Designing a work table

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Swingman wrote:

http://sketchup.google.com/3dwarehouse/details?mid f221ff13bc0b01b2c2cd006d206129&prevstart=0
After I mowed the lawn, I had time to cut the legs of my new bench today. I screwed a piece of 2by4 to the end of a face of a piece of old plywood (resting on saw horses) and put the factory ends of my four 4' pieces of 4by4 up against it. I clamped the 4by4s together with pipe clamps for good measure, and clamped a piece of 2by8 accoss the top, with F-clamps, to use for a fence for my circular saw. I was going to make the cut, when I thought this would make a good picture for you guys! ; ) So I took a quick pic, and made the 2" deep cut. Then I thought, now what? I cut the rest of the way through with a hand saw (a Menards freebee). The 2" deep cut worked like an old miter saw, and the cuts game out excellent I think--exceeding my expectations. Of course, there's flat, and then there's flat (like you strive to get with a shooting board). I'm assuming the former is flat enough (please correct me if I'm mistaken).
Regarding glue. One wouldn't want to glue the boards making-up the workbench top to the "frame" would one? It seems like with screws only, one always have the opportunity to easily put on a new top. And that is a valuable option.
Just having cut the legs--to size, I feel like I'm "over the hump". But dinner was called... Tomorrow, tomorrow... : )
Bill
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Subject: Re: Designing a work table

Make it a little wider, say 26-28". That way, if you build a piece 2'x4' it will fit on the table easily. I'm going to have to extend the top of my workbench a bit for that exact reason... The width was good, but the length was exactly 48". You may want to consider making the bottom support a shelf or cabinet. Not only will it add some rigidity, but you'll gain some storage space. Instead of putting the supports inside the legs, consider making the base a little smaller than the top. That way, you'll have clamping space around the entire top (near the edges) and you'll get the knee space you desire. At 37" tall, you'll want to stand to use the bench, so it's probably more important to make room for your feet. Puckdropper
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Make it to fit, don't make it fit.
From: Puckdropper <puckdropper(at)yahoo(dot)com>
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Joe <Joe@Joe'sPlace.com wrote:

I may indeed borrow the idea of using an "overlap joint" for my stretchers, which is the key part of what you are suggesting, I believe.
Dare I try to make such joints with a hand-held circular saw and a chisel? No replies from any SS owners please! : )
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wrote:

I have made a ton of things with lap joints. I used both radial arm saws and circular saws. If you make enough cuts, almost nothing is left in the bottom of the joint. Any chisel work is just to clean it up and make it absolutely flat. But if you do a good enough job with the cuts, almost nothing is left to smooth out.
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"Lee Michaels" wrote:

------------------------------------ A blade with a flat top grind makes life easier.
Lew
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On Fri, 4 May 2012 22:15:59 -0700, "Lew Hodgett"

And, a dado blade makes lap joints a breeze.
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Dave wrote:

That wouldn't be sportsman-like! ; )
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On 5/5/2012 2:42 AM, Bill wrote:

A good sharp No. 71 (or 71-1/2) Stanley router plane is a great tool for cleaning up the irregularities left by the saw blade at the bottom of a dado or rabbet. A lot more fun and very sportsman-like. :-)
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Bill wrote:

You could. It would be a lot easier with a bandsaw. Not hard with a table or radial saw either...just make a number of crosscuts to the proper depth, pop out the excess, clean up with chisel and/or rasp. Do it the same way with a circular saw. You could even use a chain saw. Or a hand saw.
--

dadiOH
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On 5/5/2012 8:21 AM, dadiOH wrote:

Good points. Not all of them apply to making the cut in the middle of a 4by4. I don't have a table saw yet. I didn't quite realize I could count on a BS for glue-able flatness--I suppose with a 1/2" blade (which I have).
Among other things, this table is going to be my "Scarey-Sharp" sharpening station. I may have to practice my Scarey-Sharp technique in the kitchen first before I complete this project! : )
Thanks! Bill
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tiredofspam <nospam.nospam.com> wrote in
*snip*

*snip*
Sometimes the best place to hide a mistake is in plain sight. Just leave it there and don't advertise it.
Puckdropper
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Make it to fit, don't make it fit.

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Bill wrote:
<snip>

Very. What seems like a good idea on paper is often stupid or impossible in reality.
There are times when strict adherence to a plan is necessary but IMO & IME hobbyist woodworking is not among them.
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dadiOH wrote:

I have to yield to your experience in woodworking, which is certainly far greater than mine. But, I'm on the 3rd version (plan) of my work table now and i have not wasted a single board. Without this approach, I'd still be building the 1st inferior version. I built, almost by the seat of my pants, when I was a teenager. Now I draw more. Perhaps after I've acquired more experience I'll draw less. At the level I'm at now, I make stupid mistakes if I'm not careful--and having a plan helps me be careful.

No one said anything about strict adherence. I know people struggling in life because they don't have and won't make a plan (seriously)...
Best to you, Bill

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dadiOH wrote:

Where does designing jigs, for instance, fit in there? That's about the last thing I want to have to do when the planets are aligned and I have the time to actually be running machinery. I would confess, if I ended up in that position, that I hadn't planned well.
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Bill wrote:

I don't know where it fits.
Jigs are a result of a need, either a onetime or frequent need. For one time use, down and dirty is good enough. For others, I try to build in some versatility. As an example, consider my ex-step father in law...
One time he visited he spied my newly made router table. He then set out to design his. He spent five years - FIVE YEARS - doing so. Many, many plan revisions. Highly detailed plans (he was an enginner/draughtsman).
His final revision called for it to be put together with mortise and tenon joints. Don't ask me why, I don't know but it presented a problem for him so he made a jig to make them. The jig he made was ONLY good for that one time use...for the lumber sizes he was using. It would have been easy to make it so it could be used in a more universal manner.
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Depends on the project. For a first of anything sometimes it's better to start hacking and see what develops. The result may suck but you'll have a better understanding of the problem when you go to do a top down design.
In the case of the "first bench", get a load of nails and 2x6s from Home Despot and hammer something vaguely bench-like together and you'll have killed two birds. First you'll have a work surface, however crappy, and second after you've used it a while you'll have a better idea of what you really want.
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I have built a bunch of these temporary benches over the years. Some of them are still going after thirty years. They don't die. One idea that just spontaneously occurred was to put one outside. This becomes a work surface that is available, when weather permits, and doesn't tie up shop space. One bench I set up had the top warp a bit. I just took some 2 X 6's and nailed them on the top it. It wasn't pretty, but it worked. I have also done this with plywood.
I built a wood box out of 2 X 12's and put a plywood bottom on it. When I moved I was going to cut it up and burn it. I set it out on the patio in back and turned it over. It became my outside work bench. I recently screwed in some deck screws to control some warping on the side. The top is still good and fairly level. It just keeps going and going. It has been out there for about seven years now.
Never under estimate the usefulness of simple building materials banged together for a certain purpose. Every thing you build does not have to be art or furniture. Sometimes quick and dirty is all that is needed and can provide some useful support for more complex builds. It can also happen much more quickly than more complex builds. Saves a bunch of time.
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Bill wrote: <snip>

Thank You to everyone for your thoughtful suggestions! I'll think about them for a bit and post a new drawing in a few days, if I can wait that long!
Bill
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Consider using a solid core door for the top. If you have an architectural salvage place, or a HFH ReStore, nearby they can be quite inexpensive. They are also usually dead flat and strong enough to not need stretchers. I got one decades ago that was from a hospital x-ray facility. It's lead lined and HEAVY. Art
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I understand your rejoicing at making sawdust. I've been at my project every day for a month, and watching yours progress since you started, too. I started out to consolidate 2 and maybe 3 wood racks and make a new bench. Each project necessitated another. The cleaning and sorting was expected, but... The neighbor was going to trash some Hardibacker concrete board, so where I had a plain, exposed-stud wall, now I have a finished, painted wall. That project wrapped around the corner into the adjoining mud room where I used up some old T-111 siding and finished off that room covering the exposed insulation I put up when I built it 15 years ago. Installed a 12K BTU window AC early on in the project, and it's gone from barely needing it, to being too hot to want to see what it costs to run it. It's nudging 90 daily. Top of bench will be 1 1/2 " laminated industrial particle board - about 150 pounds per sheet. Was good to get it trimmed to size just to lighten it a little. Made the side panels and uprights weeks ago, but finally started on the stretchers yesterday, cutting 2x6s to width and length then drilling intersecting holes for the bolts and nuts. The drill press made quick work of the 1" holes for nut access, but I went through two batteries getting up to the 7/16" bolt holes the depth of the bit. Sawdust is finally being made. Everything but a couple of 2x6s came off my 'save for later' shelves. The wife has been out there with me daily - a great help, and the company often keeps me going. Today is our anniversary, and I don't know if I should suggest an early start to maximize our togetherness or give her the day off. :) Glad to hear that you're back on the bench. -J
snip>

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