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Workbench for under £30 WIP

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ByronBlack

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Ok, i've set myself a challenge. I'm going to try and make a usable carpenters workbench for under £30 and completed in under 12 hours.

The bench will have one vice, a number of bench dogs, lower shelf and a sliding tool strorage bin. The bench will be as heavy/sturdy as possible.

So far i've spent £19. This was for all the 2x4 timber that i'm going to use to make it, for that money I got 5 three metre lengths, which leaves me with an extra board if anything goes wrong.

I started out by making a drawing on a scrap bit of paper, the pencil was HB rated and performed excellently after being honed and sharpened. From this super-accurate drawing and guestimated dimensions, I wipped out my trusty Ryoba saw and got cutting, this was done on a B&Q own-brand workmate rip off - excellent value for just £10! (bought for me a few months back and not specificaly for this project)


After I cut the boards to length, I passed them through my cheapo rexon planner/jointer to make them square and smooth.

Heres a wee piccy of the hand-cut lengths:


From here, I marked out the placement of the mortices, and started to put together the rails and supports:


I finished both ends in about 2 hours:


In my third hour I fixed the rails to the ends:


That was all done on a saturday evening. Sunday evening I added some slats across the rails to create a storage shelf and the basis for the sliding storage bin:


Once that was done, it was time to add the remaining two rails to the top of the bench, at this stage it's already feeling really sturdy. I'm fixing the top rails in with half-lap joints:


The completed workbench frame after approx 5.5 hours of work:


Theres a couple of small niggly things to tidy up, but overall the bench is rock-solid and quite heavy. Monday evening I shall be adding the top.

The top will be a canteen table-top that was given to me by my dad as his works are upgrading their canteen (porta-cabin) :) I will also be adding a 13mm mdf top to this so that I have a 'throw-away' flat surface.

So, i'm currently at 5.5 hours in and £19 spent. I have £11 budget left, with this I need to source a carpenters vice and the MDF top. Luckily I have some large dowling that I can use as bench-dogs, the slats were from an old single bed we have had in parts in the garage for years so they cost me nothing, not sure i'm going to get a vice for under £11 though!

The reason for the £30 budget for the workbench is that i'm skint coming up to christmas and that was all the money/change I had in my petty-cash box ;-)

So, I have 6.5 hours build time and I need to create a sliding tool bin, sand and coat the bench with danish oil, fix the top and fit a carpenters vice! Can I do this in time and under budget, will batman and robin escape from the deadly gas-chamber in time? Tune in tomorrow for another exciting instalmant!

For those who are interested in more photo's and commentry of this project, here is the link to the full photoset:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/byronblack/sets/1460614/
 

Newbie_Neil

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Hi BB

Well done, a great project. I'm really enjoying your commentary.

The throw away surface that I have used is hardboard. It is as cheap as chips, iirc a pound a sheet, and can be replaced very easily.

Cheers
Neil
 

Philly

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Excellent stuff, BB!
Hope you manage to complete your project on time and on budget. :wink:
Cheers
Philly :D
 

Alf

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Holy Bench Dogs, Batman! Great thread. Looking forward to the next exciting installment. :D

ByronBlack":2cv4lork said:
...not sure i'm going to get a vice for under £11 though!
Tsk, make your own of course :roll: :lol: Unfortunately your top is overhanging the front legs, but you could beef up the front left and make a leg vice.

Cheers, Alf
 

Pete W

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Brilliant project - not only fast and cheap but the craftsmanship is nothing to be humble about either :)

Axminster have a vice for £11 and change, but postage would break your budget. There are a few on eBay, too, but postage might be the dealbreaker again. Alf might be right about making your own.
 

ByronBlack

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Hey guy's, thanks for the positive comments, I thought it were about time I posted an actual project instead of just discussions ;-) Glad your all enjoying it, hopefully it can inspire other fellow skint woodworkers that it is possible to get the basics for little money.

Alf - thanks for the link, I did look on axminster but it didn't occur to me to check components, they have a component for about £10 that I could use, and if I stick it on a friends order, I can avoid shipping, just means then i'll have to scrounge some sheet material from somewhere ;-)

Pete, your right about ebay, that was my first stop, but unfortunatly the shipping alone would break the budget, and there aren't any local to me so i've got to discount that.

Failing getting a vice, I do have a very cheap groz engineer's vice that I could try and use, but it wouldn't be as nice, so i'll have to make a choice and i'll post the update.
 

ByronBlack

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Dave, the 2x4 was from my local hardwood/builders merchant 'Thurrock Hardwoods' they deliver to the local area, but an delivery outside so depends on where you are you might be able to benefit from their cheap prices.
 

martyn2

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davejester":12ykscnc said:
where did you get your 2x4 from? I'm planning on building a cheap workbench in much the same style later this week. I didn't realise you could get 2x4 par so cheap.
B&Q do 2x4 in 2.4 mt lenmths for £2.84 but you have to go through it carefully it can get a bit twisted

martyn
 

ByronBlack

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Your spot on about B&Q - their pine timber is terrible, however in my local one (warehouse) they have a seperate section for builders timber and this is usually much better than the normal stuff they have in packets.

My advice would be to source your local builders merchant as these usually can be more competitive than B&Q or Travis Perkins - and don't be afraid to ask for a discount!
 

PowerTool

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Very nice - I always enjoy Work-In-Progress pics - often explains it better than words.

And I like your sense of humour ..

the pencil was HB rated and performed excellently after being honed and sharpened.
:lol: :lol:

Looking forward to the next installment :)

Andrew
 

Gary H

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Nice work, mate! :D Looking good there. ;)

Just in the middle of refitting the workshop myself so I'm kinda doing a similar thing. Only difference is I dont have room for a standalone unit so I've used an old bench that I got from work and butchered it a bit :wink:

I think the top is only pine (it looks like inch-thick floorboard-type material) but the sections are about 7 foot long :shock: and about 7 1/2 inches wide, tongue-and-grooved. It's been in work for about 30 years so i think the wood is stable enough:D
There's 5 of these but i'll only use 3 for the top and keep the length full. The legs I'll halve and put new rear legs on, then use some 5mm steel brackets I've made to fix the whole thing to the shop walls and floor.Should be sturdy enough then :wink:

BTW thanks for the link Alf, I've been wondering about making my own vice recently and that may help.

Just wondered though, I've thought about using the screw thread from an old car scissor jack in the garage and with a bit of butchery, using this as the screw for a vice. Is it a worker, do you think??
How about a modified G-clamp??

Cheers

G
 

ByronBlack

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Ok, second installment:

No building today as i've been laid up with a bad head-cold or should I say 'man-flu' so have been mostly in bed listening to the radio, and reading the latest copy of Good Woodworking.

There is this fellow who has done a chair buy some guy called 'Maloof' which has provided much inspiration, good work that man!

I have ordered this for the vice as recommended by the eternally helpful ALF: http://www.axminster.co.uk/product.asp?pf_id=22374

This has taken up most of my remaining budget all but a few pence. I have some short planks of Ash that I bought of ebay a while back that will make the jaws of the vice. Luckily I didnt need to pay for delivery as i've put on a friends order.

So, all that is left then is to source some sheet material to create a throw-away top and to make a sliding tool bin. I have less than a pound left, not sure how i'm going to do it, but I have friends on 'skip-watch' and i'll be driving around all the local building sites tomorrow to see if I can nab me some free stuff off their burn-pile.

Apparrently Batman and Robin did escape the deadly gas chamber, and foiled 'Fish-Man' and his dastardly plan, however their negligence has lead a rather slinky pvc wearing woman with ungodly plans to learn of 'Fish-mans' intentions - a new threat has risen, will flatman and bobin muster the energy to be bothered to fight yet another villain? Will Byron black convince dodgy builders to give him free stuff??? Tune in again for further fun and frolicks!!
 

JFC

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Ive got a spare vice if you can get over to Hanworth near Twickenham :wink:
 

ByronBlack

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JFC, thanks for the offer, but i've already put in the order with axminster, you could always list it on ebay, they seem to sell well!
 

DaveL

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Byron,

I suggest you take up JFC on his offer, a face vice and a tail vice are both useful to have on a bench.

You appear to be making a nice job of your bench building, well done. I hope you are feeling better.
 
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