Friday, February 18, 2011

Feb 18 -- Workbenches

Thought I'd post about the workbenches that I built for this project. They are essentially the popular table design that was published by EAA Chapter 1000 many years ago, with the following modifications.

I built these a year ago, so this is a very tardy post.

The original plans result in tables that are simply too heavy, in my opinion. A session at the local lumber emporium got me thinking. (I did not go to a big box store, because their wood is not worth buying.) There are others who devise elaborate casters and wheels, yet these tables are light enough to move, and still sturdy enough for abuse.

  • Instead of 2x4s, I used 2x3s. Lighter, cheaper, and at least as strong!
  • Instead of 2x3 frames for the top and shelf frames (supports), I cut the 3/4 ply down to make table top edges and cross-members. Then I used biscuits, glue, and a nail gun to assemble everything. Finally I glued and nailed 1/4" ply on the top to ensure that the structure remained square and rigid. Could have used 3/8" ply on top; however I planned a more robust work surface -- and had the 1/4" ply in the garage, and therefore in the way.
  • In the photos below you can see that on one of the tables I extended the lower shelf edges lengthwise in order to tie them to the 2x3 upright. Then I used 3/4" ply above and below it (still on the upright) instead of a 2x3. This turned out to be a much better arrangement, because it was both light and sturdy. Note that these extensions are slightly shy of reaching the end of the frame. That removed any fine alignment and cutting which would be required for a "perfect" fit. And in one of the photos you can see the same technique to avoid final fit issues with the lower shelf.
  • Table tops were another deviation. On both tables I used 3/4" press board, which once again was already in the garage.
    • On the first table, I simply followed the EAA plans and made the top as wide as the frame (no overhang), then covered it with carpet.
    • However on the second table I added the thickness of a 1x3 all the way around in order that I can clamp things to the top. Because the overhang is exactly the width of the thickness of a 2x3, I am able to clamp one under the edge to effectively remove the overhang when needed. This is a very useful feature!
  • Mentioned elsewhere, but the tops were simply screwed on, because easy replacement sounds like a future convenience.

Oh, and not all the wood matches because it was a great opportunity to work on the scrap collection that was in the way of the airplane project (still more to clean out before the wings arrive...) The garage interior decorator was goofing off that day...

Click on any of the photos for a full-size view.

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