Workshop power and other progress

I’ve made more progress on my home workshop this week – most notably, by adding a ledge along the back of the storage cabinets:

Overview - Workshop cabinet ledge

This ledge accomplishes several things.

– The room is not square so one leg of the L-shaped cabinets projected away from the wall. At the extreme, it’s about three inches out. There was a gap between cabinets and wall. Now, thanks to the ledge, there isn’t.

– The long leg of this ledge – about 10 feet worth of space – will make an excellent location for a set of test tracks in various gauges.

– The raised ledge allowed me to elegantly mount two power bars at the back of the counter – one on each leg of the L. This arrangement will also keep cords off the test tracks.

To create the ledge, I purchased several more drawer fronts from IKEA. I matched these to the widths of the drawers in the cabinets so, for example, I put a 36″ front behind the 36″ cabinet, and 18″ fronts behind the 18″ cabinets.

I built supporting blocks out of a clear pine board, drilling them where required for wire runs. I then fitted them with magnetic catches from Lee Valley Tools (Part 00S16.01) so I could attach the drawer fronts securely but still remove them for access to run power bar cords, wiring for test tracks, and so on:

Workshop cabinet ledge - power feeds

A wire coat hanger, with a 90-degree bend in one end can slip between the top of the drawer front and the bottom of the shelf (made from 1″x6″ clear pine) and then be rotated 90 degrees and used to pull the drawer front off the magnetic catches.

The two panels fitted with power bars are permanently attached, since they must resist the force of unplugging cords:

Workshop cabinet ledge - power bars

A pair of metal cable grommets from Lee Valley Tools (Part 00U11.50) provided a tidy method to pass the power cables through the drawer fronts.

I purchased more of the cork tiles I used on the main surface and glued them to the top of the shelf to continue the look – and provide a roadbed for my test tracks. A 10-foot run should be plenty to check and program locomotives:

Workshop - Test Track area

Workshop - Test Track area

I still have to build in-drawer dividers to organize my tools and materials, but I will start loading the cabinets right away, and then go back and create those dividers – one drawer at a time – once I figure out what’s needed in each drawer.

Narrower drawers will be used for heavy items, like mill accessories and track building tools:

Workshop Drawers

Wider drawers will be used for larger, lighter items – like strip wood:

Workshop Drawers

I’ve even figured out a potential use for the corner cabinet. I have a number of Festool power tools, which in turn come with many accessories. They fit nicely in the carousels in the corner cabinet, putting everything within easy reach:

Workshop - Corner Cabinet

I’m not sure they’ll stay there in the long run – but it works for now.

There’s still lots to do to get this space ready for use, but the investment is paying off. I’ve spent many hours in this new workshop already, to build this new workshop – and I’m enjoying it, a lot! I look forward to many more hours in this space, working on projects for my layout.

11 thoughts on “Workshop power and other progress

  1. Wow! My wife has now suggested that I need to emulate your example when my son comes to build the RR room wall this week – definitely a lofty goal.

  2. Enough already! Stop!

    With each post the workshop just keeps getting better and better. It looks amazing. Wow!

    So well lit (naturally), good storage both in terms of amount and quality, as well as well designed. Just perfect.


  3. After building a couple pieces of Ikea furniture for the first time this past weekend, I have much admiration for your efforts! That is one fantastic looking work area, I for sure would have it a mess in no time.

  4. Well, thanks everyone for the positive feedback!
    I’d just like to stress that I’m not sharing my workshop build to make others jealous. Like everything on this blog, I’m simply recording what I’m doing. (Blogs were, after all, initially conceived as a “web log” – an online journal or diary.)
    Partly, it’s to remind myself what I did, so I can maintain it (for example, if I need to replace a door front it would be handy to know when I bought the originals, so I can find the receipt in my files).
    And partly, it’s to inspire others: a well-designed workshop that’s a pleasant space to spend time is a place you’ll want to go and build things. Better models will result.
    The workshop may look unusual as a place to build railway models – for example, why the big counter with no way to work at it? But I’m drawing my inspiration from wood-working shops that I’ve admired, in which projects are assembled on a central bench while the tools and materials are well organized around the perimeter, ready to hand. In fact, I’d like to try my hand at some wood-working in the near future, so the workshop will serve two purposes…

  5. Possibly because it took so long to get going: the first two series were quite pedestrian, the third started to pick up, ut it was 4, 5 and 6 where it hit its stride, but fell off again after that.
    None of the characters are particularly likeable, either.

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