Light, warmth, and dryness are the principal requirements of the amateur's workshop. Warmth, it, should be, remembered, does not necessarily ensure dryness, and if the workshop is too warm it will probably become damp. The best way to secure dryness is by providing for ample ventilation under the floor boards if it is a wooden building, or by opening the top window in other cases. With regard to light, if there is a window along one side of the workshop, the long side of the workbench should go against that wall. If there are any electric outlets, rig a long, heavy, insulated cord to a bracket over the bench and suspend the lamp from that. Keep the light well up, where it will be out of the way when handling long pieces of timber on the bench. If you plan a rather elaborate shop, complete with power saws, have an electrician wire the workshop for this additional load. The circuit should be sufficient to carry any electrical power equipment as well as the required lighting and outlets for soldering irons and small electric devices.
'Warming the shop. This is not merely a question of warming the workman but also of providing the warm atmosphere that will be needed if woodwork joints are to be glued together. Glue chills quickly and no satisfactory joint can be made on a cold day, unless the timber is warm to the touch before applying the glue. An oil or electric heater will do quite well for a small workshop, and it should stand on a sheet of iron.
Fire precautions. Keep paints, cleaning fluids, and other inflamma. ble liquids outside the shop. Oily rags should -not be left about, and a good fire precaution is to keep the floor of the shop free of sawdust, wood shavings, and other inflammable matter.
Any difficulty in joining is avoided by screwing the I x 4's to the top and bottom of the legs with No. 12 screws, 21/2 inches long.
To assemble the end-frames, place the legs in their proper relative positions on the floor with a I x 4 inch bearer across them, and check the angles with a square. Mark the position for a hole in one leg by passing a brad awl through the hole made previously in the bearer. Remove the bearer and start the hole at the awl mark. Put the bearer on again and screw it at the one hole only, testing with the square before tightening. Now square the bearer with the opposite leg, bore one hole there, and turn in the screw tightly. Bore for the remaining two screws and insert them.
Screwing on the rail near the bottom of the table is easy because the legs are now held in position at the top. Check with the square to be sure, and measure from the bottom to make certain that the rail is equidistant up each leg.
Make the second end-frame in the same way. The two end-frames are connected by top rails, also cut from I x 4's, which extend to cover the ends of the frames. Two lower rails, somewhat narrower in width, parallel the top rails and are at right angles to the lower rails of the frame. Use a 12-gauge, 2-in. screw for both sets of long rails and bore holes for two screws at the end of each rail. Place the end-frames on the floor in proper position and the right distance apart. While an assistant holds the frames upright, fit one top rail to one end of a frame, square it with the legs of the frame, and tighten the screw to prevent the rail from slipping. Square the other end of the rail with the legs of the opposite frame and drive a nail a short way through one of the holes to fix the rail in proper position.
Insert one screw into this frame, carefully pull out the temporary nail without altering the location of the rail, and replace it with a second screw. Insert the second screw in the opposite frame. Gently turn the partly assembled bench over and secure the other top rail in a similar manner. Put on the lower rails one by one, following' the same procedure.
Cut the boards for the top and nail them on so that they are even with the edges of the top bearer rails at front, back, and sides. Tongued and grooved flooring makes a good top. Saw down one board, if necessary, to maintain the proper width for the top, or plane off the tongue on one outside board and the groove on the board on the opposite end. Countersink the screw heads in the boards so that they are flush, or below the wood surface. A diagonal brace can be fixed to the framework for added strength.
If you wish to floor the bottom, Fig. place the lower bearer rails on the inside of the frame. The tongued and grooved flooring can then be finished inside the legs, the ends resting on the top edge of the lower rails and cut off flush.
The diagram shows only one end of the framework, to indicate how the bearer rails and lower rails are put on. If the bench is made longer than 4 feet, one or two boards, 4 inches wide, should be screwed to the underside of the bench top to strengthen it. Fit these boards into notches cut in the top of the upper rails.
The bench should be fixed to the floor and to the wall against which it stands. On wood floors, angle brackets can be used to secure the legs. On a concrete floor, attach the bracket to the floor by means of an expansion shield.
Bench stop. The bench stop is an invaluable aid in the preparation of wood surfaces by planing, and provides a firm stop for work of similar nature. The stop is located at the top end of the working side of the bench.
The customary type of bench stop consists of a 1 3/4 inch-square section block of hardwood, 6 inches long, and a hardwood wedge 5 1/2 inches long, 1 3/4 inches wide, 3/4 inch thick at the top, tapering to 3/8 inch at the base. These components are fitted in a hole cut in the bench top, the rear face of the hole being cut to the same angle as the taper of the wedge. The location of the bench stop hole is a matter of choice. So long as the top of the -vise is not above the level of the bench, no difficulty should be encountered. The hole should be marked off so as to be approximately 3 inches in from the side face of the bench and at least 7 inches from the top end of the bench. Having scribed the shape of the hole, which should be exactly 1 3/4 in. wide and 2 5/8 in. long, drill out a 3/8 in. hole at each corner and well inside the scribed lines.
Using a keyhole or compass saw, remove the surplus wood and trim the sides of the hole with a chisel. All the sides. should be vertical, with the exception of the rear face which must be pared to the same angle as the taper of the wedge. Slide the ,stop in the hole, followed by the wedge, which must be hammered in firmly but not excessively. Press the stop down until it protrudes above the level of the bench about onehalf inch. Lightly chamfer the top edges of the wedge and stop. To alter the height of the stop, tap its base to loosen. the wedge, move the stop to the required level and secure it by driving the wedge home.
There is a simpler method which will give ample strength and stability. Slope the legs outward only, as shown in the drawing. On examining this saw buck, the reader will see that the leg is straight instead of sloping backward. The two legs on each side will thus be parallel with each other, and with the opposite pair. Measure 4 inches from the end of the top beam, square a line down the side of the beam, and fit the top of the leg square to this line.
In other words, the distance. from the end of the beam to the outside edge of the leg will be 4 inches. Screw the legs to the beam on both sides. The end braces should be screwed on after the legs have been fixed to the beam.
The bottoms of the legs will have to be squared off while the saw buck stands level on the floor. Rest a level on top of the beam and pack up the legs with thin slices of wood until the bubble in the level is centered. Use a straight piece of wood, 'about 3/4 in. by 1/4in., as a straightedge. Place it alongside the legs at one end, narrow edge on the floor, close to the legs. The -worker will be viewing the saw buck as seen in the end elevation. Run a pencil along the top edge of the straightedge, so that it marks a horizontal line across the legs of the saw buck. This indicates the true line at which the ends of' the legs should be cut to, give a level stance.
Make the legs of the buck out of 2 x 3 inch stock, and the top out of. 2 x 4 inch. The end braces ought not to be less than 1 1/4 inches thick, and may be up to 8 inches wide. They are secured with No. 12 screws, the length being suited to the thickness of the braces. A V-shaped notch may be cut in one end of the top beam for use when ripping boards; it helps to prevent the saw from damaging the end of the saw buck.
Three-quarter inch stock is suitable for all parts, but a strip of hardwood is preferable for the horizontal ledge because of the number of holes which are bored in it. Plane the wood to the chosen dimension. The ledge can simply be attached by screwing it, the the back, to the back piece, but a stronger rack can be made by housing the ledge in the backing to a depth of 1/4 inch. This necessitates cutting a shallow groove along the back piece. In either case, fit the ledge to the back, bore holes for the screws and put in about half of them, temporarily leaving out alternate ones. Mark the position of the ledge carefully, apply glue and quickly fit together again and screw tightly. The screws previously inserted should be turned in, first. Then, insert the remaining screws and put the rack in a warm place until the glue hardens. The screws should be countersunk deeply so that the heads are well below the face of the wood.
Holes for tools. The proper way to space and bore the holes for the tools is as follows. Measure at each end of the ledge to find the center point in the width and connect these points by a penciled line. The width shown in the diagram is 5 inches, so that the lines are 2 1/2 inches from the front edge. Measure and mark two parallel lines, 1/2 inch on either side of the center line. Use the new lines as guides for the front and back rows of holes. Starting on the back row, place a point for the center of the first hole two inches from the end of the ledge. Set a pair of compasses or dividers to span 3 inches and place the rest of the holes in the back row at 3-inch intervals. Start the first row of holes 3 1/2 inches from the end of the ledge, with a 3-inch interval thereafter, so that the holes of the first row are intermediate between those of the back row. Leave enough wood between the rows so that there is no chance of splitting. The front row can be omitted, if desired.
Get a piece of waste board and place it on the bench. Put the ledge over it and clamp both firmly to the bench. Put a 3/4-inch center bit in a brace and bore the first hole, going through the ledge and into the waste piece far enough to leave a clean hole in the ledge itself. Proceed with the rest of the holes, boring slowly and carefully. If the brace has a ratchet action, use it for more gradual boring.
It can be seen from the diagram that some of the front row holes are slotted to the front; this is to allow chisels with wide blades to be inserted from the front and turned with the blade broadside. The slots are cut after the holes have been bored. A center bit is best.
Another useful rack can be made to hold other tools, or to hold metal boxes in which screws and nails are kept. The ledge in this case would be without holes, and would have a shallow guard screwed to the front to prevent articles from falling off. It need not be more than I inch high.