Part One: Building the Base
The base of the workbench started out as the base of a Gustav Stickley dining room table. However, the table turned out to be too large for our dining room, so I bought a new table and cut down the old one and used it as a workbench. The basic design is the same, and here are the steps I followed when I originally built the base.
The top begins as boxes. These are made from ¾" MDF and will be very rigid when the bottom bracing and top boards are attached. The empty space in the boxes will provide a spot for the screws of the Veritas vise Iíll eventually install.
The work surface is made from two layers of ¾" MDF. Additional braces have been placed on the bottom surface of the box, and a piece of solid wood had been glued lengthwise between the two big boxes to fill in the gap.
The side aprons are made of oak. There are just balanced in place right now, but will eventually be held in place with glue and large Miller dowels.
The MDF top is covered with a layer of laminate flooring. This makes it replaceable, and it is always very flat. A drill guide attached to a shop-made jig makes drilling the dog holes a simple task.
The cabinet is just a big, dumb box with a couple of dividers. It is made of plywood and held together with glues and screws. The two little pieces of wood sticking out from the cabinet are wedges that are holding the cabinet in place while itís being screwed into position. Once the back of the cabinets is screwed to the legs the whole bench will be very rigid.
Installing the vises varies from brand-to-brand, so I wonít go into details, except to say that installing a Veritas Twin Screw vise requires a great deal of precision, and unless you are a very meticulous person you should not purchase this vise.
Finally, the drawers are added to the cabinet. In order to cut costs, the drawers are made of ½" MDF and held together with biscuits. The small drawers are resting on runners that I screwed to the inside of the cabinet. The two large drawers use full-extension slides.
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