can roll them out and anywhere in the shop I want to use them. each one has a specific purpose, one has all my car specific tools, oil, anti freeze, gear lube, battery charger, gauges etc, one holds my work tools, and so on for 6 carts. works great things are in one spot, and since the cart that holds them is mobile, things tend to get put away correctly.
Third step was to build shelves 2ft down from the cieling, and 2ft wide along the outer walls, they're high enough to clear machines, and large enough to hold a ton of junk I'd otherwise have to find floor or bench space for. That alone added 120 square feet of storage space. Plus I have plans for adding a few more cabinets. I had almost cleared the shop floor before having the shelves completely built.


06-29-2009, 09:55 PM
Absolutely, under no circumstances add any additional horizontal surfaces to your shop. They will only fill with stuff you didn't even know you had before you can even leave the room.

06-30-2009, 12:50 AM
OMG, do you realize how much work and expense you're creating for yourself?

Not only did you have to work at clearing the bench and organizing what you'd clear, but now you will have to invest in all new clutter to fill it back up again.

What were you thinking?



uncle pete
06-30-2009, 01:03 AM
Evan, As to your post about working on the floor, For a real smart guy your looking at it all wrong. Dig a pit in the middle of the floor, Stand in it then the whole floor becomes a bench. I may have to copywrite that idea.


Quetico Bob
06-30-2009, 07:50 AM
Oh, come on Evan, lets see the pictures. Couldnít be anymore cluttered than mine.

Cheers, Bob

John Stevenson
06-30-2009, 08:00 AM
I was going to post some pics but can't find where I put the camera...........................................


Your Old Dog
06-30-2009, 08:14 AM
I solved the clutter problem by putting in two work benches. One is always cluttered up to about 2 feet deep, the other is clean enough I can work on it. The one was originally meant for bench grinders and such but it didn't shake out that way! I have a large aluminum square pizza sheet for messy jobs, it's my portable bench on a trash can.

06-30-2009, 09:10 AM
My shop is about as small as one can get unless he is useless sherline in a closet. My solution is to organize everything related to a certain machine as close as possible to that machine. I also put away everything and clean the
shop at the end of each day even though a job might only be half completed.
I never have to worry about where I put the depth mic because it goes back in the drawer as soon as I'm finished with it. I also have a small work bench outside for nasty work. I disassemble engines and clean the parts outside, so that I limit the dirt in the shop. The engine is then put into labeled stackable plastic boxes instead of a head on the bench, gearbox on the floor, and the crankshaft laying in the headstock.

06-30-2009, 09:47 AM
Evan, if you have floor space to work on you have it made. My floor is more cluttered than by bench top. My 2009 new years resolution was to clean my shop up. I didn't anticipate that it would take all year. It is looking better and getting some attention. With triple digit temperatures the air conditioned shop is a good place to hide.

Dave Converse
06-30-2009, 12:10 PM
I read a post some years ago with a great solution to the clutter. The poster said he had his bench top hinged to the wall, with movable legs under the front. When to messy to work on, he removed the legs and let the clutter fall on the floor, replaced legs, and went to back to work :) .

Allan Waterfall
06-30-2009, 01:15 PM
For a temporary work surface I use a piece of 2"x2" screwed to a square of chipboard.Clamp the 2"x2" in vice.


Quetico Bob
06-30-2009, 02:34 PM
My solution is to organize everything related to a certain machine as close as possible to that machine. I also put away everything and clean the
shop at the end of each day even though a job might only be half completed.

I used to be very organized, until I got seriously into metal. Used to do a lot of wood and never had a problem with clutter. Seems the benches have turned into big ol magnets.

Same shop, but no mess. My son is right into steam engines, one in particular.:)

Cheers, Bob



06-30-2009, 03:54 PM
I have five workbenches and I can change them from clear to cluttered in one sitting.

06-30-2009, 09:26 PM
Even my vertical workbenches are cluttered. It's pathetic.

Paul Alciatore
07-01-2009, 03:25 AM
After reading this I got curious so I went out to the shop and looked under the piles. To my supreme surprise, I found work benches, two of them. Wow, I have benches! Thanks guys, I never would have even suspected they were there.

Bob, that's a super bed. I bet the young fellow really likes it.

Quetico Bob
07-01-2009, 09:30 AM
My God, an SN50 with paint,
so that's what one looks like...............................

Wasnít always that way.

John, do you know how this is supposed to be operated (red arrow)? Was told to cycle it once in a while but it was undetermined whether the machine should be running or not. I have been doing it off. No gots a manual.:confused:

Cheers, Bob



John Stevenson
07-02-2009, 06:44 PM
Not sure Bob.
I have a manual and I'll have a look, somewhere on the back is the clutch adjustment.

To be honest it's that long since I've been round the back on mine I'm not certain.