New Workbench Project #1: Starting Point

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Blog entry by Mark Colan posted 09-17-2013 01:35 AM 1959 reads 0 times favorited 0 comments Add to Favorites Watch
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I bought a sheet-metal workbench at a yard sale down the block in 1998. For $10, the guy helped me carry it down the block and into the basement. It was 48” wide by 24” deep by about 34” high. The metal base had a little rust. I replaced with top with 3/4” plywood and used 2×4’s to strengthen the shelf. I don’t have pictures of this bench, but will provide pictures for the new one.

The biggest problem was that it was not well suited to clamp work materials and jigs to the bench. I have mainly been a power tool user, but am learning to use hand tools, and needed a better bench top.

I got a butcher block top made by Grizzly. Like the Ikea butcherblock top I had tried before it, it is slightly bowed, with a gap about 3/64” in the middle, when placing a straight edge front to back. The gap is more than I want, because I know that the bow will transmit problems to work pieces and assembly. I’ll let it season; perhaps it will flatten itself, otherwise I will flatten it later.

I also added flip-up wheels from Rockler. The wheels were fastened to only one face of the L-shaped sheet-metal legs, and the weight of the top caused the legs to bend a bit when on the wheels. I could have fastened blocks to the open legs to make them more sturdy, but even with the wheels out of the way, it swayed just a bit when I pushed hard on it. I instead to build a simple but sturdy wood base.

I have made progress. This blog will present what I have done and what I will do to come up with a sturdy, stable workbench suitable for heavy-duty hand-tool work, assembly, tool storage, and more.

I welcome any comments and suggestions. I am doing a lot of research, both books and online, but the best would be from those of you who already have the experience.

-- Mark, hack amateur woodworker, Medford (greater Boston) MA

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