Over the past several years I have been needing and wanting to buy or maybe just make a workbench. I have gone to five woodworking shows in three states over the past two years. At these shows and in several magazines or catalogs I have noticed many of these really nice woodworking benches that are way far out of my reach as far as the $$$ involved. Finally after a elongated sick spell lasting nearly two months I finally get few boards together, screws, a very few nails and other items that I have been collecting for who knows how long and got the nerve to build myself a workbench. I needed something to be able to spread tools out on and to be able to work on…something, anything. I started this project inside a breezeway where I have a “summer kitchen”, so I had to make it portable. So that it can be moved out into the garage when the weather permits.
I went to the nearby Lowe’s, where they really don’t know…and got about $35 worth of 2x’s (not really that much these days). I had in a scrap pile a sheet of 1/4” tempered hardboard. The hardboard as you will see is to be used as a replaceable top once it gets scratched or cut too many times. I had purchased a door from the Indianapolis Habitat for Humanity Warehouse last year. (I go to Habitat for Humanity at least once a month!) I purchased an old woodworking vice at a flea market in Brown County Indiana last year. That is about all I had collected over the last year in anticipation of this my new workbench.
The solid core door from Habitat for Humanity was purchased last October for the sum of $12. Even the hole predrilled for the door handle will turn into a holder for pencils once I get done. Using one of those plastic frozen juice cans.
The quick release woodworking vice was purchased for $25. That’s all I could get him down to. It is a 4×7 Richards-Wilcox vice made in Aurora Illinois. It seems very old. From what I find on the internet it may be about 100 years old(?). The company is still in business, but not making woodworking vices. I had to make the handle. It needed a 7/8” handle diameter and all I had was a 1” dowel so I took to it with a cabinet scraper and got it down to the right dimension. Drilled a 3/8” hole in either side and put a 3/8” dowel plug and glued a cabinet knob, after drilling them also, on each end. Besides the handle I had to wire brush off some rust, tap the holes and attach new plywood to the jaws.
These are the holes drilled into the solid core door. First I drilled 6 holes with a 1” Forstner bit about 1/2 inch deep to sink the head of the bolt. Then I continued down into the door/2×6’s with a 1/4” bit for the 5/16” lag screw. This removable “lid” made the possibility of moving the workbench from it’s current place out into the garage when it gets a bit warmer and maybe back again this fall, possible. Again a sheet of 1/4 inch hardboard will cover the door.
After about 4 hours it looked like this. The door bolted with 6 lag bolts to the 2×6 frame. The frame for the bottom shelf is made of 2×4’s. I used all-weather screws to put this whole thing together. Cost of lag bolts, small trim nails and screws would be about $5.
Here’s my “new” vice installed. In this picture you will noticed the 1/4 hardboard laid out on top of the door. No trim around the outside edge of the door yet.
I now have the vice installed in it’s location and have the trim abound the outside edge of the door. The solid core birch door was coated with two coats of polyurethane when I purchased it. So I simply got some good double sided carpet tape attached it to the door to hold the hardboard flat. When I need to replace the hardboard all I have to do is pry up the hardboard. The slick finish on the hardboard and door makes it a relatively easy thing to do.
As you can see I have the over-hang hung over enough to accommodate my Jet and Bessey clamps all the way around the edge. A closer view of the scrap trim around the door also. I routed the corners of the trim so I wouldn’t stick it into my leg while working around the bench. The bench is 34” tall. The trim cost would be about $7.
Here’s the bottom shelf installed. Call the price on this damaged piece of 5/8” ply about $10(?).
The new plywood and handle on the vice. The vice works really well now…...
I added this 48”long, 12 outlet, Surge Protected power strip just this morning. (Surge Protected up to 400 Joules) The power strip cost me $30.
I added this Yesterday. This is a KREG Universal Bench Klamp, if you haven’t seen one. (I got it from Woodcraft – http://www.woodcraft.com/family.aspx?familyid=4770 ) I like it so much that I will be adding another to the far corner as soon as it gets here. This is a very, very handy item to have. This little “set” is priced at$35, so times two equals $70.
This makes the total cost of my customized workbench to be near the $160 bracket.
Lest I forget, which I did, I have four (4) bench dogs and have yet to drill holes for them. This cost is about $35 for all four dogs. I will be placing them on the oposite side of the Kreg Klamps. I think about 3-1/2” apart(?) can anyone tell me? Now the cost is about $195 +/-.
Don’t mind saying so, but I think it turned out pretty good for an old novice such as myself.
-- Carpe Lignum; Tornare Lignum (Seize the wood, to Turn the wood)