New Fangled Workbench - Portable - Router Forums
 
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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 03-05-2013, 07:00 AM Thread Starter
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Default New Fangled Workbench - Portable

The basic design concepts of this workbench, when I watched the video, were so simple and functional I just had to build one. I got tired of building projects on loose MDF sliding around on my saw horses and the lack of any real clamping ability. I made some modifications to the bench design to fit my "not-real" workshop. It took 2 long weekends but well worth the trouble. Basically I made some additions to facilitate the need to break it down to get my garage back.
  • Mounts on saw horses
  • Additions to store loose hardware, clamp faces
  • Removeable, free standing vertical clamps
  • Addition of a keeper to retain the MDF panels when moved
  • Table is bolted together (1/4" threaded rod) - I had several 2x6 available to use and felt it was too wide for screws

I was originally concerned with the potential weight, stability of the bench and stability of the free-standing vertical vice. The bench is 6' long, the surface is 39" high which seem right. The weight is not too bad, less than the router table I built. Its a one man job to move it and put it on the saw horses. The free standing vertical clamp seems to be stable - I had to make 2 versions. The pipes are pinned with 1/4" carriage bolts (will be changing this to 1/4" rod (the carriage bolts are not really 1/4" allowing some slop), match drilled. The addition of the 1" angle was originally structural but had the added benefit of allowing me to thread a locking bolt for the posts.

I decided to go all in and finish the surface so that was a side project of building a Router ski and learning how to use it. Now the bench is almost too nice to use
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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 03-05-2013, 07:52 AM
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It would seem to cumbersome to be that portable. I am planning breaking down and buy the Rockler casters raise up to move or let down for stable use.
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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 03-05-2013, 08:03 AM
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Welcome to the forum. That's a clever design--very good adaptation to fit your need.

I'm with roofner, i'm fortunate (once i tear out the fixed bench with no clamping) in that i've got the floor space--but wheels are needed. Intended to use the casters that were on the base i'm building on, but realized that 4 swivel casters would be much easier to maneuver than 2 straight and 2 swivel.

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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 03-05-2013, 08:58 AM
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that is a great adaptation of it. thanks for sharing it.
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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 03-05-2013, 12:24 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks guys. Roofner, you are correct - it is not that light but I don't need to move it once its set up. Once I pop the pins and remove the vertical pipe, its just a few pieces of lumber with lots of hand-holds. If I had to choose - I'd rather move this than a 3/4" sheet of plywood even with the Gorilla grippers.

But I do need to store it on its side when its not in use next to all the other lumber, so I must THANK YOU for the caster idea - I'll put some re-purposed casters I have on a few pieces of lumber for a "cart" to store it on so I can move it when not in use.
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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 03-06-2013, 08:35 AM
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Mark, Welcome to the Router Forums! Your idea and suitability to meet your specific needs is very clever!
Otis Guillebeau from Auburn, Georgia

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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 04-14-2013, 07:49 PM Thread Starter
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Default Bench Enhancements

I did fabricate a cart for the bench. The bench rests vertically on one side, with a hold down rope to secure it. All the loose parts were secured, nested or somehow hooked to the frame. (Without doing this, Im sure I would lose or reuse them.) I wouldnt tow the setup behind the car but it seems fairly stable for moving around the garage (not tippy).

I did find that with hard use, the bench had a tendency to slide along the sawhorses so I cannibalized (cut and threaded) some long (3/8 dia) wall hooks to use as J hooks into a centered hole that was conveniently located on the sawhorses.

Before I put a finish on the bench I figured I should deal with any potential / additional clamping needs. Ive read a lot of discussion on square vs. round bench dogs but since I didnt have the foresight to put in square ones, Ill settle for round. I put in 3 rows of holes (5 on center) for bench dogs using a 2-hole indexing jig making sure the rows were aligned front to back. This gave me a shot at using multi-hole stops/clamping bars (not sure for what yet). This (drilling the holes) was probably one of the only times Id be glad the bench wasnt hardwood. For the most part the alignment strategy worked Ive tried several random placements of both of the 2 peg stops.

Bench dogs I probably spent more time than I should have fashioning a jig to make the 3 bench dogs in a consistent / repeatable fashion but now I have it. The most difficult part of the fabrication process was figuring out how/how much to downsize the oak dowel slightly for usability.

A nice bonus on the hole approach my newer set of Irwin QuikClamps break down (for reversing to expansion mode), the bar conveniently fits through the holes. Now I have surface clamping there is some direction limitation of the clamp end underneath in certain holes. This will be particularly useful if I need it more than 3 inches from the edge of the bench.

I added an adjustable/retractable end stop to the left side this has come in handy.

A few coats of polyurethane and I had to break down and buy a standard drill (I used a forstner to cut the original holes) to ream the holes (of finish).

Done I think
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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 04-14-2013, 09:41 PM
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Looks like a good adaptation very rugged looking.
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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 04-15-2013, 05:11 PM Thread Starter
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I think the "rugged looking" must be just that ... appearances. (It's amazing what a difference a little Watco oil (fruitwood) and poly will make). I had to retighten some of the hardware already - and here I thought the lumber would have gotten all that out of its system in the 2 years it sat around
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