Modeling Workbench Expansion - A Workbench Build Log

This seems to be the best place to post this. I had an idea a while back to expand my workbench. It hung around in the back of head for months, and after finally clearing the Uragan off my bench I decided to run with it.

So here’s what I was working with,

Not a bad setup. Like most I started at a computer desk, worked my way up to a dedicated, but still small desk. But then I bought a house, and after demoing the basement, I had to make a dedicated workbench. It’s served me well for a few years now, but space is getting tight, some of my storage solutions weren’t ideal, and basically, after a few years you get a better idea of what you really want.

So the plan. First, more room is always welcome, so I’ll expand into an ‘L’ and take up that other wall. Next, I tend to have at least a couple projects going at once, so a dedicated building section and painting section would be nice. And finally, I wanted a computer (many times I’ve been building and thought some modeling videos or music in the background would be great) and my reference books at hand.

This is what I came up with,

The left side is the build area, the middle section is where the computer and reference books will go, and finally the right side is the painting area.

First thing I had to do was build a wall to mount the bench to,

Those cats in the middle are just stiffeners as the framing under the window could twist out with some pressure.

Quick and dirty sheathing with some 1/4" cedar T&G.

I had also started building the shelving units. My last bench was pine with the shelves attached with trim screws from the outside. A little hacky, wanted to step up the quality a bit this time around, but nothing crazy. Still using home cheapo pine that’s cupped to all hell, but I’ll be using dados for the shelving and rabbeting out the back for some sanded ply backing. I don’t have a proper wood working bench, let alone a planer or jointer, so these things will be held together by wood glue, pocket hole screws and a prayer.

The build shelves were the first ones done,

Followed by the computer and reference book section,

I had been out of the game too long and made a number of dumb mistakes. Routered from the wrong direction, it pulled away from the straight edge and ruined two support pieces. Rabbeted the wrong edge of another, etc, etc. But I got through it.

Meanwhile the old bench was disassembled,

A feature I’m keeping from the old bench is the beefy brackets. They can easily handle all the weight with no support legs so I’m free to scoot around in a rolly chair.

The wall was trimmed out with some 1x and generic cove and edge trim. Brackets were mounted and bench extension added with the rim boards. The painting area shelves were finished tonight, and here she is now, ‘dry fit’ together,

Next step, sanding everything flush. Shelves to supports, rim boards around the bench, and the butt joint between the new and old bench. After that I’ll fasten the shelving units in place and start work on the top shelf.

I plan on painting the bench (I am a paint grade carpenter after all), and with the color I have in mind I think I might lose some of you. Regardless, one of the things I learned with an unfinished bench is that a gloss or semi-gloss surface would be best. The old bench was impossible to clean and just sucked in stains.

That’s where I’m at as of tonight. I hope to have this done within two more weeks. After all, when the bench is out of commission, that means no building!


Orange? :smiley:

It looks great! Thanks for posting this.

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You joke, but I toyed with the idea of orange as a secondary color. I’ve settled on something quite the opposite, but I think fitting. We’ll have to wait and see.


The extra “L”-bow room will be most welcome. Very nice work!:beer:


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Great work and inspiring. I too have moved into a new house with a dedicated modelling room. Currently I am at a L shaped computer desk, but want to move storage vertical. Yours looks like a great start! Thank you.

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Nice work. It would be nice to have that much work space!

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Thanks guys. I feel the need to reiterate that this is still a pretty quick and dirty build, the far away pics help, but when you get up close there are lots of gaps, some wobbling, and shelves out of level. Function over form for now.

Something I’m starting to realize… No matter how much space you give yourself, soon it feels like not enough. Hope this holds me over for a few years.

Not to much to report on tonight, did some rough sanding, and tomorrow I’ll do the finish sanding then shoot for mounting everything in place.


Yeah. I always look at Adam Savage’s workshop on Tested and think… now that’s a workshop. :smiley:


Very nice,I wish I had the skills to do stuff like that.

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You’ve certainly got the room for an ultra nice work area in your basement, an Ejection Seat office chair is way cool, wouldn’t mind having that here at work :hammer_and_wrench:


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Shop? More like a dedicated building… Some day, some day.

Thank you. Really isn’t that hard though with the right tools. I’ve built kits that were less trouble than this thing.

Unfortunately, I’ll be approaching the limits of my available space, that is until I get off oil heat and ditch the tank and furnace. I’ve got more work benches along the opposite walls for tool storage and my CNC machine. And with no garage, part of the basement will have to double as my wood shop. Gets my poor models dusty.

Small update tonight, managed to get most of the filling & finish sanding done, and mounted the shelving units in place,

… I like to drink while I work

Shelving units are attached with pocket hole screws, then plugged up to be trimmed and sanded flush. You can see a little happy gappy there where the backing meets the bench.

I ordered some new organizers, another cutting mat, a low end refurbished computer and other supplies which should be trickling in over the next couple weeks. Top shelf is the next step, hope to finish that this weekend.


A little more progress this weekend. I finished cutting and assembling the top shelf that will go around all the shelving units. There was some trouble with it, resulting in a scrapped piece, but I got it to work in the end.

Don’t mind the toilet.

Dry fit it in place,

Once the glue dries I’ll sand the seams and pocket hole plugs flush. I plan on doing a round-over on the leading edge which should nicen it up a bit.

Also had some scrap plywood leftover, so I decided to use it for a storage/auxiliary unit that will go under the desk. I plan on having it hold my printer and some plastic storage boxes.

Picked up the paint today. Things are moving ahead, and I should have this done by Friday. I do plan on some custom tool & paint storage items, but those will come later. Itching to get back to building.


Very nice progress! Cant wait to see more!

Well you didn’t have to wait long

Started this morning with trimming the pocket hole plugs and sanding them flush, here’s a side by side comparison,

You can get a pretty good result with this. I’ve been using this method on trim & paneling throughout my house.

Once I got that done, I routered the outside edge, gave it the whole piece a finish sanding, then mounted it to the shelving units,

Here’s a view from the captain’s chair,

Some spots needed a little caulky

After cleaning off the dust, I slapped a coat of primer on it,

It’s like a big kit. Painting next, might get a coat on tonight, and if I do I should get this finished by tomorrow. So the big color reveal should be by Wednesday at the latest.


Can you come build me a new bench? Looking great!

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Fantastic piece of work. Consider me jealous!

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ahhhh, might be a bit of hike for me

Thanks Paddy.

Well I managed to get the second coat on today, so as promised, this is where I’m gonna lose a few of you.

Prussian Blue! A fitting choice I think

I’ll admit It’s a little gaudy. On the fence with how much I actually like it, I typically like darker colors, but it’s not getting repainted so it is what it is.

Tomorrow I’ll start loading it up with my modeling supplies. New organizers, the computer and other supplies are still in the mail, but should all trickle in by Saturday. Will keep you all posted.


How I envy you guys with these large work spaces. Mine is an old metal office desk that just fits in the space vacated by a 250gal oil tank that was removed by the previous owner before we moved in nearly 30 yrs ago.

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It’s kind of (modern) Tardis Blue. :slight_smile:

I like it. This lighter shade might be better for light refraction, etc.

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I like it, as well. Looks good with the natural wood behind it.

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