|Project by Mainiac Matt||posted 885 days ago||2903 views||1 time favorited||13 comments|
Well, it’s not a work of art…. but it is a very functional tool.
This bench started life in our shipping department at work and had a stainless sheet metal cover on it. My boss scored several nicer benches at an auction and after this one was burried in storage for a long time, he accepted my offer of $25 (I’m a habitual dumpster diver). When I took off the metal top, I was very disappointed, as someone had welded on the top and it was badly burned. So I got permision to stay late one evening to use our CNC table router to resurface the bench top. Unfortunately the burn was deep, but the underside was not as bad, so I flipped it over and surfaced it with a face mill type cutter we use to level the spoil boards on the CNC. Unfortunatley the final thickness of the top was only 1.5”
The bench sat in my basement for some 6 years with a cheap vice tacked on the tail end, mostly seeing duty as a junk collection area. I purchased a 9 in. “economy” quick release face vise at Woodcraft on sale, but it sat in it’s box unused.
But this winter is the “year of my new shop” as I mostly finished the basement under our addition and couldn’t wait any longer.
So I built up two layers of nice 3/4” MDO plywood under it for a solid 3” thick top and mounted the face vice flush with the top. Then I saw posts about how a face vice “should” be mounted, and remounted it lower, and planed a maple board and laminated it onto the front edge flush with the fixed metal jaw. Then I mounted an oak board over this down the front edge, serving as a pad on the fixed jaw.
I added blocking (which extends out the back to support the tray) to the underside so the vice mechanism would clear the top of the metal frame. and raised it up to my height with 2×6 skid shoes under the metal legs. I securely lagged a 2×12 shelf and back to aid the metal cross brace in opposing racking forces.
The tool/chip tray is 5.25” wide and will make most of my different clamp sizes “disapear”. I closed in the ends with 3/4” oak boards laminated to the ends of the built up top. and sanded everything flush with the top. I’m trusting that everything is bone dry enough that there won’t be a lot of shrinking of the top…. though I’m a bit concerned about expansion in the summer causing seperation of these face boards on the ends….. fingers crossed.
The skirt boards at each end are there in preperation for a future upgrade, a pull out down draft table mounted with HD industrial drawers slides and plumbed to my DC, accessable from the back side.
She may not be much to look at, but it’s a heavy, solid bench with a thick hardwood top and decent vises.
I’ve got about $125 total into the bench… including initial purchase, vises and plywood. All solid lumber added was from my recycled lumber racks (maple, red oak, pine, finger joined and primed trim and SPF construction lumber)
I”ve got an old DC funnel that I’m going to mount to a T-track on the inner tray wall, for use when hand routing. And I picked up some of the Kreg plastic bench dogs.
I’m looking for recommendations for:
1. a protective finish? I’m thinking a couple cotes of polyacrylic would be easy and fairly effective.
2. spacing for the .75” bench dog holes
Thanks for looking….
-- Pine is fine, but Oak's no joke!