Lean Workbench Storage - Kinda.....

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Project by JL7 posted 09-01-2012 05:53 PM 17227 views 67 times favorited 33 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I wasn’t originally going to build drawers for the bench because it so hard to find everything…...but then I saw this post from Triumph1 and saw the Kaizen Foam and knew this was the way to go.

I’m a big believer in Lean Manufacturing systems, which was first developed by Toyota – some basic info here.

Drawers of any kind really are NOT considered Lean. The concept of Lean is to place the tools at the point of use, and this works well if you are building the same thing everyday, but not so much in a shop where you build different things every day.

So this was a compromise – drawers with a specific purpose and place for each tool. Makes cleanup a little simpler because you know what tools are missing. Taking photos of the drawers from time to time is a good thing also if you forget what goes where…...or would that ever happen?

I tried to sort the drawers based on tools I may use together and not necessarily by type….

The cabinet shells are Bamboo plywood (I got a big stack of this off CL for $25). Drawer fronts are also Bamboo with Jatoba accents and pulls. Drawers sides are Maple. Drawer bottoms/slides are hard-board. Cabinet back is 1/4” Walnut Ply which was laying around. Finish is Tung Oil.

The workbench is Hard Maple and Jatoba, so it matches pretty well, original bench post is here. A couple years ago I built the shop cart you see in the first photo using Hard Maple and Jatoba flooring scraps, and a Bamboo storage chest. This current project was loosely based on that, but changed the drawer pulls and accents.

Build details are here.

The foam can be had at Rockler, if you happen to have a store nearby, which I am lucky enough to have… on how to use it is here. Check out the video links there. I love the stuff and most of the smaller scraps can be used other places… the glue holders:

I know the glue holders are a bit over the top, but it’s nice to have them close at hand and it’s scraps!

Some photos from the drawers:

Left some room to grow in some of the drawers, plus 3 or 4 drawers are still empty….......

A couple more photos:

This was a fun one to build, and I’m guessing it’s not done yet…...

Thanks for looking.

-- Jeff .... Minnesota, USA

33 comments so far

View schroeder's profile


702 posts in 5586 days

#1 posted 09-01-2012 06:05 PM

Wow! – I love it!

-- The Gnarly Wood Shoppe

View Ken90712's profile


18113 posts in 4649 days

#2 posted 09-01-2012 06:08 PM

Great job on the bench and drwawers! I really like the look and set up. Our company is real beig on the Lean Process. Constantly looking for constraints, bottlenecks value added,,, ect ect… I’ve been to several Lean Classes and agree with most of it, but not all of it.

Great job thx for sharing.

-- Ken, "Everyday above ground is a good day!"

View ShaneA's profile


7085 posts in 4059 days

#3 posted 09-01-2012 06:18 PM

Wow, that is a lot of awesome Jeff. Looks amazing and useful too. Some might say a bit OCD…but not me buddy I love it. : )

View StumpyNubs's profile


7854 posts in 4261 days

#4 posted 09-01-2012 06:35 PM

Wow, that’s kinda nice…

-- Subscribe to "Stumpy Nubs Woodworking Journal"- One of the crafts' most unique publications:

View SPalm's profile


5338 posts in 5343 days

#5 posted 09-01-2012 06:58 PM

I could work in that shop.

Good job Jeff buddy,

-- -- I'm no rocket surgeon

View exelectrician's profile


2339 posts in 3888 days

#6 posted 09-01-2012 07:17 PM

Yes lean manufacturing is the way to go, it is a mindset really. Your shop looks really lean, easy to get anything you want in a hurry, well done.

-- Love thy neighbour as thyself

View Philip's profile


1277 posts in 4000 days

#7 posted 09-01-2012 07:23 PM

Yes sir! That’s what I’m talking about.

-- I never finish anyth

View DIYaholic's profile


19921 posts in 4136 days

#8 posted 09-01-2012 07:45 PM

No way!
I would say anal retentive!!! JK, I tease because I can.

The foam organizing really is the way to go. A place for everything & everything in it’s place.
Looking good, er GREAT!!!

-- Randy-- I may not be good...but I am slow! If good things come to those who wait.... Why is procrastination a bad thing?

View Chris McDowell's profile

Chris McDowell

645 posts in 3613 days

#9 posted 09-01-2012 08:18 PM

Very cool. Love the idea of using this in the shop.
I work for a Japanese American company and we have a thing called 5-S: Sort, Set, Shine, Standardize, and Sustain. This storage system reminds me of Sort – everything has a place & everything in its place. Very neat and organized.

Thanks for sharing.

-- Chris, , FACEBOOK: , Proverbs 16:9

View fernandoindia's profile


1081 posts in 4404 days

#10 posted 09-01-2012 08:25 PM

Hi Jeff,

Now that shop is starting to look as Disneyland. Well Jeffland I mean, is a true shop.

I was also intrigued to the foam. But is there a generic name for that foam?

-- Back home. Fernando

View JL7's profile


8793 posts in 4426 days

#11 posted 09-01-2012 08:55 PM

Thanks for all great comments! I appreciate it!

Ken – there are some real Lean fanatics out there and you can get carried away with the program….......

Shane and Randy – OCD maybe…..but just in the shop. The rest of my house and my office at work are a complete disaster!

Cliff – 5S is definitively a part the Lean program….. thanks.

Fernando – this foam is in layers, maybe an 1/8” thick so you can fairly accurately cut at different depths…....I imagine if you could find thin foam, you could use some spray adhesive and make your own…...

-- Jeff .... Minnesota, USA

View whitebeast88's profile


4128 posts in 3651 days

#12 posted 09-01-2012 08:59 PM

awesome job with great attention to detail.youv’e started my want to build me a new bench.

-- Marty.Athens,AL

View Roger's profile


21055 posts in 4265 days

#13 posted 09-01-2012 11:35 PM

This is so super organized and safe for tools of all sorts. That Kaizen Foam is really awesome stuff, and really quite affordable.

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Keep your dust collector fed. [email protected]

View Bagtown's profile


1745 posts in 5191 days

#14 posted 09-02-2012 12:03 AM

Nice job Jeff.
I believe in lean, six sigma, etc.
However my shop is my own private mess. :)
I get to go there and not worry about 5S or anything.

Impressive build.


-- Mike - In Fort McMurray Alberta

View MrHart's profile


46 posts in 3744 days

#15 posted 09-02-2012 01:01 AM

My first thought was “wow” but you already have 5-6 of those…........
Freakin awesome!

-- MrHart

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