Mar 132013

When I built my workbench, I made sure it had lot’s of light. In fact, with three 16″ T4 6400K fluorescent I figured I’d have all the light I needed. After a few months of use, it became apparent I needed more light directed on the work piece. For a while now I’ve been adding the additional light with a flashlight, but it hasn’t been the best solution.

While visiting a local art store I discovered the daylight™ SlimLine Table Lamp. It’s a clamp on fluorescent lamp with a flexible arm and slim fixture that should be perfect for my workbench. I can swing the light directly over my work peice and it is so slim it doesn’t block my vision. The lamp is super bright and claims to illuminate in daylight colors.



In order to keep the lamp almost as slim as a fluorescent tube, daylight™ has cleverly moved the ballast and switch outside of the fixture into what looks like a slim and elongated transformer. The ballast assembly is connected to the lamp with about a 6″ wire and has a 6′ wire to the wall plug. The head of the light is 20″ long and sports a 16″ long 11W T2 fluorescent tube. The flexible arm allows the light a range between 6″ to 21″ high. The price is $169 MSRP, but I found mine on Amazon for $87.

Sep 032012

I’ve completed the workbench and I’m pretty happy with it. The key features are:

  • Magnetic Tool Strip: I bought these at Harbor Freight a few years ago and have been waiting for an occasion to use them. Since the work table is kind of small (16″) deep, I figured keeping the tools off of the work area would be helpful.
  • Under Cabinet Lighting: I bought two of these lights a few years ago for around $20 each. They are T5 fluorescent lights. I broke one and was left with only one working. I stopped by Fry’s this afternoon and found them available for only $8, I bought two more to fill out the workbench lighting. This was a great savings because I was about to place a $100 order at CYELITE for T4 fluorescent lights.
  • New Chairs for the Boys: Staples had these chairs on sale a couple of weeks ago for $30. I also had a $5 coupon. I really wanted to get some chairs for my boys. Now we will all have a place to sit when we’re weathering.
  • Rotating Vise: Surprise surprise, something mechanical from Harbor Freight that’s actually worth a damn. I got this for around $20; much cheaper than a $70 PanaVise. I just used it to hold some Kadee 119 couplers while I filed the upper shelf off of them.
  • Dremel with Flex Shaft: Of course.

See my previous post: Skyboards, workbench and valance fascia


May 292012
Graffiti - Munk

Graffiti - Munk

I’m at a minor standstill while I wait for some supplies…


More T4 Slim Fluorescent Lights

I’ve ordered more T4 lighting from CYELITE. This time in blue. I’ll be using these along the south and east valance as nighttime lighting. I haven’t ordered from CYELITE before, but they were a bit cheaper than the last place I ordered from and offered free shipping. I really like the T4 lights. I want to get these lights installed before I install the valance fascia.

1/2″ Blue Foam

This is not available in the Seattle area, usually you can only find 1″,1 1/2″,& 2″ blue or pink foam. Well I found out you could order the stuff online from Lowe’s and pick it up at your local store. So I ordered two sheets of the 1/2″ Extruded Polystyrene Blue Foam. I want to get the foam down before I install the layout fascia. This won’t arrive until June 12.

Drawer Slides

I’ve designed the layout to have a few drawers below the deck; two on the east side and one on the south side. I had some drawer slides, but I wasn’t happy with the height of them. I looked on eBay and bought two 14″ full extension drawer slides and one 10″ full extension drawer slide. They are sold by eBay seller GlideRite Hardware. I’ll install these after the fascias have been installed and routed out.

While I Wait

I’ll probably work on some minor paint touch-ups, cut sky boards, paint skyboards, and maybe fiddle with some track arrangements. I’m getting close to completing the benchwork and excited to get on with the layout.


West Lighting Complete

I finished out the west side lighting by wiring up all of the blue night time LED’s along the north and west side of the layout. The LED bars are by Cryon. They make one hell of a birds nest. I’d prefer to use some slim fluorescent lights, but I’m decided to economize and recycle these from my previous layout. The light bars can be rotate to direct the light in an alternate direction.


West Valance

I completed the west valance. Mostly:) It still needs a little touch up paint. The valance fascia is hardboard. I brad nailed it to the valance frame. I installed my old Cryon LED lighting behind the valance; this will be my nightime blue lighting in this area.

Desk Complete

I finally cut the backboard and edged the shelves. I’ve also complete 90% benchwork and lighting work that needs to be done in this area, including: lighting, shelves, brackets. So I decided to move my computer back into the closet. I love it!

May 172012

The Old Tube Light

I installed the old 48″ double tube fluorescent fixtures from the Halland layout. In total 3 fixtures were installed; 2 on the west layout and 1 in the closet (north). They work fine, but I’m not sure if I’m going to keep them because I think they’ll be inconvenient to replace bulbs. I’m thinking about buying more T4 slim fluorescent lights. I found a cheaper supplier Cyelite.

I also broke out the old Cryon LED lighting I was using for blue lights on the Halland layout. I don’t think I have enough to encircle the entire layout, so I’m trying to determine where they will provide the most benefit. I’ll fill in the gaps with some blue T4 lights.

Raceway Power

I tapped into a power outlet on the north wall to run a surface mount non-metallic raceway power system. The route runs into the closet, then back around the rest of the room. Each box has two switched outlet pairs; one pair for daytime lighting and one pair for nighttime lighting. I got a few of the boxes cheap on eBay and at Habitat for Humanity. I had to buy six raceway strips ($10/ea.) and three or four boxes ($10/ea). The whole system set me back about $100. The NM power distribution system is made by Wiremold.

The raceway’s are partially wired. I need to complete the portion that runs inside the closet. I’m still deciding how to distribute the daytime/nighttime outlets.

Valance Frame

I need  a valance over the west wall. It’ll hide the lights and act as a mount for my decorative train memorabilia. I made the frame with 3/4″ plywood and mounted it to the ceiling with angle brackets secured with EZ Ancor drywall anchors (which I love)


Slim Fluorescent

As I mentioned in my post Valance Brackets, I’m using linkable slim fluorescent lighting for the valance. The lights I purchased are T4 – 24W. The color temperature is 6400K. They are 34 1/2″ L x 3/4″ w x 1 3/8″ H. Very small. The lights come in a kit with 6′ plug, 6″ link cord, direct link fitting, and two mounting clips. The mounting clips screw to the underside of the valance and the lights slide right in. I linked four lights together. Installation took about ten minutes.

How Do They Look?

You can judge, but I think they look awesome. I love how bright they are. W’ell get a better idea when the valance fascias are installed.

I purchased my lights on eBay from seller finestcorp2010. Good price, good service, and packed well. You can also buy them from Savio Lighting.

Update 5/10/2012

I took out the lights and reinstalled them with a 45 degree mounting blocks. I think the new installation throws more light onto the layout surface.


Apr 192012

I painted the top and underside of the valance Polar White. Then installed the triangle brackets that provide the permanent support for the valance. Next fascia and lights.

I got a little worried about whether 1/8″ hardboard would make the 8″ radius curve around the northeast corner of the valance. But I tested it and it should work no problem. I plan to use install the fascia two sheets thick. That way I will have smooth side on both sides. The outside face of the fascia will be painted Stealth Jet. I can’t decide if the inside of the fascia should be Polar White or Stealth Jet.

I think I’ve found my lights: slim T4 fluorescent lights like these available at Savio Lighting. The fixtures are 3/4″ wide and 1 1/2″ deep. They come in various lengths. I’ll probably get four 24W 34 1/2″ fixtures. I think I’ll get the 6400K color temp. These lights are linkable. The biggest drawback to these lights I can’t find a local source for bulbs.

© 2012 Greg Amer
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