Thursday, 27 October 2016

Workbench Woes and Solving the Problem of Mess

My total painted collection in 2013, and this includes everything I painted from 2004 onwards in my pre-Oldhammer days. The ironing board is not a Citadel release. 
Despite Warhammer's reputation for social ineptitude, most Oldhammerers I meet are married career men with a brace of children, a fair sized mortgage and a loving lady at home. All atypical types really, with a strong likelihood of working in the teaching or archaeology professions, though this is by no means a requisite. One common factor that unites us all however is the problem of storage and workspace. 

Those of you with long memories may recall the welsh dresser I seconded to house my painted collection of figures some four years ago. At that time I had zero potential display space and my lovely wife decreed that whatever piece of furniture I employed for the task would need to fit in with the 'look' of our old living room. The dresser was the best solution at the time, but as my collection grew and the layers of dust accumulated I could see that this method was temporary at best, 


As beautiful as the dresser appeared, dust and space were not to be the only threats to my hard painted models. The edge of the dresser was so sharp that it was not unknown for a model to fall from the shelves. I can tell you that the sight of Lady McDeath, fully painted, bouncing off the stained wood and disappearing behind the fish tank is not a pleasant experience, nor one a passionate collector would want to repeat. 

Don't even ask me of the fates of several hand painted shields, either. They having snapped off in these tumbles to be lost forever! 


The next solution to house my ever growing collection was the now ubiquitous IKEA display cabinet. Initially, I thought these to be the perfect resolution to my problem, until I actually constructed the piece and began to use it on a day to day basis. The words insubstantial and flimsy spring to mind when generating adjectives to describe this piece of furniture. Walk past carrying anything heavier than a penny and the whole thing shakes like a chav on his sixth straight can of Red Bull. Despite these obvious flaws, and the fact that one of the glass panels bends rather disturbingly, this cabinet has kept my models safe and dust free for a year or so now. 


Having survived the house move, the IKEA display cabinet now houses most of my painted collection. The writing is on the wall for the piece though in the long run, because my wife doesn't like the way it looks. That old problem with it 'not fitting in with the rest of the decor in the room' raising its tasteful head once again. The parlour in our home was built around 1600, so the ceilings are very low in places (and there isn't a straight edge or flush wall anywhere) and finding a suitable replacement has proved a challenge as everything we have found has been too tall. 


You can see the empty cabinet here, a few days after we moved in and the desk I was using as a paint station and hobby area. Though the cabinet has had a reprieve of sorts, my painting table was condemned by the wife after about a week. The clutter of brushes, half completed projects, paint pots, files, glues and rubbish spun my wife's distaste wheel faster than our babysitter's boyfriend's escape as he sees us pulling up on the driveway, ten minutes early. 

I was told that this set up had mere weeks to live. The chair was held together with cellotape too. 


It wasn't just my desk that enflamed my wife's ire, but this 'bookcase' as well. To be honest, I can see why as if you look beyond the stacked library of Oldhammer classics on the shelves, the whole piece looks tired and cheap - which it was. With bonfire night approaching this IKEA monstrosity has a sweet date with my axe and the blessed release of autumnal fire, as my children dance around it's death-throes sparklers in hand. 

With marching orders received, I knew that I would have to do something drastic to save my precious modelling space and preserve my wife's particular tastes in interior design.


While she was out visiting friends, old Orlygg sprang into middle-aged action. First, I moved this heavy, oak chest of draws (which I despise, but here's the rub - my wife likes) over to replace the old. battered Edwardian table I had been using, though instead of placing my paint station on the top of it, I have set up the family computer on a ultra-modern angle. As this computer also serves my blogging and occasional gaming needs, having easy access to it was essential for me. You may be wondering about the wife? Well, she has an entire office all to herself upstairs and plenty of space for her computer, printer and telephone set up. 


A nineteenth century mahogany bureau was the final solution to my need to work in a cluttered space and my wife's need for order and elegance. On the outside we have a dark wood finish with pleasant patina and on the inside plentiful space for my projects and miniature bric-a-brac. There are even a few Victorian fag burns on the inside to give my workspace that bohemian feel. 

I have never owned a bureau before and have been astonished with the amount of stuff you can store neatly away inside them. The example I purchased was on the smaller size too, but between the writing area and the four drawers there is more than enough space to store my entire collection of models (which is sizable) and all of my painting and modelling things too. 

In fact, the entire bottom shelf is free for future projects and purchases. 


Here, have a look at the inside of the bureau. Originally designed as a writing desk, this space has loads of little drawers and spaces to store the numerous items required when painting and modelling. I keep unpainted models on the 'next list' inside the drawer on the left and store newly completed work on the top. Work in progress models are stored alongside and have plenty of space for drying. Tools are piled up in one of the central partitions, as are my glues and measuring items. The right pull out draw contains my as of yet unused paint brushes. 

And then there is still so much space. 


Having solved my storage problems in one fell swoop doesn't come without it's drawbacks. I have to now plan ahead in terms of colours as I have to replace the hinged work service if I want to rummage around in my paint store. I dare not keep many paints on the top of the bureau in case of leakage (I know it is unlikely) as I wouldn't want to overly damage this beautiful piece of furniture, but I can live with this now I have peace of mind - or should I say, my wife has.


And here we have my paint station in action today. I need a much larger cutting mat to protect the surface and perhaps a larger lamp too, but the eternal problem of space and mess has at last been solved. And I really do recommend these bureaus as a modelling/painting area, especially of you don't have a man cave or garage in which you can work. 

Looking back over my journey makes me wonder how other enthusiasts have solved the combined woes of mess and storage. If you have an intriguing method I would very much like to know about it. After all, it is only a matter of time until the wife changes her mind!!

Right, now I am off to do something that I should have been doing loads of but couldn't.

Painting!

Orlygg



24 comments:

  1. Beautiful piece of furniture. Congrats on the update. My wife has spoken of getting something similar, but being in a downtown appartment, rather than a house, we have the issue of space. If we ever move though, this kind of thing would be at the top of my list for painting space/storage.

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    1. Oops, commented in the wrong browser, so commented with the wrong account! ;)

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    2. I cannot recommend them enough, really. And having now used it for a couple of days the amount of space it provides is strangely liberating.

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  2. Interesting solution. I have a man cave down the garden but there's no seating and it's a cold dark walk in winter

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    1. Seating or heating? Or both? One day I too shall have a man cave but for now I must dance to the fickle whim of my wife.

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  3. That bureau is very classy, I trust the wife is happy!

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    1. She is certainly happier. She wants it moved now so the connections for the wireless are not obscured.

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  4. Turns out if you have more modern decor, Ikea also do a bureau! (At least in Australia but I get the impression their range is pretty global). I mounted a bright led light strip inside mine recently: https://goo.gl/photos/cxHsUy2bGKHY6UCs5

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    1. Hemnes range right? I've got four of the bookcases and plan on eventually getting a desk. I like that it's solid pine and not fiberboard. How sturdy is the hinged part? Would one be able to lean one's elbows on it?

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    2. Nice set up there Salem. I see you are a fan of the patterned upholstery style seat too. I too noticed the mega hinges and wondered if the leaf of your bureau had supports underneath like mine has?

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  5. My painted collection is not large but it is growing and I know face the problem of dust-free display space. I could put the miniatures away in safe, padded boxes, but I've put so much work into them that it seems a shame to do so. My quest continues!

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    1. I too considered the boxes, but as you say we put in so much hard work over so many years, why would you want to hide it all away? I guess we shall have to wait until the right piece of furniture turns up!

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  6. I've been eyeing the KLINGSBO Glass-door cabinet for months: http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/60128562/

    Width: 45 cm
    Depth: 40 cm
    Height: 180 cm
    Max load/shelf: 25 kg

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    1. Well that certainly doesn't look as flimsy as the cabinet I am using. Looks promising.

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  7. DO the drawers slide out, even when the desk part is down? I mean, is the whole drawer removable?If so, then its easy to get your paints.

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    1. Yes, but they weigh a tonne and placing them on the leaf of the bureau gives me the shakes and lifting them out of the furniture results in double hernias all round. Good idea though!

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  8. Just out of curiosity, how many painted figures do you have?

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  9. The bureau is a nice upgrade and not only in look, the space it provides is impressive for the amount of space it takes up.
    It's times like these I realise how blessed I am to have a wife who is also into the hobby and that we have a couple of rooms full of hobby related paraphernalia.

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  10. I held out in house buying till I could get one with four cellar rooms,so I have one with a eight by four table and display cabinets,an extended small bedroom that is a painting room and then a loft area for storage and the all important rainy day projects,lope one day l can have the daughters room for navel wargame.

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  11. I held out in house buying till I could get one with four cellar rooms,so I have one with a eight by four table and display cabinets,an extended small bedroom that is a painting room and then a loft area for storage and the all important rainy day projects,lope one day l can have the daughters room for navel wargame.

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