Workbench in the Garage

  Now that we have a place to put some machines, we need space to work on them. So I need a workbench. Ever since building a little woodworking workbench, I have been amazingly impressed with its stoutness and flexibility. Consequently, I'm building one of the same design for the garage.

  Blank Wall for Workbench This is where the workbench will go. We left room in the garage for the bench (seven feet). Then I decided we needed a man-door (girls use it too). That takes room away from the bench. So I have it outlined here. Not the seasonal decorations. I worked on this during the Christmas 2008 break. Also note, the intercom and ethernet wiring is not complete yet.

  As is today. As you will see in the story that comes below, that I needed more bench, more flexibility, and a challenge. That's why this center section breaks away from the rest of the bench..

  It took me about one and one half days to get to this point. I couldn't figure whether to put just a header board, or legs and then the header against the legs, other way around, etc., etc. After all my contemplating (along with precutting all the legs only to realize the floor sloped), I decided on built-up 2x4's on the wall on 32" centers. 32" times three spans gives 96 inches for a good eight foot bench. See the cut outs for the baseboard. They were dado'ed.

  Once the legs were up, the rest went fast - the beauty of working with 2x4s and in a garage. This is the ladder frame for the bottom shelf. I screwed everything, only using the hammer to encourage tight boards to line up.

  Using the rest of the bays for the work area. No ethernet or intercom is in yet so I have to use a stupid radio in the back corner. Ethernet and equipment rack will go in the corner above the window next to the door. You can see I finished my first garage-based tire exchange on the Miata.

  OK - the bones are mostly in. The form is finished. Now I only need to put the cross braces in and the top. Note the 2x6 back legs on the ends against the wall. I used these because the studs were not on exact 16"/32" centers. It was about here that I figured this bench would be handy if I could pull it out from the wall. But alas, it was all screwed in.

  The next day and nearing completion of the base unit.

  The base eight foot bench is complete. I use two 3/4" pieces of plywood as the base and then cover it with a 1/4 hardboard plywood. This makes for a hard, smooth, and replaceable surface. The two hunks of plywood make it very solid and stable as well. Now I'm figuring out how to make a bridge unit that goes between the main bench and one to the left.

  This bridge unit and any unit that ends up on the other side will be portable. I will also build some rough drawers in the main unit in the first and last sections under the work surface. Then, in the middle, I'll have two slide out panels that I can attach little canisters or maybe pegboard.

  Here both units so far are fundamentally complete. I have not surfaced the tops with the hardboard. Nor have I built the slide panels or drawers. I'm trying to figure the best way to continue the bench to the left. If I do, I'll have to make room for the stand-up tool box, welders, and other stuff. Plus the roof slopes down because of the stairs.

  See? Here you can see the portable section slid away from the main section. Its handy that it is exactly a 3 1/2" drop - lets the miter saw handle long pieces. However, I'm not planning to wood work here. Though its nice to know I can do it.

  This is the close-up of the bench mating area. The stringers from the portable piece span into the legs of the main bench. This lets me screw the portable pieces to the legs of the main piece to make a nice solid, permanent unit that can be dismantled should the space be needed or if I need a portable bench.

  I saw a picture in a magazine where I guy put rolling drawers under his bench. I planned to do this from day one, which is why I put the top of the shelf pretty high. Here are the rolling drawers all installed under the bench shelf. They are all on 1 1/4" casters. The misalignment right-to-left is because the floor slops left to right and as a simple craftsboy, I don't know to figure out how to match the drawers to the slope.

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