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post #1 of 13 (permalink) Old 10-09-2006, 08:51 AM Thread Starter
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Default building a work bench

It's funny how we evolve. I have a 2' x 4' router table as my first one and I can tell that I really don't need a table that big. I am seriously considering cutting it down to about 24" x 24" and mounting the top on a cube. The cube would go on a base and have adjustable "feet" so that if I needed more infeed or outfeed I could adjust the height to match the table saw or work table. Almost like modularizing the shop. VERY limited space. Naturally I want more tools in the same space, so...

ANYWAYS... I digress (as usual)...
I have this really old "work bench" and I use the term loosely as it is really nothing more than a 3' x 5' table made of 2x4s and 1x8 planks. All stuff I had laying around at the time.... 25 years ago!. It doesn't even have a vise on it. I now want a workbench for woodworking. I won't be making one of fancy maple or oak as this is going to be my first one and (as usual) the budget it tight. I think it will be based on Bob Key's fast and cheap workbench. Laminated 2x4 for the top. I can afford decent 2x4s but I'd have a hard time justifying the expense of maple I think. Total depth 24" front to back and 60" long sound good? And... tooltray along the back or not? I'm really torn on that one... heheh. Oh... square dog holes or round? I know it will have a shoulder vise to start off by may not get a tail vise for a while. The traditional tail vise looks very nice, but to be honest I think I'd USE something like one of those twin screw tail vises a lot more. Expensive though... so probably would be added later. Shoulder vise would go on right away.

Flattening the top....
One of the things that brought me to all of this is that in a dream I was being shown a workbench and kept hearing, "You need a Stanley Bailey #7". Go ahead and laugh but I had no idea what a "Stanley Bailey #7" even WAS. I had to go looking on the internet.

So... my current router table top sits on a 48" bathroom cabinet. My thinking is that the bathroom cabinet would make a great base for a worktable and a couple pieces of 3/4" MDF laminated would make an acceptable top for that. The router table would get "shrunk". I'm hoping that by downsizing the current "workbench/work table" and shrinking the router table, that I'll make enough room to actually have a woodworking workbench.

OR... should I keep the bathroom cabinet as a router table base, add T-Track to the router table top (there's no overhang on the ends using 4' MDF) and then just get a piece of 3/4" MDF that can be layed over the router table to protect it if I need a work table?

I'm going nuts here trying to figure out how to get all this stuff into my small space and still be able to USE it.

But .... the more I DO... the more I WANT to do... addictive, ain't it?
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post #2 of 13 (permalink) Old 10-10-2006, 02:10 PM
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Hi Mike

Not sure what's up with the fourm , but it just push the item (post) to the number 3rd spot,,,,who knows...

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post #3 of 13 (permalink) Old 10-10-2006, 02:15 PM
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Hi Mike
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Well Yes and NO hahahahahahahaha LOL ,It makes me get my butt in gear and put the items that are on the top away and then I can just pull the leg out then it's nice and clean no saw dust ,tools ,etc. and it's ready for the next project when I need it.
If something drops on the floor it will drive me nuts so I stop what every I'm doing and pick it up, saw dust is one of the things on the floor that I pick up about every 10 or 15mins. I don't liike to walking on it or to say slipping on it, my router and broom go hand and hand when I use the router/power saws.

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post #4 of 13 (permalink) Old 10-10-2006, 02:54 PM
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Limited space does make it tough when trying to assemble projects. I have a suggestion for your workbench top: Pine is way too soft and will tear up quickly. Build your frame out of pine and then top it with 2 layers of 3/4" plywood glued together and a single layer of hardboard on top. Wrap around this with some 1 x 2" hardwood like poplar so the top is flush with the hardboard. This way when your top surface is damaged you can lift out the old hardboard and drop in a new piece for a renewed top.

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post #5 of 13 (permalink) Old 10-10-2006, 07:44 PM
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My dad gave me his old work bench, as the one that was left with our house was deteriating. His was in far better shape even though it is probably older. The top of the work bench is about 6 feet long, and about 2.5 wide. It is a SOLID piece of wood! (As in not plywood)
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post #6 of 13 (permalink) Old 10-10-2006, 07:56 PM
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Another way to go as a top on the bath cab would be to use a 24 inch door and treat it the same way Mike says, wood trim around it and hardboard top. The doors are usually very flat and arn't to heavy etc. Seen some nice workbenches in the wwking mags made from doors like this.

Corey
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post #7 of 13 (permalink) Old 10-10-2006, 09:15 PM
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I used an exterior door for one of my WB tops.. Heavy, and flat..

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post #8 of 13 (permalink) Old 10-10-2006, 10:28 PM
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I also use a door or to say a desk table top that's about the same size as door, I have a med.size work shop but I'm always out of room , plus all the other work benches are full of stuff ,tools and jigs stuff, and it's hard to keep a work bench clean and clear and you and I need a flat spot to put things together not a WorkMate but a nice big flat top.
Most shop floors are not flat and when you and I put cabinets and other projects together we need that flat spot.
The one I use is hanging from a work bench (from 3 hvy.door hinges) and I can just pull one leg and the top is clean ...no tools,no saw dust,just clean and clear.
And when I don't need it ,just drops out of the way,and it's the same height as the other power tools I have so when I need the help to hold stock I have it quick and easy.
It also holds a metal inlay plate for clamping and holding stock for pocket hole screwing (face frames).

Yes, you will see a green metal ironing board under the top, it's there just in case I need more support for hvy.projects,but most of the time one legs works great.

Here's a snapshot just for kicks.

http://www.routerforums.com/attachme...mber-shop1.jpg
http://www.routerforums.com/attachme...umber-shop.jpg

Bj




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Last edited by bobj3; 10-10-2006 at 10:32 PM.
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post #9 of 13 (permalink) Old 10-11-2006, 12:22 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bobj3
The one I use is hanging from a work bench (from 3 hvy.door hinges) and I can just pull one leg and the top is clean ...no tools,no saw dust,just clean and clear.
So, what you're saying is you pull the leg out from under it, everything falls to the floor, kick it all under the bench, and you're good to go..

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post #10 of 13 (permalink) Old 10-12-2006, 06:42 AM Thread Starter
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TAking all suggestions in and mulling over what I'm gonna do...

How about this?

My router table is now 2' x 4' with the router centered. This leaves me enough room off to one side to actually put a front vise on there with dog holes going from front to back on the top. My current "problem" is in trying to clamp the fence in place. See...a 4' table top has no overhang at all at the ends when sitting on a 4' bathroom cabinet base. The base has a pair of center doors and then a vertical column of drawers on each side. Adding a front vise on the left front would pretty much take the top drawer out of play on the left, but that's ok. I can live with that. I could add T-track to the table top for the fence. And if I add a 2'x4' piece of 3/4 plywood to the bottom of the current 1-1/2" lamination of MDF that is the table top, It should be thick enough and the plywood would probably hold the vise (mounted from underneath) better than the MDF.

This would give me the vise I want, the ability to adjust my fence without clamps, and not really take up any more space at all because I haven't added anything as far as new "furniture" to the workspace.

My thinking is that this is still a temporary or interim plan as I'd still like to build a nice woodworking bench. I think doing this would give me a bench to use to build my bench while still allowing me good use of the router table in the meantime.

Make sense?
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