My 2 car garage is the current area for my workshop. I have set a goal of most always being able to park car in it. I want my family to be able to get out of our heavy thunderstorms when they get home. I have rearranged it so that I can move things into the car parking area to work. One of the first drawbacks I had when I began working with wood as a hobby was the lack of a decent workbench. I had built a couple of small things and I had to cannibalize every flat surface around. So, my first serious project is/was to build this bench. Here are some pictures of it in a near completion stage. I still have a few items to complete before I will call it finished. I designed this bench myself. I looked at various plans and ideas for different benches. I came to this design by pulling the form and function of the designs while keeping with my personality and the way I work. Under the top you may notice that the supports are on the same level. I put a 3/4" rabbet in the long stretchers to place a shelf across. I need a place to put tools while I am working on pieces up top. I have a bad habit of setting things wherever and not being able to find them again. This should help...I hope.    more...

 

I still have a lot of work to convert the garage into an efficient shop. But I have cut my piles of stuff down to what you see behind the bench. Every time I go to work out here I get motivated to clean it up some more. My wife is happy because the garage is cleaner than it ever was and she can get around in it without the fear of bodily harm. I hope that I can talk the Homeowners association into a shed to store my lawn equipment. That will free up enough space for a new jointer and allow more tools to be stationed semi-permanently and more efficiency.

The bench is made of cypress that I bought green and dried right in the garage. There is a local mill not overly far away and I paid $0.96 a Board Foot for it. It is strong yet quite easy to work with. I think it is a beautiful wood. It is full of many colors and beautiful grain and knots. I am a big fan of cypress and pine for it's country styling and color. But, I also plan to do many projects with cherry, maple and walnut. I am not a big fan of oak, but I also use it when I think it is appropriate for the project. I have also collected some exotic woods from around the world, but that is another story.

The top is made of 3/4" MDF sandwiched between two 3/4" sheets of Sandply. Sandply is plywood that has been sanded well on both sides and is quite smooth for plywood. It is made in Honduras. I liked it because it is strong, had a good bonding surface, no voids and relatively inexpensive. It was the best product I could find readily available locally. Another quality is that it is 9 ply rather than 5 or 7 like most other retail plywood.

The vises are Record 7" model 52's. I got them from Lee Valley for $69.00 each. Shipping was only $6.50, so I thought this was a good deal. I plan to apron the sides with hard maple. In preparation for that I set the vises flush with the sides so that the maple becomes one face of the vise. I did this work while the table was still upside down.  more...

I created the mortise using a router with a straight bit. Unfortunately I did not trust myself to get very close with the router, so I chiseled out the quite a bit of the rest if it. This was probably better, I enjoyed the workout with the chisel. I still need a lot of practice to be a better router user. I plan on facing the other jaw of the vise with 2" beech. The last two tasks are to puts a sheet of hardboard on the top as a sacrificial surface and drill my dog holes. Overall, I think I will have built a sturdy and versatile bench. I will have done it fairly economically. I am calculating that it will have cost me about $275 total in materials to complete. The top will be 79" by 32" and is 42" off the floor. I have almost completed the bench. NEXT PAGE>>>