|Project by Tom||posted 06-13-2011 02:34 PM||2434 views||7 times favorited||9 comments|
My first project for my new shop had to be a workbench! I had been using a 6-foot Costco table to work on, but it just wasn’t the same as having a solid wood workbench. I spent several hours over a number of weeks looking for just the right one. I settled on one called “The $175.00 Workbench that was featured in POPULAR WOODWORKING magazine, Feb., 2001. (http://www.popularwoodworking.com/projects/175_workbench) I liked it because it used some cheaper wood and it used some joinery that I wanted to learn how to do. However, I did want to include some drawers for storage, and the bench did not have them. So, I found a “Shop in a Box” project I liked in the March, 2011 issue of WOOD Magazine and incorporated it into my workbench. For those of you keeping score at home, I didn’t keep an accurate running total of the cost, but I know that the cost of the bench was a bit more than the 2001 price. I am guessing I have a total of about $275, without the front vise which I will be getting soon. I used ordinary 2×4s from Home Depot as well as a couple of 2×8s. For the top I cut the rounded edges off the two bys to about 1 1/4 by about 3 then glued them up in two sections. I would have loved to have had a planer to run them through, but a grinder, orbital sander and hand plane worked pretty well to get the top relatively flat and smooth. While the shop in a box used 3/4” plywood, I chose to use MDF because I thought it might be easier to work with and it was cheaper! When you are retired, cheaper is always a good choice! I liked using wood rails rather than buying drawer slides. I remains to be seen how these will hold up over the long haul, but I think they will do just fine. The shop in a box used cutouts for drawer pulls, I made my own drawer pulls from scrapwood. I also made a cupboard out of the middle section rather than more drawers because I had some containers that fit better on shelves. I thought about coating the top with West System, but the price was a bit much. I thinned spar varnish for the first coat, then applied several coats of Minwax wipe-On Poly clear satin. All in all it was a great experience and I was able to brush up on some old skills and learned a few new ones. A few Oopses here and there, but overall I am quite proud of my bench.
-- Tom in Spring Branch