I was inspired by Shipwrights V8 work bench. In particular the lack of purchased parts, vises being the biggest expense. Short of a couple bolts, screws, and nails everything is shop made. With laminated plywood as the building block it occurred to me that there is an ability to gather a significant amount of plywood on Craigslist for little to nothing.
I wanted to set some guidelines that would make it possible for pretty much anyone to create a good to great bench for less than $100.
1) Reclaim materials as much as possible
2) Scale for use in a small shop.
3) In the end have a bench that is both appealing and useful
With this in mind I began by going out in my shop/garage to take account of materials. I had a bit of 3/4 plywood left over from a scrounge job 3 years ago. It started out as a whole truck load and Im finally down to my last pieces.
I scaled the bench to 48” long. I’m thinking it will end up 30”-32” wide. Because like many this will probably at some point be used as out feed table I’ll probably set the height accordingly.
So here is tonight’s portion:
Last of the salvaged plywood
Decided that MDF would be used to top the bench. Mostly because I had it and after a consultation with Paul it seemed the right thing to do. Being scaled to 48” long made this particular piece perfect with an inch to spare
Pretty basic glue up; plywood, MDF, and tightbond III. Never enough clamps. I did use staples to keep things from slipping around while I worked each layer. If you don’t have a pin nailer 1 /14” drywall screws in each corner would work as well. Paul set up his laminations to use a sort of insert for his dog holes, in his words “because I could”. For simplicity I am going to drill the dog holes directly in to top. This did eliminate the additional step of using a skill saw to notch the dog hole receivers.
For the wagon vises, this posed a challenge. I have a significant pile of maple and oak that because I got it off of craigslist for free it would qualify but that would not be a common occurrence for most people. I had just picked up an ash pallet that had stringers that would work (mostly). I milled up the stringers was very pleased with how they came out.
Here is where I did technically break the rules. I had a bit of tiger wood that was a gift, so it was free. I only had one pallet so I came up about 20” short of material. This is where I should have grabbed a couple extra pallets.
In the picture below this is as far as I got tonight but you can begin to see how the vise will begin to look.
So far I have altered a couple things from Paul’s original plan;
Because I used pallet stringers the vises will not be as deep. This will also mean the top will not be as think. Depending on what I build the bottom out of the total thickness should be 3 3/8” to 3 5/8” thick. Still more than enough to be a very solid bench.
I hope to get the vises done tomorrow. I will tell you now that there may be a break in the build, Dr. is thinking I may need shoulder surgery. I should be able to at least get the top done before that would happen.
As always let me know where I’m screwing it up. A special thanks to Paul (Shipwright) for answering questions.
-- The basis for optimism is shear terror