Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Some much needed workshop furniture

Various wood scraps I have acquired
So by now I've had a chance to get reacquainted with my tools. I was fortunate enough to find some wood scraps from the receiving area at my workplace. As you can see in the picture to the right, I got a couple of pallets and a (now disassembled) shipping crate. The pile in the front is a set of slats previously used in a bed frame, come courtesy of my father-in-law. As evidenced by the various other clutter in this picture, it goes without saying that I haven't really had a chance to properly organize my work space :)

Because I do not have a workbench yet, I have been using the wooden pallets (sometimes with a piece of the scrap plywood laying overtop) to do my cutting on. There are many reasons why this is not ideal for me, a fact that I am sure comes as no surprise. One of the biggest issues is that working that close to the ground does not make my back very happy. Additionally, these bits and pieces do not form a very level and stable surface which made it nearly impossible to get precise cuts. Of course since I was mainly warming up, and wasn't really making anything in particular, precision wasn't key. Thus, I have decided that before I can tackle any of my bigger projects, I am going to need some additional furnishings for my workshop, so I have decided to construct a simple small workbench.

Prior to truly getting started with this hobby, I have watched numerous videos of other woodworkers, and have had a chance to see some different workbench designs. I finally decided on the design shown on the left. It is of simple construction, and seems like it would be quite solid. Credit for this design, of course, does not go to me, but to Steve Ramsey of Wood Working for Mere Mortals (If you want entertainment, and simple, cost-effective projects, check it out on YouTube). In my case, I will use the rough dimensions of 2'x4' for the benchtop, and a height of about 3'. Because I am not overly concerned about the exact final dimensions, I will cut the benchtop to size first and fit everything to it's finished dimensions.

This project will be constructed completely out of 2x4's and 3/4" plywood (whatever I can get cheapest). Since my only means of transportation right now is a sedan, I don't have the ability to carry 8'+ long pieces of lumber, and certainly not a full 8'x4' piece of plywood, so it was necessary to have the staff at The Home Depot to cut it down. I got several 10 footers cut to 3' and 4' pieces (in accordance to what I needed for the project) and a piece of 8'x4' plywood quartered (2'x4' pieces). You can see the resulting materials to the right. Normally, they charge $1 per cut, but the employee was nice enough to waive the cutting fee. Overall, this workbench will have cost less than $50. If you have the means to transport it, you could probably find a number of people on craigslist with free lumber to give away, but since I do not have the means to transport it most of the time, I decided to just by some. Even still, though it is relatively inexpensive, especially since many workbenches offered in stores cost at least $50 for something that is likely to be smaller, or less sturdy. Hopefully I'll be underway soon, so stay tuned for some cutting and gluing action!

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