After finishing that bookcase with some amount of success, I’ve turned towards making some shop improvements that I noted as necessary while i was in the middle of my project:
1. raised, stabilized, and surfaced my “bench”. the bench was originally an old desk. I practically killed myself bending over it, so it needed another 6” or so. I basically used 2×4s to encase the whole thing from the inside and give it a lift. It’s rock solid now, and the perfect height. also added a 3/4” sheet of MDF to the top. it’s now ugly as hell and embarrasing looking. yikes. well, total cost was probably about $10 for the whole thing, and it now works as a bench should, so who cares what it looks like?
2. made a small lumber rack for my scraps. stupid simple, made from 2×4 pieces screwed into the 2×4 frame of my shop room.
3. fixed my router table to the shop framework as well – it had the tendency to “walk” before, but now it’s solid as well.
4. reground and scary sharpened all my chisels and plane blades. I did it right this time, using the self-made jig and wet/dry SiC paper with lubricant. Grits went from 100 to 1200 going through 7 or 8 sizes, with a final polish with 4000 (or 6000, i forgot). nice.
5. general cleaning up and organizing. I need some sort of storage unit with lots of shelves, but I cant afford crap. maybe some pegboard between the wall studs is in order…
This sprucing up is definitely good. it gave me a bit more room all around, and the bench improvements were absolutely critical.
So, getting back to my title, I keep wondering how much woodworkers actually use 2×4s or other dimensional lumber. The FWW “new fangled workbench” is made from them (awesome – this is what I want to build for myself at some point), they work great for assorted utility purposes – like lumber racks – and so on.