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Multi-Purpose Woodworking Bench

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We recently moved into a new house (OK a year ago now..) which needs a huge amount of work doing... obviously the various bits of joinery will be a lot easier if I have a proper space to work in and a nice big bench.... Or at least that is my story and I am sticking to it....

So I Cobbled together this woodworking bench... The idea is that it can treble as a big bench, big table saw or eventually a big router table....

It took me about 12 hours to build.
 
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Step 1: Preparation

The house is pretty old and the cellar (where the bench is to go) really shows it's age. The first image is straight after we moved in. This really doesnt do it justice, it was way more rank than this picture suggests...

So first I put up a pathetic set of shelves to get some of my huge collection of tat out of the way... Added Lights, you can never have too many lights afterall... well actually I am sure you can... but not without really trying... go for low energy lights to save money and planets...

Next we need some sounds so I used the lonely table-saw to cut a bit of 1" ply into some quick and dirty speaker brackets... The speakers are some old Wharfdales I picked up at a car-boot sale for a fiver... I get all my speakers from car boot sales, there is nowhere better....

Most of this was re-cycled wood and off-cuts... the speaker bracket wall battons were once part of a crappy bed-base...

Good tools will make any god way way easier and nicer, so you are more likely to do more (remember this advice and repeat it to your wife or significant other when needing to justify the purchase of outrageously expensive tools)
I am using a Makita Impact driver. These are super super expensive at first sight, but use one for any length of time and you will soon see that they are an absolute bargain if you value your time AT ALL... Batteries last longer (because the motor never operates at stall currents), torque is amazing but without putting a strain on your wrist, which means you can use it for much longer without getting tired.
Trust me these things are much better than normal electric screwdrivers.
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lblackmon2 years ago
http://chrisfabry.com/our-mold-story.html
abnor3 years ago
Nice man cave.
Good bench since it works for your needs. Only thing worried about is the environment you work. Do something about it is not healthy.
Thanks for sharing
I dont spend much time down there to be honest but just because it looks a bit ratty doesnt tell the whole story. The bench has been there 4 years now and still looks like it does in these photos, still pretty dry and no mould on it, which suggests that the atmosphere is OK.
ah maybe you do still have it and there is more than one concrete slab in the cellar. Curious how it worked out for you in the end. To my inexperienced eye it seemed like the table saw could potentially be a bit awkward to work with enclosed the way it was.
gsport george (author)  ultrabob3 years ago
Yes I still have it, there are two rooms like this in the cellar and the long bench is in the other one. The other bench is more of a metal working one.

The saw being in the middle of the bench makes it easy for me to handle large sheets on my own and I havent had any problems working with it.
sitearm3 years ago
Gsport; I had a lot of fun reading your Instructable. The "rank" picture made me think, "Oh you poor man having to work in that." (It gives a new perspective on the idea of man cave.)

Next, your real priorities became clear: shelving and speakers. Oh, and tools. (You probably need to rest up for a few months now before actually fixing up the house.) Now I am thinking, "Oh his poor wife having to work with that."

Great project and pics and especially fun narrative.

Cheers!
Site
gsport george (author)  sitearm3 years ago
Glad you enjoyed it. I actually wrote this instructable about 5 years ago now. Check out my other instructables for a better view of my priorities... cellar is still pretty rough but the rest of the house and garden is much improved.

Looking at the cargo bike instructable it looks like you eventually got rid of this workspace and went with a long, narrower bench. Did you find there was something about this setup that didn't work out for you in the end?
sadey3 years ago
it is a very interesting project, but I have to say that my first thought was "It rubs the lotion on its skin, or else it gets the hose again.". I hope you don't take offence and that you get a laugh.
Just to be on the safe side. Spray your walls and floor with a mix of bleech and water. This kills mold. Great bench, I think I'll make a motified version for my stainglass work.
http://cornellchem.wikispaces.com/file/view/Chlorine_gas.jpg/188562177/Chlorine_gas.jpg
Strong hydrogen peroxide is also good against mold and less toxic than chlorine.
Very nice! I can see this in my garage with my radial arm saw as the back section, and my router table (Rockler, w00t) in the middle
rbbiggs3 years ago
Lol,, "way more rank then these pictures suggest" !! Make an instructable on re-stuccoing !!

Anyway, good job on the bench.. Thanks for sharing it with us.
gsport george (author)  rbbiggs3 years ago
Glad you liked it, re-surfacing the walls is really not a priority and I think it would blow off again pretty fast.
ongara_013 years ago
EXCELLENT job & nice bench
hphancock4 years ago
excellent job -- I been thinking of a way of incorporating my craftsman tabletop saw itno something similar in my future shop.  Thanks for the ideas......And good luck with the cellar
gsport george (author)  hphancock4 years ago
Thanks
hawgnutz4 years ago
I was just thinking tha maybe you could cover th entire bench with a "disposable" top of 1/4" MDF.  That way, once it get to dinged up from tols or other things.  When it gets too worn, you just replace the top.  Then you would not have any seems for wood to catch on.  If you added a layer of 3/4" MDF or play you could also add a bench or tail vise.

Great project!  It is on my FAV list and I plan to use the idea for my shop!
gsport george (author)  hawgnutz4 years ago
Thanks for the suggestion and I am glad if the instructable is any help. I am hesitant to add any thickness to the top because it means a restriction on depth/height of cut.
plaster and lime should be inert to the effects of black mold but mildew might effect and product that is like paper coated so sheet rock wont work. as far as the floor probable no vapor barrier under that rock slab floor but they have a floating floor system that wicks away moisture not it's like a grid draing to a sump. in basement shops dust collection is important. but we have what we have where we have it. so more placer and lime wash might make the walls less likely to bother visitors.
gsport george (author)  rapidprototyping4 years ago
Thanks for reading and the comments. I have learnt a lot about damp in cellars since moving into this house and I will try to write something about it when I get time. At the moment the dehumidifiers do a reasonable job of fighting off the worst of the damp and the electricity bill is a worry, but a fairly low price for two good sized workshops. (you can see the other one on my other instructable).
I recomend the incra jig as a fence jig as it is very accurate. thirty bucks is what i paid they have fence jigs but there more and have nice features see their web site for inspiration.
Sturdy work benches are the cornerstone of getting wood work done with out them were teetering on the brink of an accident off balanced and overreaching are major causes of injuries.
gnomedriver5 years ago
Good instructable. I've been looking around for a good plan for a bench to set a model train track on. There's plenty of scope to expand with this bench. Definitely a contender.
neffk5 years ago
Very nice. I did a whole instructable on making a hand-held saw into a table saw and I found this because it was listed as "related". Looks like it was a lot easier with the saw motor already mounted!
altomic5 years ago
wow, scary cellar. I was waiting for the "it rubs the lotion into its skin" very cool instructable. thanks
Yeah man EXCELLENT job with the bench but id think about creating a "DIY basement overhaul", cause it looks like they filmed one of the SAW movies here, haha.
Good job. It looks like your basement needs a lot more work than mine! Is that Dry-Lok coming off the walls? I just did my basement with Dry-Lok hope it holds up!!! Do you have enough height in there to pour a two-inch slab over some Poly? Soak some old shingles in fuel oil (diesel) for a week or so, then dip those legs in it for a day or so - that will help keep them from rotting. Good luck
gsport george (author)  charlessenf-gm6 years ago
The walls are lime plastered with a lime wash finish, probably at least 100 years old so not really surprising that it is coming away. Similarly the floor is the original 150 year old stone slabs, so I couldnt live with myself if I encased them all in modern materials that would probably make the damp issues worse not better. Having said that, I was tempted to pull all the slabs up to use in the garden and pour a nice slab for my other machines... Damp in cellars is a lot more complex issue than people think so for now I am just running a couple of dehumidifiers to keep it reasonable...
Just on a safety note, black mold can cause all sorts of health problems. Just a small amount can cause headaches and nausea. (Small amount as in, size of your hand or so..) Your basement looks even better with a cool looking workbench. I need to build another one too. I think I'll use some of your idea to make one . Thanks!
tashammer7 years ago
George, well done! Love the cellar, they don't seem to have cellars in Australia. And i love the way your worktop grew like topsy, very organic. More power to yer elbow me old son!
boner7 years ago
nice job on the workbench-saw. you've inspired me to give this go myself, but i think i'll try to somehow integrating a rip fence of some sort.
chuckw7 years ago
Sorry if this sounds a big ignorant, but what do you do for a fence on that thing? Personally I cannot live without a fence as I'm simply not capable of making a straight cut without one. ..Chuck..
gsport george (author)  chuckw7 years ago
If you look at the first picture in the 4th step you can see the aluminium channel I clamp in place right across the table... This isnt as quick to set as a sliding fence, but can be much more accurate.
Ahhh, very nice. I've been testing fences on the "Home Depot" table saws and have been very disappointed. All of the sub-$500 rigs have fences that drift on the backside pretty easily.
Thanks for the instructable. Is the C shape better than others for working?
gsport george (author)  Cristian Lavaque7 years ago
The C shape was dictated by the need to get to the controls of the saw; on/off switch, height winder etc: and also the need to have a little more support for big sheets of material when working on my own. Also it helps to have the extra support on big items when using it as a bench....
jwestlak7 years ago
I'd be careful about using wood as a surface for a table saw...it warps. It also looks like you have an old style Michigan or midwest basement which gets alot of moisture. That piece of plywood could probably ruin some cuts if not flat.
gsport george (author)  jwestlak7 years ago
The cellar is a little damp, but to the right of the main photo you can see that I have a de-humidifier which keeps the relative humidity down to a reasonable level. The main support timber has been acclimatising to the cellar for several months so hoepfully has done all the warping it is going to do already. I am not aiming to make reproduction Lois XIV French furniture on this, just the odd Kitchen worktop, window shutters etc etc....
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