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Workbench essentials

Discussion in 'General EDC Discussion' started by BrendanH, Oct 17, 2017.

  1. BrendanH

    BrendanH Loaded Pockets

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    I'm planning on getting a workbench for the garage (shared underground parking garage) mainly as a place to store gas bottles, paint, other chemical type stuff outside the house but also to do some DIY type stuff. Tools will live in the house as it's not the most secure space but so far I'm thinking;

    Cheap light duty (180kg per shelf) workbench with1shelf, 1bench top (110cmx50cm) and a pegboard. I'm going to install a 800 lumen led down light Above the pegboard, a 4 plug power board on the side and a small vice (Stanley multi angle vice) on the bench top. Perhaps a metal lockable toolbox bolted to the bottom shelf to keep some stuff - tips appreciated here!

    Iv got a small toolkit of hand tools and a dremal type tool plus some bicycle specific tools, il be doing some work on mountain bikes but I'd like to have a focus on general preparedness too.

    I'm after tips on workbench essentials or tools to buy, what can't you live without for DIY or even :censored:?
     
  2. Westerdutch

    Westerdutch Loaded Pockets

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    Whatever you end up collecting make sure the bench top is strong and properly bolted down to everything you can muster. There's nothing more annoying than having everything on your bench jump up, sideways and on the floor every time you do anything with any kind of force. Bolting to the wall is about the minimum what you can do, strong one piece legs are a very good second step.

    Instead of one massive light over the bench i can recommend going for 3 or more lights instead and mount them in an arc so you have light coming from many directions. That way you'll never work in your own shadow. 20 watt led lights can be found for 5-10 bucks no problem nowadays and they are not that bad.
     
  3. thegrouch314

    thegrouch314 Loaded Pockets

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    I've got a light on a long arm so I can angle it anywhere, perfect for detail work when I'm bend over and my body casts a shadow. Mine's mounted to the ceiling but that's because my garage roof slopes and it's barely above head height for me.

    As Westerdutch said, bolt it down to everything. If you can drill into the floor, bolt the legs to the floor. You want to be able to really put some force on it and it not move.

    Make sure you have clamps big enough to clamp down work onto the bench, or clamp on scrap bits of wood to protect the surface if you're drilling
     
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  4. landwire
    • In Omnia Paratus

    landwire Loaded Pockets

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    +100000000000000000000000000000000000000 for both of these ideas. Seriously. Electronics is my thing and I can't begin to tell you how annoying it is when you are hunched over trying to solder something and the bench wobbles or moves around. Bolt that thing down.

    In addition to having multiple overhead light sources, get a light source that is mounted on a moving arm. That way you can bring more light up close to a project you are working on.

    As far as specific tools I can't live without? Well that is everything :frantic:
    A complete set of sockets with wrenches in matching size is a start. Torque wrenches is a must have item. They have longer ones for vehicles and shorter ones for smaller items. Automotive nitrile gloves is another. The automotive specific tend to be a little thicker. Any project where my hands can get dirty, I'm using gloves. I don't mind my hands getting dirty. I don't like having spend a long time cleaning ________ off my hands when I'm done.

    You mentioned that you will be working on a mountain bike. If you don't already have one, a floor stand to elevate it off the ground. If you have securely bolted the workbench down, use it along with a bar and a clamp to make your own mounting stand. It sucks working on bikes when they are on the ground.

    Any workbench where you plan on working with fluids of any kind, have some shop towels or paper towels readily available to clean up any spills.
     
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  5. Westerdutch

    Westerdutch Loaded Pockets

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    I have one of those loupe ring lights, old medical one on a pretty huge spring swivel arm. Great for detailed work, i love it for soldering and stuff like that. Not sure if you plan to do detailed things where it could be of use but if you do i can highly recommend you keep you eyes open for one.
     
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  6. McNasty

    McNasty Loaded Pockets

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    Explain shared underground parking?
     
  7. WillAdams

    WillAdams Loaded Pockets

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    Suggets upgrading on the vise if possible (but be sure to get one which matches the sort of projects you'll be working on). Suggest The Workbench Book: A Craftsman's Guide to Workbenches for Every Type of Woodworking by Scott Landis

    A toolbox which is suited to the sorts of tools you may need away from the bench, but which makes them accessible there. See The Toolbox Book: A Craftsman's Guide to Tool Chests, Cabinets and Storage Systems by Jim Tolpin

    For the bike, if at all possible work out a workstand, mounted to the bench or stand-alone.
     
  8. jdindadell

    jdindadell Loaded Pockets

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    The best bench vise you can afford is the number one workshop tool.

    Following that, the cheap 6-12inch sliding clamps that harbor freight sells are a great thing to have. get 4 or 6 of them, they are 2 or 3 bucks.

    A good ball pein hammer, 1.5-2lb

    A good set pliers are a must, check lowes at the holidays, they usually have good sets for 20-30 bucks. Lifetime warranty on them, and I have yet to break any.

    And speaking of pliers, the Irwin "channellock" type pliers are amazing. Best of that type of pliers I have ever used, including snap on, mac, chanellock, etc. Highly recommend those.
     
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  9. Westerdutch

    Westerdutch Loaded Pockets

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    Never used knipex?

    Speaking of pliers, get yourself a knipex pliers wrench. The 150 or 180 should be perfect for what you are describing. It's so good and multifunctional it's ridiculous, i always recommend that to everyone looking for tools.
     
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  10. BrendanH

    BrendanH Loaded Pockets

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    It's an underground parking garage shared with all the other apartments in the building so only semi-secure. I won't be keeping any expensive tools there.
     
  11. thegrouch314

    thegrouch314 Loaded Pockets

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    If it's shared, I'd padlock your toolbox, even if it's only cheap tools. I know my tools always 'wandered off' even when I was living with my mum, so it was just her and her partner who had access.
    People might not necessarily steal them, but if they see them out, they might borrow something and forget to return it, or loose it
     
  12. Mudinyeri

    Mudinyeri Loaded Pockets

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    1. Good quality bench vise.
    2. Bike work stand for the bike. I have a folding one from Amazon that was about $90.
    3. I marked the edge of my bench with 1/4" measurements. It works great to measure things like paracord.
     
  13. Westerdutch

    Westerdutch Loaded Pockets

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    Home improvement stores over here have simple free disposable paper tape measures hanging in most isles so shoppers can do quick measuring. I always take a couple of those with me and stick em on anything and everything with clear box tape. Super handy and free instant rulers everywhere.
     
  14. mizedog

    mizedog Loaded Pockets

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  15. jdindadell

    jdindadell Loaded Pockets

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    I have used Knipex, and while they are nice, they are proud of them. And if you have not use the irwin pliers, give them a try, they are very good, and inexpensive. Get 2 or more for the price of one knipex...
     
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  16. jdindadell

    jdindadell Loaded Pockets

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    I think that kit is humorous, it shows a 4 shelf unit on the box, but only includes 8 of the corner pieces, enough to do 2 shelves... Enough to make the bench, but the pics are misleading, especially given the target audience for a product like that.

    Plus I really feel like 2x6 flat on is the minimum size for a work bench leg, if using 1.5" thick material. L shaped legs are best, use a 2x6 and a 2x4 to create that. They do take up more space than a 4x4, but finding good 4x4 lumber that will not twist over time is tricky at the local big box store.

    For the money a kreg pocket hole jig (the smaller r3 model) and some kreg screws are a better bet, and use good construction adhesive on all joints. I recently used this technique to make a daughter a playhouse, with 2x4s and it was plenty strong to hold my weight. I used good glue and construction adhesive (PLA) in the build, which is a must.

    No diagonal bracing on that either, so it will likely rack if a lot of force is applied... A few 1x4s in an X across the back will work.

    I may work out a set of plans, to make an inexpensive workbench...
     
  17. mizedog

    mizedog Loaded Pockets

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    I agree that there are more stable options, but respectfully refer you back to the original post indicating cheap, light, storage, and some diy duty.

    I'm 300 pounds, 6'4", and can stand, or sit on mine without risk. Mine has become home for my vise, miter saw, and a fold down router table. I've got about 100 pounds of tools in steel storage drawers underneath. It's really good. I've rebuilt Dana 44 axles on it, pounded on the anvil with a 4 pound sledge. I don't use it to plane wood on. I have another, 200 pound cherry woodworking bench for that.
    [​IMG]
    Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-N900A using Tapatalk
     
    #17 mizedog, Oct 31, 2017
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2017
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  18. jdindadell

    jdindadell Loaded Pockets

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    Fair enough, I see you have casters on the table as well, so ultimate stability is not part of your usage, as you mentioned you have another heavier bench for that.

    But, if you could only have one bench, wouldn't you want it to be stable enough to do everything on...

    I did the math and could build a better bench for about 50 bucks. All straight cuts, no weird stuff, use pocket holes so no exposed fasteners, or just straight screws through overlapping joinery if seeing screw heads is not an problem.

    I have been known to overdo my build projects, but I am notoriously cheap. I just can't see spending 40 bucks on some metal brackets, then buying wood, when all I need to do is buy the wood, glue and screws. 5 bucks in hardware beats 40, at least to me.

    I will be rebuilding my current bench, which was my secondary bench till I moved to a smaller area... It is a bit too weak to really use hard, so it needs beefing up. I will take pics as I go through it.
     
    #18 jdindadell, Oct 31, 2017
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2017
  19. mizedog

    mizedog Loaded Pockets

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    I do like my Kregs pocket hole jig...

    Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-N900A using Tapatalk
     
    #19 mizedog, Nov 1, 2017
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2017
  20. Westerdutch

    Westerdutch Loaded Pockets

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    Unless you plan to make your own furniture or cabinets i really don't see the point of buying any kind of joinery jig. It's added cost for both the tool and the screws that you can do without and wasted time for a simple bench. Design something, buy wood, glue/screw/bolt it together and enjoy what you want to do on the bench. It doest have to be pretty, just big and strong.