Today marks the end of my three-part series on building my new basement workbench, and by extension significantly beefing up my workshop. In Part I, we heard from my dad about how he designed this awesome modular bench to fit my needs and space. In Part II, I described the straightforward assembly process that left me with this awesome thing:
I also previewed some additional work I’ve been doing on the workbench and in the space, which is the topic of today’s post.
Building the workbench in this corner of the basement was the first step in moving my workshop. For the first year we lived in the house, I was using the opposite corner as a pretty cramped workspace:
Meanwhile, this other corner of the basement was way underutilized:
I knew that knocking down those hanging shelves and locating the workbench there could create the anchor point for a much more spacious workshop. I still have some work to do to get there, but here’s how things are looking right now!
I’m pretty pleased. But let’s rewind. Last you saw it, this corner of the basement was looking like this:
My next step was to stain the benchtop, shelves, and pegboard frame — I didn’t mind the raw plywood look, but against the sickly yellow basement walls I knew I needed to do something to make the bench stand out a little. I had some minwax espresso finish on hand from past projects (most recently the coffee table), so one evening I used a rag to give all these surfaces a thin coating of stain (and then wiped up the excess). I left the legs their natural raw color, since I really liked the two-tone look.
Next I painted the pegboard white. I thought about doing something more colorful, but I knew that it was already look pretty busy once I got all my tools mounted and I also didn’t want to create anything too cutesy for the space. My normal go-to bright and happy colors (turquoise, coral, yellow) felt like maybe they’d be a little too “precious” for a workshop — so I stuck with white. I used a roller for most of the pegboard and a brush to cut in around the frame, and it took me two coats.
Lastly, to give the bench a little extra durability (the point is to work on this thing, after all) I applied a coat of minwax water-based poly, which I also had leftover from previous projects.
With that, the bench was officially complete! I had lots of fun moving my tools over — I put my bigger power tools on the bottom shelf, and my smaller handhelds on pegboards hooks. On the shelf along the top I put items like containers of screws and woodworking books. Eventually I might build some more containers to mount directly on the pegboard, but for now I figured I would get a feel for how I’m using it first. I have lots of room to expand — right now most of my tools fit on just 1/2 of the pegboard.
Next up, I knew I wanted to have shelving on either side of the workbench to store outdoor supplies, paint, etc. My dad and I talked about building shelves, but ultimately he suggested I consider buying some affordable shelves from a home improvement store just to allow me to do it faster and not add another project to my very long to-do list. So that’s just what I did.
I bought two of these from Home Depot, each for $60. I have grand plans for huge homemade wood shelves along the wall where my workshop used to be to accommodate storage bins, but it was nice to just get these shelves dealt with quickly (and I did keep an eye on craigslist for a number of weeks before buying something new, but wasn’t seeing anything that much cheaper with the right dimensions).
Before I could assemble them and put them in place, I still had some space to clean up. Though my dad and I had bashed down the majority of the shelving hanging from the rafters along this wall, we left a small portion where it was pretty tightly wedged in around the plumbing.
Plus there was that pile of junk, which we’d had for months. We have some good junk removers in the area who we’ve used once before to haul away a bunch of stuff our seller left behind plus The Toilet (remember the toilet fiasco?!?), but they have a $110 minimum which is their fee for taking about as much junk as teh size of a refrigerator — so I had been storing things up to hit that critical mass before calling them. With all the debris created by tearing down the wall shelves, I knew we were close to hitting that mark, so I hauled the box of junk outside to join the shelving debris we’d already cleared out.
The final step was to knock down the final few shelves — everything circled in red in the photo below was part of a terrible hanging shelf made of lots of different wood, nails, and a lot of glue. It looks so piecemeal that you’d think I could have just ripped it down with my bare hands, but it actually required a lot of brute strength (which I have aplenty) and a hammer.
Finally, I got it all removed. Ahh, so much better!
I also had a few pieces to bash down on the other side of the workbench.
I hauled all the debris outside and added it to our “world’s best neighbors” pile:
With that done, I could assemble the two wire shelves (which was pretty straightforward) and move them into place. Here’s the one on the right:
Then came the fun part: loading them up! The one on the right holds all my indoor home improvement stuff — paint, painting supplies, etc.
The one on the left has our outdoor equipment — weed trimmer, outdoor extension cords, drip hoses, shovels, more shovels, other tools for dealing with the hellish winter, etc.
I’m pretty pleased with it!
Of course, the work is never done. I definitely need to add some overhead lighting, even though that will further accentuate the really nice unfinished ceiling.
I also need to relocate the pile of furniture that’s still lurking opposite the new workbench (most of it from that time Naomi and I pillaged a local school):
I plan to put that in the corner of the basement where my workshop used to be, and then move my table saw over to join the rest of my tools. But first we have to deal with the old workbench, which like the hanging shelves is a shoddily-built monstrosity. (Just picture it totally empty right now, since I moved all my stuff to the new workbench but then didn’t snap a photo before loading it up temporarily with some supplies that we’re storing while we tackle Sam’s study — more on that coming soon!)
Rather than junking it, though, we plan to move it outside to use as a potting bench, so I’m just trying to enlist Sam’s help with that before I can move the furniture.
But it’s progress, right? Right! In conclusion: THANK YOU DAD!!!!