This is the third article in a series about reorganizing my benchroom (my shop is divided into two sides; my machinery resides in the other half). You can read the first article HERE and the second article HERE.
The workbench resided against the left wall of the shop for as long as I could remember. Last time I reorganized the benchroom, I decided to move the bench away from the wall to the center of the room. Why? Perhaps it was an experiment. Perhaps I felt that it offered more room to work. Whatever the reason, I remember moving the behemoth of a workbench into the center of my shop; I used spreader clamps to lift the bench, then slipped steel pipes as rollers under the bench. (We used a similar method to move the two massive order stations at Lee Valley Tools Coquitlam as well).
When I laid down the anti-fatigue mats, I had to move the bench up against the left wall. That made me realize how much open space had been freed up so I decided to leave the bench against the wall. The bench was narrow enough that it did not affect my access to the tools and cabinets on the wall behind it.
I recognized that much of my precious floorspace was being consumed by materials – slabs, boards, shorts and plywood scraps. I decided to get as much of the small stuff as possible into overhead compartments. I moved all my wood under 30″ into an overhead rack I had built using materials from an old bed frame.
I realized that because my benchroom was 11′-6″ x 19′, I could make it seem more open by moving as many permanent fixtures to the ends of the shop. The short cabinet that once held short scraps was moved to the end wall next to the tall cabinet. Then, the slabs and big boards that were along the long wall were moved next to the cabinet.
In one corner directly across from my sharpening station, I laid a wrought iron table base on its side and used it to organize my tall, skinny pieces of wood.
By moving the workbench against the wall and moving everything else against the end walls, I created a lot of open space (it sure is nice).
In the process of cleaning the shop, I rediscovered this oddity – a 5′ combination square.
The reorganization is complete and I’m happy with the changes. I am now thinking about building myself a new bench, or at least a new bench top in the (hopefully near) future.
In the fourth article, I give the grand tour of the reorganized shop!