…Progress on the TarBall Quartet
The TarBall is a quartet of interconnected projects, one leading to the other. I will review this, since the Minibench only makes sense in context.
The four items:
1. Super Sled
2. Project Table top (with slots for hold downs, pedestals on the other side, it is reversible)
3. Minibench Base (a more robust base for the heavy Project Table top)
4. Robust dust collection and outfeed table for my TS.
The first 3 are basically done except for a couple details, and are in use now.
HOW IT HAPPENED
1. It started with my Super Sled, which is in heavy use, but still lacks a guard. It has miter arms done, and all works well:
In the process of making the miter arms, I decided I needed a better way to hold things while I routed them, so…
2. I made a reversible project top out of two thicknesses of ½” MDF, a complex project. While making the project top, I figured out how to do the miter arms on the router table from a magazine article. So here is the completed project table top, originally configured to fit on my very old and not so robust project tables. It is reversible with rout through and cut through pedestals on the optional side:
Normal side with demonstration:
Pedestal side with demonstration:
3. I quickly decided this was a very valuable item and really needed a much more robust base, the minibench.
4. …but before that, I thought I should complete my TS dust collection project. Well, getting into that about half way, I decided I was much too inefficient, so I needed some nail guns. Got those, and then decided to put them in the base for the project table top. I now started calling this a minibench.
I then halted the TS dust collection and started the minibench base, which is now almost finished except for the cord keeps.
So now to the real purpose of this blog:
This blog is a preview of the Minibench. It will be presented as a project soon, when everything is absolutely done and the compressor and guns are in place.
All elements of the bench were designed in Sketchup and followed quite faithfully.
1. Hold the project top, with its numerous slots for t-bolts to attach jigs, and its reversible pedestal side for through cutting and routing.
2. Hold the compressor, 3 guns and a blower all attached at the same time, and the nails.
3. Electrical connections for various hand tools and the compressor.
4. Operations such as planing, sanding, routing, glueups, etc. This required it to be mobile, stable, and sturdy.
The nearly complete bench from the front, without contents:
The nearly complete bench from the back, without contents:
Building the Minibench
Materials – This bench is built out of cheap plywood and stud lumber. Never again. But it is done.
Construction – Glued, with Titebond III, and I mean everything that could be glued was, and nails. I started out using the top in an old project table rickety base, and as soon as I could, started using the minibench, to build the minibench…(-:
Finish – WATCO, medium walnut because it blended in the filler and blemishes better than clear or dark walnut.
Features Added During Construction
Along the way, I decided the top could be used for a downdraft table, especially if something covered part of the holes. So I incorporated that.
There is a open box like structure on the top to house the reversible top. The top has its movement controlled by wooden studs. There will also be leveling screws that selectively engage depending on which side is up.
Leveling and Moving – There are 4 leveling bolts one on each leg. There are two wheels on the front side and two on the right side. By lifting the bench from the back, or the left, you engage one of the sets of wheels so that you can move it. I estimate it will be well over 300 pounds with everything in it. It is extremely heavy without anything in it!
Engineering – I built it to be strong, rigid, and heavy. It has way more wood in it than required just for strength. The piers at each end are a lattice of 2×4’s, including the legs that extend up to the bottom of the box. The lattice is sandwiched between pieces of ¾” plywood. Everything is glued and nailed. The piers are probably much stronger and more rigid than a piece of solid hardwood of the same size. The bottom and top are also overbuilt but not to the extent of the ends.
Compressor Compartment – The compressor has a compartment in the base, nearly sealed for noise control. There is an external switch for the compressor. There are two receptacles in the box connected to the switch. One may be used for a light. There is a round air entrance in the bottom, under the compressor, for sound control. There is a sound shielded slot for the hoses at the top over the shelves.
Storage and Stowing -Four shelves for the hooked up nail guns, blower, and four connected hoses, and there should be room for the nail packs.
Electrical -The table is electrified with 4 receptacles on each end. The wires run internally out of sight in the top frame of 2×4’s, and through the hose port to the compressor compartment. The cord that connects the bench to a source is very heavy duty 14 gauge, self-supporting, meaning it can be used for over head connections.
Access – There is a big access door in front for the compressor, and a small door in back to access the tank bleed. These doors use friction bullet catches. You open them by pulling on the edge, no knob required.
Dust Collection – There is a removable manifold, meaning removable without tools by sliding it off of its bolts, to convert the 4 inch round section of DC hose to a rectangle of the same area, so as not to compromise the strength of the box, and to maximize air flow.
…Now for the Fun, Building and Using the Minibench
Here I have the beginnings of the bench setting on one of my old rickety project tables, that has the completed MDF top on it. The plywood was warped, the studs were warped, and I did not joint anything. I just adjusted as I went along. Here you see me planing a leg.
Here I am planing the 1/8” pine trim I used to edge plywood. I tried the No. 4 Veritas, but quickly reverted to the Veritas block plane for better control. The No. 4 caused some tear out in the veneer since it couldn’t be controlled to the same extent as the block plane. Notice I am planing on the minibench at this stage.
Here I am gluing and nailing on some trim, using the minibench and some fixtures. Have a bunch of these things already made. The bench is great for glueups, nailing, etc.
I am sanding one of the shelves, note the DC manifold in place using the minibench as a downdraft table.
Working on the manifold, glueup and nailing.
Here is a detail of the manifold. The piece of wood you see the blast gate extruding through holds with very strong spring action. I think this is a novel approach, I blogged on it in the past, and now use it routinely. If anyone wants to know how this is done, let me know. It is an extremely easy way to interface wood objects and dust control stuff.
Doing neurosurgery on the minibench, notice the blood on the floor (kinda looks like sawdust) and the instrument table at the right.
Now attaching nerves to the brain………….(-:
Notice the knock down project elevator that the bench is sitting on, to bring it up to working height for the electrical. I have to do a few refinements to the project elevator, and then will present it as a blog or project. Very useful and flexible. Built a lot of helpers along the way here.
Well, that’s all folks, until I get home, put the cord keepers on, and put in the compressor, etc. Then I will post it as a project. If you wonder about the surgical references, let me tell you, this project took on a life of its own. It definitely has a persona. When it is complete, I’ll have nbeener help me name it, because he won’t read it unless it has a name………(-:
Considering “Medusa” as a name…..........(-:
I will probably blog in more detail about some of the features, as well as post it as a project. This is one shop object that deserves a place as a project.
Thanks for stopping by………
-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska