A New Shop, a New Workbench and the “Kitchen Test”
I’m not sure if I can call it “progress” yet, but I have acquired access to a larger shop space. It is rather run-down, so there is some work to be done.
Sweeping was first. A close second was taking a look at the workbench. It was surrounded by a pile of locally harvested pine planks and a fair amount of debris. I decided to come back to it after reading a couple Christopher Schwarz articles for inspiration, and swapping out the blades on the thickness planer – in other words, the easy parts of the job.
Today I moved the pine planks out of the way and took a closer look at the workbench. I had some notes in hand from Chris’ “Kitchen Test” – a quick method for determining the usability of any workbench. Here’s the gist of it:
1. Dimension a piece of plywood to represent a kitchen cabinet door, roughly 3/4″ x 18″ x 24″. Also grab a kitchen drawer (or make one) that is about 4″ x 18″ x 18″ and a 48″-long piece of baseboard. The idea is that you should be able to easily work on all these pieces with your workbench.
2. Try working the faces, edges and ends of all three pieces. Can your workbench easily grip the kitchen components in every way? If not, it is time for some changes, or possibly a new bench.
In the end, I did not have to do much more than turn on the light and eyeball the workbench in question. It is pretty stable, but workholding is going to be a real chore.
What do you think – should I modify this bench, or should I build a new one?
If we’re talking a new build, I am tempted to try Chris’ latest, the “2-day Workbench” – now in store! But I am open to ideas.