Workbench and tools.

So, I recently ordered a Starrett pin vice.. mainly because in the machinist world Starrett is one of the best brands.. However! The pin vice I got I did not really like, sure it works; but it could be better in my opinion.. So, I modified it more to my liking.. I grabbed a bit of brass and a bearing and made my own palm vice or sorts.


Then, next up is the work area that I have. In the near Future I am going to be doing some projects in the garage and this evening I thought I would potentially build myself a different work table.. Right now i'm thinking about glueing 2 pieces of 3/4" hardwood ply wood for the top. and then making the size marginally larger than the current table I have. I mainly need better organization. I think I will also cut another paint/chalk organizer. This time from a longer piece of scrap wood that I have..


Reading through posts I've noticed a few "special" tools used. in Roberts O scale saw mill, he posted a photo of a round tool he used for wood rings. I was thinking if some of these special tools were shared in one thread, maybe this would be of value to people trying to figure out what tools they didn't even know that they might like to have and how to use them?

Also with regards to the work space organization. I thought it would be interesting to see how others organize their work space? Again, for those of us new to this, there are certainly things that we don't even know we want yet...


  • Alex. I will take one pin vice please my Grandfather was a machinist he would have loved to see your work. ..........Carl....
  • The cat is good.
  • What cat???

  • I have a question for all, When I am at the bench I place the templates under glass or on top of the glass and get a glare of my overhead lights and at times I find it to white for my eyes.
    Has anyone else have a issue like this and if so have you been able to fix this problem ?
  • I have the same problem Carl when working on a piece of glass. I make copies of my templates and lay out my work directly on the template and use double sided scotch tape to hold the pieces I am assembling. I mainly use my piece of glass as my palette when I am painting anything.
  • Glass is often a pain in the .... I avoid it most of the time. Unless I put a template (no choice) under.
  • I copy the templates for use as Steven described. Doesn't take long before they get dirty which cuts down on the white glare.

    I use a glass cutting board to work on. I get the one with rubber feet and take off the feet to use the flat underside instead of the bumpy topside.
  • edited November 2019
    my benchtop is glass. i usually keep two pieces of black construction paper under it, which helps cut down on the glare, but not the reflective nature of glass.. the glass top is really essential in my opinion. as others have said, its very handy for scraping and blending chalks, mixing paint, it makes an adequate cutting surface, and is always a good, flat surface for gluing walls together.
    i used to use a self-healing cutting mat, but i haven't since my first sierra west kit.
  • I've included some photos of my new diorama work space. I got the glass for 15$ at the steel yard of all places. It's 3/4" thick or so and about 3ft by 4tf! Also, I got the base which is a computer table for 20$ off of facebook market place. I dismantled the desk a little (it had upper shelves) and then put window gasket down for my piece of glass. This works pretty much perfect for me. since it's got extra sides I have space for my instruction manual as well as the other tools and supplies that can be seen outside the work area. Also, if you look close, the keyboard tray is perfect for storage as well, that's where I've decided to keep my 123 blocks, chalk mix, razers, and remotes for the TV, all the important stuff :smile:.

    The shelves were part of the "office" kit and the seller wanted 15$ for that.. So, I took it..

    Also, oddly enough, treadmills make great storage devices for diorama supplies as well :wink:

    I have one more tool i'm thinking of making in the semi near future.. I'm not sure what everyone else is using for glue applicators... But, I've found I like using .015 wire as a glue applicator that seems to be the easiest and most consistent small amount applicator I can think of.. I think i'm going to get a stick of brass and turn a handle for a wire glue applicator.. holding the wire alone is kind of tedious.

    I make a 1:1 copy of my templates then copy what Joel does and use double sided tape. Since i'm using a copy if the template gets dirty or anything else happens to it I don't really care. I have the original in a safe place. Actually, what I've started doing is making copies of all of the 8 1/2 x 11 templates immediately when I open the box... I've never put the templates under the glass. Some times I'll use a 123 block or a 1" V block to hold a piece in place. actually, I use a couple of my V blocks pretty often (I used V blocks quite a bit on the dolbeer build). it's kind of interesting how many of my machining tools/measuring/holding stuff make their way upstairs to where I work on the diorama's.

    Anyhow, below is my new to me workbench area.

  • Nice setup.
  • File this one under the "for the modeler who has everything category". A hand cranked angled sure sander. I really want one but its a bit pricey.
  • bryan,
    i've been drooling for that sander since i learned of it, but it's a budget buster. i wish i could afford it because it looks like a great tool to have on hand.
  • Bryan and Kevin,

    I purchased an Ultimation hand crank sander a while back. In my estimation it is well worth the investment. I have put my small electric motor sander back in the box since the Ultimation sander has become my go to sander. I really like the control I have while using the Ultimation as I can control the speed of the sandpaper disc and sneak-up to my desired mark. I especially like using it on smaller pieces since the sandpaper disc doesn't spin so fast and grab the part and send it shooting across the room. Once you have one you will want to mount it to a larger plywood base for stability while in use.

    Later, Dave S. Tucson, AZ
  • These look really great. While I was standing at his table at the NNGC, waiting to buy one he sold five of them. This really looks like a quality tool. One of my next models will be a trestle, so it will be the first time I use mine, besides just trying it out.

    Mike S.
  • Mike,

    I am pretty sure that in the time you were testing it out prior to your project you fell in love with the sander. You feel like you have control of what you are doing instead of concentrating on a whirling dervish of sandpaper.

    Later, Dave S Tucson, AZ
  • You convinced me.
  • I saw so many folks buy them at the convention, that I do not think you will be disappointed. Of course I have no affiliation with the company selling them.

    Mike S.
  • i'm gonna get one before the end of the year. mark my words..... heheheheh. (just don't tell the little woman...)
  • Going to sell your body again? Ed will lend you the money.
  • body is currently on sale for half price. any takers ladies?
  • Half of noth. Not going to say it.
  • I was one who could not resist the Ultimation sander at the NNGC. I found out I had to move shortly after the convention so mine is still in the box waiting for its new home.
  • At that price I will stick to my pieces of sanding paper and go for the well worn and grunge look.
  • edited December 2019
    double post. no comment to add.
  • my ultimate sander is coming this friday. i can't wait to retire my true sander.....
  • I'll chime in on the nice dedicated work space. Having a space such as this, brings out a modelers best work and makes the hobby so enjoyable. It does make a difference, well done Alex...Ken
  • I have a great space and it doesn't help me.
  • Nice. I'd still recommend using a glass cutting board. Eventually that desk top will get scratched up with cutting.

    I always copy templates also. Big help.
  • i agree on the glass worktop. i couldn't function without it.
  • engine909 said:

    I have a great space and it doesn't help me.

    he really does!

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