When it comes to DIY projects, landscaping, or home improvement, most of us have that trusty old workbench that we handle all our projects on. But what if you could get more out of it? When you set up your workbench in the best way that works for you, you can be even more efficient and organized and complete more, higher quality projects. Show your old workbench the same loyalty and care it’s always shown you! Here are six workbench upgrades to keep you and your bench working hard.
1. Get Easier Clean-Up with a Roll-Up Dropcloth
From staining to painting to general wear-and-tear, workbenches can get messy. Keep clean-up simple by mounting a roller window shade on one end of your workbench with a dropcloth or paper rolled around. If you decide to use paper, clean-up is as easy as cutting the section off after use. If you choose to use cloth, then be sure to wipe down any mess and let it dry before rolling it back up!
2. Stay Safe & Secure Your Bench Power Tools
The best workbench is safe and secure while still being easily accessible. Any power or hand tools should be strapped down but should also be mobile with the bench when moving it around and/or transporting it. Bolt ¾” plywood bases onto the tools and then glue and screw a wood strip on the front edge to fit a woodworking vise. Tighten the strip into the vise and lock the tool into place. If you don’t have a vise, try drilling clearance holes into the wood strip and just screw/unscrew to lock or unlock.
3. Attach a Pencil Holder to Stop Losing Your Pencils
It’s a familiar story; one day there’s an entire box of pencils next to your workbench and the next day you’re scrambling to find just one. Attaching a pencil holder is your best defense against continually buying those Ticonderoga 96-count pencil packs. Take a PVC pipe and screw or clamp it onto the end of your workbench for a sawdust-free holder. Other pencil holder ideas? Wrap Velcro around a single pencil and Velcro it to the bench or drill holes into shelves or drawers and insert the pencils there.
4. Top Your Workbench with Melamine for Less Mess
Screw down a sheet of ¾” melamine for the perfect surface for any workbench. You’ll be able to write on it with pencil and erase easily, dried glue will always chip right off, and varnish spills won’t stick. Heavy objects will also slide easily (but not too easily) along the slick surface. As an added bonus? When one side starts looking a little worse for wear, just flip it over and start fresh.
5. Use a Wood Recycling Bin & Improve Your Waste Management
When we woodwork, we typically have many scrap pieces of wood that get tossed aside or thrown away and forgotten about. Instead of cluttering your workspace and wasting wood, why not store and reuse them for a different project? Set up a recycling bin nearby to chuck those random pieces of wood in to keep your space clean and tidy. You can feel a little eco-friendly next time one of those pieces of wood comes in handy!
6. Screw on a Tool Gutter for Easy Access
Along any one of the sides of your workbench, you can mount a tool tray to keep certain smaller tools and fasteners out of the way and accessible. This allows you to work faster without worrying about losing tiny pieces like screws or nails. This is also a great place to keep some small hand tools within arm’s reach while you work. If you have any leftover length from your house’s gutters, it should work perfectly as a makeshift tool tray.
These tips will help keep you and your work area stay clean and organized. By keeping your area organized, you can also help prevent safety issues that you might have if you have clutter everywhere. If you choose to use a workbench topper, then you can also preserve your workbench life. Keep up with these workbench upgrades and you’ll be completing easy and efficient projects for years to come.