Updating Workbench
I read a post that said no one had been posting in Woodworking.  Normally I would not have posted this, but ... since the writer of the article wondered why no one had been posting... thought I'd share this simple project.  I'll add the caveat that it's not just a simple project for me.  It's the first BIG project I've done since the double fracture in my left wrist over a year ago.  I am STILL feeling it. 

THIS is the original configuration of the bench, built in the 90s when I bought the workbench top from Woodcraft.  It has served me well for decades but has had it's drawbacks, mainly the under bench shelf is too close to the underside of the benchtop and impedes the use of holdfasts.  I have known this, and have never taken the time to fix it, just worked around it.


As I said, it's been several decades since I built the bench, and I bopped out to the shop here thinking I'd pull a couple lag bolts and drop the shelf a foot, drill a few holes, ratchet in the lag bolts, slam bam thank you ma'am.  Done.  Nope, I forgot I built that bad boy to last.  Mortise and Tenon joinery.  I had to disassemble the entire bench.  The first step was removing the deck screws holding the top to the base and then taking the base apart.  I pulled the screws from the side of the legs, that pierced the tenons, keeping them tight.  Then tapped the legs evenly to remove the four tenons that held the two shelves in place. Didn't want to break one off.  Done, pieces.  The worktop  and the bottom shelf were set aside.


Next move was to carefully measure up, and mark the bottom edge of the position for the new mortises.  That done, I measured the mark for the inside edges of the new mortise, then the width.  Each mortise was supposed to be the same, but NOT.  As much as 1/8th difference in length.  It's a workbench not a piece of show furniture, but you try and get it right.  Careful measuring.  Then, 1/2 inch spade bit to start, then 1/2" and 1" chisels and a maul.  Four times.


Once the new mortises were all cut, I laid the legs back on their sides, to reduce the strain of reassembly, and lined everything up and with light taps of the short handled 3 pound sledge got the thing started back together.  Slowly, so as not to snap a tenon.  Tap here, tap there, then around the other side and tap, tap.  Slowly but surely. Grumpy isn't fast anyway.  Okay, so I rolled around on the mechanics stool, it was the right height.  The ones that went right together snug, deck screws.  I used the clamps from the rack to pull the rest tight. Deck screws. 


How about that, all back together and screwed up tight.  Looks like we have ourselves a new base, with more room below the workbench top. The hold fasts should work now.


Now that it's done, most of the tools, including the clamp rack, can be put away.  In the case of the clamp rack, it rolls out the door and into the storage space (boathouse) right next to us.  The room is part of the building and NOT in the woodshop, but protected.  Rarely used tools and equipment go in there out of the way.   Completed, the base is inverted and screwed back to the top, and we have a workbench.


I look forward to another three decades of use.
Jim in Okie
You can tell a lot about the character of a man -
By the way he treats those who can do nothing for him.
Nice work, and agree, the upper shelf was too high in the first place.
Yup, but I was very new to the hobby, and thought the "box" would make the bench more stable. 
It has been a great investment.  I can't believe the stories it could tell.
Jim in Okie
You can tell a lot about the character of a man -
By the way he treats those who can do nothing for him.
Nice job Jim. Those are the kind of jobs that we know we need to do, and after
we do them, wonder why in the world we waited so long.

Well done.
Mark Singleton

Bene vivendo est optimum vindictae

The Laws of Physics do not care about your Politics   -  Me
Now I have to make that breadbox for Miss T.

Jim in Okie
You can tell a lot about the character of a man -
By the way he treats those who can do nothing for him.
My bench when I initially built it had a main shelf on the bottom (with 2x10s or 2x12s as the support), and then a 2x4 a few inches below the bench top, and I had the same problem as you where that dang brace was always in the way. I think I even lowered it once (cutting the new mortises, etc.). Then got new holdfasts and it wasn't low enough. Was going to lower it again, but figured I really didn't need the brace. But instead of taking the whole bench apart to check first, I just cut the brace out. Luckily those stout drawbored tenons on the bottom we're up to the challenge.


It's funny.  When I first bought the bench top at Woodcraft, they offered a discount on the base, with cool drawers and the like.  Even with the discount, it was stunning what it cost.  I thanked him kindly, and went to Lowes a couple days later after drawing out a plan for the base, and writing up a materials list.  Miss T tagged along, and when she saw the 4x4s go on the wood cart, she asked: "Isn't that overkill, that thing is going to be Heavy!"

"Ah, that's the idea... I thought of going with 6x6s." 

My shop at the time was a 12x20 Amish building with Plywood floors.  the dang thing still tended to slide at times.  I finally used L brackets and screwed it to the floor. 
The new bench made life so much easier.  I had been working off an 8' folding plastic table.  Y'all know the ones.  HARD to clamp stuff to them because of the hollow bottoms, and when you do, the tables flex. 
Upset  I made do for years, but the bench was a blessing and I have used it for everything from small custom boxes, to building cabinets, potato bins, and armorer's tool chests.  A few years ago, I built a toy chest for my Granddaughter that she still calls her Grumpy Box.  (By Design.)  I wanted her to always know that Grumpy made it.  

An Anecdote:

I'm Grandpa Grumpy.  The toybox was big enough she could get IN it but designed (at my daughter's request) so that she could sit on it in front of the bay window and read.  The lid had HIGH dollar soft close hinges to protect little fingers, and HER name on the inside of the lid.  Well, What Grumpy calls her.  Her name is Isla, but Grumpy calls her Izzy.  The outside of the box has Grumpy on it, telling her to "Put her toys away."

The box is trimmed in walnut and is made from Cabinet Grade ply.  It turned out great.  Grumpy and the letters are all walnut.  Cut out on the bandsaw, then Grumpy was carved with chisels.  My daughter and her Hubby were pleased, Izzy loves it.


The payoff was when my EX showed up with her new hubby, the guy SHE got caught cheating with.  Izzy was sitting on the toybox reading and Grandma and (NEW) Grandpa Bill Oohed and Ahhed over the toybox, telling her how beautiful it was.  The ex commented to the daughter it had to be custom made.  My daughter just smiled and said they had had the box commissioned.  Grandma told Izzy she just LOVED her new Toy Box.  Izzy pointed to Grumpy on the front.  "MY Grumpy made it for me." 
Laugh "He loves me."


SHE has never commented on the box ever again. 
Big Grin
Jim in Okie
You can tell a lot about the character of a man -
By the way he treats those who can do nothing for him.

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