Dolly movable workbenchApril 2018
I built this workbench two years ago for my metal working stuff, but it's always a mess. Maybe I'm disorganized, or maybe the workbench isn't big enough.
I decided to build another workbench about the same size to go next to it, but this workbench would also need to be easily movable to get the scaffold out of that corner of the shop.
But rather than have a workbench on wheels, I figured I should make it so it's easy to move with a dolly (inspired by my table saw dolly mover). So the legs on this one will go all the way to the floor (see picture at right).
1/4" Box joints on the corners make the other workbench very stiff. But with the legs extending to the floor, I needed a "box joint" not at the end of the piece of wood. This is where my slot mortiser comes in. The screw and counter wheel make it easy to make a precisely spaced series of mortises with it. This is why I sometimes call this machine the "multi slot mortiser".
Checking the fit. Five side-by-side tenons. I actually meant to cut six but I accidentally set it up with a mortise in the middle, which meant I had to make an odd number of mortises and there wasn't room for seven.
Then cutting the box joints on the ends of the longer pieces. A sturdy box joint jig really helps with that, allowing me to put two pieces of 2x4, each 1.1 meters long in the jig at the same time.
I need to connect the frames together, and for that I'm using floating tenons, 1/2" thick. I was looking for my 1/2" spiral bit to put in the slot mortiser when I realized it was in my horizontal boring machine. Then I thought, why not just cut the mortises on that machine? The nice thing about the slot mortiser is that it runs slower using an induction motor, so it's not very loud.
I found my floating tenons were about 3 mm too long, so I shortened them after that.
I used some really low quality plywood that came from a crate for the lower shelf. I had to cut the corners out to make it fit around the legs. This is one of the few times I'm making a freehand cut on the table saw. With such a large workpiece and making short cuts, I'm not worried about kickback.
After that I gave everything two coats of varnish. Even though it's just a workshop workbench. I hate the way wood absorbs dirt from touching. When working with metal, I'm especially likely to have dirty hands.
A downside of this sort of joinery is that the workbench is very stiff. It has a slight twist to it from twisted 2x4s. Even with me sitting on it it doesn't quite conform to the floor, rocking back and forth just a bit.
And once it's on dollies, it's easy to move, even with a bunch of heavy stuff piled on it (including my belt grinder)
Update November 2019:
And it didn't take me long to organize things into the drawers.
This workbench is relatively tall, so the drawers are at a very convenient height. I put some of the stuff I rummage through frequently into this workbench.
Later that month I made a narrow shelf to go on the back of that workbench. With a small drill press on the workbench, I always get lots of wood chips on the bench that I vacuum up from time to time, but that is much easier to do without clutter on the workbench. So I made this shelf for the back of the workbench to hold my drill indices.
At left, the shelf before varnishing.
At right, screwing it to the workbench. It attaches to the workbench instead of the wall because I'm not sure if I'll keep the workbench in that spot. The shelf is entirely made from scraps, it's dimensions very much dictated by offcuts I had lying around.
Quickie workbench with the pantorouter
Homemade machines and jigs used:
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