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Folding workbench - putting it together
plane, old tools, woodwork, galoot
gmcdavid
The legs on this bench are attached to the top by hinges. Hence they need something to keep them in place when outstretched, so the bench does not collapse at the slightest push. I am going to accomplish this by having a (nominal) 2x3 board stretched between them and wedged in place. To do this I needed to cut rectangular through mortices (holes) in the lower crosspieces of the leg assemblies for the stretcher. I marked the location of the mortise, and drilled out the corners and the center with couple bit braces:





I then finished the mortises with chisels and a mallet:



With the leg assemblies complete it was the moment of truth: They had to be attached to the bench top with the hinges:



These started as ordinary hinges from our local hardware store. The tongues were too long so I shortened them with a hacksaw. I also painted them black. I may use some better reproduction hinges on a future project, but these are under the bench and so hidden from casual examination, so I could not see the point.

I drilled pilot holes for the hinge screws with a Millers Falls 2A eggbeater drill. I used an ordinary screwdriver, and a screwdriver bit in another brace to get the screws in:



The leg assemblies were attached:



I verified that they will fold down correctly for transport:



Then I set it up with the stretcher between the legs. There are holes in the stretcher just inside of the leg assemblies. The legs are wedged in placed with dowels through the holes:



The bench is now a recognizable and usable table. It still needs quite a bit of work.


  1. I need to drill dog holes and add other accessories for holding wood.
  2. I also need to add a skirt around the tool tray at the back of the bench, so its contents don't fall out.
  3. I need to flatten and smooth the top. This will be a job for a big jointer plane.
  4. I should stain it, to obscure the differing appearances of the four woods (maple, pine, red oak, and poplar) that I have used, and then apply some kind of finish.
I won't get much of this done before colgaffneyis show at Twig next weekend, but I may bring the bench along anyway.

I have not used any power tools on this so far. I have used 5 hand planes, 5 hand drills, 7 hand saws, several chisels, a mallet, a hand powered grinder, and various other tools, but all have been powered just by my own muscles (which are quite sore now).

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I have used 5 hand planes, 5 hand drills, 7 hand saws, several chisels, a mallet, a hand powered grinder, and various other tools, but all have been powered just by my own muscles (which are quite sore now).

An excellent use of a good collection of tools. :-)

I have a jealous. Nice work, as always! You have some of the best kit ever.

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