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... : )
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.
Make it to fit, don't make it fit.
From: Puckdropper <puckdropper(at)yahoo(dot)com>
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! : )
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.
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. :-)
Free bad advice available here.
To reply, eat the taco.
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.
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
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! : )
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
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,
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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