A Place to Work

About ten days ago, we moved in to our new (to us) house, complete with an entirely unfinished basement.  In the past ten days, we managed to set up our furniture, unpack about a third of the boxes, sort out the kitchen, and get our clothes out of boxes and into dressers and closets.  There is very little order to any of this, but at least we’re getting to the point that when we look for something, there’s a decent chance that we won’t have to open a box to find it.  We can function from day-to-day.

Now that the living spaces (and my office) are more-or-less set up, I can start writing again.    As of yesterday, I was able to unpack my tools, and now I have something relevant to write about.  On Saturday morning, I took a trip to the local big-box DIY store and bought an armful of 2x4s, some wood screws, and a sheet of MDF.  Working from an idea I found online, I set about cutting and screwing together the various bits to create a place to work on trains.

It’s not finished, but I’ve managed to build the basic frame for my new workbench.  The work surface is 30″ x 72″ and it stands about 6″ above my wrist, which I’m lead to believe is the optimal height for doing fine assembly work.  I’ve experimented with a number of different pieces of household furniture over the past year, and I’ve confirmed that I like working at this height.  One of the benefits is that I can alternate between sitting on a stool and standing, which seems to work well for my back.  Here’s what it looks like so far…

IMG_2633Later this week, I’m hoping to finish it off.  The work surface only has about half of the necessary screws holding it down, so I plan to finish that tomorrow night.  I’ve also purchased enough wood to build an overhead shelf that will support a light fixture that stays attached to the workbench.  There is very little lighting in my basement, and with the light fixture attached to the bench, I’ll be free to move it around the room and the lighting will move with it.  The frame holding up the light fixture will be robust enough to serve as a shelf.

You can expect to read more about my work space over the coming week.


4 thoughts on “A Place to Work

  1. Congratulations on the new house. I really like that work bench and also the tip regarding the bench height. I may try modelling that work surface height here just to see how well it would work for me. In our small house I may forever by a dining room table modeller but I am curious about bench heights as a subject.




    • Thanks Chris. I’ve worked at my dining room table, which is nearly the same height as this bench, and my garage workbench at my previous house was a bit lower than this. I’ve also worked at my computer desk. The computer desk was the worst on my back. The dining room table was a good height when I was standing, but the chairs were too high. The garage workbench was at the most comfortable height, I had to stand a few inches too far back from the edge of the work surface because there were shelves and framework that came out as far as the front edge of the work surface. I’m hoping that I’ve resolved all of these issues with this new bench, but I’ll report back on that after I’ve actually used it for a while.

  2. Well, I’m embarrassed to have to say I moved into my house a year and a half ago and still haven’t built a proper workbench. There is a bench down in the generously sized utility room which (supposedly) serves as my workshop which has crap on it which has been there since shortly after we moved in, and a folding table which has also been swallowed under a pile of projects unearthed after the move that exploded out of their boxes and are unable to find their way either to completion or back into the boxes from whence they came. Steve from the club donated a set of steel legs for a rugged work table, but they also languish beside the furnace. I gotta stop spending so much time on-line and get things happening down there…

    In any case, congrats on your immediate and positive progress.


    • Thanks Jurgen. I had the MDF cut at Home Depot, and I chopped up the 2x4s on my own. In addition to the time I spent planning this bench and shopping for the supplies, I’ve probably invested about three hours of time.

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