Jump to content

Folding Workbench - Part 4: The Shelving

With the legs and worktop done last entry, that leaves us with one last section to build; the shelving. This will actually be built as a self-contained unit, which means theoretically you could make the desk able to be disassembled by securing this shelving section in with an M10 bolt or similar; rather than gluing it in place. So as long as you have the crossbar in place beforehand, you can actually just slide the shelving section into place; making assembly easy to do by yourself. When I design furniture, I like to think about how I could make it be easily taken apart, in case you wish to move it into or out of an awkward location; just as most layouts are built with multiple boards!

 

Marking+Components+%25281%2529.jpg

 

Above: Hopefully you will have cut out all the components by this stage, but if not, we'll need:

  • 1x Rear panel, 18mm plywood
  • 1x Bottom shelf, 12mm plywood
  • 1x Middle shelf, 12mm plywood
  • 3x Shelf supports, 12mm plywood

 

I realised today that I never uploaded a dimensioned drawing of the desk, nor a cutting list; so you would have no idea what you'd need to cut out! I will get this online as soon as I find time to make it; so that you can build this desk, or one like it, should you wish...

 

I purposefully didn't show all the rebates being cut out last time, so assuming only the rebates in the legs have been cut, we'll need to tackle some on this rear storage section. First, we'll cut out the hole in the back panel (that will allow a UK plug to fit through). Once again, there are many methods of doing this; but I still find that the router is my go-to tool, and takes all the effort out of it. We'll set up a guide just as we did in the last part, and cut out the hole. I chose to do a large letterbox, but in reality, a simple hole 60mm in diameter would be sufficient for most standard plugs.

 

rear+panel.jpg

 

Above: The hole in the rear panel has been cut out in this photo, and the bottom 12mm wide rebate has been marked out. Also visible are various annotations to help me keep track of what I'm doing. Note that the position of the central shelf support has been drawn on (as well as a small 's' within, that denotes the position of the right hand shelf); so that we ensure everything lines up properly when we glue it all together later.

 

rear+panel+routing.jpg

 

Above: Here, I'm routing out the 12mm rebate for the bottom shelf to sit into. As it's close to the edge, I can use the routers own guide.

 

rear+panel2.jpg

 

Above: The photo above shows another of the rebates needed; there will also be a matching 18mm wide rebate on the other end, so that the storage section can sit against the legs more securely. Whilst there is a small notch on the bottom left corner that I did not plan on rebating, in reality it was easier just to cut it out as well; it would never be strong enough to stay in place anyway.

 

Marking+Rebate+%2528shelving%2529.jpg

 

Above: All three shelf supports will need rebates for the shelves to slot into. Each will be half depth (so 6mm deep), and 12mm wide. There are two shelves; one that will sit (rebated into) on the top of two of the supports, and one that will sit part way down. The centre shelf support therefore needs two rebates, as it will have both shelves slotting into it. The outer shelf supports will only need one.

 

Rebating+shelves.jpg


Above: Due to the small size of the shelf supports, there was no way I could clamp them without the clamps getting in the way of the router. The solution was to instead sandwich the shelf support between two clamped ply lengths. The key was to make sure there was a straight edge to help us guide the router, and to sandwich the three parts together as firmly as possible.

 

Drilling+holes+%25283%2529.jpg


Above: With the rebates cut on the shelf supports, we'll move onto the paintbrush shelf next. As you can see, I'll be using a selection of different sized drill bits to account for a variety of paint brush sizes. Once again, I thoroughly recommend that if you have access to a pillar drill, you should use it! Doing them by hand, especially with such large bits, is difficult. If like me you had to use a normal battery drill, then use the fastest speed on it, and clamp the wood down so that it doesn't start spinning; it'll also minimise the likelihood of the underside splitting out as well. As always, start with a pilot hole as a bare minimum before using the final size drill bit.

 

Drilling+holes+%25285%2529.jpg


Above: Once the holes were drilled, I actually used a conical sanding attachment on the Dremel in order to sand the rims; it's not necesarry, but it'll make it look a bit neater.  

 

Router+%2528pot+holder%2529+%25282%2529.


Above: Another feature I was keen to add to the paintbrush shelf was a circular rebate to hold a pot of water in place. My Dad is seen here plunging the router around the perimeter. As we won't be able to use guides here, it will be pretty tricky getting a perfect circle; but that's not the end of the world!

 

Router+%2528pot+holder%2529+%25283%2529.


Above: To make it a little bit neater, I used a cylindrical sanding attachment on the Dremel. The end result wasn't perfect, but I'm not worried; the important thing is that it holds the pot of water in place.

 

Shelf+-+aluminium+angle+%25281%2529.jpg

 

Above: Before we go ahead and glue the shelving unit components together, it's not a bad idea to add some sort of edge to prevent things falling off. I had a metre length of aluminium angle spare, so it was cut in half (1), and 3 holes drilled (2). The holes were also countersunk so that the screws were more or less flush, and both sections were drilled and screwed onto their respective shelves (3).

 

SHELVING+-+fixing+aluminium+angle.png

 

Above: The aluminium angle was actually an afterthought for me, so I had to use a 90 degree drill attachment to help me screw the bottom one in place! I'd still recommend attaching them before you glue everything together though.

 

NOTE: If you plan on painting the desk, I'd recommend you do this before gluing anything together!

 

Shelving+unit+-+gluing+%25281%2529.jpg

 

Above: With all the parts rebated, we can begin to glue the shelving section together. First, the bottom shelf is glued (1), and then clamped (2). Once sufficiently cured, the shelf supports were also glued (3).

 

Shelving+unit+-+gluing+%25284%2529.jpg

 

Above: It's wise to also clamp these (1), so that you can immediately glue the shelves in place (and clamp those, too!) (2). Leave that to cure overnight.

 

And there we have it; the shelving unit is complete. That leaves us with just one thing left to do; assemble the desk, which I'm afraid we'll have do next time!
As I said, I'll get that cutting list and dimensioned drawing done, and let you all know when it's up. I'm not sure where I'll put it, but it'll likely go in the first entry; as it makes more sense to put it there.

Anyway, I hope you enjoyed this entry, and as always, if you have any comments or questions; go right ahead and post them below.
If you found this entry informative, I'd also appreciate a vote, and I welcome any and all feedback!

Till next time,
Jam/Jamie Warne

 

 

  • Like 2
  • Informative/Useful 1
  • Craftsmanship/clever 1


6 Comments


Recommended Comments

Excellent illustrations and description Jamie, thanks for the inspiration.

 

This is one of those times when the efforts behind a post deserve much more attention than it's getting. I sometimes think a monthly or quarterly compilation of RMweb blog posts would be fun to make. Not unlike the LBSCR Modeller's Digest. But it's a lot of work of course.

 

 

  • Agree 1

Share this comment


Link to comment
8 hours ago, Mikkel said:

Excellent illustrations and description Jamie, thanks for the inspiration.

 

This is one of those times when the efforts behind a post deserve much more attention than it's getting. I sometimes think a monthly or quarterly compilation of RMweb blog posts would be fun to make. Not unlike the LBSCR Modeller's Digest. But it's a lot of work of course.

 

Thank you, Mikkel!
It is definitely a lot of work to produce these, but I'm just happy if one person finds it useful. A compilation of the most informative blog posts would be amazing, but as you say; incredibly time-consuming! I'm very glad that blogs now gain more traffic than they used to due to the way they appear now in VNC, it's certainly come a long way since I started here, where blogs were seldom seen. I do like this format though because you have more control over how to display posts and content.

Anyway, I've had time today to write up the cutting list, and draw some annotated drawings; these have been put on the first blog entry (The Design)!

  • Like 1

Share this comment


Link to comment

Hi Jamie,

Excellent piece of workmanship, and a very useful and clearly laid out blog.

 

I'm at the design stage of trying to work out some sort of travel box that could hold some small hobby tools; paints, brushes, needle files, small clamps, cutting mat, helping-hands, soldering iron etc, that can close up with a door and I can take with me in the car when I'm away from home for a while. First stumbling block is trying to figure out what small tools it should hold, and the next is what form it should take.

 

I'm very familiar with SketchUp but I think I'd prefer the freedom of free-hand sketching first, and then maybe make a foamboard mock-up to set things out in real-life. However I feel that I'm miles away from doing it as I cannot get the starting point of what it'll look like.

 

More research, but wanted to say well done on your folding table. Like your precision, absolutely essential and you've cracked it.

Share this comment


Link to comment
18 hours ago, Damo666 said:

Hi Jamie,

Excellent piece of workmanship, and a very useful and clearly laid out blog.

 

I'm at the design stage of trying to work out some sort of travel box that could hold some small hobby tools; paints, brushes, needle files, small clamps, cutting mat, helping-hands, soldering iron etc, that can close up with a door and I can take with me in the car when I'm away from home for a while. First stumbling block is trying to figure out what small tools it should hold, and the next is what form it should take.

 

I'm very familiar with SketchUp but I think I'd prefer the freedom of free-hand sketching first, and then maybe make a foamboard mock-up to set things out in real-life. However I feel that I'm miles away from doing it as I cannot get the starting point of what it'll look like.

 

More research, but wanted to say well done on your folding table. Like your precision, absolutely essential and you've cracked it.

 

Thank you, Damo; that's very kind of you!

 

As well as working out what you will need to store in the travel box, also do make sure you consider weight. I've just finished building a box to build my layout in, which I stupidly built out of 12mm MDF because I assumed it would be a suitable substitute for 12mm plywood (which they didn't have in stock). The end result was a box that weighs over 30kg unladen! Obviously your box will be nowhere near this big, but it's worth thinking about the material(s) you will be using; especially as it's a travel box.
 

I've since had a lot of suggestions that said I should probably have made the shell from lightweight PSE timber, and used relatively thin (6mm?) plywood to clad it. For a travel box, I suppose 6mm plywood could form the basis, with small (say 16mm x 16mm or similar) strip wood on the inside corners to strengthen it. That's sort of similar to how my Dad once made a stockbox for me, and it seems to be very strong; as it has lasted well to this day.
 

As to the design of the travel box, it sounds like you're going about it the right way. It's worth considering where you will store said box, and if that imposes any restrictions on size (be it length, width, or height). As you'll also be carrying it places, consider what you could comfortably carry (I would imagine the width would be more restricted here than the length.)
 

 I will admit that when I read your comment initially, I thought that you might as well see if there is a plastic tool box suitable on the market already; since those tend to be very lightweight. However, something else that popped in my head (as I love to design multi-use stuff) is that  it might be possible to have one side hinge down to form a worktop (say, with an A4 cutting mat), so that not only do you have a surface to work on, but your tools won't have to be removed until you need to use them.
 

Either way, I wouldn't worry too much about it's form; it is a box after all, and doesn't need to look pretty per se. As a start point I suggest that you keep it within manageable dimensions, and try and write up a list of all the things you would like to store in it, making notes of their dimensions. From there you should be able to naturally work out the space required, and see opportunities to group items into different sections.

I was originally going to stop there... however, I got very carried away with this idea, so I decided to try and design something. I spent a few hours today coming up with ideas, and this is my final version (thus far!):

 

755812110_HOBBYBOX(1).jpg.c350440f2e2bb62e2f893ccfbbe71042.jpg

 

Ultimately, the design would be dictated mainly by the number and size of items that you need to store, but based on your requirements, this is what I came up with. Now that I look at it, it very much looks like a sewing machine case! I'll write up a more detailed post tomorrow, and whilst I haven't dimensioned anything (or tested the dimensions!) I think the idea is reasonably solid? The ply is 6mm, and the rest is 16mm x 16mm softwood (aside from the handle, which could be somehting like a broom handle).

To be honest, I'd be temped to make the sides out of 12mm ply rather than sandwiching 16mm softwood between 6mm ply.

I hope that gives you some ideas; and as I said, I'll try and get a slightly more detailed post up tomorrow.

Edited by SouthernRegionSteam
  • Thanks 1

Share this comment


Link to comment

Hi Jamie,

Great reply to my post, and your additional time spent on looking at how it might be realise is very much appreciated.

 

You've hit the nail on the head with many items, such as transportability.  If it's got a handle on the top, then that will dictate the maximum depth before it hits the ground.

 

And I was certainly thinking that the front of the box would fold down and provide an area to be able to work on without damaging any table it would sit on. So the inside face of the front flap would have a cutting mat on it exactly as you have shown.

 

I hate wasting space, and a lot of ideas for storing bottles of paint seem to have them stepped on platforms, so that there is wasted space behind in the lower levels. (Here's an example for the highly rated HobbyZone modular units to illustrate what I mean).

2049233806_PaintStorage.JPG.b227c61ba0aa1cee7f920bb474fc440e.JPG

With space in the box at a premium I'd be looking to either eliminate this design 'flaw' or utilise the space in some other way.

 

Ply is brilliantly stable and, with a little bracing or corner blocks, wont flex, so I'd be very comfortable with a 6mm ply for the main carcase. The front flap which would be a workbench would, however, need to be beefier. For this I was considering 2x 3.6mm thick ply sandwiched over some balsa-wood spacers. The construction would be quite strong, being a series of lattice 'I' beams but it would be expensive to get 3.6mm ply for just this and I'm not sure of its worth the trouble, maybe just go for 9mm ply for the front instead. (I like thinking these issues through too).

 

I also thought that the sides, instead of being a fixed panel, could be hinged so that it opens out a little more. The side would have shelves or storage that face inwards when closed, and present itself to me when opened. (like a tri-fold mirror but with storage depth).

 

And you are right about considering the practical aspects. Making sure it fits it in the car upright, or could it lie on the side without everything fall about inside?

 

And then some space for a 2 gang 13A extension lead, so that I could plug in a good worklight and either a soldering iron or hot-melt glue gun.

 

Thank you again for your thoughts and sketch, it's great to bounce ideas around.

 

Damo

  • Like 1

Share this comment


Link to comment

You are most welcome, Damo!
I enjoy doing things like this anyway, gives me a chance to stretch my brain.

 

14 minutes ago, Damo666 said:

I hate wasting space, and a lot of ideas for storing bottles of paint seem to have them stepped on platforms, so that there is wasted space behind in the lower levels. (Here's an example for the highly rated HobbyZone modular units to illustrate what I mean).

 

It's funny you should mention that, as all my first designs did not have stepped paint platforms, as I too didn't like the inefficient use of space. The only reason I chose it for my last one was that I wanted them to be more accessible in a tight vertical space. That said, a potential idea to minimise wastage with stepped platforms would be to make a drawer or two on the ends, so that the area underneath the steps is still used.

 

For what it's worth, here is a render showing the progression of ideas from left to right. The whole thing gradually got smaller, and whilst around the midpoint you can see that I experimented with two folding/hinged designs, I was worried about them being potentially bulky/boxy, and thus awkward to carry?

 

VIZ_1355.png.3b4867d385c1dc85407af94bdebdb60d.png


Take the example third from the left, the hinged parts were shallow (only wide enough for one row of paints and perhaps some paintbrushes behind). The reason being that I could still keep the handle on the main section in the centre, so that it wouldn't be an unbalanced load. The fourth design below (very unfinished, and the flap wouldn't actually fold down as shown on this side) was the same shape/size as the final version,  but hinged in two. The problem I had was because it gets narrow towards the top, I found it might be too awkward to access things on the bottom wider section (especially if they're at the back).

 

For something this sort of size, I wouldn't envisage 9mm (or even 12mm if you really wasnt it beefy) being too much of a problem for the work surface.

 

Oh, and the extension lead is a good idea. you could even permanently mount one somewhere, and have the cable wrapped around some wooden pegs or similar on the back? There are certainly many possibilities here!

I'm interested to see what you eventually come up with, I might give this some further thought before I post up a blog entry, so it may not be ready for tomorrow, but I'll definitely tackle it soon.

 

 

 

Share this comment


Link to comment

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.