Last Saturday we completed the frame and were contemplating the bench top. The strength factor would be key, second to that would be the cost factor. Thicker material costs more. We could have gone with 2 sheets of 1.2 cm MDF or 1 sheet of 25mm ply. There was also the question of using 1×2 inch timber lengths on their side like in the original plan. We finally settled on the ply sheet. MDF over the long haul would sag. Lengths of timber would be expensive.
Ply is not cheap, and here is where an extraordinary thing happened. I had mentioned this fact in one of my blogs and Anool had shared it (so far fairly common). Now the shared post caught the eye of someone a continent away and Peter Van Der Walt contacted Anool with an offer to donate the table top to the asylum. I will avoid waxing emotional about this, but thank you Peter.
The sheet of wood arrived on Tuesday and on Wednesday at 7 PM Kapil and I were at the asylum.
We quickly marked out the through mortises and go the drill and jigsaw out for some power work.
We chucked a spade bit into the drill and I showed Kapil how to first drill down till the point appeared and then drill from the other side of the hole. This avoids any unsightly tear out. The holes drilled out, it was time to "get jiggy with it". The jig saw was one of my first power tools and I have a special place inside of me for them. Anyway I quickly showed Kapil how to use it and control it and after cutting one mortise I turned the jigsaw over to him.
He told me later that he learnt that a firm hand was required to stop the saw from climbing out of the cut, which causes the whole thing to chatter. Also that the machine needs to be guided not forced and he soon learnt to let it pull itself through the wood, again this minimizes tearout.
We got done cutting out the mortises really quickly and after a few passes with the rasp the top slipped down into its "mooring". WE WERE DONE.
Wait up Not quite done, the sheet is 7 x 4 and we still have to surface the top. Knowing this however did not take anything away from our joy. Both of us leaped up onto the table. Kapil is a tad bit more reserved in his display of emotion but I can be seen waving hammer and mallet.
Rupin, got the top cut to size on Wednesday and began using it. He says the bench is the perfect height has enough space to keep all the things he needs for his project (a MAME cabinet) and is very stable.
That’s everything that a workbench can hope to be. Clearly this good little guy is going to go straight to workbench heaven. 🙂