Karen’s Workbench – Week of Workbenches

Viewer Project - By Karen
Added on July 22, 2009

I am fairly new to woodworking, although I started a few years ago. My time has been limited and my progress slow. I made an outfeed table for the table saw. It was never intended to serve as a workbench but space issues led to it being drafted into that role. The more I tried to work with it, the more I realized that I needed a surface that would stand still and one that would allow for a vise. Then FWW came along with their Getting Started in Woodworking series. I had found the workbench that fit both my skills and my garage/shop.

The base was built according to the original plan. The legs are 4×4 cedar and the stretchers are pine 2×4’s. Everything was assembled with 3/8” threaded rod. I had never used my router and ran into trouble getting it into the plunge base. Then after I routed the grooves for the rod, I had trouble getting the bit out of the router. Both situations were resolved with quick visits to the chat room. I took more liberties with the top. It started out with two layers of 3/4″ MDF glued and screwed together as called for in the plan. At that point, I decided to use a different vise. I created a post on the forum and was directed to a vise that fit my needs. Then I added poplar around the edges attached with screws. The screw holes were filled with oak dowels. Yes, using dowels to fill screw holes was new to me too. Again, I popped into the chat room for a quick answer. Then it was time for dog holes. I was hesitant to try to use a forstner bit to drill a 1 ½” deep hole with a hand held drill. The chat room came through again and I was off to buy an Auger bit. After lots of dog holes and three coats of paste wax, I pronounced it finished. My shop built bench dogs are almost finished too.

There are lots of things that didn’t turn out perfectly. In fact, when I pushed it up behind the table saw, I found it was just about ¼” too tall to serve as an outfeed table. It is way too heavy for me to turn over. In fact, I had to pay a couple of high school boys to turn it over at one point. After a bit of consideration, I decided that if lowering the bench was not possible, why not raise the saw? A couple of pieces of ½” plywood under the legs inside the mobile base did the trick. Thanks Marc for creating such a warm, friendly, and helpful community.