Workshop counter: “Subroadbed”

Workshop - Counters

My friend Doug Currie came over yesterday afternoon, and together we cut and installed the “subroadbed” level of the counter for my workshop cabinets.

“Subroadbed” is the perfect term for this, since I used a popular subroadbed material for my counter: 3/4″ plywood. I actually used two layers of 3/4″ ply, with each layer staggered to overlap the joints between sheets and the layers glued to each other with “No More Nails”.

For this project, I had the lumber yard cut 4×8 foot panels into 2×4 sheets, which were the perfect depth for the counter and easier to swing about the shop – it’s spacious, but not that big. A track saw and my work table, which is drilled for bench dogs, made short work of cutting panels to length.

Workshop - Counters

As the above photo shows, the plywood lines up with the front face of the drawers: I’ll add a nice trim piece along the front edge of the counter, which will provide a small overhang. Before I do that, I’ll repaint the walls above the cabinets and then install my replaceable surface (the “roadbed”, if you will).

Finally, I’ll built a raised shelf along the back of the counter, on which I will be able to lay test tracks of various scales and gauges. And I have a pair of power bars to mount – one above each leg of the L.

Meantime, I’ve already started to move some tools into place to get an idea of how I can set up the counter:

Workshop - Counters

The corner (at left) will be home to the Sherline Mill I picked up from a friend back (gulp!) in 2012. It’s well past time I started using the thing – and once I have the space set up, I’ll be able to do that. Other items that will find space on the counter include a sensitive drill press and a tap holder, a sharpening station, a sanding station, soldering station and resistance soldering unit, plus in-progress projects and … well, you get the idea. Now you know why I wanted such a larger counter.

With the notable exception of the mill, it’s expected that most of these tools will be moved from the counter to the work-table when needed. My friend Chris Abbott and I are already planning how that table will be set up as a flexible work space.

(Thanks for the help yesterday, Doug – much appreciated!)

13 thoughts on “Workshop counter: “Subroadbed”

  1. I’ll follow along on the work table flexible work space. I have a similar high-level goal in mind; store tools here, work with tools there.


  2. Appreciate you doing these “follow along” projects, Trevor. Those of us stuck behind computers all day felt abandoned by Tim Warris.
    These kinds of entries give us inspiration and a little escape . . . during our break times of course.

  3. Simple tip I was given years ago:
    Keep your sharpening station well away from everything else, to minimise the chance (however slight) of grinding dust getting into anything mechanical.

    • Absolutely, Simon. The fine abrasive (once airborne) is liable to get into all sorts of unwanted places. Not so bad if it’s all hand-sharpening being done (rather than via grinder) and better if done wet. Lots of good examples available of how to make up a small, portable sharpening station though.

  4. You have the envy of all modellers with that work shop! Nice and spacious and well organized. Good for you.
    Cheers, Gord

    • Thanks Seth!
      I still need to finish the top of the counter – and the space at the back where the counter meets the wall. There’s a gap – my walls are not square – but I have a plan to fill that.
      Stay tuned…

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