Tinkering, piddling, and farting around

Nothing is worse than wanting to get something done and you just don't have the right tools. One of the right tools for me was buying a new workbench!

Tinkering, piddling, and farting around
Lots of drawer space to put all kinds of stuff, as long as it's thin enough anyway

I've always tinkered with stuff but the 'rona gave me a lot of time to piddle with more stuff and I've been expanding and improving my tinkering abilities.  I got a workbench that can double as a standing desk, can take a beating, and has plenty of built-in storage with two wide drawers.  The desk itself is a Husky 46" Adjustable Height Work Table with 2-Drawers.

It's a bit of a mess in this picture; I don't normally tinker on Pineapple juice.  But in the top right from right to left is my variable bench power supply (30V, 10A), my annoying auto-off-all-the-time multimeter (which is pretty okay, but powers itself off even if you're using which infuriates me), my Bakon T12/T15 soldering iron mounted onto my backstop, my cheapy soldering iron stand that I really need to improve, soldering tip cleaner.  Middle of the table is a cutting mat which I swap back and forth with a silicone soldering iron mat, depending on what I'm doing).  In the drawers are my extra meter cables, soldering tips, solder, screwdrivers, driver bits, pliers, cutters, screws, heat shrink tubing, desoldering pump, zip ties, etc.  Most of the stuff I need any time I'm tinkering.  I used to keep all this in a toolbox and in various containers and it's great to have immediate access to it.

Not shown here is my Electrix light/magnifying lens mounted in the back-left corner of the desk with an LED replacing the original halogen bulb.

Out in the garage, I keep all of my wire, connectors, project boxes, prototyping PCBs, resistors, caps, etc.  I still need to get a variety pack of diodes, transistors, some more Deoxit, etc.

In case anyone is curious, here's the bare table and my simple modifications to it.  I added a backstop with holes in it so I could run power cables through easily.  There's a power strip attached to the back of this backstop in the middle and on the corners is a small backstop so nothing sneaks off the back corners of the table.  The wood was cut to size, sanded, and sprayed with clear lacquer paint to protect it from bumps.

And then there was a bottom shelf!

Almost immediately after getting the table, I realized that the bottom legs were pretty well designed to be able to put a bottom shelf for more under-table storage, such as my (fairly lightweight!) hobby toolboxes, drill, shoes, stuff like that, so after finally getting around to doing it, I made one.  Since it's just a shelf and not anything fancy it's just 1/2" plywood and 2x4 are underneath for strength.  It's overkill but the other option of 1x2's or 1x3's were almost too thin to really be that sturdy, so 2x4's it was.  The 2x4's sit on the top of the flat parts of the legs on both sides of the vertical portion of the legs and then one in the back which (with some additional shimming) sits on the leg support which runs between the legs.

This gives me about 19x44 inches of space, plus the backside is enclosed so I can pile up a few pairs of shoes or lean a bag in there with no problem.  I made sure that the addition does not interfere with the table itself even when lowered or raised all the way.  It also does not interfere with me pulling up a chair or standing at the desk.

Some light sanding and a few coats of lacquer later and I have a pretty decent smooth surface and a durable surface for additional junk on my work table for years to come.  There is one obvious issue; stamps on the plywood.  My original idea was to just paint the whole thing a dark color and not worry about markings on the wood but since the rest of the table is a natural wood color I went ahead and did a clear lacquer.  I got pretty lucky in most respects about markings/ink/etc on the plywood except the very front lip has the remains of a large green stamp applied to the side of the stack of plywood.  So yeah, that'll bug me for the next 20 years but that's life.  I tried sanding it off and it wasn't getting any lighter so I am going to live with it.  And another minor annoyance; the table is harder to roll after adding 20 pounds of wood to it and now I wish I'd tried something lighter than 2x4's but it is what it is.  And here's the result!

Freshly lacquered and dried enough to assemble