Workbench Makeover.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

And what can I say.  I didn't envision I'd need to rework the whole shebang, kinda like ever, nor did I want to but ya know, things change.

More tools acquired, more hardware, more containers of goo, more this that the other thing and crap was overflowing and disorganized.

And I'd been putting it off as heh, did you see the before?  It was an undertaking, with just that stuff and stuff.  And stuff.

workbench area in basement before
Workbench before.  Several band-aid solutions filled in over time.
But, lo, when I'm upset I clean and/or organize like a bat outta hell.  What was distressing?  The three year anniversary of losing sweet Hailey pea.  So,  yeah.

image of Hailey being cute
Man.  Sure do miss my pretty girl.  What a sweetie face.
Not entirely sure where the whole cleaning-and/or-organizing-when-distraught comes from, why those specific tasks.  I suppose if I really sat and pondered it the reason might reveal itself but upset is upset and that manifests into cleaning organizing action.

Although.  It wasn't until I sat down for water and a snack did it click that maintaining excessively busy mode kept my mind focused at the task at hand and not how sad I was.  Hmph.

Well, so maybe that's why.  Or that cleaning/organizing helps bring order to.....Whatever, man.  Who knows.  Brains are wacky.

Right, but we're not here for a shrink session, we're here about the workbench.

Interesting side note mom told me recently I was an utter slob as a child.

Like toys coating the floor, layers, a mere narrow swath of yellow carpet runway from the door to the bed.  Huh.  Such slobby so that a neighbor offered to teach me how to clean up.  My mom said she merely hoped for the best, that I'd motivate myself.

Honestly, I don't remember the mess.  Or I kinda vaguely do, maybe.  Vaguely.

She's amused these days at how polar opposite I am now.  I guess hoping paid off.

Anyway, thought you'd find that funny.  Moving on......

Granted the workbench is not vastly redone; rather, I'd say it's improved upon.  Which is what a makeover is, right?  Yep.

To begin, I first analyzed the situation.  Stood, stared, pondered the grim and messy and disorganized and chaotic situation.  Which made my brain hurt.  I had to repeat this step several times.

What did I need?  More tidy, more everything-in-a-place, expanded storage.

But without overtaking the basement completely.   Although I guess if I did at this point, it wouldn't much matter.  I think poor Mike has resigned any hope on the basement becoming anything other than what it is.

If you think about it though, everything I do down there benefits the house and him soooo, yeah, he wins.

Anyway, more storage without going budget-busting hog wild as well.

Upstairs I trundled for the laser measure* (Fyi, don't cheap out on a laser measure.  They are indeed a case of you get what you pay for; ahem, indicator?, I'm now on my third.  One was cheap crap, one busted.) and some scratch paper.

So after a few speedy measurements, it was AutoCAD* time and in short order, a plan was a-whipped into shape.

elevation of workbench plans
And there it is.  An elevation of the game plan.
Time to get to work then!



Ugh because jeez louise, that's a sh*t ton of crap to take down and put back up.  But.  In it to win it, clap clap, let's get 'er done.

Scooping my unmotivated self off the floor, a quick dash to Menards for a lumber run ensued, fun, thank goodness it's close, and I'm off to the races.

I tried to be methodical during the undoing so the mess would not overtake though of course, how could it not.  It's then I realize, damn girl, you got lots o' tools.  But it's never enough, amiright?

workbench area deconstructed mess
Holy mess.
Ok, so first, near everything came off and away from the DIY chalkboard wall.  As a portion of the plan was to trim then relocate the long 2x2 holding my hand tools, the wall thus required patching and a repaint.

By the way, that sliver I got back then that I mention in that last link?  Yeah.  Still in my hand.


Anywhoooo.....moving on.

Starting the rework, I tackled the larger of my workbench counter sections first by adding additional shelves.
adding more support and shelves to table
More 2x4 cross pieces to support more shelves, yay!
result of more support and shelves
Yes, the plywood is all wanky.  It almost appears as if there's a slanty shelf too.  Hm, I don't think I screwed up.
Of course I miscalculated (aka, this time mis-guessed without actually measuring before shopping) in my head the amount of plywood I'd need.  Therefore I yanked out a half piece for the very bottom right shelf from my way-too-messy rolling cart so, it's good enough for now.

Yeah, that cart needs a good tidying as well.  Sigh!  It never ends, right?!  Omg.  Heh.

still messy basement
Yeah.  Um.  Pretty disheveled.  Oh, and a sorta soffit before shot too.
Only issue once that counter chunk was re-shelved?  I have a crate filled with rags that no longer neatly tucks away.  Rats.  Some reorganizing may solve that issue.

Next up, redoing the wall.  Patching and repainting.  Shoulda done that first to be more efficient with my time but eh, ah well.

repairing the chalkboard wall
Patching and sanding complete here.
fresh chalkboard paint
And ahhhhh, a chalkboard paint repaint.  Nothing like a freshly painted wall, right?!  Ahhhhh.
not mixing paint well
This time I tried extra special hard to make sure I got everything mixed properly and thoroughly but as you can see, nope, I did not.  Sooooo, if you're looking for a pristinely perfect DIY chalkboard paint mix, you really gotta stir until your arms fall off.  Or buy the paint pre-made instead if perfection is paramount.
That snazzy DeWalt cross line laser level* I used while garage reorganizing came in wow, way super handy here.

First I took some leftover poplar from our first floor bathroom cabinets and made an L shape.  No big whoop, screws and glue.  The point?  Clamp storage!  Yes, all my smaller clamps, my ragingly huge (not) collection is now up and out of the way.  I'm short.  It works.

adding wood strip for clamps
Simple yet spiffy clamp rack.
I next raised that repurposed CD rack up a smidge.  Well, first I trimmed off the ends so it would fit within its new allotted space, feeling a bit bad about it but I suppose CD's won't make a comeback like vinyl.

Thanks to that laser level, I was able to align the top of the rack with the soffit, in line with the clamp storage.  Ya know, for those with OCD issues.  Or those who are just into things perfectly aligning aesthetically from time to time (me).

using laser measure to line things up
Lookie at that super nice level and true line exactly at the bottom of the soffit.  Yes.
reusing Ikea cd rack for shelf
CD rack rehung just low enough to still use the top as a landing spot, just within my short reach.
After that it was time to get the old and new 2x2 hand tool holders onto the wall.

It was then I noticed an error.

So yeah, somehow some of my measurements were off which is utterly embarrassing considering my entire life revolves around damn freakin' measurements.  I'm not entirely sure what went awry really.  And I probably should not be admitting my error, but so it is.  I prefer to be honest.

My goal was to reuse the pallet wood silverware holder thingamajig below the CD rack as a place for pencils or whatever but somehow the math was screwy.  Not enough wall height somehow.

I did use my laser measure to nab the ceiling height.  Hm.  That gizmo, I dunno, sometimes it seems it's incorrect.  I haven't been trusting it lately.  And it wasn't a cheap one either.....sigh.

Well, so much for reuse.  Maybe I'll attach the thingamajig to the fence and make mini planters out of it.

I next drilled extra hand tool storage holes through my original 2x2 that I trimmed down to five feet to match the width of the larger bench top then drilled holes in a second stick and then yep, time to get them up on the wall.  Found the studs* and tagged up the wall with painter's tape.

Placing my tape measure on the table top extended out plus the length of the tape measure case to a total of twelve inches, I located the top height for the lowest 2x2, the original hand tool segment.

Popped the tripod'ed laser level onto the rolling door cart and bam, sooooo much easier than marking up the wall in several places knowing it'll be wrong because the floor is extremely not-level and surely the ceiling isn't straight then balancing a bubble level on the 2x2 and slipping and checking and the level falls off and and and.

using laser measure to find line for tools
Check your tape measure case for its width.

In fifteen seconds, it's up.  Niiiiiicccee.

Extend the tape measure up, crank the laser level, and the next 2x2 above went on smoove as silk.

replacing tool storage
Cruisin' right along here.  I did do a purge of the CD rack, freeing up space which definitely helped.
I then took two pieces of two foot long 2x2, that's a load a' two's, and put them under the soffit for paint brush and other random tool storage.

That's when I discover, heh, again my measurements didn't add properly.  What the hell man?!

See, I had purchased another plastic drawer bin as it was silly cheap, couldn't pass it up, and the plan was to skooch the first one I had installed against the closet door casing, then squeeze this new one next to it.  After checking and rechecking several times, it did in fact appear that it might work but I had reached a point, ya know, I did not feel like taking the first down and moving it.

hardware storage unit
It's worth checking your weekly Aldi ad as they had this for a mere five bucks.
Shrug, so be it.

So instead I hung the second one next to but below the first one.  Works just peachy keen fine.

mess cleaned up
Oh, I also painted the soffits to visually heighten the basement.  It finally clicked how much that had been bugging me.
Draggin' now.

Lastly?  Yeah, I was pooped by this point.  Lastly it was time to put everything in its place which amazingly and thankfully went right quick.

resultant clamp storage
Clamp rack!  Sweet!
tools back on shelves
More spacious additional shelving refilled and reorganized.  The DeWalt folk sent that bin at bottom left along with the other tote storage* pieces -- it's very roomy and sturdy and I like it a lot.  All three pieces stack and lock together, fyi.
And bingo!  Done!  Woo hoo!

reworked basement workbench makeover done
Reorganized wall.
basement workbench workshop after makeover
And it's done.  Whew, finally!
But yes, in the end, sure, it hardly looks any less chaotic but oddly it feels infinitely neater.  In fact, it hardly looks any different at all actually, in looking at the before and after photos.  Hmph.

The area could stand a 'lil tweaking but for now it's all good, my brain appeased, I can move forward into projects with a clear head.

Thumbs up for that.

So let's get cracking then, shall we?

By the way, before I run, time is slipping away to vote for me and this spiffy little blog, my friends!  Please, pretty please, I'd love for you to come vote in all three of these contests:

Amara Interior Blog Awards:  Best DIY & Home Blog.  It's a once-per-email-address vote so use every one of yours and your relatives, your friends, neighbors, dogs, and anyone else's you know.  Heeeyy, I'm from Chicago; vote early and often, haha.

Instructables:  a one time vote for our faux rust and wood shelf plus also our DIY first floor bathroom vanity.  Those require a sign up but Instructables is cool so why would you not want to sign up?

Sharing is caring too, so it'd be extra awesome of you to spread the info around.  Thank you very very much!

Well, alas, I was chosen to sit on a jury today, uuuuugh I'm soooo irritated as I'm now hosed for up to the next two weeks.  Sorry my friends, I have to put a pause on all that project crackin'.  Please send good juju that it doesn't last that long.  See you on the flip side.

Back at it a few years in with a revamp and update -- read it here!

*The laser measure, DeWalt cross line laser levels. stud finders, and DeWalt Tough System are Amazon affiliate links.  AutoCAD is an AutoDesk affiliate link.  Mwah, thanks!  Please see the "boring stuff" tab for more info.

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