My oldest son, Alan, had been asking for some woodworking chisels so he could do some carving, chopping, etc. I got him some a while back, but he has had to use them while sitting on the ground.
Take a look at the video I made of us building a workbench together. He did a great job helping me, and I'm pleased with the result:
Alan has been slowly taking more and more interest in making things with me in the shop. He has become increasingly interested in what I'm doing out in the shop, and often asks to come see or if he can help. I have kind of waited for him to approach it like this, because I didn't want to force something on him.
I had a few considerations for this project:
1. Use some scrap if possible
2. Make it as sturdy as possible
3. Size it just for Alan
4. Don't spent a lot on it
TOOLS & MATERIALS
Table Saw - http://amzn.to/2s8JpAD
Nail Gun - http://amzn.to/2s8YbYa
Air Compressor - http://amzn.to/2s8YbYa
Wood Glue - http://amzn.to/2s93w1K
Miter saw - http://amzn.to/2ruEfLs
Forstner bits - http://amzn.to/2sFZBIU
Plug cutters - http://amzn.to/2sgUP4j
Flush trim saw - http://amzn.to/2sFTqVh
Cordless drill/driver - http://amzn.to/2runtMh
The fist steps of many projects is measuring. I didn't have a particular place in the shop that I wanted this workbench to live, so that was not an issue. However, I did want to make sure that the height of the workbench was a good working height for him.
I made the two sides the height they needed to be and then measured a scrap piece of plywood we were going to use for the top to determine how wide it would actually be.
I used 2x4's for the base, and really only had to use two of them. I ripped a slight amount off of each 2x4 to remove the rounded edges. This instantly makes any 2x4 project look much better.
Then, I used a simple construction method for these sides to have cross bracing, much like the miter saw cart I built a while back. A little way into this step, Alan kept talking about a walnut top. I was not going to do that for a workbench, but I did tell him we could put some walnut plugs in to cover the screws.
I was already using a countersink bit for some of the drilling, and it turns out, it was a different size than any of my plug cutting bits. So, before we went any farther, I used a 3/8" forstner bit at the drill press to drill some larger counter sunk holes that we could plug later.
At this point, we needed to find the scrap of plywood we were going to use for the top, and measure the width of it so that we could determine how long to make the other sides. Since we were using scrap on hand for the top, the piece we used dictated how wide the overall bench would be.
There were a total of 26 holes that needed the walnut plugs, so I believe we did 29, just to make sure we had enough. I found a scrap of walnut in the scrap bin, and then Alan and I drilled them out with a plug cutter on the drill press.
He told me that using the drill press was his favorite. He liked to watch it, pull the handle and how fast it stopped after we turned it off. He was hilarious too...every time we would drill a hole, he would blow it off. All 29 times! ha
After we drilled out all of the dowel plugs, we had to take it to the drum sander. The plugs were drilled a little too long, and since they're tapered, if you don't get they to grab, they will be loose. Then, we just cut the plugs out with the bandsaw.
We glued in all of the plugs and left them to dry overnight.
The next day, we trimmed all of the walnut plugs flush with a flush trim saw, and sanded them with a random orbit sander after that. The scrap plywood I used for the top was so cheap, we wanted right through the razor-thin veneer on the top. And we had not sanded that much. That was disappointing, but Alan was in good spirits, and it didn't seem to phase his fondness toward this workbench.
To finish it, we added one coat of a water-based polyurethane to the entire workbench. We didn't want to spend a ton of time on the finish, but wanted it to have a little bit of protection. That dried fast, and it was completely finished.
Overall, this was a fun project, especially since Alan and I were able to spend some time in the shop. As I was editing the video, he saw the part where I talked about him loving the drill press, and I asked him again if that was his favorite part. He said, "Yes, and being with you." Well, that made it all worth it right there.
Let me know if you have any questions or comments down below. Thanks for following along!