Work Bench Make-over - Router Forums

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post #1 of 59 (permalink) Old 12-17-2016, 12:25 PM Thread Starter
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Work Bench Make-over

Well, I have finished building the cabinets for my BIL, and a few projects around our house so now is the time to rebuild my work bench.

As some of you know, I am in a one car garage which has a lot of stuff in it. Not much working space, but I seem to manage some how.

So here is my plan. It may or may not end up that way, but this is my thinking.
  • Build a Ron Paulk inspired work table.
  • Use drawer/tray features Earl Davidson used in his build.
  • Demo the top part of the existing bench and re-frame it 11 inches lower.
  • Use the lower portion (including the three drawers currently in use). No need to modify them.
  • Drill dog holes on 4 inch centers.
  • ??Use the Kreg Klamp Track if possible?? Maybe, maybe not.

I bought the plywood and have it cut to size (36 x 60 inches). That's as big as I can go and still be able to re-position my power tools as needed.

I am using 3/4 inch for the top and 19/32 for the bottom. I think that is about 5/8 inch thick. I hope to mount a paper roll bracket on one end and the table extension currently mounted on the work bench on the other end. By doing that, I don't see any need to cut out the waste. That would just take up time. Same goes for the two supports under the top...just leave them solid.

I have a tentative pattern laid out, and just returned from Rockler with a 1/4 inch spiral upcut router bit. The sawdust slinging will commence shortly!

I will post some pics as I go along. The last picture in this post is my current lay out. The new top will be about 3 inches wider front to back and about 11 inches longer.

Here are some links where I got my inspiration.

Ron Paulk Compact Work Bench


Jay Bates - Modified Paulk Work Bench

Earl Davidson - Modified Paulk Work Bench
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That's my story and I'm stickin' to it!
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post #2 of 59 (permalink) Old 12-17-2016, 12:43 PM
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Another project.
I get tired just watching you work.
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post #3 of 59 (permalink) Old 12-18-2016, 09:17 AM
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Nothing on TV last night so I watched a couple of these movies. The last one was interesting, I noticed that you plan to put the drawers under your workbench as he did. That really looks like a good idea, although one has to wonder how often they have to be cleaned of all the sawdust, etc. that falls in there. If I didn't have all the money tied up in the Kreg legs and the hard maple butcher block top, that may be something that I'd consider doing.

On your holes, are they strictly for clamping access or were you planning to use then for track alignment as Festool does with their MFT tops. I ran across this the other day UJK Technology Parf Guide System - Circular Saw Accessories - Sawing - Power Tool Accessories - Accessories | Axminster Tools & Machinery - from the rave reviews, it seems to be a very nice set-up for making your own top, very well thought out system in that the layout sticks are also used to assure that the series of holes are perpendicular to each other which would be needed if you're going to use them along with the dogs to set a fence square to the track. I was looking at the Festool replacement tops and thinking that would be the way to go if you were building your own as the Parf system seems a little pricey for a one-time use.

Lee Valley has a bushing to make your own jig for drilling the dog holes Dog Hole Bushings and Bits - Lee Valley Tools although the cost of their drill bit seems a little high as I've seen others cheaper although the question may be whether they're long enough to go through the jig and the top.

As far as the clamps, there was a discussion on the clamps a while back - one option for a thick top would be use the HF clamp, remove the head and attach the short piece of flat bar through the pin hole and use that to catch the underside of the bench. It would be easier than having the end of the clamp fall on the drawer every time as was happening in the movie.
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post #4 of 59 (permalink) Old 12-18-2016, 10:46 AM
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You do all the things you do in a 1 car garage? Mind boggling.
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It seems I never finish what I
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post #5 of 59 (permalink) Old 12-18-2016, 12:08 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tomp913 View Post
Nothing on TV last night so I watched a couple of these movies. The last one was interesting, I noticed that you plan to put the drawers under your workbench as he did. That really looks like a good idea, although one has to wonder how often they have to be cleaned of all the sawdust, etc. that falls in there. If I didn't have all the money tied up in the Kreg legs and the hard maple butcher block top, that may be something that I'd consider doing.

On your holes, are they strictly for clamping access or were you planning to use then for track alignment as Festool does with their MFT tops. I ran across this the other day UJK Technology Parf Guide System - Circular Saw Accessories - Sawing - Power Tool Accessories - Accessories | Axminster Tools & Machinery - from the rave reviews, it seems to be a very nice set-up for making your own top, very well thought out system in that the layout sticks are also used to assure that the series of holes are perpendicular to each other which would be needed if you're going to use them along with the dogs to set a fence square to the track. I was looking at the Festool replacement tops and thinking that would be the way to go if you were building your own as the Parf system seems a little pricey for a one-time use.

Lee Valley has a bushing to make your own jig for drilling the dog holes Dog Hole Bushings and Bits - Lee Valley Tools although the cost of their drill bit seems a little high as I've seen others cheaper although the question may be whether they're long enough to go through the jig and the top.

As far as the clamps, there was a discussion on the clamps a while back - one option for a thick top would be use the HF clamp, remove the head and attach the short piece of flat bar through the pin hole and use that to catch the underside of the bench. It would be easier than having the end of the clamp fall on the drawer every time as was happening in the movie.
Thanks. I made a small jig and did some practicing on my existing table top. Even though I was diligent in laying out the holes and reference holes, somewhere along the line they got off just a tad. It doesn't have to be much. It probably happened when I marked the spot to drill and then positioned the piece under the bit on the drill press. That is where a CNC produced template would shine. Maybe I just can't do it manually.

So, the answer to your question is no to the parf dog style system. But having them for clamping purposes will be great. I already have been using the clamps we modified and they are working great. I will definitely be going back to my buddies house with another handful of clamps and the rest of my rod. Short ones this time. That is what I use most. $2.99 at HF! You just can't go wrong with those clamps.

For those with thicker tables, Jay Bates showed what he did. He ground off the brad on the lower end, then sticks the clamp shaft into the hole from the top and reaches under the table, reattaches the clamp piece and sticks a nail through the hole, making the clamp hole again. I did notice in a later video, he decided to go a different route and made a modification to an Irwin quick clamp basically doing the same thing as I did. He cut part of the shaft off and reattached it with 45 deg miter cuts and some welding. I like my idea better than both of those.

My current table has holes but sawdust hasn't bothered me. I have lost a few screws over the years but I retrieved them last week. My top is so heavy, it just sits on top of the frame. I managed to lift and scoot it over and there were the screws and a Bosch knob that holds the dust port on the router! I wondered what happened to that thing.

In his video, Earl said he cut some 3/4 inch dogs and plugged an area where he does most of his work. If he needs a dog, he reaches under and pushes it up.
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Last edited by MT Stringer; 12-18-2016 at 12:12 PM.
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post #6 of 59 (permalink) Old 12-18-2016, 08:35 PM Thread Starter
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I have all the pieces cut out, milled and ready for assembly. It took all weekend but I got it done.

Using a track saw, I cut 2 36 x 60 inch pieces for the top and bottom. One sheet is 19/32 and the other is 3/4 inch BC Sanded Pine.

Next I cut to length the two sides 9 1/2 x 60 inches. Then I cut 2 pieces for the ends and two middle supports. That worked out to be 9 1/2 x 34 5/8 inches. Since the plywood is two different sizes, that means the back side piece will be slightly narrower than the 3/4 inch thick front piece. That's OK by me.

Saturday, I made a template out of mdf, and sure enough, I screwed it up. After all the careful planning and lay out, when it came time to cut it with the router, I cut the rounded portion square. That was a temporary set back that added two hours to the day! To repair it, I fabricated a couple of corner pieces with the correct radius and edge glued them in place. And they are still stuck.

That brings us to today. With the template in place (via screws), I commenced to cutting out the waste portion of the openings by using a 1/4 inch spiral upcut router bit and a 1/2 inch guide bushing. Obviously, that leaves a lip so I set up my trusty old 80's model 1 HP Craftsman router with a flush trim bit and cut the lip away. That makes two routers in action.

You might notice some dog holes in the sides and ends. There is room so I set up the templates and cut 'em out with a 1/2 inch spiral upcut bit in a 3/4 inch bushing. That made for a snug fitting 3/4 inch hole. Three routers in action!

With all the holes and openings cut, I rounded all the edges slightly with a 1/8th inch round-over bit in the little DeWalt router. Four routers in action today!

I drilled pocket holes in all of the pieces so I can attach them to the bottom. I have some 1 1/2 inch trim screws that I will use along with gobs of glue to assemble the frame and attach the top.

Note that I didn't cut any material from the ends or the inside supports. I don't see any need. And I hope to work in a kraft paper roll rack on one end and maybe reattach the table extension on the other. I will have to wait and see how that works out.

Now with all that said, I am having a blast building the table of my dreams...many dreams!

I hope to start assembly tomorrow.

So, with no little helpers around today, it was just me 'n the boys - all four of them!
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post #7 of 59 (permalink) Old 12-19-2016, 07:01 AM
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Looks nice. Is the top pine plywood?
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post #8 of 59 (permalink) Old 12-19-2016, 08:24 AM
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I can envision it already , this is going to be an epic build by Mike
Love how you cut out the sides . This is going to be a very functional system. Definitely looking forward to seeing this come together
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I don't actaully know anything about CNC router tables , but I stayed at a Holiday Inn Express last night

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post #9 of 59 (permalink) Old 12-19-2016, 08:34 AM
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I have and use the Parf guide sytem ; I find it it very straight forward to use.
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post #10 of 59 (permalink) Old 12-19-2016, 09:27 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
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Looks nice. Is the top pine plywood?
Yes, the whole thing.

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