Archive for 2011

Workbench With a Drain

Sunday, October 23rd, ©2011 Marcus Brooks
Workbench built in a bathtub.

My new workbench in the spare bath.

In case you haven’t noticed, it’s been a while since my last post. Shea and I recently moved out of my brother’s house to a new apartment, so we’ve been going through somewhat of an adjustment and settling in period.

For a while it looked like I was going to have to shoehorn all my activities into one side of our nominal second bedroom, which will serve as our shared office. This was likely to be uncomfortable for me and distracting for Shea, who objects to many of the noises, smells, and clouds of dust that some of my projects produce.

Then I had an epiphany. We both use the apartment’s master bath, so the rather large guest/family bathroom was more-or-less unspoken-for. I spoke! Borrowing from the idea of a darkroom I once  set up in our old house, I decided to build a workbench over the guest bathtub.

The bench is supported over the bathtub by two full-lap joined frames of 1″ x 2″ furring strip (actually 3/4″ x 1-1/2″). The uprights and crosspieces fit snugly into the tub, with about 1/8″ allowance all around for heavy felt pads to protect the tub finish. (The tub and faux tile were recently resurfaced with some kind of easily-chipped coating.) The top and bottom shelves are 12″ particle board shelving, cut to fit snugly between the tile walls (also with felt pads). Furring strip blocks under the shelves key onto the side frames to lock the whole assembly in place.

The main work  surface is a nominal 2′ x 4′ sheet of 5/8″ particle board, which for some reason measures 24″ x 49″ as it came from Lowe’s. This worktop slots between the two top rails of the side frames. Hard plastic nail-in chair glides act as cantilever bearings so the worktop can slide in and out easily. This lets me stow it behind the curtain, or extend it for use. Two more felt pads on the back edge protect the tile.

Particle board is far too flexible for this use by itself, so I selected and planed some furring strips to act as stiffeners. The main surface is stiffened with two strips in each dimension. The shelves each have one (less rigorously flat) stiffener. All lap joints and stiffeners are secured with carpenter’s glue and countersunk 1-1/4″ bugle-head screws.

I might add a couple of shelves or some other refinements, but this thing is practically finished. I think I got  it done about as cheaply as I could hope, and yet I’m fairly confident that it will serve well. Now I’ve got a place to work on a number of other settling-in projects that have been waiting; plus some fun!