When we moved into our new house a few years ago, we basically just filled up the garage with boxes and boxes of stuff, creating a very unusable room.
This desperately needed a solution.
I love to tinker and work on small projects and I wanted a well designed, good looking workbench to do these things on.
Up until this workbench, I’ve been just spreading out on the garage floor on top of some cardboard and killing my back.
This back corner looked like a prime spot for a redo. The wall was grossly patched over, there was a terrible fluorescent light that didn’t work, and all the stuff blocked access to the hot water heater.
Putting It All Together
After getting the framing done, I did the following things:
- Stained the doors and top
- Added decorative hinges and pull
- Added non-slam drawer slides
- Replaced the fluorescent ceiling light with track lighting
- Added french cleat backing on the wall
- Ran bronze spray painted electrical conduit to a new, dedicated circuit breaker
- Added electrical outlets and a light switch for the ceiling light
- Multiple coats of polyurethane top
Picking a FinishThere are an extremely varied number of opinions about how to finish a workbench. I used polyurethane in about 7 coats, but other options exist. Polyurethane is not really something you’d want to use if you do a lot of metal working, or hard hammering on your table. Most of my projects are small electronics and wood projects, so I wanted my workbench to look good, as well as be functional. Just be aware there are tradeoffs.
The steps are as follows:
- Find an empty spot on your circuit breaker and install and new breaker (with the whole house power off, I’m not taking any chances)
- Run electrical wire from the box, up into the ceiling, and next to all the other electrical cords until it needs to branch off. (its basically following the back corner of the picture to the left, in the attic)
- Run the wire down the metal conduit and out onto the desk.
- Once you have the wire, you have to start connecting the switch and the outlets. I wanted the switch to control the lights above but NOT the outlets, which are on all the time, so I had to bypass the switch for the outlets and run another electrical cable back up the conduit to the light fixture above.
- Wire in each of the electrical outlets into their boxes (which has been spray painted bronze)
- Hook everything to the wall.
French Cleats and Tool Storage
French cleats are a really cool way to hang things because they allow for a ton of customization and rearrangement on the fly. Basically, you saw a 1×3 down the middle at a 45 degree angle and put one strip on the wall facing up, like a hook, and one strip on the back of whatever you want to hang, with the mating side facing down.
The wall strips are screwed into studs, so they can hold a ton of weight, and then you just build tool racks to hold whatever you want. The picture to the right shows some of them still unfinished (stained) but I wanted to get them on the wall to see how it looked.
Some of the holders you see built here are for
If you go to pinterest and search for “french cleat tool holder” you’ll get a ton of stuff. Basically everything I made was a close approximation of things on there but with my specific tools in mind.