Environmental Upgrades

Last Thursday evening I was in the shop when suddenly my world came crashing down around me, rather literally.  I was at my workbench working on several projects, all in varying stages of completion, when I heard what sounded like someone throwing a drum kit down a flight of stairs.  I had the loading bay doors open (okay, it was the garage door) and a stray cat found its way into the shop.  It must have jumped up on something or maybe sneezed too hard, because it caused a Rube Goldberg style collapse of everything I had so perfectly stacked and strewn about.

I have a lot of plans for organization and personalization of the workshop, but because of time constraints they tend to happen in fits and starts.  The collapse of my extreme-hoarder-style piles of stuff finally forced me to start another fit of cleaning and organization.  Part of that organizing requires that I begin my journey to a decent and proper workbench.  Up until now, I have been working off of whatever I could pile on top of some sawhorses.  My most recent workbench incarnation has been a piece of 1-1/2 inch thick beech butcherblock counter-top from Ikea tossed on top of some plastic sawhorses.  The issue with this "solution" is that it produces no storage, it moves across the floor whenever it feels like it, and I tend to clutter it with stuff because it is over three feet deep.

The irony of this situation is that I haven't been able to start my Roubo bench for handwork because I need a home for some of my  larger powertools and assorted stuff that crowds the rest of the shop.  I need a spot for my lathe, drill press, radial arm saw, compressor, and some other assorted items.  Until now, I have done most of my work by shuffling stuff around in the shop until I had space, this is beyond frustrating and extremely inefficient.  Additionally, I have ruined more than one work surfaces while restoring hand tools and doing assorted metalwork that I definitely don't want to use on my Roubo top.

Clearing Out The Workshop Junk
This need has led for me to finally bite the bullet, clear stuff out of the shop, and build a giant powertool bench. I am building this little fella to be 16 feet long and a little over two feet deep.  This should give me plenty of room once I mount the radial arm saw and will give me plenty of space to stretch out when I'm working on metal, using the lathe, the saw and other assorted tools.  I'll be going over the (hopefully brief) construction over the next couple of days and I'll cover some of the bench accessories I develop as they are built.  Additionally, this bench will provide me with enough work space to properly build the awesome "Joinery Bench" I found on The Rennaisance Woodworker and then the pièce de résistance "The Roubo Bench."

Ledger and Lumber
The framing for this bench will be similar to the framing for a floor.  I'm using a 2x6 ledger on the wall and 2x6 "joists" at 16 inches on center that will connect to two 2x12's on the face of the bench.  Into the face I'll drill 3/4 inch holes that will accept hold fasts and 3/4 inch pipe clamps.  The bench top will be some inexpensive particle board (easily replaceable) that will sit flush with the 2x12s on the face.  I'll be using Leigh Industries Hold Down Clamps with a combination of the disk inserts and T-track.  This bench won't be movable but that's okay because the others I'm building will be more mobile.

The photo below is of a small trick that many woodworkers know always comes in handy when making repetitive cuts.  I only measure one piece and mark it with a T (for template...not for terrible) and use it over and over to mark the other pieces.  This way I avoid any compounding error that would come from using a different piece every time and it saves me the time of measuring each piece.  Another good method is to clamp a stop to one end of the saw fence and use that to get an accurate dimension for many cuts.
I Needed 13 - 2' pieces of 2x6
Pencil - T!
More to come!

No comments:

Post a Comment