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Old 10-08-2009, 01:30 AM   #1
Jack Olsen
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Default My 'Compliance Station'

My garage has a lot of work surfaces. I've got a main general purpose work bench, a fold-down wood working bench, a counter by the sink, a drafting-table-style bench, a small portable welding table and a larger fold-down welding table. I've also got a lot of storage, thanks to some big cabinets that were put in when the garage was built in 1925, some shelves and cabinets I've added, and a separate shed I built.

But I finished a long-term work project recently, and started to hear the siren cry that maybe most garage owners hear when they've got a few extra dollars in their pocket -- 'more storage, one more work bench...'

You know the cry.

My garage was originally cleaned up and redone during a strike that kept both my wife and I out of work for 100 days. Understandably, it was done on a pretty modest budget ($500, with another $500 for the floor when I got the idea of ceramic tile in my head). I like it the way it is -- I'm not a shiny diamond plate chrome cabinet guy. But my welding table is only 1/8" thick, which means I can't really go at it with a hammer. So the idea of a heavier work surface held some appeal to me. And steel prices are pretty low right now.

So an idea started to form about building a bench where I could bang on anything to my heart's content. Do I NEED a heavy surface just for that? No. Do I WANT a heavy surface just for that?

I guess I do, since an idea started forming in my head last month and before I knew it I'd picked up a cabinet on ebay that looked to be able to shoulder the weight of the 1" thick 30"x60" plate I was imagining for my bench top without any issue at all. The cabinet is made of heavy gauge steel and is rated for 1,900 pounds per shelf. It's made by a company called Strong Hold and weighs 360 pounds all by itself. Getting it home and out of the Jeep broke one of the 2x4s I was using as a ramp. But I got it.



A grinding wheel made short work of the legs, which meant it would be 36" tall instead of 42".



Next burden for the old Jeep? A 510-pound slab of plate steel. Next burden for the old Jeep owner? Figuring out a way to get the 510-pound piece of steel out of the Jeep and onto the cabinet. I took it slow and easy. I am NOT a guy who can lift 510 pounds. I'm also not a guy who wants to see a 510-pound weight fall onto my foot.

Since the 2x4s had not been fully up to the task of the cabinet, I used some 2"x4"x1/8" rectangular tubing. It's strong stuff.


Still, the steel isn't going to move itself. So I took a cue from the guys who built in the days before steam engines and used steel dowel rods to roll it very slowly over the tubing. This isn't a very good picture, but it's what I was working with.



It took a long time, since I'm cautious with stuff that can hurt me. But it worked.



Until I saw the bodged corner. I got the steel for a pretty good price, but it had one section that was cosmetically not up to snuff. The only way to move that to the back (and underside) was to rotate the piece and then flip it like a pancake.

Did I mention that it weighed 510 pounds?

You'll see my car jack and some 2x4 blocks in this picture. There's also a line to slow it down if it started to slide. I worked VERY slowly on this part.



That got it up on its side. Then I had to lower it back down. Since the wall I was lowering it against was a stucco surface (originally an exterior), I was able to use a system where I would clamp progressively shorter 2x4 lengths which I would release slowly (first one, then the other) and slowly let it move back down so its good side was up. This part was done even more slowly. I sweated a lot whenever it would slip a little.



I finally got the steel on top of the cabinet. I used sulfuric acid to clean off the mill scale. I haven't yet secured the steel to the cabinet top. But it's 510 pounds. I can jump on it all day and it's not going anywhere.


Last edited by Jack Olsen; 10-08-2009 at 02:04 AM.
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Old 10-08-2009, 01:30 AM   #2
Jack Olsen
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Default Re: My 'Compliance Station'

Then I tried it out with a 10" forged steel vise.



Paint came after that:



To hold hammers, I had a metal shelf that I botched up pretty badly when I tried removing a special-purpose shelf. I covered the messed-up sections with wood, which also meant I could use screws to hold the hammers in place.



There's still a lot of wasted space up above. So I started some more cabinets.



I wanted to do sliding cabinets instead of hinged ones. So I used the table saw to cut two channels in a set of 2x4s. It was easier than I thought it would be.





Then I put a skin on it. The reason for the curved section is two-fold. I wanted it to have the feel of a bench from the 1950s and 1960s, and I also wanted to be able to open the cabinet above my main wood bench.



I used a sliced up 2x4 for trim.



And more paint:



I was able to get two 12' lengths of 3" wide 1/8" aluminum for $12 each. They completed the retro look.

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Old 10-08-2009, 01:35 AM   #3
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Default Re: My 'Compliance Station'



This is what I used to have, which was all right for storage. The new bench is on the right side of this picture.



The total budget was in the $900 range. The wardrobe style cabinet on the right is metal, and cost me $30 off of Craigslist. The short one holding up the big new piece of steel is made by Strong Hold, and is thick gauge steel rated for, well, pretty much whatever you want to put on it (you can put in 1,900 pounds per shelf, according to the specs).

I'm also including a big cabinet I picked up on ebay that has doors with shelves in them. It was a little banged up, but I straightened it out enough to work.

Before:





After some paint:



Here's another angle that shows the lights I built into the undersides of the cabinets. They're motion activated, made out of one of those cheap outdoor security lights.


Last edited by Jack Olsen; 03-23-2010 at 10:41 AM.
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Old 10-08-2009, 01:41 AM   #4
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Default Re: My 'Compliance Station'

Since I'm on a roll (and your modem is totally destroyed) here are a few more pictures:





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Old 10-08-2009, 04:03 AM   #5
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Default Re: My 'Compliance Station'

Very nice. Do a lot of hammering? When I'm done with my garage, i'll be throwing up a socket set and wrenches. Guess I work on cars mostly, but Love what you have done with such a small space.
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Old 10-08-2009, 08:20 AM   #6
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Default Re: My 'Compliance Station'

A very nice build Mr. Jack Olson....That's using your head moving the 510# plate....you did good!
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Old 10-08-2009, 08:38 AM   #7
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Very Nice!! Love that steel work table.
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Old 10-08-2009, 08:40 AM   #8
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Default Re: My 'Compliance Station'

I'd love to have a top on a bench like that - sometimes you just need to whail away on something with a 2 lb hammer and that's perfect. Nice work, good inspiration + documentation.

Sulfuric acid to clean mill scale - interesting, pretty serious cleaner. I've never looked to see where you'd buy that. I can get HCL all day long from pool shops.
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Old 10-08-2009, 09:13 AM   #9
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Sulfuric acid to clean mill scale - interesting, pretty serious cleaner. I've never looked to see where you'd buy that. I can get HCL all day long from pool shops.
Go to an auto parts store and buy some battery acid for refilling car or motorcycle batteries. It's sulfuric acid diluted to 50%.
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Old 10-08-2009, 09:26 AM   #10
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Default Re: My 'Compliance Station'

Very classy.
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Old 10-08-2009, 09:26 AM   #11
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Default Re: My 'Compliance Station'

You can find sulphuric acid at a hardware or plumbing supply store, it's used to cut grease in drains.
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Old 10-08-2009, 09:35 AM   #12
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Default Re: My 'Compliance Station'

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Originally Posted by walperstyle View Post
Do a lot of hammering?
Of course he does, he's a Jeep guy. We know from hammers. I cannot speak to that streak of Porsche deviancy though...

Looks good!
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Old 10-08-2009, 09:40 AM   #13
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Default Re: My 'Compliance Station'

That's awesome!

Seriously though, did you knock off a hammer store?

Phil
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Old 10-08-2009, 09:46 AM   #14
Jack Olsen
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Default Re: My 'Compliance Station'



Be very careful with the sulfuric acid. Use the right gloves, face shield and other equipment when handling it. Have lots of baking soda and ammonia on hand. Don't breathe the fumes. Remember that it's going to expand in volume when you do neutralize it.

Naval Jelly (phosphoric acid) works fine for most stuff.
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Old 10-08-2009, 09:48 AM   #15
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Default Re: My 'Compliance Station'

wow very nice, i see you live by one of my sigs
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Old 10-08-2009, 10:04 AM   #16
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Default Re: My 'Compliance Station'

Jack,

I very much enjoyed the fence project, and glad to see that no one was injured in the man handling of that hunk of steel. I do have a quick question for you, I am originally from Southern California, and wondering what is with the plumbing in the ceiling of your garage?

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Old 10-08-2009, 10:20 AM   #17
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Default Re: My 'Compliance Station'

I'm sure glad I'm not on your speed dial the next time you have to move. That bench would be a killer.

Nice job.
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Old 10-08-2009, 10:32 AM   #18
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Default Re: My 'Compliance Station'

Great job,thanks for the pictures.
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Old 10-08-2009, 10:35 AM   #19
Jack Olsen
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Default Re: My 'Compliance Station'

Quote:
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wow very nice, i see you live by one of my sigs
No, I live by both of the lines in your signature.

Actually, hammering is really just the photo-op purpose of this bench. I have a pair of tubing benders that need to be bench mounted, and I needed a solid base for them. I have an idea for a way to do several different mounts with just one set of holes. (Or at least that's the plan -- there might be a 'design change' if that doesn't work.

Quote:
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I am originally from Southern California, and wondering what is with the plumbing in the ceiling of your garage?
Anyone's guess. The wall this is on was originally an exterior wall. There's (4" iron pipe?) venting for a bathroom that's in the adjacent office. There's also an exterior downspout running down the corner where my wood bench is. As haphazard as my construction might be, I've got nothing on the yahoos who worked on this place before me.
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Old 10-09-2009, 11:18 PM   #20
Dan in Pasadena
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Default Re: My 'Compliance Station'

Hi Jack,
I noticed you mention using your table saw but I don't see it in the garage anywhere. Is it a little contractor type saw that can be stored under a work bench or a full size table saw? I ask because I have a full size table saw in my similar-to-yours 80 year old garage
(in age only unfortunately!) and much as I love it when I need it, it eats up all my space.

Also, above your "main wood bench" on the wall adjacent to the new metal bench it looks like there is a small shallow cabinet above the peg board...or is that just a shelf u there? Hard to tell from the pictures. Best, Dan

EDIT: Oops, my bad. I checked more closely and now I see the saw in the middle of the garage behind a cabinet of some type. On my saw, the motor hangs out the back so far it really makes it awkward to store. It will not sit flush against a wall, even with the belt removed and the motor lifted. DOH! Its a good saw, I hate to sell it but I'm thinking of replacing it with a small contractor's type saw for occasional use.

Last edited by Dan in Pasadena; 10-09-2009 at 11:35 PM.
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