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Mongo: my first real workbench #2: Materials and Method

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Blog entry by TheRiflesSpiral posted 03-27-2017 01:50 PM 695 reads 0 times favorited 5 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 1: Planning and Laminating Part 2 of Mongo: my first real workbench series Part 3: A look at joinery »

With laminations complete, I’m starting to begin assembly in earnest.

Lamination is a repetitive, boring task that I really do not enjoy but because I can’t afford 16/4×12” x 8’ slab material, I’m relegated to squaring/smothing/gluing clamping in a seemingly endless loop.

The result of this monotony is below: two 13” x 4.25” x 8’ table tops, two 13” x 1.5” x 8’ aprons and four 8.5” x 4.5” x 4’ legs.

The material I’m using is #2 Hemlock Fir. I purchased 2×10s from Menards in 16’ lengths to minimize defects. To be completely honest, I don’t really care about knots/surface checks/etc… This is a workbench, not a showpiece and guess what? Trees have branches! Knots are the left-behind reminder that we’re working with the carcass a living, some would say breathing, life form so I welcome them so long as they don’t interfere with the function.

I use reclaimed lumber quite a bit also. We’re remodeling a depression era farmhouse nearby and the majority of the timber used to build it was harvested on-site. That means all the 2×4’s/2×6’s/sheeting/etc is either white oak, red oak or walnut. I’m using some reclaimed white oak 2×4’s for the tool tray. It’s “nasty” by most standards but I love the character of the wood… the “defects” are small clues to the life that tree led and by leaving them, highlighting them, I’m honoring the tree that stood where the house stands now.

Anyway…

After the lamination I had intended to use my thickness planer to get the top/bottom of all my laminations at least smooth. Too bad my planer is 13” and all my pieces came out slightly over. So over to the cabinet shop to use the big’n…

We’re confined to a 3-car garage until we get the building built. All our tools are crammed into that small space and on casters to help with material movement. We’re pouring the foundation this summer so it’s pretty exciting!

I’ve got a bit of a chicken/egg situation in my personal shop in that I don’t have a workbench but I need a workbench to build my workbench on… sawhorses will have to do for the moment. I first leveled each sawhorse side to side then leveled them to eachother. A nice pile of sawdust underneath to catch any glue drips and it’s time to start assembly!

Here it is laid out (upside down) so I can get an idea of it’s footprint. I was worried the top would not be deep enough at just over 31” but I think it’s going to be fine. I can easily reach to the opposite side of the bench with a slight lean of my body and I can reach into the bottom of the tool tray without any bending at all. As Goldilocks would say “It’s just right.”

So here’s the first bit of assembly I got done last night; the tool tray is being glued to the “front” top in this picture. I’ll finish the glue-up of the top tonight and then it’s time for final dimensioning and stabilization of the top before the aprons go on!

-- Far and away the best prize that life has to offer is the chance to work hard at work worth doing.



5 comments so far

View theoldfart's profile

theoldfart

8969 posts in 2202 days


#1 posted 03-28-2017 08:50 PM

That’s a lot of mass for those wimpy benches, be careful. I had a saw horse fail while doing my top glue up, it will get your attention! Keep up the good work.

-- "With every tool obtained, there is another that is needed" DonW ( Kevin )

View TheRiflesSpiral's profile

TheRiflesSpiral

18 posts in 183 days


#2 posted 03-29-2017 01:41 PM



That s a lot of mass for those wimpy benches…

:D yes. yes it is. I considered whipping up a pair of wooden ones for temporary use but got impatient… I’m monitoring it closely.

-- Far and away the best prize that life has to offer is the chance to work hard at work worth doing.

View theoldfart's profile

theoldfart

8969 posts in 2202 days


#3 posted 03-29-2017 07:55 PM

I wound up building these

Later on I added adjustable risers to make working easier.

-- "With every tool obtained, there is another that is needed" DonW ( Kevin )

View TheRiflesSpiral's profile

TheRiflesSpiral

18 posts in 183 days


#4 posted 03-29-2017 09:26 PM

Oooooh I like those risers. I actually talked myself out of making them because I needed them to be short (enough to do chopping later on for the mortises) but tall enough to do glue ups. Your riser things are perfect!

-- Far and away the best prize that life has to offer is the chance to work hard at work worth doing.

View RobDubs's profile

RobDubs

39 posts in 210 days


#5 posted 03-30-2017 11:36 PM

Looking good man. I’m blogging about my bench build as well. Similar situation – laminating the top of Douglas Fir.

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