I’ve been woodworking for about six years total. Four or so have been hand tool-focused. It’s hard to admit, but I never really went hand tool only, as I rely pretty heavily on my thickness planer. I also use a drill press from time to time, because I have one. And it came in handy recently, as I forayed into some more basic metalworking.
After working at the new workbench for a couple of months, it became rather clear that the connection between the main slab and the extension needed shoring up. Three posts and some 4″ lengths of angle iron at random intervals weren’t doing the trick. It needed something more substantial.
I found myself at the home center at 601am on a Saturday (I was actually there for cleaning products), and it seemed they had freshly restocked the angle iron. I had cobalt bits and a new countersink, so I figured, “why not?”.
Drilling through 1/8″ mild steel is not too bad (although the squiggly shavings can be sharp!). And countersinking is messy and loud, if satisfying. The only hard part about the entire endeavor was lining up the holes in the angle iron to not interfere with the planing stop or holdfast holes.
Now two lengths of 24″ angle iron, with screws at 1.5″ and 8″ from each end, reinforce the joint between the slab and the extension. They also added a couple of lbs. to the workbench, which can’t be overstated. Although I’m keeping the workbench shelf-less, I am in fact going to add a back stretcher between the angled back legs to increase the heft overall.
Speaking of which, I added some extensions to the back of the angled legs. Now the footprint of the legs nearly matches the depth of the bench top, which makes the bench more stable when traversing or using a shooting board. The extensions also, conveniently, create a ledge for the back stretcher to ride on (meaning I can get away with not gluing the lap-jointed stretcher in place).
My next project is a cabinet for under the bench, which will store clamps, fasteners and other odds and ends that I use enough to keep them close at hand, but not so often that they should be in my tool chest. I’m purposely building it in a way that can be converted to a wall cabinet if the mood ever seizes me.