46 - Utility Workbench, страница 16

46 - Utility Workbench, страница 16

B. Storage Unit. Besides keeping supplies handy, this storage unit holds plastic bins that help organize small pieces of hardware.

like a perfect solution for my bench as well. The only question was where to get a metal benchtop.

METAL COVER. After checking around a bit, I found the answer at a local heating and air conditioning company. Using a special bending tool, they folded the edges of a large piece of sheet metal to make a metal cover.

This metal cover fits over the the top of the bench like a lid on a trash can. I used 3/4" Medium-Density Fiberboard (MDF) for the top. This is a hard, flat material. So placing the metal cover over the MDF top creates a tough, durable worksurface. And best of all, it only takes a second to wipe off a greasy mess, see photo A below left.

SOLID CONSTRUCTION. Another thing Ilike about this bench is its solid construction. It's made of straight-grained Douglas fir and 3/4" MDF Together, they help strengthen the bench. Plus, they add a considerable amount of weight. (The bench "weighs in" at about two hundred pounds.)

EASY TO BUILD. Now you might expect a bench like this would require a lot of complicated joinery and take a long time to build. But that's not the case.

Using simple rabbet and dado joints, the parts of the bench fit together like pieces of a jigsaw puzzle. In fact, you can build the basic bench in one weekend. Then add a set of drawers and a small storage unit the next, see photo B.

The metal top on this bench creates a tough, durable worksurface that's ideal for dirty, messy jobs.

It's always the messy jobs that I put off. Things like changing the oil in the lawnmower, fixing a greasy bicycle chain, or working on my chainsaw.

Not that these jobs are particularly difficult. It's just that I don't want the worksurfaces in my shop to get dented or covered with gunk (especially the ones I use for woodworking) . As a result, I often end up working on the floor.

So recently, as I was hunched over a project (and up to my elbows in grease), I decided that what I really needed was a utility workbench — a bench with a heavy-duty top that would take a beating and clean up easily.

That's when I remembered a tip I'd received from John Wofford of Silver Spring, Maryland. He had built a general-purpose tool stand with a metal top, and it sounded

A. Metal Cover. The metal cover on the workbench cleans up easily. And solvents won't damage the surface.

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ShopNotes

No. 46

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