|Project by louxwe||posted 08-13-2013 05:41 AM||2451 views||11 times favorited||16 comments|
Okay so I read Chris Schwarz workbench book and a couple others and multiple online searches and I ended up stealing a bit from everyone and coming up with a great solution for me. First of this isn’t one of those beautiful handcrafted work of art workbenches who wants one of those things (well me actually but I don’t have the money to buy one nor the skill to build one yet), so I designed something that could be made out of Lowes/HomeDepot crappy cheap wood, some of it from the el cheap’o throw away bin (used my DeWalt planer to plane it down a bit in thickness and get it mostly straight). I didn’t want to have to try to make complicated mortise and tenon joints, but I wanted the thing to be super beefy and thick, so the legs are made out of 4 pieces of 2×6 with strategically cut slots by the jigsaw so that when it is all glued up I have holes for the legs and cross members.
The top is 4 sheets of 3/4 MDF (heavy as hell) and most everything is glued and screwed and also used the KREG pocket jig (I love that damn thing) I started by cutting the 4 sheets of MDF to exact size and laying them down on the floor, then I cut the wood for the outer skirt to exactly fit the MDF sheets, glued and screwed it together, then glued and screwed supporting members for the bottom all while it was upside down on the floor, then I glued up the legs, and cut holes into the bottom 3 layers of MDF to mate up with the legs, then attached the legs, braces, and the top skirt all together then just put each layer of the MDF on and screwed each down and then the top layer of MDF went on. I like this because, I didn’t have to find good straight lumber to glue together and then plane down to absolutely flat…. not sure I am good enough to do this, plus now when the top layer of MDF is all old and dirty and mangled and can just take it off and replace the top layer.
I also put on and end vice and made a leg vice with a ACME screw and a linear bearing to keep it straight (saw this on the internet and looked really cool, it works okay but not as good as the one I saw on Wood Whisperer, I had a brass bushing, in the bench leg to support the ACME screw but it was too tight so I put in a piece of PVC pipe but it is too loose???) I added a shelf underneath to hold all of my tools and the shop vac just barely fits underneath (yeah sure I planned it that way !)this is great because I have a very small shop so now the vac is out of the way and it is very easy to attach the hose to my tools as I am working at the bench. I also added those cool wheels the pop the legs up so you can move it, I followed Chris’s advice and made it as long as I could but still be able to roll it outside. Since I live in Phoenix it is nice to be able to roll it outside and work in the fresh air basically 9 months of the year.
Biggest problem is that from the last picture you can see that the middle of the MDF sheet on top is not exactly flush with the skirt of the bench… it’s not perfect but still the top seems pretty flat to me…. good enough for the girls I go with, but I might try to fix it later. Also not so sure where exactly to put all of my 3/4 holes for dogs and clamps, any suggestions.
Overall I am really pleased since, 1) I got all of the basic functions that I wanted thanks to Chris’s workbench 2)saved quite a bit of money over some of the fancier ones, 3)Damn that thing is heavy as hell and rock solid and it will be a good bench for me to get better at more traditional woodworking but I can use it for a bunch of other tasks 4) the wheels are really great and well worth the money for being able to roll it around and you can also pop the wheels up to raise the bench and do other tasks that work better with a higher bench.
If anyone has any questions about building something similar let me know I have Google SketchUp plans and a whole bunch of pictures of the construction steps.