Friday, March 20, 2009

New Style Workbench

I saw this workbench in Fine Woodworking's Tools and Shops winter 2008/09 issue no. 202. There was an article on how to build it by Joshua Finn, who is a woodworker in High Falls, NY. He freely gave all the dimensions and pictures on how to build it. I saw the magazine earlier this year and thought the workbench idea was excellent. It is easy to build, inexpensive and can be taken anywhere in the shop quickly. The two 8' benchtop beams and be put end to end for a 16' long bench. The stands can be positioned to any number of locations. The beams can be put close together or separated for clamping up parts. One side of the beam is melamine (I used birch ply) and the other side is homosote, which is not MDF board. Homosote is soft and light. It is used if you have a nice wood piece that you want to finish. It has some gripping power too.

Well, after thinking about it more and seeing the magazine each time I went to Lowes, I decided that I wanted to build it. I had a huge, heavy 12' long bench with an uneven top that I inherited from prior owners of our house in 2001. It was too big and became a collector for junk instead of a useful shop tool. I trimmed this old bench down to 3' long and made into a table for my drill press and grinder. The rest of the bench went to my recycled wood pile and some was used for this new workbench.

It took me about 1 week to build. I used recycled wood that I had from the old bench and other pieces in the garage. I spent about $70 for birch ply, homosote and screws. Although the birch ply looks nice finished with linseed oil, I would not recommend. Finn recommends and used melamine for his materials. My birch ply was not flat so it had to get screwed down with lots of persuasion and clamping to bring together. The beam now is OK for flatness, but not flat like I would have gotten with melamine. I can always make another beam though. Melamine is not expensive and would have been cheaper than birch ply. The beam is a torsion box with ribs every 12" inside. I may put up an instructible on how I made it. I love this workbench because it has so many uses.

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