Once more dear friends……onto the workshop bench.

Also : my new facebook group page : https://www.facebook.com/groups/524455598277075/

I was going to follow that one up with a line or two from Macbeth ; “is this a dagger (board) which i see before me” and use that as an introduction to the next stage of my rudder repair….oh come on people it could be a daggerboard !.

However, before i can get the rudder cheek assembly on the bench to work out what the new problem is iv’e first got to sort the bench out, before that iv’e really got to move the alien queen and yes, before that iv’e got to clear all the crap off the bench, and the floor just to give myself space to work.  Honestly, in the workshop nobody can hear the screams (that’s from Alien by the way )

Right then, lets try and make some sense around here.

It’s that time of year when i really need the workshop because iv’e got several boat jobs and projects to get on with : i really do need to get the rudder on the bench, it’s already off the boat and i think i can see what the problem is, aside from that iv’e got the new sprit-boom to make and modify the old mizzen-sprit, the engine box to build and then the new icebox cum fridge to design and build.  Unfortunately i really do have to move the alien queen (pillar drill) first and she is a heavy old thing and i might have to modify the entire bench to really make it work.


Moving the alien then.

I really like my pillar drill but i made a bad decision when i fitted it on the second bench, which is the one at the low side of the lean-to workshop.  Even after lowering half the bench that side and reinforcing it for that much weight i just can’t get really long work pieces , the sprit-booms for example, under the chuck.  Each of the sprit-booms needs several holes boring through them as square as possible and i can’t do it with the one tool that is best for the job so this month i decided to bite the bullet and move her to the central bench to see if that will work.

I had to lower the side bench top about 100mm just to be able to mount the drill there and when i checked there was about the same amount of top clearance on the standard height central bench so it would just go.  It would mean that the whole drill is mounted higher and would still be a bit difficult to access the gearbox, that is without modifying the main bench as well.  At this stage iv’e got a feeling that i am going to have to alter the whole of the main bench as part of the job as i think that it needs to be wider and lower….the problem being that we’ve done all the wiring to that height and all of that would have to be altered as well…..not a big job for Sparky-Mark but it would put everything out of action for a while.

I did think about doing a more complex job than i have done ; basically in that i considered having a cut out at the far end of the main bench and building a new, lower section for the drill.  When i looked at the job it would have been just about possible, although messy and would have entailed a lot of fiddly cutting and fitting so on the day i just went with the simplest solution i could, even that was a bit of a pain because i had to partially dismantle the drill before moving the very heavy bits and then put it together on the main bench as below.  At end of day, day 1, the drill is back in use : the height is a bit too much although not extreme, i can just about access the gearbox and i think iv’e left just about enough space/clearance off the end….time will tell eh ?

My main job though is to clear the low side of the workshop (workshop left) and completely rebuild that side as dedicated storage and then i can dismantle the old, end wall storage rack and give myself the maximum length and width space that the floor can give me….just about big enough for a small boat project.   As is my usual way i did too much thinking about what should be a simple job (make some storage shelves) and then hit the internet to see how someone who really knows what they are about would do the job.  I just happened to be surfing my Youtube feed after finishing the Christmas cleaning and watched the very excellent Laura Kampf’s end of year video during which i got very excited by her heavy duty storage rack project, link below.  I got so excited by that job that i rushed out, measured up, designed my own one and even made up a materials list which i would have taken into the builders merchant today….except.

Then i thought to check the floor because what Laura’s design seems to rely on is a level floor and then very accurate cutting of the components as it’s a partially cantilevered system : what i found of course is that the workshop floor is about as level as everything else around here ie not a bit !.  I could spend a lot of time making custom bottom sections and boring lots of big holes through the block work or i could just build some shelves…..

Laura Kampf video.

I really like what Laura Kampf does but her rack design just wasn’t going to work without a lot of headache and at least one new expensive tool (radial chop/mitre saw) so i just took the simple approach of attaching rails all the way around the ‘U’ of the left side of the workshop.

My 2 bench set-up never really worked and all that happened is that the second bench, under the window, always just got covered in stuff that should be on a shelf : well there’s a shelf there now !.   Instead i decided to concentrate on getting the maximum function out of the one central bench by making it as long and wide as i could and mounting the pillar drill in a dropped section just to the right of centre of the main bench deck.

The last part was a bit of a sod : if anyone has had to handle a 1″ sheet of plywood on their own in a confined space they’ll know how heavy and awkward the material is. On a dry day i would have borrowed my partner and we would have heaved the sheet outside to work with it on the outside bench (ex garden bench), however it wasn’t just raining but chucking it down here so i had to do it all inside ; luckily the workshop is just about at the stage where nearly everything is off the floor so i just about had the space to lay the 1” plywood sheet onto some sheets and get marking out.

The very last stage was heavy and tricky as i had to get the new bench top up and over the pillar of the drill, whose base had to be already bolted in place, and i had to get the cut-out for the shed roof support post in the right place as well.  Finally with the new bench deck on and ‘looking good Houston’ i decided to completely go for it, finish the job etc etc, by heaving the drill’s motor-head back up and onto the pillar.

I thought about it, it’s a heavy lift, got the head up onto the bench, got myself into position, did a very big heave and just got the head up onto the pillar, carefully balanced it and dropped it down over the pillar……..great, done, i thought……and then looked around and realised that i hadn’t put the drill table over the pillar first and it took me 5 tries to get the motor-head off again.

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