Having built a small garden workshop I needed a tool bench for my stationary tools such as a band saw and drill-press. An earlier project had resulted in a simple mobile stand for the band-saw from off-cuts of plywood and MDF. However the drill-press was much heavier at around 25Kg so a more substantial tool stand was required. But crucially it still needed to be mobile.
The BEKVÄM Kitchen trolley was the obvious starting point. It has two fixed castors and two legs making it both sturdy and mobile. It’s made from solid beech so will easily support the tool’s weight. And perhaps more importantly, it’s really inexpensive being just 35 GBP in the UK. To put that in perspective, the same quantity of beech from a timber yard would have cost at least 10 GBP more.
My workshop is small and, in addition to tools being mobile so they can be moved out of the way, they also need to take up as little space as possible. At 50 cm wide, the BEKVÄM kitchen trolley is a little bit wider than I would like and the top could do with being thicker and not overhang the base.
Therefore I decided to reduce the width of the base and replace the beech top with one made of two thicknesses of 18mm MDF. This would require shortening the front and back rails on the base and the modification of the shelves which, in addition to providing storage, also contribute to the strength of the trolley.
While this Hack uses a table saw to cut parts to length and cut a groove into the rails, this hack can be easily accomplished with a handsaw.
Workshop Tool Bench Instructions
Step 1: Assemble the base. In order to measure and mark out the cuts I would need to make to the trolley it was necessary to fully assemble the kitchen trolley base.
Step 2: It was important the shelves could still accommodate some parts boxes I had bought. Placing these on the shelf and measuring carefully the front and back rails could be reduced in width by 6cm.
Step 3: With the base disassembled, the front and back rails are cut 6cm shorter.
Step 4: A groove needs to be cut into the rails 5.5cm from the freshly cut end of each rail. This was achieved by adjusting the table saw blade so that only 8mm of the blade protruded above the surface and a mitre gauge was used to make the cut safely.
Step 4a: The width of the groove is only the width of the saw cut. Like I said earlier, you can complete this step with a hand saw. Just mark-out carefully on the face and sides so your cut is an even depth across the rail.
Step 5: Cut the shelves down by 6cm too. Both the offcuts are needed when the base is reassembled. I prized off the little slat blocks from the cross piece with a chisel and cut the wire nails off with a hack saw. A sander made quick work of making the cross piece smooth but you could achieve the same result with a file.
Step 6: Reassemble the base. The modified rails need two holes drilling for screws which you can do as you assemble the top part of the base. The cross pieces for the shelves are installed along with the cut shelf. Tighten all everything up and turn the base right side up.
Step 7: The shelf slats will now be resting on the cross pieces and can be drilled, glued and screwed into place.
Step 8: I measured carefully the top of the assembled base. These dimensions were used to cut two pieces of 18mm MDF to size. These two pieces were glued together and small screws used in the corners to hold everything together.
Step 9: Place on the base, the top is secured to the base using the L-brackets and screws supplied in the BEKVÄM box.
And there you have it, a modified BEKVÄM kitchen trolley becomes a sturdy tool bench. Both the MDF and the beech wood in the base need to be protected and as this is a workshop project I chose to use a couple of coats of IKEA SKYDD Wood Treatment Oil (mineral oil). A little later added some three pieces of pine strip-wood and a piece of OSB to as trim to the top; all fixed with glue and nails. It looks smart against the other benches and a talking point amongst my friends who have visited my small workshop in Milton Keynes, England.
The drill press was and screwed down to its new bench with a couple of coach screws (or lag screws) and washers.
The whole cost of this project was less than 45 GBP and I’m really pleased how this turned out. The drill press tool bench can be easily moved around the workshop as required and then tucked away in the corner when not required. It’s solid and plenty strong-enough but if I were to complete this task again, I would probably reinforce the joints with glue before bolting/screwing everything up tight since us woodworkers tend to like everything stupid-strong.