Portable Work Bench (Part 19) Initially Usable

This is the last evening I get in the shop with the work bench, so I have a few small things I want to do before I toss it into the bed of the truck. The bench is certainly usable.

First I cut down the short stretchers so they don’t stick out to much. They are at the perfect height to catch things on while walking around the bench. It didn’t take long with a hand saw, nothing to terribly precise as its meant to be a rough cut.

End view of work bench at functional state.
End view of work bench at functional state.

Next is to cut the two halves of the work surface to approximate length. Double check the length of the truck bed. Sketch where the legs go when assembled. Measure from the previously rough cut end, double then triple check, ask Brad to double check my numbers and we make the cut on the table saw. It’s still a rough length just so it fits in the truck. We will make final length cuts once the sides are jointed, which will come much later in the process.

We did a round of experimenting on assembly. After disassembling the bench, I reassembled it. I shoved a 3/4″ board under one foot to simulate uneven ground and assembled the bench by my self. I guessed at the distance the legs would be apart. I set the back surface on and lined up the bolt hole, a twist in to just get it started. I adjusted the second leg to line up the bolt holes, that one went in and I got it near tight. Going back to the first bolt and tightening it a bit made the one leg come off the ground which made things very straight. I then made the cross stretchers perpendicular to the back surface. Setting the front surface on and lining up the bolt holes on one end I was able to get the bolt started quite easily. Doing the same on the other end. With all the bolts at finger tight it was only reasonably stable, better than a lot of benches but not terribly great. I put another half turn or slightly more and everything was great. At this point the bench was nearly as stable the best bench we have in the shop, and trust me its quite stable. We don’t even have the pegs in or the longer cross stretchers. This will be the most stable bench in the shop once the rest is completed.

Then we discussed putting some sort of finish on the bottom of the feet. This is initially just a precautionary step, the place I will be at for Gulf Wars is likely to have rain for a day or two and we inevitably have a river that ends up running through the woodworking tent. So to prevent that nice dry oak from soaking up the river, we put some finish on the bottoms of the feet. We also cut a shoe of sort for each foot, this will likely be just screwed onto the bottom of the foot to prevent it from sitting in the sandy soil for the entire week. Nothing major, just something preventative to minimize any damage that might occur from the rains.

Rear view of the work bench at functional state.
Rear view of the work bench at functional state.

That’s mostly it for the bench until after we return. While there will be plenty to do once we return there wont likely be any updates on the bench until early April, the big shop is closed and I need a break from the work bench for the short term.

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