Lean Workbench Storage - Kinda.....

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Project by JL7 posted 692 days ago 5409 views 54 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 - I have not failed. I've just found 10,002 ways that won't work.

33 comments so far

View schroeder's profile


664 posts in 2724 days

#1 posted 692 days ago

Wow! – I love it!

-- The Gnarly Wood Shoppe

View Ken90712's profile


14821 posts in 1787 days

#2 posted 692 days ago

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


5254 posts in 1197 days

#3 posted 692 days ago

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


6116 posts in 1399 days

#4 posted 692 days ago

Wow, that’s kinda nice…

-- It's the best woodworking show since the invention of wood... New episodes at:

View SPalm's profile


4753 posts in 2481 days

#5 posted 692 days ago

I could work in that shop.

Good job Jeff buddy,

-- -- I'm no rocket surgeon

View exelectrician's profile


1470 posts in 1026 days

#6 posted 692 days ago

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


1077 posts in 1138 days

#7 posted 692 days ago

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

-- If you can dream it, I can do it!

View DIYaholic's profile


12917 posts in 1274 days

#8 posted 692 days ago

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 procratination a bad thing?

View iamcliff's profile


463 posts in 751 days

#9 posted 692 days ago

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


1072 posts in 1542 days

#10 posted 692 days ago

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


6994 posts in 1564 days

#11 posted 692 days ago

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 - I have not failed. I've just found 10,002 ways that won't work.

View whitebeast88's profile


3405 posts in 789 days

#12 posted 692 days ago

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


14114 posts in 1403 days

#13 posted 692 days ago

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.

View Bagtown's profile


1699 posts in 2329 days

#14 posted 692 days ago

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


41 posts in 882 days

#15 posted 692 days ago

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

-- MrHart

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