This could also be called: “Cut, then measure…”
I still don’t have much of a plan. Sure, I’ve seen a lot of really good ideas and gotten a lot of inspiration from the web and Lumberjocks. I’ve even read through almost all of the Mother of all Workbench discussions. Only 50 more pages to go until I’ve caught up!
But this lack of planning hasn’t stopped me from starting to build my workbench. I’ve already brought much of the wood that I’ll probably need inside to acclimate, and I’ve even started truing and squaring the wood for the top. The first piece has even been shortened for the first time. I can’t even call it “cut to rough length” because, on this project, I’m not even sure what that would be. On the plus side, that piece of wood now fits much more comfortably in my shop and I don’t need to walk so far when I run a plane along its entire length :-D
But flattening and truing the first side of that first piece of wood let me know that I needed some place much better for my planing, so I cobbled together another mod to my Frankenbench and wedged a board into it for planing.
You’ll notice that I’ve written the labels “LE” and “S” on my wedges. My vision is bad enough that I felt that marking the “large end” and the “small end” would pay off.
This Frankenbench is something that I cobbled together after my accident. The base is a lightweight tool stand that I picked up used. I added 2 layers of 5/8” melamine with 3 pieces per layer, as shown. The outer 4 pieces are attached; the middle 2 pieces are not. The upper loose piece is just used with the wedges to clamp the workpiece (here, a 3” x 3” block of wood).
This held the workpiece well enough, but it was too low for comfortable planing, even with the 3” workpiece. The legs were also too flexible and the whole thing was too light, so it wanted to walk (run?) across the floor. So I screwed a pair of 3×3s to the bottom of the legs, as shown here:
This stiffened things up significantly and improved the height a lot. I’m going to use it as it is for a short while before I make the next modifications or adjustments. I can add another 3×3 for more height and/or lower the overall height by 1.5, 3 or 4.5 inches by moving the bolts holding on the lower part of the metal legs (like on the matching stand under the table saw behind the Frankenbench).
So the Frankenbench is helping me a lot. It is giving me a more stable place to plane my wood and it’s freeing up my other worktops so that I can perform other tasks, such as sharpening. Doing all these tasks helps me to refine the requirements for my bench. Clearly defining the requirements and constraints for my new bench will let me make better design decisions. Better design decisions will allow me to make a better bench. So I’m continuing to cut my pieces down and to make them square and true; I can always measure and trim them when I know what size I need them to be…
The tail really is wagging the dog.