Build It, and They Will Laugh

The workshop in the basement has a workbench in it.

Admittedly, that hardly seems like a startling bit of news. A workbench is a perfectly reasonable—one might even think necessary—object to find in a workshop.

But this workbench has been a work-in-progress for nearly a year now. It’s been that long since we decided to turn the then-laundry room into a workshop. (Okay, I decided, and the other party involved, wise and accommodating man that he is, said, “Yes, dear.”)

Phase one, moving the washer and dryer into the downstairs bathroom, went quite quickly. Maybe this was due to the involvement of several professionals—a carpenter and plumber, an electrician, and a flooring installer.

The next step was to build a workbench for the old laundry room/new workshop. Somehow last summer came and went without this being accomplished. Last fall would have been a good time for workbench-building, but we were busy. Winter wasn’t the best time for such a project, which had to be done in the garage (unheated and fully occupied by two vehicles), because one can’t built a workbench in a workshop which has no workbench to work on.

I’m certainly glad I don’t have a problem with procrastination.

Anyway, a couple of months ago, I finally got started. Conditions were auspicious—we were having a spell of warm pseudo-spring weather, and my spouse and his car were out of town so I could clutter up his side of the garage with amateur carpentry.

I had the design clearly in mind. I had the materials—odd pieces of recycled lumber from various other projects. I had a new handsaw and two new sawhorses. I had a tape measure, a square, a sharp pencil, and my reading glasses. Despite all these tools, when I got done measuring and sawing, there was a certain lack of precision in my four posts and eight support pieces. Sawing straight along the line on top of the board wasn’t the problem; it was that three-dimensional thing that did me in.

Assembling the pieces with deck screws presented difficulties, as well. I finally figured out that holding the corner post, holding the two-by-four crosspiece, holding the screw, and holding the drill required four hands. Which meant waiting for my spouse to get home.

Eventually, with him doing most of the heavy work, we built a workbench. We set the countertop, purchased from a salvage store, onto the frame. Unfortunately, we could see an embarrassing amount of daylight between the top and the frame. That nit-picky straight sawing thing again.

One quarter-inch shim and a bunch of planing later, we were ready to attach the countertop. He did the “lie on the floor and drill up through the supports” part. I did the “sit on the top so the screws would go into the countertop instead of pushing it away” part.

Which proves that she also helps who only sits and weights.

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