Putting Together a Better Kit Building Bench

One of the upcoming tasks here is putting together a better kit building bench. Thinking of adding a couple classic craftsmanship features to the usual electronics bench:

  • A Jeweler’s Apron – where the craftsman’s apron is attached to the front of the bench with a deep “bag,” giving anything dropped a secure place to hopefully find its home, rather than bouncing all over the place.
  • A panel of lighted-from-below translucent plastic work surface. Saw this done in an avionics shop in Germany many years ago, and admired the easy extra ability to work with “backlighting” added when appropriate.
  • Inverted “Third Hand” hanging from a shelf above & behind, rather than bench mounted. Saw this in a clockmaker’s shop in Gothenburg Sweden and notice how it kept the bench clear, swung up & out of the way, and allowed the work to be rotated on a more or less vertical axis with ease.
  • Hammering Plate inset into the bench, giving a small spot to give something a whack or bare down upon. A friend has given me a six inch long section of railroad track I will inset into the bench.
  • Inset cutting plastic block area. When I worked in England the shoemakers often worked on heavy plastic work surfaces that they could cut into, and when worn enough reface & reuse. I’ve sourced several pieces of leather press base and we have the machine to true it available.
  • Grounding touch-plate so I can reduce the effort to bleed off any static I’ve picked up. Trying to decide what material would be best to use.
  • Below bench ready-store of power, ground, internet, and antenna/dummy-load connections. Will tuck this stuff out of the way, with a bench level patch panel to “plug-n-play” for Power, Ground, Internet, and Dummy-Load/Antenna feeds.

Looking for your suggestions to roll into my kit bench.  The size bench planned is 4ft wide by 2-1/2ft deep so I can’t go too wild.




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One thought on “Putting Together a Better Kit Building Bench

  1. w4kaz says:

    Dual purpose the railroad rail/hammer plate/anvil as the ground plate. If the rail is otherwise insulated from ground, use a connector on the grounding line if there are times you want it to float.

    For a plastic type cutting surface, a piece of Corain(or similar non name brand) counter top is great. It can be worked with ordinary woodworking tools, and the standard practice for finishing the surface is sanding with ordinary sandpaper. Down to 400 grit, then polishing with “scotchbrite” pads. Just be careful with the soldering iron-plastic counter material melts.

    Consider putting the bench on casters. My shack desk is on casters, and its one of the better things I built into it. Easy to pull out to access the wiring without pulling equipment from their positions.

    If you add casters/wheels, remember to account for the added height of the wheels to put the table TOP at the level you are most comfortable with for long periods of bench time.

    The desk is in a cramped location, so it has a fold down surface. Photos are better, so see:

    Give some thought to the type of clamping you expect you’ll need.

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