Racking Tools

My workbench early 2016.

Never static, always something to be added as can be seen below. This configuration is temporary until the layout nears completion when the bench part will be divided into 2 sections, both of which will wheel under the layout for storage until needed (that prediction proved to be incorrect).  Storage drawers will then reside on existing shelves under the layout. Note the suitcase vacuum cleaner under the bench – perfect for servicing the table saw above.

What prompted me to recently implement the storage of the work area below the benchwork was that the central work area, whilst convenient in the early construction stage, became a TOWERING MONOLITH in the room. It was becoming impossible to get around it to operate the layout.

Now it looks like this:But, the storage parts and tool drawers don’t work under the layout! Too much bending and kneeling required. The “sawnoff” work desk is OK and the horrible coloured green drawers hold items conveniently when the desk is rolled out but I can’t find other stuff. My plan is to build a “Dalek” (for want of a better description) which will roll out from under the bench to the left of the desk. It will hold all of my parts storage drawer sets and other tools on a lazy susan style. More in a future post.

The photographs below might provide you with some ideas to improve your work area:

The scalpel is kept safe and sharp in the piece of PVC pipe fitted to the simple wooden rack. A range of drilled holes caters for a variety small shafted tools. The blue jig is for bending the legs of discrete electronic parts. It was purchased from MERG UK.
The screwdriver set came with a rack but the pin vices are mounted in slots cut into a piece of aluminium angle. As there are 4 different size collet chucks, I have one of each size ready to go. The number of bands marked on each tells me the size. Sometimes simple round head screws will do to rack hand tools as is the case with the side cutters and spanner.
The Dremel is housed in an offcut of PVC pipe. I use this method a lot. Get friendly with a plumber.
More PVC pipe offcuts screwed to the back plates hold: large pliers, crimping tool, piano wire cutters, a “Bosch” rechargeable screwdriver, digital vernier calipers and a pair of scissors. The tap wrench holder is made from thin gal iron.
Jewellers files are a must. The tapered reamer is very handy for enlarging or cleaning up holes in thin material.
This is a neat little saw and ideal for cutting thin materials such as thin plywood, styrene sheet, PC Board etc. Below that a drawer for pliers, one for drills, screwdrivers etc, and one for various sheet materials for structures. Multimeters are handy as is a garbage bin and a couple of extra sets of storage drawers under bench. Just to the left of the saw is a little wooden box holding an oilstone to sharpen blades.
You can never have too much storage – and it needs to be close at hand. Hence my need to build a new rolling storage “Dalek”.
A magnifying lamp, a set of 2X magnifiers and a 10W LED light helps with the aged eyes. I incorrectly used a Warm White light rather than a Cool White light as apparently the latter (approx 6000K) is better particulalrly when dealing with paint colours.
Above the roll of solder is a 12V outlet for testing.
The yellow handle tool in the PVC rack are my best wire strippers.
A barrage of test leads hang out of the way but easy to reach. There are 3 different diameter rolls of solder facing forward and a roll of tinned copper wire above them along with spare 0.7mm solder and some solder wick.

Sometimes little things are important – the oft used 150mm s/steel rule hangs from a round head screw but has a litle rubber foot fitted to keep the rule clear of the surface so that you can easily lift it off.
The yellow key shaped object is a special stripper to cut through the outer insulation of multi-core cable.
The grubby blob of “Blue Tack” is used to hold things in place on the workbench while soldering, photographing etc.



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Rick Fletcher

Born in the steam era and developed an interest in railways when given a clockwork Hornby "set". Surrounded by steam when travelling to school (by train of course) and holidays were always by steam train as we had no car. How lucky was I?

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