Sunday, May 10, 2015

Rustic work bench (from a 300 year old door)

Since we moved (to Fors), I planned to make a bench to work on. The initial bench was a piece of press-board balanced on a small stand and definitely not ideal to work on.

I finally got round to making the first table for the workshop it and are very happy with the result. It is made from a variety of wooden structures that we found around the house. It is very heavy and extremely sturdy and have placed some of the heavier machines on it.
Final result

I recycled all the wood from things around the house. The top is a very old and very heavy door. The door is tarred on the one side and I expect that it predates the current house (build in 1956). My feeling is that it was part of the smithy or accompanying buildings that was constructed sometime during the 1700's.

First I removed the old handle and hinges. I spent some time sanding the table on the bottom to remove several layers of dirt and dust.
Front of door - top of table
I decided to keep the tar side since it is extremely difficult to remove and makes a very nice work surface.

It seems that, at some stage, a fence for horses ran though our garden. Strewn about in several places we found fence posts that were in different stages of decay. I found four that seemed to be in a relatively good condition and a similar-ish size to use for the table legs.
Large stakes

The first step was to create one flat side that was almost level. I did this by trying to cut as close to a 90° angle using a handsaw.
By hand...
Then there was some sanding.

I wanted a high table and decided the legs should all be 80cm. I thus measured each leg at 6 places from the flat side. I connected these to form a line that should be parallel with the flat side. By ensuring I cut on this line (done by rotating the leg often while cutting), I was able to make cut the leg with two flat sides almost completely parallel to each other. It was more important to have 2 flat sides that were parallel to each other rather than an exact  90° angle to the leg since none of these legs are completely straight (one is actually quite bent).
Legs made
Straight enough to stand

After getting the legs all the same size I did a bit more sanding and finished the door bottom and legs with a coat of linseed oil. This made the wood come alive.

Lastly I wanted to create a lower rack on the table to store wood to dry as well as to make the table more stable. In our garden we have several parts of picket fences that has been discarded for several years. I thought that the support beams of the fences would be perfect for the lower rack.
Old picket fences

The first step was to pry off the picket bits. I did this with an extremely sturdy crowbar that we found in the smithy.

Pickets removed

Then more sanding. I stored the beams for later use since I wanted to add the bottom rack only after the legs were partly in place.

I decided to move the whole operation indoors since each component is reasonably heavy and thought that assembling it close to the final position may be a good idea.

Since the door had a raised outed  level I made some wooden support pieces for the legs to stand level.
Leveling bottom of table

I added all the metal hardware. This was done individually for each leg by measuring and refitting multiple times to get it perfect.

I drilled a hole through each leg to attach a it to the table with a bolt.

I loosely fitted screwed all the legs to the table, turned it upright on a level surface, and adjusted the legs and fittings until everything was level (this meant that I needed to sand two of the legs a bit since the edge of the door is not exactly the same thickness everywhere).
Loose fitting - upside down
Loose fitting - right side up - on level floor

After I was happy with the height and level I added the threaded rod to each of the legs and added more screws to the metal fittings (but did not completely tighten everything).

I measured the distance between each leg and cut the support beams to the correct length.
Measuring bottom rack - remember the picket fences...
Attaching bottom rack

After I attached the support beams I added more screws to the metal fittings and tightened everything.
Adding more screws

A few parallel bars were added to the bottom rack.

Lastly I got some help in adding the linseed oil to the bottom rack.
Table done - ready for final oiling
Linseed oil being applied

We moved the table into the final position in the basement work area and I placed the heavier machines on it.
Table done and in final position

Final result - machines added

I am very happy with this table. It is very sturdy and I later added vice to it. I have many other projects in mind and several of them will be made on this table. Some of the future posts may thus have this table in the background.


1 comment: