I'm always fascinated by other modeler's workbenches. There's a book called "Scratchbuilding for Model Railroaders" by Bob Walker that has an interesting chapter about benches. He asked some friends to contribute some of their more unusual tools or techniques that they employ when building. One idea was from Bob Hayden who uses old shot glasses for mixing paint or holding thinner. He also flips a shot glass upside down and uses the indentation to hold CYA. It keeps it in the little reservoir and holds it up high enough to keep you hand or elbow from accidentally dipping into it. Couple of cool ideas. I thought we could do the same thing here on the forum. I'll start off with a few of mine.
1) How many of your paint bottles--especially solvent based, look like this?
The thinner in the paint removes the ink from the label even if you clean up a drip right away. (Thanks a lot Floquil!) My new habit is to take some scotch tape the moment I get home with new bottles of paint and put a piece right over the label. No matter how messy I get, the ink from the label will never get erased by the solvent.
2) I always save blister packs or any hard plastic packaging. I usually need a scissors to open the item, so while I've got them in my hand, I cut the plastic into smaller pieces and toss them into a box. They come in handy as a palette or small parts tray or a glue container. When one gets full of glue or paint or whatever, THEN I toss it in the trash.
3) For whatever reason, I used to pitch the toothpicks (that held castings for painting) after I placed them on the layout or diorama. After snipping the ends off for the 900th time, I finally got smart are started saving them in a small parts drawer. Also, I keep the drill bit that drills the perfect sized toothpick hole right there in the same drawer.
4) My wife (an organizational FREAK) has this neat little label maker that I used for the toothpick tray, parts drawers and stripwood holders. It cost like $15. If you're interested in the exact model, it's the Dymo 91344 and you can get it on Amazon.com
5) I LOVE the Dollar store. 4 pudding dishes: $1 Perfect for thinner, mixing washes and stains and lots of other stuff.
6) A buddy of mine works in the bar business and he gave me these leftover plastic test tubes. They were for some kind of shot special. Now, they're my cool little stripwood organizers on my bench.
7) My drafting teacher in high school was anal about the way you'd tape down drafting paper. If you didn't do it correctly, there'd be wrinkles in the paper and the sliding straight edge wouldn't move freely. His same technique works to keep your construction templates perfectly flat and wrinkle free when taped to a glass surface. Start by taping the upper left-hand corner:
Work the the paper from the left-hand corner down to the bottom right-hand corner so that it's tight and tape it in place.
Next, work from the middle and smooth the paper out to the upper right-hand corner and tape it in place. Then smooth the paper out from the middle down to the bottom left-hand corner and tape in place. It'll lay perfectly flat every time.
I don't know why it works, but I still do it this way today.
8) This idea was inspired by Joel and Paul. Back at the Dollar Store I spotted some large pill boxes printed with Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, etc. Using a little Xylene to scrub off the days of the week, I now have some small storage boxes for chalk powders.
So there are a few of mine. Who else has got some? Anything goes!