|Project by MayflowerDescendant||posted 02-22-2011 09:13 AM||5008 views||53 times favorited||37 comments|
After years of “making do” with a less-than-adequate bench arrangement, I decided to build myself a solid workbench. I definitely wanted to integrate into the design a number of drawers (of varying depths) to store my fine hand / bench tools. Here’s what I came up with. I did not follow any plan per se. I simply designed in the finer points from mutliple examples and certain features that I have grown to appreciate with experience.
The bench top is 3.5 inches thick (double layer of 3/4-inch plywood + 1-3/4 -inch hard maple benchtop block + 1/4-inch hardboard) and measures 74-inches wide by 38-inches deep. The bench top is wrapped in straight-grain Douglas Fir and just proud of the maple block top (by 3/16 of an inch) to hold the sacrificial 1/4-inch hardboard from moving around. Total bench height is 37-inches.
The base unit is 66-inches wide by 30-inches deep, allowing for a 4-inch overhang all the way around the top (nice for clamping). The very bottom of the unit is a 3/4-inch plywood torsion box design that is wrapped again in 3/4-inch birch plywood for a nice exterior surface appearance (as is the entire cabinet, drawer unit face frames and overlay drawer fronts).
The drawer chest features 3 columns of 4 drawers of increasing depths (2.5, 3.0, 4.0 and 4.75-inches in depth). The drawers on the left and right are 20-inches wide, the bank of drawers in the middle are 15-inches wide. All drawers are 22-inches deep (into the chest). Drawer sides, fronts, back and front overlay are 3/4-inch birch ply. Drawer bottoms are 1/4-inch birch ply.
I love an open shelf immediately below the benchtop to keep clamps (or other tools) at the ready when the bench top needs to be clear. Hence, in the pictures you will see a 5-inch high, open shelf, immediately below the top. (The open shelf has a divider in the middle, running from front to back, providing additional support to the top).
The fourth picture shows what the sides of the bench cabinet look like and the sixth picture shows the back of the base cabinet (“street view”) as well as the sacrificial hardboard in place.
The quick release steel bench vise is from Lee Valley (10G04.13). It’s jaws are 10.5 inches wide, with a maximum opening of 15-inches. I have increased the width of those jaws to 16-inches by attaching two, 1.5-inch thick, machined blocks of Douglas Fir. As such, the maximum opening is reduced to 12 inches (15 – 1.5 -1.5). I have recently secured a piece of 1/4-inch thick, smooth leather, to make a set of jaw liners that will slip over the wooden jaws (to hold any delicate pieces). I also used Lee Valley’s heavy-duty steel casters (set of 4 – 00K20.10). The 4-inch, brass-plated, drawer handles are also from Lee Valley (01W36.10).
Stainless steel screws were used throughout the construction and the exterior finish is 3 coats of Minwax’s Helmsman indoor/outdoor (semi gloss) Spar Urethane.
In the not-too-distant future, I can see myself adding the Veritas Quick-release, sliding tail vise (05G30.01), on the right front corner. It is at that time when I will probably add some dog holes too!
This was a FUN and worthwhile project to build. Yes, that first nick, dent or scratch is going to hurt. Next task – loading it up with all my hand / bench tools!
Thanks for looking. Any questions, just ask. Play safe!
-- Glen - Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada