A Basement Workbench
One day in February of 2007, Lis and I were pondering what to do with the weird room in our basement. It quickly became evident that having a designated workroom in the house would be useful, and that the strange shape of the room in question would work perfectly for our needs. So, after practicing by building a smaller bench for the garage
, I got to work.
Once again I spent too much time with Sketchup drawing pictures of what I wanted. In this case the plans actually turned out to be pretty useful, as there were several more sizes of wood and pieces in general to keep track of.
As I began laying out the wood for the project, I realized I hadn't taken any pictures recently. Here's what the room looked like as I started: a crowded, kind of funny-shaped room basically only usable as storage. In fact, that's even what the people who lived here before us were using it for.
Here's the view in the other direction. See that weird little wall jutting out in the middle of the picture? That is there because there was a floor support that some drywallers at some point in the past decided needed covering. Why not just build an extra wall to cover it up? That little wall was also most of the inspiration behind building the giant workbench in the first place.
Much like with the garage workbench, I started the basement workbench at the bottom and worked my way up. This will eventually become the bottom shelf.
Here you can see how the bench makes use of that weird little wall both as a support and as an endpiece. The trashcan didn't move between this shot and the last, so it should give somewhat of an idea of how long this section is.
I once again used the ol' clamp trick to hold the next part of the frame in place while I made it level and straight. I once again used the already-existing studs in the wall to hold up the back part, a decision that somebody in the future will probably hate me for making.
Here's a view of the top frame clamped in place in the other direction. This view shows how nicely the bench fits up against that extra wall. Sophie was my building inspector for the job, and here she is seen examining my footings.
When the frame was all done, it was time to put down the shelf. I used the same sanded pine plywood I had used for the outside workbench again here. It sure is nice stuff for this purpose.
In this case I decided to use MDF for the top layer (with a sheet of quarter-inch plywood beneath for support). It makes a very smooth and slightly "soft" surface for working on. It is also very
heavy, at least compared to the simple plywood I had been working with up until this point.
When the north end of the bench was done it was time to make use of it to build the west wing. As can be seen in the plans at the top of the page, this side is somewhat shorter but a full foot wider than the first side.
Once again I worked my way up from the bottom. By this time I had mastered the art of building a simple workbench, so it all went pretty quickly.
This end too got a sheet of MDF on top. Here's the almost-complete product before it was covered with the stuff that had been sitting on the floor in all of the previous pictures.
Finally, the finished product. This shot shows off such features as my old dorm couch, the fine plywood backboard, a great network cabling job, and crooked pictures. If you build your own workbench from these plans, don't forget those details.
This is a final look back at that weird wall. This is also the cleanest the workbench will ever again be.
As a parting shot, we see a view of the room with its mood lighting on. Perfect for those late-night NeXT hacking sessions!