Well, after much searching and procrastinating and general “making do”, I realize I need a real workbench. Now, SWMBO and I are planning on building a new place on 30 acres in the next few years, at which time she will have a nice big stable for her hayburners, and I will get a real workshop.
Not going to hold my breathe on that one though—it’s going to take a bit of time to figure out the details on that, so I know it will be more than 1-2 years before I have my own workshop!
Until then, I have been puttering around out of one stall of our garage. It does the job, but constantly having to move things around to get to other tools gets tedious. And there never seems to be enough flat surface to set things down.
I know that the first law of woodworking is you can never have too many clamps, but the first corollary to that has to be that you can never have too many flat surfaces.
So anyway, I don’t want to start anything like a Roubo or any bench with a hardwood top at this point, because…well, I can’t see myself actually finishing a project of that magnitude out of a single garage stall. After searching through many magazines, books, and on-line sources I’ve finally settled on a design that should work for a first real workbench. ShopNotes #89 (“Build a $100 Rock-Solid Workbench” it says on the cover!) should be just right – a workbench you can build without a workbench!! I also considered Tom Caspar’s “Workbench in a Weekend” (Woodwork, October 1996) but in the end decided I didn’t want to deal with the torsion box construction at this point – the base on the ShopNotes design seems a bit simpler to construct.
Tip Of The Hat to workbenchdesign.net for all the links to Tom Caspar’s design and many other interesting links.
I have decided to incorporate the hand screw tail vise idea into the ShopNotes bench, so I will need to make the aprons a bit deeper, and I also hope to bring the corners of the edging around the MDF top together with dovetails instead of mitering them.
I’ve got the basic design all Sketched-Up (Sketch-Uped?) and a cut list ready, so it’s off to the BORG to purchase some future sawdust. Will try to keep you all posted.
Will probably attach Sketch-Up file later, after further refinement, putting in dovetails and vises, etc. Current file is merely to determine lengths/widths for cutlist – it ain’t real purty.
-- The beatings will continue until morale improves.