Gye Greene's Thoughts

Gye Greene's Thoughts (w/ apologies to The Smithereens and their similarly-titled album!)

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Workbench mod

Ideally, I'd have a workbench with a top thick enough for dogholes -- holes into which you press or drop pegs or stops -- which you then brace your wood against.

But I don't.  One of these days I'll (probably) replace the crummy MDF top with a few nice solid slabs of wood.  But that's not gonna happen any time soon.

So, in the meantime, I choose to make various modifications to suit my needs -- while still keeping in mind that it's an ''heirloom'' workbench (it originally belonged to my wife's great-grandfather; presumably one of my kids will end up with it).

One of the modifications is taping a blue ''sewing'' measuring tape to the front edge of the benchtop (see photo above).  This allows me to approximately measure the length of wood without using a measuring tape -- for example, if I'm digging through scrap pieces of wood and looking for something ''around 18 inches long''.

In a similar vein, my solution to the difficulty in installing ''proper'' dogholes was to drill an array of holes, then populate these holes with short Allen screws (again, in the photo above).  By selectively extending these screws (see photo at left), I can create ''stops'' to butt my work against, for handplaning, chiseling, and etc.

Note the Allen key lying on top of my ''example'' piece of wood.  I put a big piece of tape on it so it's harder to misplace.

In this final photo (see below), I've butted up the piece of wood to the Allen screws I'd extended.  Because of where I stand -- basically, with my belly towards the blue measuring tape -- and because I'm right-handed, the chiseling and handplaning forces tend to be to the left and/or away from the front of the workbench.  So, the workpiece gets pushed up against the stops.

It also works well for securing sharpening stones when I'm sharpening.

Apologies for the poor-quality photos:  it's all by lamp light, as I didn't want to use up my camera batteries by using the flash.


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