Like most home D-I-Y-ers , space to me is a limited and precious resource.
I have tried many workshop configurations over the years, but each limited me. I found that using the space and equipment in as as versatile a way as possible, is the answer.
I abandoned the fixed bench-by-the-wall layout and now have 2 smaller, identical movable benches which I can put to many uses.This approach enables me to use my small table saw to cut larger boards at times. The height of my benches matches that of the saw, so I now have feed-in and feed-out extensions for it when required. I can also set out a few different segments of a task at once this way. (e.g. somewhere to park the tools I am using.) My drop-saw holder is also set at the same height so it can sit smoothly between the benches when I want to cut long lengths.
However, I had to drag the benches around because I didn't want them on wheels as this would limit their floor grip, as well as weight and impact bearing abilities.
So recently on YouTube I came across an ingenious, simple and cheap answer to this versatility problem (wheels and no wheels), which was created by Jim Marino .
You can see it in action here:
I built them(see pics), retrofitted them (didn’t want to unpack and tip up my benches) and it works well, just like the original.
But here is "How I should have built it to have made life much easier to retrofit”. (A hint for you.)
I am writing this while recovering from a pulled back muscle because I did the hard way:-
In hindsight, I should have made up each wheel as a 4-sided unit, by adding a right-angle frame (forming backing plates) made from 2 pieces of the same wood as the levers, but a bit longer. Then I could have screwed each completed unit to the legs and the upper support piece more comfortably and accurately than I did. As it was, no matter where you swing them, it is very difficult to screw both hinges into place due to the 2 pieces overlapping each other. Both hinges are inside a square that they form and one would block access to the screws for the other. I ended up putting the second hinge in using a stubby screwdriver - very slow and back destroying. Had I made them up as units, I could have screwed the backing plates together at the corner once the hinges were mounted to each backing plate, and pre-drilled screw holes into them at accessible places; i.e. outside the zone where the hinged levers are.
I have included pics of my "test jig". I should have actually screwed the hinges and levers to those pieces of wood (cut to size as backing plates) and installed them "test jig" and all. I wish I had pics of that installation to show you, but I have a sore back from doing it the hard way instead.
The wheels only need to lift the bench a little way (I chose ~ 15mm lift) as it is not being used for highway/off-road use (a few flat, slow metres at most).. and you have to lift the bench end that much to get the wheels down.
Parts (that I used. Adjust to your needs😞
· Lane butt hinges 50mm https://www.bunnings.com.au/prestige-50mm-polished-brass-light-cabinet-butt-hinges-2-pack_p4168654 (I found it was cheaper to buy a 20 pack, which I needed for the 2 benches and just one end of the saw bench.)
· Flat pine timber: about 500mm per wheel unit- I used 70mm x 20mm (because it matched my bench leg size and I had some at hand.)
· Bungee cords X 1 per wheel. (I cut them to the required length to pull the levers inward. The toggles aren’t needed.) https://www.bunnings.com.au/gripwell-assorted-length-tarp-canopy-bungee-cord-with-toggle-ball-12-pac...
· Strong screws and hooks to retain the bungee cords. 1 of each, per wheel.
(I changed the upper screws to hooks to hold the bungees in place (unstretched) when not in use. I don't recommend hooks on the lever end because it has to pull on the cord in different directions for down and retracted positions.)
It’s fantastic to see you sharing this project after generously contributing to so many discussions in this community over the years with your helpful ideas and advice @TedBear.
Really sorry to hear that you’ve got a pulled back muscle from this project, and thanks for sharing so much detail in your post so that other community members can learn the lessons you found out the hard way.
Thanks again for sharing your clever project and stay safe.
Thanks Stevie. No point in wasting the pain.