A workbench made of unfinished pine with a hardboard top. There are two shelves on the left and six drawers on the right.
My new mobile workbench, made partially with wood salvaged from an old stationary bench.

I enjoy woodworking. For the past twenty years, I’ve enjoyed it more in theory than in practice. I’ve started many more projects than I finished. My garage workshop was disorganized and difficult to work in. This year, my father and I decided to change the way we work.

First, work on only one project at a time. Too often, we get blocked on one project, so we start another. Clutter builds up and we abandon projects because pieces get accidentally repurposed, or we make mistakes that ruin something, etc. Then we clean up a little but not enough and start the cycle again. No more of that. One project at a time until it’s done. If we get blocked, we figure out how to get un-blocked.

Second, don’t buy any new tools without knowing where we will put them. We both like gadgets. We both will buy a tool that seems cool, but isn’t useful more than a couple of times. Often, we could have accomplished its purpose with something we already have. Also, we often buy more powerful tools than we need. My compound miter saw is a monster more suited for a professional cabinet maker than a hobbyist.

Third, organize the shop better. We had a lot of surfaces that attracted clutter. Beneath them, dead space. Right now, our projects are focused on making better use of the space we have. We’ve built some shallow storage racks that make better use of wall space than plastic shelving and cabinets. Those racks made it easier to see what we have and get our hands on what we need.

After that, we rebuilt an old workbench. I wanted to add shelves and drawers. I also wanted it to be mobile. The old one couldn’t be moved. I salvaged about half the wood from the old bench and built the new one pictured above. I designed it to double as a runout surface for my table saw. Six drawers and two shelves made space for a lot of tools that had been lying around on bench tops.

Currently, I’m adding a quartet of drawers beneath my other workbench. I’ll finish them during lunch breaks this week. Then I can organize a few more things before I start another project.