I walk in, and basically from a standing position, I can reach pretty much everything I need at any time. And although it is a bit tight, I have learned that I don't really need a huge amount of space. The scale of the work I am doing is quite small, so I rarely have a problem. When I do, I just take it out to the 'outside' area, and work there. There's barely a spare inch of wall or shelf space, but in truth I want for nothing. Everything except the band saw fits inside too, which keeps it out of our humid tropical climate.
Before I set it up, I had a very clear picture in my mind that the shop had to be a comfortable place to spend a lot of time. I figured I would be spending a fair bit of time in it, so it might as well be pleasant. A big part of what I had in mind was a big, solid wooden bench; something really heavy, unique and long lasting.
I scoured the web for ideas, and found plenty of designs that were basically box structures, with lap joints, screwed and glued, and then some sort of basic wood board top. Pretty basic, and easy enough to put together over a weekend. However most of the designs had the weight being borne as a shear load by the screws. Probably ok for light duty, but I had in mind a milling machine that weighs 370lbs/170kg. I wasn't sure that these simple benches would cut it for something that heavy. Besides, they didn't really look that... enticing.
So already doubts were creeping in about these simple designs. I also wanted something with character. Something that would sit like a rock, handle being dug into with a screwdriver, hit with a hammer, chipped and knocked about. Not made from that cheap pine you see everywhere these days, but from a decent hardwood. I wanted something that would develop character as it aged over the years, and hopefully something that would last for decades.
And definitely no screws. All wood.
So I played around with some sketches, and did some research on how to do a good solid join without metal fasteners, and this is what I came up with:
As you can see, it was assembled in position in the shop, so it's there for the duration. The top is also spotted gum and the finish is linseed oil, which makes the shop smell kind of nice too.
Thanks for stopping by,
*...Big Things Grow. Paul Kelly.