Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Scrap Built Workbench for Kids

One of my recent shop projects has been building a workbench for my kid's more destructive desires.  I told them, "we need to make a special place for you to break stuff" since the usual places (everywhere) usually break unapproved items.  The total project cost: $81.

So it is that one old baby changing table, a donated table leaf, some scrap lumber and some left over heavy-duty shelving wheels came together to make a mobile workstation for my kids to tear things up.  Here it is about half done.  I have more drawer handles to make, some drawer dividers to cut and secure inside to make bins for parts, tools, etc., and then it's getting a red, white and blue paint job using a lot of left over paint.

I started by removing the rails from the top of the table and securing the table leaf to it with numerous salvaged screws.  Then I tried putting the wheels right on the bottom, but we were a bit top heavy so I had to extend the base with some scrap lumber.  Lag bolts and glue put the new, wider and deeper, base on the bottom of the table and I threaded 1/4 inch holes at 20 pitch so I could screw the wheels right in. 

I then noticed the table structure by itself was wiggly so I took one of the now detached rails to the miter saw and made several right-angle triangles to glue and tack with brads into the inside drawer support corners.  This cross bracing tightened thing up tremendously.

For handles, I've gotten some aluminum rod and bent it at a 90 degree angle.  On the ends I threaded it to 3/16" 20 pitch thread and found some nuts and washers to make it work with the existing pull handle holes.

To top it off, we bought a brand new $50 vice with anvil so we have something to properly mash, bash and otherwise break things with. I found some carriage bolts, left over from our swing set kit build years back, and with some scrap blocking and washers they made a good fit for securing the vice to the table top.

Hopefully, as my dear ones embark on their now legit rampage of destruction, they'll learn some valuable skills along the way and have a lot of fun learning shop craft first hand. :-) Project cost breakdown so far: $50 for vice, $6 for aluminum rods, nuts and washers, and about $25 finding bargain bin tools to stock the workspace with (a decent claw hammer, a no-mar mallet, a square with spirit level and a screw-driver set.)

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