A journey into the workshop. #7: The thought process so far on the bench. Veering away from the instruction video or sheet.

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Blog entry by dbhost posted 09-16-2009 10:32 PM 1546 reads 0 times favorited 0 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 6: The workbench is almost complete. Part 7 of A journey into the workshop. series Part 8: A bit here, a bit there, and it adds up to progress... »

Considering the fact that this bench was designed by the guys at Fine Woodworking to be a skill builder, and I went off on my own tangent using the tools and resources I have to get to the same end. For example…

The original plan called for 4×4 and 2×4 kiln dried construction grade lumber. I opted for rough cut 4×4 and 2×4 cedar lumber, planed, jointed, and then ripped it to nominal dimension.

The grooves in the rails and spreaders are per the instructions cut with a router and edge guide. But I have a table saw and nice dado set, not to mention calipers to verify dimensions / distances.

The instructions tell us to drill the holes more or less freehand. All I have to say about that is… I don’t think so Tim… Drill press and stop blocks all the way!

The instructions called for a 62” long bench top. This was nice, but I wanted more room, so 72” it was for me!

The instructions called for cutting the ply / mdf top pieces with a cutting guide, and circular saw. But my local BORG has a panel saw, and a particularly skilled young man that is a fellow woodworker that will cut to EXACT dimension, figuring kerf for me. No need for me to cut it!

The instructions called for using a cutting guide / circ saw to cut all my lumber to length. While this is a fantastic idea, I have a perfectly usable compound miter saw, that also does dead straight square crosscuts through all the stock in question (once the 4×4s are jointed and planed down that is!).

The instructions called for the lower shelf to be mounted on top of the lower spreaders / rails, I am opting for mounting on top of a cleat, flush with the lower spreaders / rails. This I feel is more attractive, and buys me 3/4” more headroom for any tools that might end up stored down there.

The instruction sheet called for the vise to be a 7” model. I opted for a 9” model, specifically for capacity sake. (And the 7” model was no better than my 9” as far as machining etc… ).

Lastly, the instruction sheet does NOT call for any sort of finish on the bench. I know lots of workbenches are out there without a finish. And I am still considering leaving mine naked, but this is a good exercise in practicing oil & wax finishes…

The instructions were also a little vague in the details, specifically where to source the materials from… I ended up doing some substitution that was recommended to me by a local furniture builder for my project.

The kiln dried pine is such a nuisance to obtain in the Houston market, that the Cedar was recommended as the best alternative from a cost / benefit stand point.

The S clips are also next to impossible to find in Houston. I opted instead for the heavy duty mirror hanger S clips. Same size and shape, same thickness steel, just silver instead of black… Big deal. Nobody should be looking that close to the bottom of my bench anyway!

I need to make room in my shop behind the table saw for this. And that may be coming this weekend… I have a MESS of material in my shop, that really should be under a tarp out on my deck waiting to be turned into a fence… (Using Stump Out to rot out some stumps along the fence line before I proceed…). Once that is out of there, I can start moving LOML’s gardening stuff to the side the shop tools are in, and moving the shop tools to the side I want them on… Including setting up my DC plumbing finally!

That’s it for the time being, the next posts you are likely to see will involve the Kitty Condo. Progress is being made there, and Kitty is already trying to shred it…

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