Friday, April 4, 2014

Assembly Bench

Ah, we are coming close to the end of our new shop tour…probably just one more installment after this one. 
Assembly Bench

The Assembly Bench counter top was recycled from the old shop.  It was one of the first items that had to be removed to begin the process.  It used to be right where the wood rack is now.  

I have had quite a number of things (e.g., a sander, a grinder, a previous small band saw, etc.) bolted down to it over the years so when I pulled it out it looked sort of like a piece of Swiss cheese.   However, the tightwad in me could not see throwing out a perfectly good looking top…well…"good looking" if you ignored all the holes. :-)    I discovered that if I tapped short lengths (of the proper sized dowel rod smeared with wood glue) into each hole and immediately wiped off the excess glue with a wet rag that I could quickly and easily remove its “Swiss-cheesiness” and restore it to reusable status.  I would never try that on a Kitchen counter top, but here it works!

The supports are the ones that originally supported it, just relocated.  I have been using this sort of cantilever bench supports for years in several different houses.  They have the distinct advantage that they have no front leg to bump your shin into or to have to sweep behind. The support is made from 3 pieces of 2x4 (1 vertical member that is flat against the wall, 1 horizontal member to support the top and a diagonal member to complete the triangle.  I used ¼” bolts to hold them together.  Their original position allowed for (or perhaps , that is “required”) the use of toggle to hold them in place.  In the new arrangement they are hung on the (2-sided) wall using long bolts with big fender washers on the opposite side – 2 bolts per support: one near the top and one near the bottom.  For maximum strength the bolts go directly through the 2x4 studs.  (That accounts for their rather random spacing.)

Once the top was in place, I added a new bit of pegboard to provide more tool storage.   I have a lot of tools in place and more to go up.  I have to decide which locations and mounting/display method work best for each tool.  A lot of people, perhaps even most people, like tool boxes.   Personally, I  have nothing anything against toolboxes…in fact, I have several… but really I prefer to have my tools out and close at hand.  Aside from the convenience, I think they make a nice “decorative” statement.

I moved, cleaned and remounted a 4ft fluorescent light fixture over the bench.  Mounting wasn’t easy because of all of the furnace pipes that run through the ceiling right there where they are most in the way.  I ended up having to mount it to a 2x2 frame that I hung from the ceiling joists way beyond the ends of the fixture.  But, the improved lighting was well worth the effort.

I added a few little finishing touches for convenience:
1.  a paper towel holder
2.  an ex-“Crisper drawer” that I swiped from the old refrigerator that we recently decommissioned .
3.  two small shelves to hold finishing supplies

One other little nicety I added is a foot rest.  The top is at the normal 36”counter height.  I have a couple of tall stools that work but they lack a foot rest that is the right height for me when I sit to work.  I used a couple of chucks of 2x4 with a ¾” hole drilled for a piece of steel pipe that I uncovered during construction.  I am amazed how much stuff I found just laying around that I could use for this shop reconstruction project :-)

If you look carefully at the right hand end of the top you will find evidence that my clamp rack isn’t done yet :-)

One more installment to go, then we're completely back in business!


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