Bench reconstruction – Part 3

Yesterday I was only able to do a little bit of work on the smaller bench.

My mission for today was to at least get all the bits into the garage, as my wife needs the car back!

As the garage is only 8′ by 16′ and quite full, most changes turn into a sliding tile puzzle where a number of other moves need to be made just to free up the space for whatever I’m trying to move.

The other day I realised that I could store quite large sheets of MDF across the garage without eating into the space too much by tucking their ends into the alcove with the boiler in:

Veneered MDF stored across the garage

After measuring the bench tops and the space next to the bandsaw several times I decided to push ahead with putting the larger bench there.

This means the smaller bench can go in the alcove under the boiler and one of its tail vices will be accessible (only one of them had a tommy bar, but unfortunately it’s the rougher of the two tail vices. If I can figure out how to undo the spherical plastic end nuts on the bar I’ll turn the bench round)

Small bench in place under the boiler

It was quite easy to assemble – the hardest part was getting the 4 studs to locate into the underside of the bench top, which is actually heavier than the larger bench top due to some steel reinforcment.

In an example of the sliding tile puzzle issue, I had to move all the MDF into the room off the garage to get the space to take the small bench, then clear the clamps off the shelves onto the bench so I can prop the MDF against the shelves, the stack all my power tools in front of the MDF so I can move the shelves they were on and build the large bench in that space!

Power tools stacked in front of MDF leaning on shelves

I was pleased to discover that a wheeled wooden box given to me by my mother-in-law and my vacuum extractor fit nicely under one side of the bench.

Small bench with Axminster/Numatic NVD750 vacuum underneath

The ply end panels of the larger bench were broken (I don’t think this was done by the pupils – the legs have wing nuts protruding and they probably pierced the panels when all the benches were stacked during removal).

End panel damage on larger bench

The panels were only nailed on so it was a simple job to pull them off (I used the small pincers I got from a car boot sale!).

They seem to have been abused with a hammer in places and I wouldn’t be surprised if this was also during removal from the school, as the seller mentioned that the teacher helping him had been in a hurry!

End panel hammer damage

I then ripped a 4′ x 2′ ply board in half using a handsaw as I couldn’t be bothered to get my circular saw out, then nailed the resultant halves in place. I used my saw clamp for the first time!

Saw clamp

It’s a neat little gizmo that stops the two sections flapping during cutting.

My elder daughter “helped” with the sawing. She’s quite into art and also loves watching Norm with me, so I have high hopes 🙂

The base went together relatively easily with a bit of “persuasion” from my rubber mallet

Large bench part built with replaced end panels

The seller had told me it was only possible to fit the vice before fitting the top, so I had a bit of a struggle carrying the top with vice fitted in from the car!

I eventually got it on (at least there were no fiddly studs to mess about with!) and then spent a while trying to find the holes for the coach bolts that hold the top on.

Squatting in a cramped space between the bench and bandsaw lifting the top and vice together with one hand while fumbling about with a coachbolt in the other is not something I want to repeat in a hurry! 🙂

Large bench assembled under wall cupboards

The bench top is slightly wider by the vice, which gives just enough space for my planer-thicknesser

SIP 01552 planer-thicknesser on bench

I removed the corresponding wide section from the other side, which allows me to place the bench flush to the wall.

The bandsaw just fits between the bench and the old chest of drawers I keep various abrasives, tools etc in.

This entry was posted in Purchases, Restoration, Setting up shop, Tools, Workbenches, Workshop and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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