Dear Scott Frank Erie,
Thanks for your excellent article on bench space. I thought I would share a low cost but very versatile system with you that I have used for years to save bench space. I have installed “T” nuts throughout my work benches to easily bolt and remove 1” thick plywood panels of assorted sizes which, in turn, serve as bases for loading tools, a mini lathe and mill, drill sharpener, assorted vises, et cetera. In case a reader might not be familiar with them, a “T” nut is inserted from the backside of a piece of wood after drilling a clearance hole and, if needed, a countersink hole. Prongs on the nut bite into the wood and the nut then provides a threaded metal insert (nut) through which items can be solidly bolted and removed countless times without wear and without the need to access the back side of the wood or, in this case, the bottom of the work bench. I have installed three rows of 1/4” “T” nuts on 12” centers the length of my benches and have offset the rows by 6” to allow versatility in spacing items. The first row starts at 6” from the front edge of the bench with subsequent rows 12” from the first row. I have counter sunk the bench top to accommodate 1/4” flat allen head furniture bolts which are used to fill any unused holes to maintain a flat bench surface. All that needs to be done is to cut a piece of 1’’ plywood to fit the tool to be mounted and leave a margin around the item to allow holes to be drilled in the plywood to line up with the T nut pattern in the bench. The tool, of course, is bolted to the plywood and the plywood to the bench. With the proper sized T-handled allen or nut driver, a tool can be removed and a new one installed to replace it in just a few seconds. Several tools, of course, can be used at once if space allows. I have also created a “master board” with predrilled holes, again with T nuts, to accommodate infrequently used items which are bolted to the master board then bolted to the bench. In my case, the master board is predrilled for over a dozen items, thus eliminating the bulk of several odd sized boards. The holes can be marked with a “Sharpee” pen as a reminder as to which holes fit a given tool. I hope this idea might be of use to some of your readers. Be safe and prep as if your life depended on it. – Gary D.
o o o
I thought the “Bench Space” article was a good one. I’m on my second custom built bench. The comment I wanted to make was about reloading. I always hear people say they are either reloading to save money (to shoot more) or to create more accurate ammo. But what about ammo availability? I have always felt that you should have enough powder/primers/brass on hand to reload a few thousand rounds for every caliber you normally shoot. I have never run out of of any ammo during the shortages that have occurred. Just a thought. – Andy
o o o
I am not a reloader, but rather a woodworker with many small bench tools that take up too much space when not in use. I purchased a clamping bench that I use to hold my bench tools. I mount them on a piece of 4’x4’x3/4″ plywood, and screw a 2×4 down the center of the bottom of the plywood. I then attach the bench tool to the plywood, which I can then place on top of the clamping type bench and tighten on to the 2×4. I made a rack which holds multiple tools (with there attached plywood and 2×4). Just my $.02. – D.I.