Friday, August 20, 2010

Base thoughts

Now it may be you're thinking that I'm neglecting plans for workbenches and associated deliberations. Not so. They are never far from my thoughts and the torch still burns brightly. Indeed I was reminded that building a workbench base is not a new thing for me at all.

Way back in the mists of time (It might have been 1996 or 7) an ex-display Sjorberg's workbench was purchased for my old man from Brimarc. As workbenches go, it was not the worst - but it became apparent that it would really benefit from some customisation. The main one being changing the painfully thin leg structure for something a little more robust. Some well-seasoned builder's softwood later, and I came up with this:

Laminated up from 2" thick stuff, the mortises for the stretchers were cunningly made before glue-up. The rail joints, if I recall correctly, are enough to give you all palpitations - biscuit jointed no less. I'm fairly sure that was an option picked up from a workbench-making article by David Savage. On the one hand, from a handtool-using, proper-joinery point of view, it pains me terribly - but on the other it's not showing any sign of giving up the ghost yet. And it was awfully easy to do. (Ignore the bar across there - it was put in at one time to store some large G-clamps)

The knockdown stretcher joint would probably pain the purist too - the stretcher was far too thin to accommodate a vertical wedge, so I simply put two horizontal ones, one from each side. Reading The Schwartz's book appendix on knockdown workbench joinery I believe we should be finding the need to knock in these wedges on a regular basis as they loosen. Alas, they don't read the right books and remain rock solid.

So what does this tell me? That I should damn well stop over-thinking this thing, that's what. Yeah, I want to do the job properly, but much more importantly, I just want to do the job. The safest place for the Emmert is on a bench and the longer he has to skull about the w'shop without a home, the more danger he's in. If necessary I'll rebuild the base in a couple of years. If the need arises, the top can be replaced. It'll still be Emmert's workbench. I just need to get on and build something for it.

But first I need to finish those blessed saw till doors and get them out of the way...

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