I always find myself in cramped quarters – or – I tend to fill my room up with lots of stuff that requires space to use – tomato/tomàto. Take your pick, but either way leaves me with more hobbies than I have room. When I moved, I sold my sewing cabinet and jewelers bench. The bench gave me a great work space, but left a lot to be desired for storage. My sewing cabinet worked well for storage, but it took more room than it provided, and weighed as much as a Volkswagen. I decided when I moved to get two workbenches, one for jewelry, beading and crafts, and the other for sewing and fiber arts. I found these workbenches at Harbor Freight, known for their cheap stuff, this item is quite sturdy. I bought the first one right after moving, and I’ve been happy with it. It’s solid, smooth, and provides work space and storage. It also weighs 113 lbs, so it took me a while to get the other one. I was using a table to put my sewing machines on. It stuck out too far in the room, the work space was inefficient and zilch on storage.
Now I have my second workbench, thanks to Mark and the Black Friday sale. This workbench is just as heavy as I remember. The second bench has had some disappointments. There was a crucial screw missing (thankfully I have those lying around everywhere), there was lots of pre-drilling to be done, and the finish on the bench is awful. There is a great deal of rough raw wood. It will need to be sanded and lacquered before it can be used. The assembly was quite simple for me. I’ve put more “assembly required” things together than I know what to do with. The only part I really don’t care for is putting drawers together. It just seems like they should already come assembled. I expect the drawers to be sturdy as the screws and wood used are both substantial. It has four drawers to keep all my sewing notions together. The bottom shelf is a great place to keep fiber processing equipment and other “do dads” that are otherwise stuffed randomly around the room. It has a vise (while I shouldn’t need a vise for fiber arts, one never knows) and holes for pegs to hold items stationary, I’ve had lots of ideas for those. It’s all together, and I’m really happy with the sturdiness of the bench. It provides a great surface to work and some storage for $129. Unfortunately, I’ll sink another $22 in lacquer and a brush.
There’s a list of criteria I consider with storage and work station items. What is its footprint (how much premium floor space will it consume)? How much will it hold, and will it hold the item properly? Will it interrupt the traffic or work flow of the space? That one’s important, as I didn’t gain a lot of extra square foot in work surface, it sits more than a foot closer to the wall – giving more room to move around. What’s needed to install it, do I need to attach it to the wall or hang it from the ceiling or just assemble it? Will it tidy an existing mess or eyesore, and will it make the tedious part of art (hunting down supplies and setting up) more efficient and less a chore? Do I like the way it looks??? Having my tools on display isn’t for the random occasional guest, it’s for me. I buy or make the tools that I like, and I like to see them. I like having my tools and equipment displayed for me to choose from, not dig through a pile and hunt down. I have some over the door shoe organizers that hold skeins of yarn and balls of crochet cotton. I have two filled and two left to use (I’m running out-of-doors). I’ll have to hang some of them from the walls, or quit buying and making yarn – I’ll just get the hammer out now. I still need to figure out how to organize fabric on a small-scale.