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March 2, 2001

I've been thinking for a few months about building a work bench; today I started to write down my plans. They're not together enough yet to post here; before I finalize my plans I'm going to read The Workbench Book. I believe this bench is going to be pretty inexpensive; I'm using 2X4 lumber and 3/4" plywood for everything except the drawers, which I'm not going to build until the bench is finished. The vice I'm planning to use is Garrett Wade's cast-iron bench vise; it will be the most expensive part of the project at $100.

One thing that complicates the planning is the small footprint I need; I want the bench to measure roughly 4' X 2 1/2'. Two consequences of this are that the top-heaviness which is normal in a workbench is exaggerated, and that having the bench top be larger than the footprint (i.e. having an overhang) becomes problematic because the same overhang will be a larger proportion of the total length or width of the bench. (Note if this sounds confused: I don't have any design or engineering training, I'm just speaking from my gut instinct of what seems like it will be a problem.) My ideas for coping with these problems: I will include a lower tray between the stretchers which will counterbalance the heavy bench top; and I will have no overhang. I think not having any overhang is going to create some complexity with mounting my vise; but I need to get the book to figure out if that is true.

March 10, 2001

This project never made it out of the planning stages. I found a workbench for sale that meets all my needs without being prohibitively expensive. And Garrett Wade's showroom is in Manhattan, so I can pick up the bench myself; no shipping costs. On to the next project!

March 12, 2001

Well, yet another change: I stopped in at Garrett Wade today to take a look at the carver's bench. Mike, the salesman there, told me he had some seconds of their larger bench available at a substantial discount. After some initial misgivings (and some birthday-related help from Mom and Dad), I have decided to go for it.

March 23, 2001

I have assembled and installed the bench. Here is a picture of my new workshop: