View Full Version : Bench or Crud Catcher...which is yours?

Rich Riddle
12-28-2012, 6:55 PM
I like having a very clean bench where i can work but have been using a man to help who views every clean surface whether a tool top or bench as a place to store whatever tools or materials he's currently using or done using. Are you folks clean with your bench and tools or are you all cluttered?

In the military, every thing had its place and every place had its thing. We returned tools every shift and accounted for them.

Bruce Volden
12-28-2012, 8:48 PM
Mine is both, mostly the latter now. I try to keep things "tidy", but sometimes projects require I maintain a cruddy bench.


Shawn Pixley
12-28-2012, 9:09 PM
I have two benches in my Garage / shop. During the week our cars are there. There is a general use bench with metal working vise, sharpening station, general tool area, etc. SWMBO uses it, doesn't put things away, piles stuff there, so it can be an adventure of what I may find there. During the weekend I clean the gereal use bench and set up my woodworking bench (130 lb top on sawhorses). I keep it reasonably clean until I put it away on Sunday night. The next week this will repeat itself.

For wife that uses tools and indulges myuse of tools it seems like a small price to pay.

glenn bradley
12-28-2012, 9:13 PM
My bench is a tool. I would no more store items that were not of immediate use on it than I would store items on my tablesaw (or any other work surfaces; they're for working on). Everything has a place; when you are done with something, even temporarily, put it there. That way you know where it is 5 minutes from now when you want it again. Otherwise you have to dig for it and nothing sets me off quicker than that. I lose my train of thought often enough, I don't need to lose my tools too.

Lee Koepke
12-28-2012, 9:42 PM
I'd like to say I put everything back when I am done and not clutter my work surfaces ... but that wouldnt be truthful.

I am in the process of a deep clean (once a year), the problem with me is I cant throw anything out, even the smaller scraps I figure out something I can turn with my lathe .... and I find uses for even the half round / quarter round band saw droppings from cutting bowl blanks. Maybe I have a problem????

Rich Engelhardt
12-29-2012, 6:53 AM
Any horizontal surface in my house is fair game for a crud catcher.....

Rod Sheridan
12-29-2012, 8:38 AM
I'm with Glenn.

There are 3 reasons I keep a neat shop

- safety

- shop time is precious, I can't waste it looking for stuff I didn't put away

- I have a very small shop so I can't lose any work surfaces to clutter

Regards, Rod.

charlie knighton
12-29-2012, 10:29 AM
my bench is fairly clean, but had to use my table saw the other day, took me 45 minutes to decide where to put all the stuff that had migrated there

Stephen Tashiro
12-29-2012, 12:57 PM
I'd like to say I put everything back when I am done and not clutter my work surfaces ... but that wouldnt be truthful.

I can truthfully say that I put everything back when I am done. Where the things were orginally is in random cluttered heaps.

Rich Riddle
12-29-2012, 1:40 PM
When working alone I know exactly where everything is located and where it should go when done. SWMBO calls me a nerd because I use a label maker to label every drawer of all tool boxes as to the contents of each drawer. Drawers with multiple tools show location by where the label is placed on the outside of the drawer. If it says "rivet gun" on the left side of the drawer, there is its home. It helps her find things quickly but the tools don't seem to go home when done.

That might be why I have difficulty dealing with others using my equipment who simply lay tools down. A friend simply keeps buying more and more of the same tools in his chaos, but that seems a bit expensive and redundant. Today, a snow day, is prime time to clean the bench and the secondary shop. I do admire those folks who can seem to have things scattered yet know absolutely where all their tools and other items are located.

paul cottingham
12-29-2012, 1:43 PM
I can truthfully say that I put everything back when I am done. Where the things were orginally is in random cluttered heaps.

Ain't that the truth.
I put away my planes, so they don't rust, and my chisels so no-one can be hurt by them, I put my saws back as I use them. The rest of my shop....a disaster. I've worked that way most of my life, tho, so it doesn't bother me at all. I am a firm believer there is no "best way," just personal preference.

Jim Koepke
12-29-2012, 2:24 PM
My shop is kind of a hybrid between the two. There are only a few power tool tables that can be cluttered. The drill press table was close to the lathe, so it was often used for a lathe tool platform when using the lathe. Things are seldom stored on the bandsaw table. The work bench is often cluttered, but when it comes down to it, most tools are put away when not needed.

The whereabouts of a given tool is usually known. If one were to visit my shop, they would wonder about all the tools scattered about on the bench. If they came back a few days later, they would likely notice the clutter looks the same, but closer inspection would indicate the tools have been exchanged for other tools. They have place and get put away... but only after they are no longer needed for the project at hand.

This has been the case since my childhood days. My father would get after me to clean up my bench. He didn't like it when it was pointed out that his work spaces were more cluttered than mine. "Well that's different."


Keith Westfall
12-29-2012, 2:43 PM
If a bench wasn't made to be a 'crud catcher, it would be made with a peak in the middle :eek:

Mine catches a fair amount of stuff, but only what I need (yeah right!) so sometimes it a bit of a search to find what I need :(

Clean up at the end of the day or project and ready for the next go around...

I do it for fun, if I was a production place, things would have to be different!

Brian Elfert
12-29-2012, 3:10 PM
In my house and garage any horizontal surface generally gets covered by stuff pretty quickly. In the house part of the problem is zero storage outside of the kitchen and the major part of the problem is poor habits and laziness.

My only real project for the last six years has been converting a bus to a motorhome. The problem when working on the interior is no place to put the tools and find them again. All of my woodworking and mechanic's tools slowly get moved from my shop out to the bus and then I can't find any of my tools. I'm thinking about getting two sets of mechanic's tools to help combat the problem. I will place one set in a portable tool box and the other set will hang on the wall in my garage.

Jim Matthews
12-31-2012, 7:20 AM
I am also a hybrid bench user.

I keep things close at hand that are for each project.
I'm beginning to believe that I have too many variants of some tools,
and this contributes to clutter.

I don't have a trough on my bench, so shavings don't gather.

Broken stuff I need to fix does. I'm not sure how some things get there...

Brian Tymchak
12-31-2012, 8:16 AM
I've got 2 crud-catcher side benches (that I'm slowly trying to clean up and find a spot for everything), and then the usually clean formal woodworking bench. I say usually, but I've found that when I'm doing large non-woodworking projects, the WW bench tends to become "command central". Right now I'm painting the entire interior of the house, so the bench is full of paint trays, roller covers, paint cans, you name it...

John C Lawson
12-31-2012, 9:47 PM
I'm a turner with a very small shop, just my mini-lathe and a general purpose bench. The GP bench collects tools and supplies for the current project (no matter how long it takes). When the next project is started, all the tools and supplies are put away, and only the relevant ones are taken out as needed.

Edit: I failed to mention the exploded inside-out turning that always sits on the bench. It reminds me to use my face shield.

Rich Riddle
01-11-2013, 7:04 PM
I decided to show my crud catcher and bench. It's a handyman's bench, not a beautiful piece of furniture like many of you have. As you an see, the current rebuilding project is on the far right, the drill recharger units on the far left, and a few other things. I like it this high so that I can sit on my grandfather's chair while tinkering.


Bill Cunningham
01-14-2013, 7:58 PM
Bench? Bench...? Where the heck is my bench...It was here a month ago.... Ooooo ya it's buried over there under the other one... Now what was that question about collecting crud? You lookin for crud? I have exactly what your looking for, but the piece you want may be two benches deep..

Rick Potter
01-15-2013, 3:13 AM
I'm staying out of this one, but I won't say why.

Rick Potter

Gary Hodgin
01-15-2013, 7:52 AM
I clear my bench of all non-essentials when working at it. Problem is, how in the world does all that stuff find its way to the bench when I'm not working at it? It's like everything flies to my bench when I'm not around.

Jamie Lynch
01-15-2013, 1:51 PM
I've been slowly moving away from using all horizontal surfaces as crud catchers. What has helped the most is assigning a shelf or drawer to each item. I do find a small pile of clutter on the bench from time to time still though.

Ben Hatcher
01-15-2013, 4:06 PM
Most days my bench and shop looks like an archaeological dig of projects piled on top of projects, yet I'm still amazed when I can't find my pencil and tape measure.