Design Lab: Workbench

There are no pictures today.  My cellphone/camera died early in the day, and construction didn’t start until late afternoon.Workbench2 But, I built the right-hand-most section of this workbench today, with the assistance of Mike, a grandparent of one of the students at my school. We were able to get a bit of an assembly-line going — all of the parts but eight cut for all three workbenches (the middle one has some slightly longer parts that we need to account for geometrically). And then the assembly completed on one of the three sections.

Each workbench has a deck like the others that we’ve built, and an under-shelf six inches above the floor.  Each workbench also has its back legs extended up to eight feet above the floor (96″, a standard 2×4), to accommodate pegboard or French cleat systems for holding tools.  It’s not going to be hugely attractive, in the sense that it’s not finished wood with a high caliber of craftsmanship.  But it’s going to be a successful working space, and that pleases me greatly.  This bench is going to fill the north wall of my new Design Lab space, more or less from wall to wall (there’s about 15″ of clearance on one side, which will provide space for a storage rack for plywood sheets, bits of lumber, and other odds and ends. But we’ll build that once we’re in the new room, not before.

The construction of each table required several 2x4s and two sheets of plywood and a panel of pegboard; we used clamps from Harbor Freight Tools (love that place), and a circular saw and a saber saw and two cordless drills (and four batteries in rotation between the two drills.  The toolset was essentially the same as that we used to build the workbenches, the sawhorses and the rolling cart.

The rolling cart has even been useful already.  Here it is, with me in all my Saturnine lack-of-glory (barefoot in a carpentry-shop-paint-shop-design-lab… what was I thinking??)Finished rolling cart, working on the construction of the Wizard of Oz head. Many of the basic tools have been shifted onto the cart; nearly all the fasteners and washers and bolts and eyelets and grommets and rings are in the narrow shelves on the back.  Turn it one way, you have a low-resolution prototyping lab.  Turn it the other, you have a full-service carpentry and mechanics shop.  Pretty nifty, no?

I think we’re going to wind up building two more of these, in the long run.  It’s darned useful, difficult to knock over, holds a boatload of stuff, and the stuff that’s on them can be deliberately arranged and purposed so that you know what’s where, fairly exactly.  I’m looking forward to the day when that’s true.

Update: took a picture of the new workbench.  As you can see, there’s still some work to be done.  Namely, I need tProjects: design lab workbencho attach the French cleat system across the verticals, which are simply the legs of the “bench” portion of the workbench, extended up to 8′ high.

I was able to complete the second work bench in this triad today, Tuesday March 17.  A good use of my St. Patrick’s day, really.  I’m looking forward to doing it again tomorrow.

That will complete the construction of the major components of the design lab, aside from another small rolling cart which will hold the extra plywood, scrap wood, and cardboard that will be the basis of the design lab’s supplies and feedstock for future projects.

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