I have been busy this past week. Instead of pumping out the next project, I took a few days to clean up the aftermath of the last few instead. I realized that I couldn’t cut anything on the miter saw without standing on a 10″ deep pile of off-cuts. The same thing was happening by the table saw, as well. Adam was complaining that he couldn’t reach his workbench anymore…
My next project is going to be a large cabinet using the white oak plywood that I cut down a couple of weeks ago. The cabinet requires half a dozen sheets of 3/4″ plywood, and I realized I just didn’t have enough space to work on it. Step one was to clean up, and step two was to make some additional work space. For the last couple of projects, I have been using the garage and a couple of saw horses. More saw horses would be helpful, but I don’t have anywhere to store them when they are not in use. I decided to route through the piles of woodworking magazines, that liter my side of the bedroom. I found plans for an interesting “Knock-Down” Workstation in ShopNotes, Volume 15, Issue No. 87. The materials required, just about perfectly matched my left-over 3/4″ plywood off-cuts, that I rounded up during the clean-up this past week.
I started by ripping my plywood down to size for the legs and the rails, on the table saw.
I cut gussets, to lock the legs in place at a 10 degree angle. The angle on the legs keeps the whole thing stable. I also cut strips to double up the legs.
The picture below will give you an idea of how all of this will come together. The design is pretty simple, the rectangular legs are notched on two sides, enabling you to insert the rails into the short or long side. This gives me a lower level (about 25″ high) for working on larger things and a taller level (about 32″) as well.
I measured and marked the 1-1/2″ wide slots at 10 degrees. Then I took it to the band saw and cut the notch out.
Then I used that notch to transfer the same angle and dimensions to the second rail.
Straying away from the plans a little, I decided on a 1-1/2″ wide plywood strip on either side of the top of the rail.
I glued and nailed the strips in place. I used 1-1/4″ brads so they didn’t shoot through my boards.
I added the gussets to either side of the notches.
I will probably add a hardwood cap to the top of the rail when I get board, but not today.
Next I moved on to the legs. I glued and nailed a second layer of plywood around the leg. It was about 6-1/2″ wide. I glued and nailed them as well, making sure I didn’t place any nails where the notches would be cut.
I drilled 3/4″ wide holes about 2-1/2″ down from the edge on the long and the short sides. I drew in the 3/4″ wide slot by lining up my square with the edges of the holes. When that was done, I drilled a 3/4″ hole in each of the inside corners of the second layer of plywood.
I flipped the leg over and drew a line along the outside edges of the four inner holes. I cut along this line with my jigsaw. The leg is just as stable and strong without the center blank, but it is now much lighter and easier to carry and hang out of the way.
The last step was to cut out the notches on the band saw and do a test fit.
I got a little crazy and cut a 10 degree bevel on the sides of the legs so they would seat better, but I then realized that they could be assembled in only one direction. I think I will probably cut them square again and maybe add a hardwood strip and round it over. That way I am not resting the plywood on the ground where it could potentially suck up moisture and de-laminate if I use them outside my shop.
They will function fine for now though. I did a load test with the legs in the lower position. The rails could hold Adam’s 70 pounds safely, so I flipped them to the taller position and tried them with my 190 pounds. I will save you from having to look at that image… Suffice it to say that I could stand in the middle of just one rail without loosing stability or even deflecting the rail.
After using this workstation for a while, I determined that the edges were far too sharp. I managed to cut myself on the angled cuts on the legs. I came up with a nice solution using some scrap maple to round off the edges. Take a look at my Knock-down Workstation Upgrade post to see how I did it.