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With anticipation and excitement my new, not inexpensive bench showed up last night.  I'll mention no names, no vendors.  Let's say the bench looks absolutely amazing on the internet.  Much like the difference between the bacon double cheeseburger pictured on the menu, and the one you get in the paper--the bench's wood was old and dry, split, filled here and there with "wood filler" that was terribly off-color, warped, out of square, and indescribably unsatisfactory.  A refund is forthcoming.  While that gets sorted out. . . 

I went to a store today and bought materials and tools to get started on the drawers and their encasements.  I'll start uploading pictures as the project progresses, but I'm going to make a bench that's about 3' 2"high,  4' wide, and 21" deep.  The top will have rear and side rails.  I'll have 9 drawers on the right, a few on the left, and a large, felt-covered pull-out "shelf" area in the middle, which will be covered by the bench top when not extended.  

I'm going to give box-joints a go for the drawers. I'm no carpenter, but with the information available I should be able to make something I'll be proud of, and will last a lifetime. 

I'll keep a diary here as things progress.  It will be nice to get off the kitchen table.  The wife will be pleased. 

Edited by SparkyLB

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Day one.  Materials.  I'm in a little over half the price of the bench I bought, and have a new Kreg Jig, Dado Stack, and 4' clamps.  I estimate I have about 50% of the lumber I need from this first purchase.  If the past is any indication of the future, I'm in possession of about 30% of the lumber I need.  :)    

Time to make the drawers.  Today I'd like to make both left and right drawer encasements, and all drawers. 

508846809_dayonematerials.jpg.e32c846690863569cc541f00bb413ebf.jpg

Edited by SparkyLB

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If it were a construction site I'd be fired.  An 8-hour day and one successful joint to show for it.  I had to tweak the jig and lots of trial and error before I got my tools to behave.  Having that behind me, the rest of the drawers will take far less time. 

So my 14 drawers will be box jointed just like this. 

991121240_firstjoint.jpg.9d8e1fc26e9333a43b5521cc831a512a.jpg

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it's unfortunate that something that can look so pretty in a picture can turn out very poor. On the other hand it's an opportunity to make something much nicer. Like for instance when I'm doing this I'm looking at my computer and the desk I made so it fit the space that I had it met my requirements because I couldn't find anything that was suitable for a computer desk for me.

As much as I like my watch bench I would really like modifications like it would be nice to have drawers on both sides of the bench. The entire left-hand side is open and basically it's wasted space. when you're starting out it seems like the bench is a vast open space but it's amazing how fast it gets filled up and then you run out of space.

 

 

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Hi John.  Yes it's unfortunate but as you say, an opportunity.  When I'm finished (it seems in about 7-10 years) I'll have a bench that I would not have access to with my means; not to mention shipping costs.  I'll know what everything is made of and at the very least, it's ALL real wood, and high quality woods.  Small touches like inexpensive hardwood 5mm plywood for drawer bottoms make it special to me.  This particular ply has real wood grain that you don't generally see. 

watchweasol, thank you.  I made a box joint jig.  I'm using a radial arm (chop) saw to cut items, and a circular saw table for the jig/box joints.  A router was on my list, but only for the skirting material on the sides and back of the work surface.  I wound up not getting one, as there's no shortage of ornate moldings and trim that are already routed somewhat closely to what I envisioned. 

I might still get a router and put a radius on the drawer false-fronts, the work surface adjacent to me, and the 4 vertical edges.  If it will enhance the utility and appearance, I'm all for it. 

One thing I need is a planer for the box joints.  Either that or a belt sander to make quick work of it. 

This is an evolution, and I'm sure will change as I go along. 

Edited by SparkyLB

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Fantastic work so far.
If you have the skills and tools to make it yourself the end result is always far more satisfying than a cheap off-the-shelf solution and you get something built to your specific needs.
I commend you for doing drawers, they're fiddly and time-consuming.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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10 hours ago, tritto said:

Fantastic work so far.
If you have the skills and tools to make it yourself the end result is always far more satisfying than a cheap off-the-shelf solution and you get something built to your specific needs.
I commend you for doing drawers, they're fiddly and time-consuming.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

Indeed they are.  I'm also working with a cheap table saw whose runners have a lot of slop.  I'm going to make my own runners later today out of hardwood.  The jig should give more repeatable results.  The top 7 drawers are all 2 1/2" high.  The bottom two will be larger, with the very bottom being 7" to accommodate my staking set box. 

I think I'll use thicker fingers on the bottom two, larger drawers.  It will be a nice variation. 

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Impressive! :thumbsu:

Saying the following is probably like swearing in church, but I use a simple but steady electrically elevated and lowerable table as my workbench (IKEA I think, yes I'm Swedish). I find it extremely convenient depending on what I'm doing, for example fitting the balance cock (elevated) or when I need a "helicopter" perspective (lowered). It quickly goes up and down with a simple press on a button. I'm so used to it that I don't even think about it.

Then again, I don't use eye loupes either but magnifying glasses and a stereo microscope. I would never be accepted among real watchmakers :( Anyway, I'm truly impressed!

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amazing work, well done. The heavy drawers are a bit overkill imo but it really looks good. Like Vwatchie I was looking for the Ikea Bekant table which was around 450 euro but I was able to buy a watchmakers heritage with a few professional workingbenches and a ton of parts. Sadly the family, who were not in contact with their father, only had eyes for the gold and gemstones and had already thrown away at least 20 movingboxs full with parts, books, tools ect....

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Here is the right side drawer encasement with drawers.  Making the bench satisfactorily is consuming a lot of time, but I have no regrets.  I enjoy the work.  I think after the drawer-fronts are done and pull-handles installed I will make the back, and left/right sides of the bench.  Then I can take it inside and have a surface on which to work; while I complete the left-side encasement and drawers.  It might take some months; but I know when it's finished I will have known I did my best on everything. 

305179965_leftsideencasementanddrawers.thumb.jpg.b4fcf75baad181b346deb4d475ccfd8f.jpg

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Nice years ago I made a jarrah bench for my workshop, (just a workshop bench, not a watchmaker's bench) used a thicknesser to get the jarrah all to the same size and then hand planed the bench top flat once glue up, my wrist hurt for a week. My wife walked into my workshop and asked me when I was making her a kitchen table like that. I told her 'Never'. Your watchmakers bench is coming along nicely.

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