Friday, 13 April 2012

My Workbench

Setting up a decent workspace in the eventual aim of most painters. It's important to me. You can tell by the fact that my workbench is the background of my Blog how important it is. It is my "oasis of calm" away from SWIMBO or just the man cave.
The workbench never normally looks this clear

A small area is all that many of us have so we make the most of it. For a long time I had about three feet on window sill and a box to put my paints in. This wasn't ideal but it worked for me. Over time, this got to be inadequate for my needs in not an outright hindrance when I paint.

The central feature is the mug. Tea not coffee. I'm English but don't hold that against me. I was thinking of giving all my project a brew rating from one to five.  depending on how lon they take.

When I eventually acquired too much stuff just to leave it on the table, I had to look for something better.

There are a number of systems for sale. These seem relatively expensive for what they are. Many are geared up to the paints of a particular manufacturer. If this works for you, fantastic. My advice would be to go with what work for you, every time but this wasn't for me.

The first step was to rebuild some shelves to get the paints of the table, this quickly turned into two shelves. The second shelf was designed to work a bit differently. As well as having some space for paints, it became a space to store other resources, big paint pots and a place where half completed projects could hide in plain sight.

My main workspace is a 45cm (18”) x 60cm (24”) cutting mat so I decided to work everything around it. Over the years I have replaced the mat twice and something consistently at the core of what I do is always a bonus. I looked for a commercial alternatives and decided that they were still not for me.

Given the dimensions of the mat I opted to buy some wood and get it cut to fit around it. I mainly use Games Workshop paints which have many incarnations in pot size. I also use Revel, Vallejo and Humberol acrylics. Privateer P3 paints and those in similar jars should nicely along side the older GW paints. If you use paints from Vallejo or battleground or any squeeze pot paint they are all identical in shape the shelves are marginally smaller. The bases are all fairly close in terms of absolute dimensions.

Either way you require pieces of wood that fit the shapes needed. I have found that 34mm x 44mm or 44mm x 44mm work well and they have a pretty much uninterrupted view of the colours in the pots. 44mm x 44mm even allow the revel paints to be laid on their side so the labels can be seen and even Tamiya fit on well. These are also the sizes you will find available at all good DIY shops.

A word from the wise, think big when you build your own workbench. Use all the space you have. I put this set up together a few years ago and I am already looking to expand the set-up. When I get round to improving my workbench, I'll publish some pictures.

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