2012 - Mini Shaker Workbench #1: Design

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Blog entry by Will Mego posted 01-31-2012 10:21 PM 2406 reads 0 times favorited 0 comments Add to Favorites Watch
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So, after the disaster of last year, it’s time to once again plan the disaster of this year!

Last year, you won’t recall, I planned to build a massive all-weather roubo style workbench, and after designing what I still feel is a really good design, faced the difference between the project materials cost, and the amount I had to spend…which last summer was: Zero. Obviously my design was somewhat more than zero, and while cheap, zero is a number that’s hard to argue with. So I did almost no woodworking last summer, other than a tiny amount on my beloved spring pole lathe (a blog worthy thing for this spring and summer as well!)

So, faced with some pretty hefty life changes coming up in the next 12 months (or no changes, just to keep me on my toes) I am faced with the prospect of not only possibly moving, but possibly spending a couple of years in an urban setting. So how does one woodwork in the city? Or, more specifically, How will I make the things I will want to make to dress up the usual boring and depressing urban living quarters? The answer: I need a small workbench capable of most small projects, such as small-scale cabinetry, mouldings, small dovetailing, etc.

My outdoor bench was to be a roubo style (I swear, given a spare $100 or so and some space, I’m still making that thing, found the most amazing landscape materials you’d think were furniture grade wood, treated to refusal!) but this will have a small base, with drawers, so I love shaker things (I even cook some traditional shaker recipes) and adore their benches, and thus, the concept of the mini shaker workbench/tool chest for urban living is born.

The top will be insanely heavy, yet around 2’ or less from front to back, and probably no more than 4’ in length. It’s stability will come from the massive weight of the top assembly (5-6” thick) and from the overbuilt base, combined with that it won’t be very tall off the ground, so it won’t be as unstable as a full height tiny bench would be (due to things like racking pressure as you planed, for example)

Yes, this “bench” won’t be able to do many things, but for small pieces and indoor projects, it should work great, esp. if used like traditional Japanese woodworkers do.

I know I’ll have to make it bit by bit, or to be more exact, buy materials bit by bit, but I believe I can make the total cost of the project (not including extra touches I might add along the way) so low, you might just be tempted to make one yourself.

-- "That which has in itself the greatest use, possesses the greatest beauty." -

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