I have one of those ready-made "construction site" type workbenches made out
of dimensional lumber screwed together. I bought it to get something up
quickly, and cheaply, and it has never been particularly well-suited to
Now that I'm getting into Neandering, and now that I have a front vise, I'm
really seeing the need for a few things.
* needs to be a few inches higher, so I don't kill my back stooping over to
get up close to the work
* a *
flat* top instead of a bunch of boards at slightly different heights
and levels of twist
* dog holes
I currently have one end of the bench given over to metal working. I used
to use it a lot, but I don't use it much anymore. I've swapped out my nice
big piece of track with "Illinois 1966" cast onto it for the short cutoff
left over from making the counterweight for my trebuchet. That gives me
48" from the edge of my anvils to the far end of the bench for my retrofit
I definitely want to keep my shop vise on the bench. I've seen ideas for
mounting it so that it can be clamped in the front vise, but I don't think
that would be very stable for the sort of abusive beat the hell out of
rusty things work I do with the vise.
So I'm thinking about building a 2'x 4' supplemental top, fastened to the
existing top. That would leave a ~6" recess at the back at normal
workbench height, and that could serve as a tool gutter.
Sound reasonable so far?
That begs some questions. First, how to level it? I can't readily flatten
the existing top because it's impregnated with swarf and little pointy
sheet metal cutoffs. I could use some thoughts for how to attach the new
top so that it's flat, instead of following the irregular contour of the
top below it. I could also consider replacing the entire top, or turning
the boards over so I can plane the relatively clean bottoms flat. The
thinking behind the add-on top is that it adds weight, and adds height,
both of which I need.
Now on the top itself, I'd rather spend my wood budget on something else
right now. A pre-made $200 maple deal is out. Buying maple and doing it
myself is out too. I really don't want to spend that much on a retrofit of
a bench that was never really designed to do this job in the first place,
and would rather save all that for some eventual day when I have a bigger
shop and can build a well-planned bench for it from the ground up.
I don't particularly want to buy plywood or MDF or such like either. All
are expensive, unwieldy, and did I say expensive and unwieldy?
I have a waterbed frame I've been trying to find something to do with for
years. It's "hard yellow" pine. Probably ponderosa. I have two pieces
48" x 8.5" x 1.75" and two pieces 108" x 8.5" x 1.75.
I realize that pine isn't as good as many other things, but it's free. I
think using it is a good plan. I can always face it with something harder
eventually if I have to, like maybe a layer of hardwood flooring for even
more height. (Or actually, that might be worth considering from the
get-go. It wouldn't be that expensive to buy eight square feet of
unfinished hardwood flooring.)
So with wood of the above dimensions, finished on all six sides, what would
be the best way to glue up a top approximately 24" x 48"?
The easy thing to do would be to cut a couple feet off of one of the 9' long
boards, joint the edges of that one and the two short boards, dowel them,
and glue the three of them into one panel. That might not be the strongest
thing to do, or it might be OK. These boards are all cut from the center
of trees, so the rings wrap around on either side of the center line, with
a little bullseye of heartwood running down the middle. Is that good or
Ripping that stuff straight on my little Skil 3400 or trying to come up with
a 48" straight edge guide for ripping with a circular saw are not exciting
prospects, incidentaly. If I *could*
get by without doing that, I'd prefer
Thoughts so far?
Currently my big vise with the pop-up dog isn't in service. I've got a "dog
block" clamped to my little $12 front vise, and my "dog" for holding work
is a butcher knife stuck into a gap between two boards. This works, but it
sucks. I need a new top soon.
Michael McIntyre ---- Silvan < email@example.com>
Linux fanatic, and certified Geek; registered Linux user #243621
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