Saturday, February 16, 2013

Establishing the framework

With the end frame assemblies built and dry, I feel that now is a good time to discuss some of the issues I noticed. First of all, I will be the first to admit that I wasn't overly careful with making sure the legs were parallel and that there was no skew in the overall assembly. Knowing this, I wasn't surprised when I placed my level on top of the standing assembly and found that it wasn't level. So I got to work trimming off bits off the bottom of the leg on the higher side. But no matter what I did, it was never level, and never consistent from time to time. Then it dawned on me: my garage has a sloping floor! Worse yet: the floor is not uniformly sloped (i.e. it is very uneven), which explains the inconsistencies. Since this sin't preventable, I decided to go on with the frame assembly before I messed things up even more.

My new buddy.
To help me with the glue-ups (more specifically with the screws), I got myself a new helper, pictured on the right. I mentioned before that I do not really have an adequate tool for driving in screws. I've been using a craftsman cordless drill, which has been working quite well, but it is only a loan, so I kept my eyes open for a replacement for when I would need to return it. Thus, I found this lovely Porter Cable impact driver at Lowes (online) that had come down 50% in price. Except in multi-packs, I have never seen one as inexpensive (especially for an 18 V), so I purchased it. I have heard mixed opinions on where Porter Cable stands in terms of the quality of their (modern) tools, but I have so far thoroughly enjoyed this one!

Impact drivers are different than a regular drill, in that they add a rotational impact (imagine if you were tightening a bolt with a wrench, and you started hitting the wrench to help accomplish this). This not only delivers a much higher torque than the motor would normally be able to apply, but it also significantly lowers cam-out (that annoying situation where the bit spins around inside the screw head, stripping the screw and potentially damaging the bit). As a result, they are also very LOUD!

With all of that out of they way, let's take a look at the actual workbench project. I decided to modify the plans very slightly. Recall in the sketch I had the bench top cut flush to the frame. I realized (since my last post) that the edges of the table do not offer a convenient clamping area, unless I used my longer bar clamps. Since I have already assembled the ends (and cut the tabletop to its final size), I can't do anything about the width, however I still have freedom in how long I want the frame to be, so I decided I would cut the longer crosspieces shorter than the bench top so there is at least a lip to clamp onto on the edges. I decided to leave a 1-1/2" lip on each end, so I measured the length of the top to be close to 47-1/2", so I made a mark on the long crosspiece at about 44-1/2" (after squaring up one end as described previously for the short crosspieces). Once measured, I placed my cross-cutting jig as shown in the below photo, and cut the wood to size.
With the desired length marked on the wood, I can use my cross-cutting jig to cut.
All four pieces were cut to the same length.
With one piece cut to the correct length, I used it as a measuring stick to mark the other three pieces in the same manner as with the smaller crosspieces.

With this glue-up, I wanted to be a bit more careful. One of the problems with the end frames was that after adding glue, it was very difficult to keep the piece from sliding around while drilling in the screws. So to begin, I put the ends on their sides, and clamped the longer crosspieces in position as shown below.
The crosspieces are clamped in position so they cannot move around.
While clamped in position, I then drilled a pilot hole in each of the four contact areas. This way, after glue is added and I begin inserting the screws, the pilot hole will line the boards up as the screw sinks deeper into the wood.
I insert a pilot hole into each contact area to help with alignment once glue is applied.
With the pilot holes drilled, I unclamped one of the pieces and applied some glue. I then used my spreader to ensure an even coating of glue.
I apply and spread glue over all contact surfaces.
Once the pieces is placed in position, I inserted screws into the pilot holes using my new impact driver. This worked really well for imposing alignment.
Inserting screws into the pilot holes imposed alignment of the pieces.
I then repeated this process for the other crosspiece, and those on the other side of the workbench.
Putting the piece in place after applying glue.
Additional screws are added to apply pressure while the glue dries.
This whole process took place without a hitch. With proper tools and a better method, I was able to finish assembling this bench in a short time. Below is a photo of the (nearly) fully assembled frame. There will be two more supports added, but that will be later.
The finished (almost) frame!
Next time I will discuss some of the finessing that was required before the table top could be mounted. Have a good weekend!

No comments:

Post a Comment