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Rebuilding Bench - Bench Mk.II


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This has been stewing for some time and I am finally getting to it.  My bench is a nearly 20 year old "U" shaped office desk.  My job(s) were always Virtual Based which was nice as corporate/manufacturing was typically several hundred miles away and my boss equally separated.  As long as I met or exceeded budget forecast I was left alone.  I missed all the office drama and politics, I just cranked the sales numbers.  That said, I needed a nice set up.


Years of use the "pressed wood" was beginning to warp and the joints were weak.  This set up served me well for my return to modelling in 2012.  I needed something bigger and everything is getting a make over


It's a complete overhaul of the ManCave:

  • New Bench
  • Acrylic Photo Table
  • Revised exercise area
  • New desk
  • New shelves and entertainment center

Birth of my bench was a consolidation of my work desk and grad school desk.   Prime directive from wife was "no fumes allowed".  Spray Booth installed with exhaust configuration.









Exhaust detail.  Vents mounted on 1/4" board, then installed in open window during paint sessions.  Really happy with results and effectiveness.

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I approve of these improvements. They have my blessing.  :thumbsup2:  :thumbsup2:  :thumbsup2:


All you need now is some modular stuff, courtesy of the finest modular workbench manufacturer in Poland!

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I approve of these improvements. They have my blessing.  :thumbsup2:  :thumbsup2:  :thumbsup2:


All you need now is some modular stuff, courtesy of the finest modular workbench manufacturer in Poland!

Thank you Father!


Seems you have secured all of Europe's Modular supply.

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  • 1 month later...

Wow, I have a similar set-up as you! I even have the same paint booth, but I like your exhaust method much better. I have a Mr Gunze exhaust end that is pinched between the open window as it is closed. The outlet is a slit.


I'm going to build myself a board similar to yours!

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  • 1 month later...

Ok, summer is over, kids back in school albeit it's bittersweet as I do miss them already.  Finally resuming my bench rebuild. 


First, I tore down Bench Mk.I and moved my desk, formally grad school desk, to kid's playroom.  New desk, Ikea corner desk, is now at other side of room.  55" x 30" x 13" book cases x3 and a 40" flat screen TV, courtesy of my wife's PR firm moving across town, are on their way.


Corner desk installed to new spot across the room.  Lots of tidying up to do.   The new book cases will eliminate the current clutter and boxes.



Old photo table is very basic using a 48" x 24" folding table with and CFL lights.



Now it's on to the new photo table.



Photo table is plexiglass 40" x 80" (1m x 2m) I picked up from www.thelashop.com via eBay and looks like this. 


This has been sitting with my stash for over 2 years and I am finally getting this set up.  BTW, props to DoogsATX for the lead on this photo table.  Look forward to having some base lighting and I hope my photography results will come close to his outstanding photo work.




The frame construction was a breeze.  My existing photo lamps will come in handy for underside lighting.  However, unrolling and installing the plexiglass to the frame is gonna be like bear wrestling.  So to make it a little easier...



The plexiglass is unrolled and held down with assist of some hand weights and a weight bar.  The next day I was able to wrestle the plexiglass with somewhat relative ease. 



I started laying the plexiglass on the front bar and worked my way up.  At the "wall" I turned the plexiglass back and secured with clamps to give it the required bend.  24 hours I will resume securing the plexiglass to the "wall".


The old bench has been dismantled.  For the new bench I will build several 24" x 48" x 36" work benches. 



Front view. 

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Welcome to the photo table club!

Matt - I am really stoked about this table.  2 years in the making, been wanting this set up for a long time.   A table with back lighting was often used for Process Photography to eliminate correction cuts on galleys and art boards and I am thrilled to apply this model, albeit somewhat different, for studio photography. 


My undergrad degree is Graphic Arts and was a few credits shy of Photography minor, so my inner geekness is all excited.  Of course those were the stone age days.  Darkroom, Plus X or Illford, changing bags, bulk load film with 100ft rolls, chemistry, red & green filters, dodge & burn...fun times.  I did plenty of color, however, I enjoyed B&W much more.  Now if I could just master PhotoShop (my PS skill set is average at best) to the level of my darkroom days.


Right now my current angst is deciding on 12x12 or 20x20 light boxes.

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Plexiglass has been beaten into submission.  Secured with additional Irwin clamps for 2 days the plexiglass is now trained to desired shape.  Irwin clamps removed and I will be watching closely for any "memory" relapses with the plexiglass. 


Really stoked about my new and improved photo studio. 






Bench construction begins tomorrow.  Picking up materials today.

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You don't really need Photoshop for model photography (unless you're doing crazy stuff or adding text/titles) - I use Lightroom for ~95% of everything I do.


And yeah - I learned old school as well, on a fully manual Nikkormat, processing the film myself, working in the darkroom. I think digital is a million times better, but I do kinda miss those days.

Been hankering on the Lightroom.  Currently using CS3 PS.  I like adding text to pics.  Perhaps when Bench/Mancave complete I might take Lightroom for a test drive.


Instructors famous words:  "10 Tonal Ranges" and "Color Is For Color Sake".  My prime directive is: "Details"


Darkroom skills is indeed a vanishing art.  There were many variables to control and many variables to add.  BTW my cameras were Mamiya Sekor 500DTL and Olympus OM10 with all the goodies, lenses, auto-wind, etc.  Still have my Olympus.

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  • 2 months later...



This has been a long road.  Finally ready to start the bench build.  No bench action since June and I am chomping at the bit.




#1 Pine 2 x 2 ready for staining.  Will apply same stain on the plywood top and bottom shelf.





Legs and braces cut.  It begins.





Leg Levelers mounted.

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Bottom frame complete.



Stained plywood mounted.  Next to the top.



One down one to go.  Hope to finish bench #2 this weekend.



Booyeah!  Didn't need those Leg Levelers.  My ability to cut straight is not lost.



Boo-fracking-yeah!  Will fine tune with the Leg Levelers.



Second bench will nest to right against the wall.  Same length 6' and will be about 9 inches lower to accommodate the spray booth. 

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Looking fantastic Rick!


One suggestion for your bench... You should look into using some curved skirting around the edge of your bench makes a huge difference!


Here is my first bench that I built over 10 years ago...





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Very nice woodworking Dave.


My plan is to add "Quarter Round" (your version of Curved Skirting) then apply a varnish on all surfaces except the top.  The top will get a coating of polyurethane finish.


I considered building a bench similar to your model.  However I wanted portability and a shelf.  Hobby Zone modules on order.


This the current status of your bench?  So clean and tidy!

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This one is about 6 inches lower to accommodate my paint booth. 



Add brackets and Leveling Legs.



Framing almost complete.



Add finishing molding, varnish and get back to business.  Hobby Zone Modules on they way.

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  • 2 months later...



Been awhile since I posted an update.  Family and life got in the way again.  :)  Twisted my knee (not the bionic one) and a tore Medial Meniscus.  Surgery in 2 weeks, outpatient.



Finish molding complete.  Time for some varnish.



Filled the screw holes with epoxy and sanded flush prior to varnish application.



Varnish completed.  Let cure for a few days.


HobbyZone modules on deck.

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I really needed some type of organization on my bench as things get cluttered too quick.  Further, SWMBO suggested I keep things neater than I have in the past.  Reminding me this is not the garage.  After hearing rave reviews on HobbyZone Modules I thinned my stash and bought a nice set up.


For me these are worth the investment.  Assembly is EZ.  Take your time and use clamps and a good wood glue.  The magnets were somewhat a pain.  After the first module assembly the pace picked up rather quickly.


Noting, I spent about 2 hours a day for 5 days putting these modules together.



25kg worth of HobbyZone Modules arrived secure and well packed.  Each module is well packed in its own "pizza style" carton complete with protective bubble wrap and sheets.



Corner Drawers Module OM03.  Lay out all components and follow the instructions.  TEST FIT, TEST FIT, TEST FIT.



Corner Drawers Module OM03.  Fit all internal components.  You only need to glue the outside walls, top, bottom.  Be sure to add the back and then clamp to keep things square.



Corner Drawers Module OM03.  Center drawer.  Lord knows what I will put in these.  Perhaps a few maduros.



Drawers Module x6 OM01.  Dryfit internal shelves (components) then glue top/bottom of sides.  Be sure to glue the back before glue sets on the sides.  This will help with keeping things square.



Ending Corner Modules OM11.  EZ assembly, take your time, follow instructions, test fit and use clamps.



Paint Hanger Ver.2 26mm bottles (Vallejo) assembly started out kinda squirlly. 


PRO TIP:  Dry fit all components then fit each side.  Carefully clamp then glue only top and bottom.



Dry fit and securely clamped.  Add a drop of glue and position top.  Everything locks into place.



Boom!  Done.



Modules complete.   It took me a while to figure out where to put things which would be convenient for me.





Bench Mk.II now complete.  Now lets fill up the modules.



After about a week or so I figured out where to put everything.  My old 24" x 48" photo table has been recycled to be the "On Deck Table", ODT.  This allows me to work on multiple builds at the same time.  Spend a few sessions on one build, place on the ODT.  Bring another build to the bench and get to work.  Keeps my little head fresh and holds my interest.  No trips to shelf of doom.  Build, ODT, Repeat.


Am currently working on Revell/AIMS Ju88 Mistel 2, Hasegawa/Planet FW190C, MDC Typhoon, Tamiya 1/48 Mossie, Hobby Boss 1/48 A29 Super Tucano (USMC Lo-Vis version with FLIR and GBU12 load out) and 2 Eduard 1/144 Spitfires.


Will be ordering another wall Paint Hanger as my Gunze collection is growing and I will be giving Mr. Paint a try very soon. 


The photo table is behind the ODT.


WIP reports incoming soon.

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