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A New Life for an Old Bench #8: Phase 2 - storage and heft

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Blog entry by ToddJB posted 09-02-2016 06:02 PM 645 reads 0 times favorited 17 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 7: Deadmen and missing dogs Part 8 of A New Life for an Old Bench series no next part

Well, it’s been 2 years and I’ve had some time with this gift of a bench. I’ve had the opportunity to learn some of its strengths and some of it weaknesses.

The first weakness, and the one I will be focusing on in this entry is primarily its heft, or rather the lack thereof.

Just as a memory jog, here’s where we left off with the restored bench.

It looks pretty, but in use I’ve found when pushing through some strokes I move the bench. I’ve addressed this a bit by putting the edge of my floor mat under the front feet, but it still happens.

So I’ve decided I want to make a bank of drawers under the bench.

This will do a few things – I hope

1: Address the lack of weight issue
2: Add storage (always a plus)
3: Give the bench a more sturdy appearance.

I would like to take a second to focus on number 3. Appearance does mean something to me. I like things to look substantial. I like them to appear like they are a force to be reckoned with. Most of the stuff in my shop is made out of heavy duty materials that look like they’re not going anywhere anytime soon. I like that. This bench has always checked the “old” box for me, but it hasn’t done anything for me when it comes to looking solid. I hope to address that with this venture.

Now for the challenges involved:

1: Keep it looking old, original, and intentional
2: Make everything I do to it reversible
3: Keep costs down

These are things I’ve previously attempted in this bench with its deadman, dogs, garters, and whatnots, but this is going to be the largest modification to the bench, so it will likely be the most noticeable, and there are some design issues to think through as this bench was not built with the goal of adding a chest of drawers under it.

My first, and still prevailing thought is to just make a simple box that slips in from the side and rests on the front to back stretchers as noted by the red X’s.

But doing it this way will leave a gap between the box and the front and back stretcher as noted by the green X’s.

The pros to this option is that the gap on the front will freely allow me to have space for drawer fronts and handles while not interfering with the deadman, and when I am cleaning up dust off the top of the box it will fall to the ground instead of getting caught on the stretchers.

The con to this option is that I don’t think I will like the look of it – especially from the back of the bench.

So this is where I’m currently sitting with this.

I’m not in any rush to start or finish this project, but it’s a slow day at work and it’s what’s on my mind. So I thought I better get it down on paper… errr… internets.

I would love to hear alternate ideas, plans, thoughts, ramblings, and musings about this – ‘cause currently its all in my head, and likely still a ways from putting steel to wood.

-- I came - I sawed - I over-built



17 comments so far

View HokieKen's profile

HokieKen

1751 posts in 601 days


#1 posted 09-02-2016 06:44 PM

A couple of suggestions leap to mind Todd. You could simply build the drawer box to “hug” the rear legs and come all the way to the stretcher. (I’m assuming that you don’t think you’d like the looks from the back of the bench due to the gap between the drawers and the stretcher?) Or, you could screw a couple of cleats to the bottom of the long stretchers and make a shelf, ship-lapped or plywood to set the drawer box on (then you might not like the gap on the sides?). That would have the added benefit of lowering the center of gravity a little bit increasing the stability of the bench.

-- Kenny, SW VA, Go Hokies!!!

View ToddJB's profile

ToddJB

6903 posts in 1593 days


#2 posted 09-02-2016 06:57 PM

Hmmm… Interesting, Kenny.

I was thinking of a box that slipped in from the side. But if I took the base apart I could sandwitch it in closing that back gap, like this:

Is that what you meant?

-- I came - I sawed - I over-built

View HokieKen's profile

HokieKen

1751 posts in 601 days


#3 posted 09-02-2016 07:17 PM

That’s it. I actually hadn’t thought about notching out the bottom so it’s sets on top of the rear stretcher but that would improve the appearance. If you wanted to avoid taking the base apart, you could do what you intended originally and slide the drawers in from the side then just make the piece that hangs off the back separately and attach it after you get them in place. It wouldn’t serve any functional purpose but it would improve appearance and it would fix the drawers in place so when you get mad and Hulk kick them they won’t go sliding out the other end ;P

I’m guessing the drawer box will have some unusable space at the bottom due to the front stretcher? Throw some sandbags in there under the drawers and make that sucka’ a little heavier still.

-- Kenny, SW VA, Go Hokies!!!

View ToddJB's profile

ToddJB

6903 posts in 1593 days


#4 posted 09-02-2016 07:23 PM

Yeah, good call. You’ve got the brain juices rolling.

-- I came - I sawed - I over-built

View theoldfart's profile (online now)

theoldfart

8092 posts in 1914 days


#5 posted 09-02-2016 07:30 PM

looks like you don’t use holdfasts. if you did i’d suggest leaving some space below the bench top for them. keep on plugging Todd.

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

View ToddJB's profile

ToddJB

6903 posts in 1593 days


#6 posted 09-02-2016 07:50 PM

Kevin, I don’t (currently) use holdfasts, as the dog holes are “square” (not even close to square). But I have thought about drilling a few in the middle of the table for that purpose.

Regardless, I had every intention of leaving space between the box and the top, as I can always use another flat surface to collect crap.

-- I came - I sawed - I over-built

View theoldfart's profile (online now)

theoldfart

8092 posts in 1914 days


#7 posted 09-02-2016 08:44 PM

Todd, “crap”! You of course meant to say Man Glitter right?

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

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile

Smitty_Cabinetshop

13720 posts in 2081 days


#8 posted 09-02-2016 08:59 PM

Screw a couple crips to the stretchers for a square drawer box to ride on vs. the extraordinary work that’d be needed to create a notched case.

And you are welcome to look at the blog of my case like the one your considering. More thoughts in that blog than I remember anymore.

-- Don't anthropomorphize your handplanes. They hate it when you do that. -- OldTools Archive --

View ToddJB's profile

ToddJB

6903 posts in 1593 days


#9 posted 09-02-2016 09:10 PM

Smitty, I’m unfamiliar with the term”crips”

-- I came - I sawed - I over-built

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile

Smitty_Cabinetshop

13720 posts in 2081 days


#10 posted 09-02-2016 10:19 PM

It’s a framing term I’ve (probably) bastardized over the years from what it actually means, but to me (in this case) it means 2×2s (or so) screwed alongside the stretchers, maybe an inch or so below (could be more) the tops of the stretchers. The box can ride on them.

-- Don't anthropomorphize your handplanes. They hate it when you do that. -- OldTools Archive --

View ToddJB's profile

ToddJB

6903 posts in 1593 days


#11 posted 09-03-2016 02:16 AM

Ah, okay. I see what you’re saying.

And on my next down day I’ll definitely did through your bench build. I didn’t realize it was blogged.

-- I came - I sawed - I over-built

View theoldfart's profile (online now)

theoldfart

8092 posts in 1914 days


#12 posted 09-03-2016 03:30 AM

Smitty, does sistered mean the same thing as crip in this case?

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

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile

Smitty_Cabinetshop

13720 posts in 2081 days


#13 posted 09-03-2016 03:36 AM

yes, and it does apply just as well here.

Schwarz calls them ‘ledgers’ in the blue workbench book…

-- Don't anthropomorphize your handplanes. They hate it when you do that. -- OldTools Archive --

View ToddJB's profile

ToddJB

6903 posts in 1593 days


#14 posted 09-03-2016 03:53 AM

Funny how terminology is different like that. I use “sister” when I’m mating a similar sized board to another for the sake of strengthing the first board – like a rafter that’s been cut. I use “ledger” when I would affix a board to a wall for sake of building off of it – like a deck or a roof line.

-- I came - I sawed - I over-built

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile

Smitty_Cabinetshop

13720 posts in 2081 days


#15 posted 09-03-2016 01:30 PM

If we each worked for crusty carpenter / framers that knew the trade well, we’d all have the terminology down pat. Just a bunch of hackers, we are…

-- Don't anthropomorphize your handplanes. They hate it when you do that. -- OldTools Archive --

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