The Forge is coming together.

I recently moved to a house (from an apartment) and managed to convince Sam to let me have my own dedicated hobby space. I’ve been working in there a while but I went to IKEA again and picked up some more stuff to round it out a bit. I’m almost there, and I thought I’d share my hobby space with you fine folks. I love seeing how other people work. I get some great ideas just seeing what they use and how they organize things.

Here’s a quick visual tour, and then I’ll talk a bit about it.

The Forge has an open doorway. You can see the bookshelf (IKEA Expedit with inserts) as you walk by, so I will eventually be cleaning this more and moving all the glues, spray cans, etc. off the top of it. I’m sure it’ll end up with some kind of decorative items up there. I need to get my models into the display cases sooner or later as well. They look pretty cool lit up. Also, note the lighting difference in the cases. The ceiling fixture has two 100-watt Reveal bulbs in it for some pretty extreme faux-natural lighting. I won’t turn on the overhead light unless I’m painting. I have a backup lamp next to the desk for that. I might move that sooner or later. I’m just trying it out.

As you turn and look in the room, you see my crazy-cheap standing desk. This is just an IKEA Linmon table, with an IKEA Lack sitting on it. I have blu-tack under the legs so it’s actually pretty sturdy, believe it or not. Note the 4 lamps on the table. They all have different bulbs in them, but I usually use the larger silver ones on each side for most work. They can swivel and extend all around the table, and they only cost $8 at IKEA! Are you seeing a pattern here? I swear I don’t work for them. In fact I have to drive 4.5 hours to get to them. I decided to go with a standing desk because it helps me feel like I can work far more casually and get to my tools more easily. I can just turn around the room and grab what I need. I sit all day at work so a standing desk helps me keep my back in shape as well. I just added the stool so I have the option to sit if I want a break, but I rarely hobby for more than a couple/few hours at a time. Mostly it’s there so I have something to put my feet on and shift my weight as I work. I keep my paints in trays below the table for now, but most end up around my work surface as I paint, of course.

I’ve labeled some stuff in the close-up shot. I highly recommend the wet palette and brush station. They’ve both improved my efficiency and workflow. I can pull the larger silver lamps right to where I need them, and I just fixed up the magnifying lens as well so I can prop it up in front of me. The bottom table ends up holding my soda or beer, and is a good secondary surface to keep chemicals and extra sprues as I’m working so they don’t crowd me too much.

You can see to the left of the table, there’s not a lot going on. I do get some really great natural sunlight in here during the day, though. I keep a small set of drawers to hold airbrush supplies, foam bits, plastic scraps and things like that. Plus a little trash can. That’s actually really important so things don’t pile up on my standing desk or the table below it. It’s all too easy, as I’m sure any hobbyist is aware.

To the right you can see the little rail cup-holder thing I got from IKEA as well. For now I have brushes in one, knives in another, clippers and pliers in the next, and files and buffers in the last. These are cool because I can just grab the whole cup and set it on the desk if I need to, or grab items and pop them back up there when I’m done. I will eventually hang that shelf below, and put glue on it most likely.

And then, the red bookcase is my concession for having an entire hobby room to myself. We keep all our movies and most video games on it. I picked it up and a Blockbuster video store that was going out of business. I got the idea to blu-tack some instructions on it, which I thought was super clever. Again, with the standing desk it’s really nice to be able to keep them up and off my work surface and then just turn and look at the instructions during a build.

The best part of this set up, for me, is that I can simply walk up, work on something, and then get up and walk away if I need to. I feel more social, less tied down, and consequently I think I end up getting more hobby time in. When I had a cluttered sit-down desk, I felt like it was a process to do any hobbying so I needed to block out the time for it. Now, with the wet palette, I can walk up and drop a layer on something in a few minutes and hang up my brush for another hour. Simple.

What’s your setup? Do you have a dedicated space or do you make do with clever hacks and tricks to store your stuff?