Workbenches from Scrap Wood (mostly)

After last week’s scrap bin project we turned our attention back to outfitting the space. We needed workbenches – and our friend Mike Drescher, who works for a company of professional steel building erectors, had kindly brought in a whole bunch of 2x6s he had saved from a deconstructed deck. We decided to start building at our regular Thursday meeting on June 16.

Brian I, Brian T and Adam R building Bench #1

Brian T, Brian I, Adam Rosen and I got there well before dark and started selecting the wood. Most of the pieces were 8-12ft and had either nails or various decay. We found most of it was pretty usable, especially for legs and bracing. Brian T took the lead on the build using plans in his head, and a selection of nice battery powered DeWalt tools he brought. Working with a team vs alone was a bit of a change for all of us, but it worked out well. We got four slabs selected and cut for the top, and four legs and cross pieces selected and cut for the legs.

Makers at Meeting June 16 2011

Just before dark, about 6:30 or 7, several more people showed up – Tommy R, with daughter Betty and Cousin-in-Law Eric M; Ben W with wife Hiro and sons Shion and Hugh. With all the people hanging round, we switched from Building Stuff to Sharing (i.e. talking), even though the generator made talking a bit hard. Eric M. had brought a neat arduino controller setup he built for taking panoramic photos. It looked like a decent setup, packaged in a tupperware type container, except the exposed wire connections seemed to have shorted out the battery. Bummer. Heat shrink is your friend… and can be cheap (note: add a good selection of various sizes to our list of supplies!)

The crowd left to get kids home, and then Brian T remembered he had a date, so we pretty much shut down around 8pm. Adam, Brian I and I (JerryI) hung out for a bit but the lighting was pretty bad and we kept making mistakes. We packed the parts up into the container and headed for home, planning to return in the morning.

It was a bit later than we expected when we got back Friday. BrianI and I went to Home Depot and picked up some extra supplies, including a couple 2×4′ sheets of MDF to use as bench tops. We also brought down some 2x6s and 2×4 scrap left over from our barn and fence building. We managed to get Bench #1 complete and a start on Bench #2 before 1pm. Then our build got cut short by a call from the alarm company about our Haiku House. We had to rush back and check things out – cats had knocked stuff over in garage, setting off motion detectors.

Returning Saturday morning, we finished off Bench #2 with MDF top and shelf. The shelf is set at a height to allow plastic tubs below and on shelf. It needs a front support to avoid sagging. Getting on a good roll, we quickly built Bench #3 – another MDF topped bench, but with out a shelf. We were able to get both benches complete and all parts put away by 2pm – in time to get home, shower and head back to the Maui Film Festival at MACC.

So we now have a total of four good workbenches at the space – one metal framed MDF top with drawers from Cole S, and the three we built this weekend. Cole brought in and hung another florescent fixture on Sunday, which gives us pretty decent lighting throughout the container. Cole also brought another shelf unit and a cabinet. Now we gotta organize a bit, and then get power hookup/distribution setup. We also need some good bench stools.

Here’s the Flickr set for the weekend build out:
[slickr-flickr tag=”makerbenches” descriptions=”on” flickr_link=”on” sort=”title” use_key=”y” ]

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