My Long Deserved Not-So-New Work Bench
So, I am not sure if you noticed the absolutely horrific thing I have been working on. Some may call it a bench. Others simply fight back the urge to vomit. Well needless to say I needed something a little better to work on. Since im riding the DIY train I decided it needed are build with an upgrade.
When I moved into the house I currently reside in, my friend who owned it didn’t used the basement for much else then storing old housemates left crap. Amongst said crap were two very shoddily built surfaces that held boxes, broken items of zero value, etc. Not that I am going to get into the detail, but I wanted a place to be able to work. A ‘shop’ so to speak. I organized the area, purchased some cheap IKEA shelving, used one surface for tools and such and the other for a workbench surface.
This brings me up to the bench I have been using. Built by someone not needing anything of precision or quality. I managed up to this point but I can’t take it anymore. I also need to accommodate for larger tools. And since I am still very much still on a tight budget I had to build my new surface with that in mind. for example, I really needed a table saw, but I dont have the means to purchase one. On the other hand I do have a circular saw that gets a good bit of attention, so I decided upgrade it.
Really this is where the whole upgrade came from. The table saw. So I went about destroying the current table. It had some poorly applied linoleum tacked down to part of the top with scrap pieces of metal corner guards. One side not even put on correctly.
So that call came off leaving me 2 very dirty 6×12 pieces of cedar. Very nice actually.
It took a bit to find all the hidden nails, missing a few I was able to get the boards off to reveal the sub layer which was also very poorly put together.
These were obviously just slapped to the framing. But I guess they served their purpose. I yanked those off leaving only the framing, which I left to rebuild another day. For now, it works just fine. It keeps the table up at the correct height and I don’t need it to do otherwise until at a later time.
I got some melamine board from Lowe’s for 1$ from their scrap bin. Seems like there is alway some there of varying degree. I highly suggest checking it out. Lowe’s and Home depot have scrap bins up for grabs. Just ask a rep for how much and they practically give it away. Half of the time I dont pay anything.
This was the perfect surface I wanted to make my table saw with. 3/4 thick and covered with a thick plastic coating on both sides. It even has a finished edge that allows me to use as a guide for the blade to fit through. You can see this in an image posted further down. I couldn’t have asked for a better product.
The skill saw I have, has two holes in the bottom plate. I probably would have either drilled through the plate anyways to make this work, but this just really helped out a whole lot.
I drilled two holes in the appropriate places on one side of the board and bolted it down tight.
Again, I dont know if this was intentional, but the balance of the weight is almost perfect where the holes line up. I drilled a bolt through one of the side boards for fine adjustment of balance, but other than that, it worked out perfectly.
Now its ready to screw down. Since I wanted to add a certain level of sub-framing for a lower lip around the outside of the table, I added some of the sub-flooring they had used on the table before. I didn’t need anything like an actual flooring, like what I think they were thinking, so I just added it around the edges.
This helps not only for structure and support, but I also now allows me to screw the top boards from underneath. Flip the board over, and screw it down to the sub-frame, no nails, screws or otherwise obstructing the topside.
Now that the table saw is in place, and screwed down its time to build the rest of the table! My original plan was to use old gym flooring I had purchased from a reuse store here in Seattle called Earthwise. But their math was wrong calculating linear feet to cost and they only gave me a quarter of what they said I purchased. so I could only cover so much.
I made a quick guide frame for ripping with the table saw. Since the rest of the table wasn’t built and I had the edges of the melamine to help guide the frame, it worked beautifully.
I decided to use the 6×12 cedar planks that were originally on the table.
Flip’em and rip’em to the width of the table.
I also added a few pieces of pine and cedar at varying width to add variety. They are all relatively softwoods and should dent equally. In the end, I will invest in some good hardwoods and build a better more permanent bench. But since this is just a quick fix for a flat clean surface I dont mind using softwoods.
I ripped some 1x.5 strips to match the depth of the table. I adjusted the topboards to width and took off the skill saw to clean up the edges. After all the planks were screwed down I sawed off the edges of the wood and tacked on the border.
This helps bring the table together and line up nicely with the length of the melamine.
Put the skill saw back on and it’s a table saw again. TA – DA!
Table done, nice and clean it’s ready for sanding and a good finish to help deter dents and hard scuffs. Now it’s time to make some new projects. Im still on the hardship train and have to stick to wood based projects. I hope to pick up the helmet as soon as I am financially stable again.
Next up, a friend has commissioned me to build her a wall hanging jewelry box. She liked the rustic look of the coffee table and bench so thats next in queue. I also am ready to get my getta finished now that I have a means of cutting clean edges with the table saw!