Sunday, September 24, 2017

The Workbench, Part 6

I forgot to put particle board on the back side of the bench when it was accessible. When I put something in the vise and gave it a good shove to the left, the bench racked to that side. Since it was now too heavy to roll, I had to crawl under the bench and reinforce it from the inside. It would have been much easier to do from the outside when I had the chance, but now the bench is rigid.

Dave recommends making the drawers shallow enough to arrange the contents in a single layer. If you have to dig through your drawers, you are doing it wrong. I started with a drawer for layout tools. For a drawer this shallow, lath was just the right dimensions. I used salvaged hardboard panelling for the bottom. I followed the directions at Build Basic. Because the drawer was shallow and the lath was thin, I glued everything together without hardware, so I didn't need pocket holes. I used 4" Square Electrical Junction Boxes and 1" Metal Spring Clamps to clamp the corners square for gluing. Checking with a machinist's square, I found the boxes remarkably accurate. Be sure to check each one, though. I did find a few that were a little off.

The problem with designing storage to exactly fit your tools is that they often only fit one way. If you remove tools and open and close the drawer a few times, the contents can slide, roll, or shuffle enough that you can't put your tools back in without tidying the drawer. To prevent this, first I traced around each tool with a Sharpie, so I'd know where everything fit.

Then I cut dividers from Bamboo Skewers and glued them alongside each tool.
Next, I set out to organize my screwdrivers so the proper one for a given job would be right at hand. I realized I had several partial sets, and other screwdrivers acquired piecemeal over the years. I decided to start over with a complete set of all the sizes and types I was likely to need. I found what I was looking for at Harbor Freight.

I built a handy storage rack from scrap particle board. It took me longer to build than I care to admit, but I didn't take shop in high school, and it does the job.

I read about a rasp plane, and thought it might be the right tool for leveling / smoothing my bench top.

It has many fine teeth that each make a shaving between the size of sawdust and the shavings of a conventional plane. It doesn't catch on edges and irregularities like a conventional plane, and it appears that if one tooth is dull or damaged, the others cut just fine. When the teeth wear out, the entire set is replaced rather than sharpened. So far, it seems to be working better than a conventional plane, but it is still slow going. I'll work on it in odd moments, and report the results. I'll add more drawers and other storage as needed. Now I'm ready to return to the furnace and foundry.

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