28 July 2010

Workbench: The Workmare - 1

After reading Scott Landis book and Chris Schwarz blog, I had to make a workbench. I used three components to design it:
  • The workmate. It is light, unstable and small, but it is something I know and own. Make it bigger and it would probably pass Chris Schwarz Kitchen Test for Workbenches, that's fixing 3 pieces: ¾" x 18" x 24", 4" x 18" x 18"and ¾" x 6" x 48" on all their sides. Seeing those dimensions the workmate-workbench must be 50" long and have 25" between its twin screws.
  • The material needs to be as cheap as it gets. I went for one sheet of cheap ¾" plywood, some 2" by 3" left overs and one sheet of hardboard (mansonite). Add to that glue and screws, two 16" vice screws and 50 pound of gravel. The gravel is to pass the pencil test for workbenches (more on this later).
  • The design concept is based on a traditional workbench, Roy Underhill calls it a French Work Bench. For joining I drop the dovetails to use lap joints. And as I use plywood, glue ups are never cross grain and I can make 4" by 4" glued lap joints hold. The design has a tool tray and I think I need an open tool well for my jigsaw and circular saw cutting.
After referring to Scott Landis, Chris Schwarz and Roy Underhill, I go for a plywood, gravel, lap joints, tool tray, jigsaw; my workmate-workbench becomes some orthodox woodworkers nightmare. So workmare is maybe the appropriate name for this workbench, where a workhorse is a different kind animal

Some examples of traditional workbenches with tray and diagonal leg, found today on a second hand sales list. The last one has lengthened feet. In my case the leg vise becomes a twin vise to follow the workmate concept and to make the construction more simple. I also don't keep the overhang as the bench is shorter and contrary to a leg vise, the twin vise covers the whole length.

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