This is 9 Tidy Workbench Organization Ideas. In this post I’ll show you several great ideas for keeping your workbench organized and clean. This will make you a better woodworker.
Workbench Organization Ideas
Being both the problem too and the solution for work bench organization, you definitely need to do everything you can to make sure that your bench is set up for productivity. A dirty, disorganized bench is definitely not a good place to work.
Coming up, I’ll show you some great tips to keep your bench organized, and they will help you get the most from the space. They will also help you produce better work, because you’ll be less cluttered, and less frustrated.
See Also: 15 Helpful Woodworking Bench Design Tips
Keep Your Bench Mostly Clear
The first thing that you should know, and this one is more important than any of the others is to keep your bench mostly clear at all times. The more stuff you decide to cram on your bench, the more cluttered it will be, even when it’s kept clean.
While there is nothing wrong with having some frequently used tools, maybe even a couple of bins, and some small storage spaces, you definitely don’t want to make a habit of stacking things on your working space.
Instead, make it a point to keep most of these things in another place, though they can be near your bench if necessary. Again, the less stuff to pile on your bench in the beginning, the easier it will be to keep it organized in the end.
Have Frequently Used Items Nearby
Organization also comes with having your tools that you frequently use nearby. They do not have to be on top of the bench though, they can be underneath in a drawer. You can also have a pegboard nearby to which is great.
Keeping the tools nearby will help you resist the urge to store them on your bench, which creates more clutter. The more you can keep away from the bench, the more free you will feel, and the easier it will be to complete different projects.
Especially in the case of projects that require more space, it can already be enough of a challenge if you don’t have to clear off room. Make a habit of storing your tools in a nearby place that’s not your bench, and you won’t have to worry when a big project comes your way.
Put Drawers Under the Bench for Storage
A fantastic way to deal with tools and address the storage issue is to just simply put drawers underneath your bench. These are super easy to pull off, and all you need to do is pick up a set of heavy duty drawer slides to make it happen.
Be careful when you’re making drawers though, especially if you’ve never done it before. Large drawers can get very heavy when they’re filled with tools. Instead of making very large drawers, make smaller, and shallower drawers instead.
This is a double benefit, because you get more storage space, but you also get to spread that storage space out a little bit. This means you can categorize and organize better. Also, shallow drawers make it harder to bury things.
Don’t Leave Random Things on Your Bench
The exception to this is when you’re in the middle of a project, but in general if you make it a good habit to just put things away when you’re done with them, you won’t have to worry about cluttering up your bench, and taking up your valuable space.
Most woodworking benches are only about 2 feet by 6 feet. This is only 12 square feet of working space, so every inch is at a premium. Instead of just leaving random things on your bench, find a good place for them, a permanent place, and put them there.
Most of the time the randoms that end up on your bench are just things that you don’t really have an official home for the shop. Instead of piling them on your bench, take the time to create an official home, and put them there.
Make the decisions that you need to make, and address each item fully instead of just dumping it on the workbench and coming back to it later.
Clean the Bench After Every Working Session
Now, this doesn’t mean clean inside and out. What it does mean is that you put away all the tools, all of the random stuff that you used to complete the project, and anything else that doesn’t belong.
Nothing should remain on your bench except the things that are meant to live there, which if you paid attention to the first tip, you’ll know it should be very minimal.
In reality, cleaning is a chore, and nobody likes to do it. However, you really only need about five minutes in order to just put away everything when you’re done. Resist the urge to just walk away and instead put everything away and clean up before you leave.
This is the woodworking equivalent of making your bed. It’s so nice to come home to a well-made bed, and it’ll help you sleep better too. It only takes five minutes, or less, and you can have that amazing sleep every night.
The same goes for your bench. Clean it after every session, and it will feel much better the next time you head out into the shop to do some work.
Have One Main Working Section of Your Bench
One way to keep at least part of your bench clear at all times is to have an official section where you do the majority of your work. For most woodworkers, this is the center section, where you would naturally stand at a carpenters bench.
If your bench is configured a little bit differently, or you have storage in a certain area, feel free to pick a different part of your bench that works for you. After all, that’s what this is about.
When you have an official area that you do the most of your work, it will be easy to keep it clean because you’ll just have the feeling that it’s supposed to be. You’ll naturally not put things in that area and it’ll be easier for you to maintain a good working surface.
See Also: How to Find a Good Woodworking Bench
Put Your Toolbox By Your Bench
Something that is really easy to do if you are the type of person that likes to leave tools on your bench is to just move your toolbox closer. I don’t recommend putting it on your bench, but if you can get it nearby, that’s perfect.
What this allows you to do is take maybe one or two steps, and you have full access to your entire selection of tools, or at least a very good chunk of them. Now, you don’t have to worry about leaving them on your bench, because you’re only a step away.
If you have a rolling toolbox this is even easier, because you can just roll it over to yourself when you’re working, and then roll it back to put it away. If you don’t, maybe make a smaller stand that can hold your toolbox and leave it a little closer to your workbench.
Keep the Drawers Very Clean
I made a really big mistake on my workbench, so I know firsthand about keeping drawers clean, and how important this is. The mistake? When I built my drawers, I forgot all about the dog holes on the top of my bench.
Yep, every single time I make a project, sawdust and debris falls through those holes and fills up my drawers. Well, at least it fills up the top drawer.
I didn’t really notice it at first until I did several projects, and I noticed a bunch of piles that were in the same place as the dog holes, just inside the drawer.
Since the drawers are a done deal, I now make it a point to keep my insides of my drawers very clean, which is something I recommend for you as well. Dusty, dirty drawers are no fun to work out of, and your tools will thank you too.
Hang a Clamp Rack from the Side of the Bench
Finally, since clamps are something that you’re going to use all the time as a woodworker, you want to keep them close. If you don’t put a clamp rack on your wall, it’s a pretty good idea to put one on the front or side of your workbench.
This depends of course on your workbench geometry, and if you have a place for them. If you have a bench that is not up against the wall, you can put a clamp rack on the opposite side of where you stand.
If your bench is up against the wall, think about putting it on the side. If you need to do the same trick that you do with your toolbox, you can put a clamp rack really close to the bench, that way you’ll always have them handy when you need them.
See Also: 9 Great Tips for Storing Wood Clamps
Your Action Assignment
Now that you know all about bench organization in the woodworking shop, it’s time to get out in there and take action. Don’t just read a bunch of awesome tips and not do anything, actually get out there and make a difference for yourself.
The first thing I recommend is just cleaning up and de-cluttering your bench in general. If you’re the kind of person that stores every tool you own on that bench, you’ll be super happy when you finally see what the surface looks like.
Keep it clean, and incorporate some of the other techniques to keeping it organized at all times. It’s just like making your bed, but with a little bit more sawdust.
If you have any questions about workbench organization, please post a question and I’ll be happy to answer them. Happy building.
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