Category Archives: Workshop

The completed Bunnings Rack It Shelf unit

Handy Storage Rack It Shelving Review

I had the need to store a lot of tools and other junk in my garage and didn’t want to build my own shelves from scratch. So after seeing a relative’s installation, I bought two sets of Handy Storage Rack It shelves from Bunnings. I’ve now had these shelves for two years and can thoroughly recommend them as a great product. I’ve reviewed the Handy Storage Rack It Work Bench Kit previously.

Connecting the side beam to the end frame
Connecting the shelving beam to the end upright

These don’t come in a kit, so you purchase each component separately based on your needs. At a minimum you’ll need two Double Sided End Uprights and four Shelving Beams. The end uprights come in two different widths, 450mm or 600mm. There are different heights ranging from 900mm, 1800mm and 2100mm. I chose the 600mm wide 2100mm high variety which fit under typical garage ceilings.

Assembled Rack It Shelf Frame
Assembled Rack It Shelf Frame

The shelving beams come in a range of lengths to suit your needs. I chose the longest ones, 2400mm. You also get a choice of shelf materials. There is MDF sheets or metal mesh shelves. You can get a range of attachments and accessories such as hooks, small shelves and drawers. I chose the MDF shelves as I had a lot of small items I wanted to store, which would just fall through the metal mesh shelves.

Retaining pin holds the side beam to the end shelf
Retaining pin holds the shelving beam to the end upright

The construction is simple and tool free. You could do it yourself, but it’s much easier if you have a second person to help you out holding frames and the like. The end uprights have slots and the shelving beams have tabs, so you just slot it together and ram it home. A hammer and block of wood is helpful here to get a firm fit, but you could just do it by hand or foot. Metal retaining hooks slot into holes to keep it all safe.

Tensioning straps between sidebeams are hard to attach without weight
Support braces between shelving beams are hard to attach without weight

The most frustrating part of construction is inserting the shelf tensioning straps. These go between the shelving beams on the longer shelves to keep the shelving beams from bending apart under load. The problem is that when there is no weight on the shelves they keep falling out. They do tend to vary in length a bit as well. The easiest way to get them in is to wait until you’ve put the entire shelf unit together and put a bit of weight on it. Then they’ll hold in position.

After a couple of years of use MDF sheets are somewhat warped
After a couple of years of use MDF sheets are somewhat warped

The coating of the metal frames of my shelves has held up pretty well, but there are some scuffs and scratches from moves. Nothing has bent or broken yet though. The MDF sheets shelves I’ve got have sagged a bit where I’ve had heavy items on them. In my latest move I just turned them over so they’ll bend back the other way. Fortunately it’s cheap enough to replace them when they eventually get too saggy. The other problem with the MDF is that it will swell when it gets wet. So just keep them in a dry spot and don’t put leaky things on it.

You could easily make your own ply shelves if you wanted to, but for the cost it may not be worth it. My relatives who have the metal mesh shelves have not had any problems with them.

The completed Bunnings Rack It Shelf unit
The completed Bunnings Rack It Shelf unit

The Bunnings Handy Storage Rack It shelves are very easily configurable and reconfigurable to any needs, much more so than home built shelves. I’d strongly recommend them to anyone who needs shelving in their garage or shed. You’d be hard pressed to do better with a custom constructed shelf.

Below I’ve listed the items required to build the shelf I show in this review.

Rack It Shelf Unit Bill of Materials

Qty
Item
Price(as of 19/02/2016)
Subtotal
Total Cost:
$439.00
2
Rack It 2100mm x 600mm Black Double End Upright
$50.00
$100.00
6
Rack It 2400mm Black Shelving Box Beam
$36.00
$216.00
6
Rack It 1200 x 600mm MDF Timber Shelf
$17.00
$102.00
1
Rack It Safety Pin - 20 Pack
$9.00
$9.00
6
Rack It 600mm Black Beam Support Brace
$2.00
$12.00
Items required to build shelf unit the same as mine in the review.

Protecting my Rack It Work Bench Top

After completing my Rack It Work Bench Kit construction, I wanted to protect the MDF bench top surface from damage. Initially I’d intended to use a spray lacquer or varnish, however my father-in-law recommended I use a Carnauba Wax. He advised it is more suited to the purpose and the surface can easily be restored in the future by re-waxing.

I purchased a 500 gram tin of Carnauba Wax from Bunnings. It’s available in either natural or brown. I probably would have gone with the natural colour if I had seen it, but instead I’ve got the brown.

To apply the Carnauba Wax, you smear some from the can onto a clean cloth and wipe a thin coating onto the surface with a circular motion. I found this to be a bit difficult to achieve a smooth consistent coating.

My less than perfect job of the underside
My less than perfect job of the underside

Fortunately I had started with the underside of the workbench, because I ended up with a blotchy finish with some spots much darker than other where more Carnauba had been applied.

After consulting with my father-in-law again, he suggested putting the Carnauba on the inside of a folded cloth and applying it through the cloth. This worked much better as the wax was applied at a much more constant rate as it squeezed through the fine holes in the cloth. I used this technique on the top surface and got a much more consistent end result.

Applying the wax through the cloth
Applying the wax through the cloth

Doing this is quite labor intensive but took about an hour for each side with lots of circular motions to spread the wax consistently and rub it in.

After leaving it to settle for 15 minutes, the surface is then buffed with another clean cloth to remove the excess Carnauba Wax that hasn’t been absorbed into the surface. This probably would have been easier with an electric buffer, but I was able to get a smooth surface result with just hand labor with a cloth. I used white cloth rags I bought in a bag from Bunnings cheap.

The completed job
The completed job

Overall I was quite happy with my end result. I think it looks great and it’ll protect the surface nicely as I use my workbench.

Mounting a Vice to a Rack It Work Bench

Having just put together my Handy Storage Rack It Work Bench Kit, I now wanted to mount a vice on it. Prior to doing this I’d already treated the MDF surface of the work bench with Carnauba Wax to provide it with some protection and to smooth it.

Positioning the Vice

I decided to position my vice to the right hand side of the workbench. There’s a bit of information around online about where to position it, but I decided to go as far to the right hand as I could, so as to keep the flat surface of the bench clear. It gives me good space for cutting things on the right hand side of the bench which is mostly what I’ll be using it for.

bench-vice-holes
Holes drilled in MDF bench top

Drilling the Holes

The vice I have has two slots of either side for bolts and a hole underneath the centre at the rear which is hard to get to. I decided to use 75mm M12 bolts through each hole. Marking the hole positions for the side holes was easy but the rear centre hole was harder as I couldn’t just stick a marker through it.

Instead I marked the centre of the back edge of the vice, then used digital callipers to measure the distance from the back edge to the edge of the hole which was 10mm. The diameter of the hole was 14mm. This gave me a distance 17mm from the centre of the back edge of the vice to the centre of the hole.

I used a Dewalt hand held drill to drill out the holes with a 1/2″ bit which gave a slight bit of clearance for the M12 bolts. Drilling through the MDF was quite easy, but I took it slowly to prevent damage to the surrounding material.

Once the holes were drilled I put the vice on top to check that the bolts would go through into the right holes for confirmation.

Cutting two Metal Plates

Completed metal sheets

To provide some extra protection against damage to the bench top, I followed some advice I found online to put a piece of steel above and below the bench top where the vice was. I used some .75mm Galvanised Steel for this which was cut with a bimetal blade on a jigsaw to 165mm squares.

Marking out the sheet was a matter of placing the square in the right position on top of the bench then placing the vice on top and marking with a pen through the holes. Marking the rear centre hole required some calculation though.

The bottom plate was marked out(in a different position due to the bench frame) by putting it on the bottom of the bench and marking through my drill holes. I then mounted it to my other work bench and drilled through the holes progressing from small bits to large bits as I don’t really have the right tool for this. I had to round out the holes a bit with the side of my 1/2″ drill bit to reef them out a bit as they weren’t perfectly aligned.

Bolting into position

Once all the holes were drilled it was then just a matter of putting the top plate in position, dropping the vice onto it and dropping the side bolts through with a washer. The bottom plate was then positioned underneath and the nut and bolts finger tightened underneath.

The mounted lower base plate

The rear centre bolt was inserted from underneath and a washer and nut applied in the gap underneath the vice slide. Once all in position everything was tightened off with a shifting spanner and socket wrench.

I’ll also be putting some small self tapping screws in the corners of the metal plate just to keep them down perfectly flat so things don’t get caught on it as some of the corners have raised a little.

The completed mounted bench vice

The completed Rack It Heavy Duty Work Bench

Handy Storage Rack It Workbench Kit Review

I’ve been wanting to have a workbench for a while and instead of building from scratch I decided to use the Organised Solutions Handy Storage Rack It Heavy Duty Work Bench Kit from Bunnings. I’d previously built a couple of their Rack It shelving units and had liked their quality.

I paid $169 for the Work Bench Kit and $60 for the Castor Wheel kit as I wanted a mobile workbench.

Rack It Heavy Duty Work Bench Kit Box
Rack It Heavy Duty Work Bench Kit Box

The kit comes in one large box and is quite heavy(more than 16kg) so you may need some assistance to pick it up and carry it. I used a small trailer to carry mine home as it wouldn’t easily fit in a car. Even the castor kit is quite heavy.

After opening the box
After opening the box

Opening the box, the contents are packed with foam to protect them from scratches and marks, although things can move around inside as you tip the package up or down. A single page instruction sheet is included in the Work Bench kit. The assembly is pretty straight forward though.

Unpacking all the components you get two 900mm high end frames(same type as for the shelving) and two 1300mm crossbeams(with brackets for holding the benchtop). The benchtop has nice beveled top edges and overlaps the top of the frame. I had been expecting the same type of MDF sheet as the shelves, but was pleasantly surprised that they supplied a nice solid bench top. It’s not coated or treated that I can tell though, so I’ve been thinking of painting or lacquering it protect the surface a bit.

Assembled frame
Assembled frame

Assembly is simple, just push the tabs of the crossbeams into the slots of the end frames and slide them down till they lock. Lock the first crossbeam into both end frames then the second. Then use either a mallet, or hammer with a wooden block for protection, to tap the crossbeams firmly home in their slots. Locking pins then go through holes in the joins so the crossbeams don’t come out.

At this stage I decided to put the castor wheels on. I figured it would be easier to put the wheels on before putting the heavy benchtop on the frame.

Rack It Workbench Castors
Rack It Workbench Castors

Unfortunately the castor wheel kit wasn’t as a good as the Work Bench Kit. While the castors seem to be great heavy duty quality, there were no instructions. The castors fit firmly on the bottom of the frame legs and have wedges to spread the load better. While the Rack It kits don’t really require tools to assemble, you will need the following tools to attach the castor wheels to the workbench:

  • Shifting spanner
  • Socket ratchet with 17mm socket
  • Size 2 philips head screwdriver

It’s a little awkward to get the bolt through the castor base, leg and wedge. It has to go through at an odd angle which then pulls straight as the nut is tightened off. Getting the castors all on took longer than assembling the whole rest of the frame.

One assembled castor
One assembled castor

Once all the castor wheels were on I then flipped the frame onto the wheels and lifted the benchtop onto the frame. After lining the screw sockets up with all the brackets you then put the screws in to lock the benchtop off. Be careful when doing this that the frame is squarely and firmly down on all it’s castors. The first time I screwed mine into place the workbench would rock back and forth on two wheels. It turned out when I screwed the benchtop off the frame wasn’t quite square.

Loosening the screws off and putting weight on the benchtop pushed all the wheels onto the ground and straightened it up, then I screwed it all secure. In the end it’s all very firm and solid.

Overall Conclusion

The completed Rack It Heavy Duty Work Bench
The completed Rack It Heavy Duty Work Bench

The Rack It Heavy Duty Work Bench Kit from Bunnings is a great budget package for anyone who wants a decent garage work bench. It’s solid and with the castor wheels easily mobile.

It’s quick and easy to put together with the Work Bench itself taking me just 1 hour to put together by myself. If you want the castor wheels though prepare for it to take 1 extra hour to put them on.

Scroll to the bottom to see the modifications I’ve made after building my Work Bench.

Full Construction Gallery

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My Modifications

I wanted to protect my work benchtop a bit from damage as the MDF coating is porous and possibly would get damaged over time. So I applyed a coat of Carnauba Wax to protect the surface.

I also added a lower shelf for me to store and carry tools on. I’ll also mount an RCD Power Board on it to provide electrical supply. I’ve mounted a Rack It hook at the rear to hold a coiled power cable.

Work Bench with added shelf
Work Bench with added shelf and hook

I’ve also mounted a bench vice on top of the bench too.

My complete Work Bench, with extra shelf, waxed benchtop and mounted vice.
My complete Work Bench, with extra shelf, waxed benchtop and mounted vice.