|Project by BenchDawg||posted 04-23-2011 06:37 PM||4591 views||22 times favorited||21 comments|
It became apparent, shortly after building a couple of Adirondack chairs, that if I was to continue with this woodworking madness, then I was going to need some type of bench. I found a work bench book from my favorite woodworking store and picked out a plan that would best fill the bill.
My needs call for a bench vice on one end, with some bench dog options and I built so it could be in the center of the workshop. I made it the same height as my table saw so I can dual-purpose the surface for cutting large stock on the saw.
The frame is made dimensional lumber from the big box stores. It brought some new skills to me. I bought an inexpensive 3/8” dowelling jig for use on the ends of support brackets to the legs. The frames is then joined by use of a 3/8” threaded rod that is tucked into a routed channel of the support bracket and then through the legs. The dowelling keeps the supports in square as the rod is bolted down. It makes for a very solid frame.
The top is made of three 3/4” laminated birch plywood sheets. To keep from picking up splinters off the edges, I finished the ends of the table with a light hardwood. The top was placed with spacing to accommodate a bench vice. I took the time to make a grid pattern on the bottom surface of the table top that matched where I would put bench dogs if I chose to dog out the whole surface. I didn’t want to drill into a support leg or my table top mounting pins. As it turned out, I chose to put three rows close to the vice but I can add more later if I need to.
The table top mounting pins fit into a routed channel on the upper surface of the upper frame supports. The pins sit freely in the channel, being bolted to the underside of the table top. I am told this will allow for expansion and contraction of the table in my drafty garage and keep the table top from warping. This table can also be broken down for movement if needed at a later date.
The bottom shelf was always part of the plan, but as an afterthought, I decided to add a tilted shelf that would hold tools at the ready. All my Bailey planes and some assorted tools I reach for on a consistent basis are close at hand. The tilted shelf slides out from the back. I am already thinking I might add a rack towards the back side the tilted shelf to hold some chisels and rasps.
All-in-all, this has been a great project and the table is really solid. It does not budge and it has helped speed up some cumbersome projects and it places the work at a comfortable position saving my aging back. After a month or so of work, the surface already has the patina of a well used, well loved bench.