Arwen's meanderings

Hi everyone and welcome to my new blog. My name is Steve and I am the lucky owner of a John Welsford designed 'navigator' named Arwen. I built her over three years with the help of my father, father-in-law and two children. She was launched in August 2007 at Queen Anne's Battery marina in the Barbican area of Plymouth. This blog is a record of our voyages together around SW England.
Arwen has an associated YouTube channel so visit to find our most recent cruises together.

Wednesday, 6 September 2017

A small retirement project

I knew when I retired, I would need an immediate project to occupy myself whilst waiting for 'Her-indoors' to join me. The sudden loss of purpose and more importantly of daily contact with my school friends, would, I knew, trouble me.
So keeping busy.........I blitzed the house and did a massive clean up - throwing away 34 years worth of school folders, teaching materials etc. Everything has gone.
We bought a caravan! It's been fun kitting it out and getting to grips with the systems and applications within it.

But that has been during the summer it is term time! And I have been missing people and teaching.

So, the project? Building a work bench.
My garage work benches are narrow and there is never enough space to put things. I can never find enough space to glue things up and let them dry. So, a retirement project - a moveable work bench with under worktop storage. I wanted it to be a joint table saw and mitre saw holder as well. I had a vision in my head but couldn't quite articulate it so I headed over to PinInterest, where, of course, someone had already done some of the thinking.

So this is what I was hoping it would look like, but on a slightly smaller scale. And here in pictures, is progress thus far................

This is the vision and what I am aiming for but on a smaller scale 

so I bought the wood and cleared the space 

treated myself to a new sliding mitre saw - the old one was very old and on the way out...

I measured...several times......and then checked again and re-measured as paranoia set in. I couldn't find any dimensions for the vision bench so I have had to draw out the plans myself .

Took time out to visit a favourite local beach...only to discover my favourite newspaper had sold out so I had to go with this one.......urgh!

Got the corner legs on after constructing the base frame 

Added the castors....which...on reflection was probably a mistake as from now on the bench kept moving around......dur!!

My bargain - light oak laminate flooring - reduced from £24 to £4; laid on top of 18mm shred board

The cut out done for the table saw - I will be able to lift it in and out of this slot.
There is a cover for the slot so that I can have the full work bench surface if needed.
The table saw will stand on a shelf below 

Phew! It has levelled up correctly, was getting worried for a time especially as I was using a new plunge saw and was unfamiliar with how it worked 

And the same happened for the mitre saw shelf. It too has a lift off lid
so that the full work top can be restored. 

I'm not quite finished yet. The lower deck shelves have to be cut and screwed on. The outer edging rails have to be sanded. I haven't quite yet decided whether to stain the frame a light oak colour or just leave it as it is.  The plan is that there will be some stackable trays on one section; table saw and mitre saw on the other bottom sections. I also need to get and attach a decent wood vice. 

So what will the first project be on the new work bench?
Well, in no particular order..........................

  • galley box for Arwen
  • insect/bug hotels for the gardens
  • some reindeer for Christmas sustainable gifts fair? (maybe, haven't quite decided on this yet) 
  • new garden bench for the back decking area
  • restoration of my parents' old garden bench which is much loved
And, most importantly, a sign for the caravan space we are renting - that is a priority apparently!


Alden Smith said...

Building a workbench (without castors !!!!!!! especially if you are going to be using a wood vice) and having a list of projects waiting in the wings is proof of a sane transition to retirement - good for you - just keep going (and if you get bored, build a small boat!).

steve said...

Yeah didn't think that one through did getting a locking castor wheel to replace one and apparently that will sort out the problem......dur........if God had given me a brain, think how dangerous I could have been 😂

robert.ditterich said...

Very handy project Steve! It will help you to be so much more productive because turning up to the bench will always be attractive if it is a source of pleasure, and new ideas will come from turning up more. So who knows what will be on your list in a few months. A bench is the best tool of all.