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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So I currently live in an apartment where I have two options for a bench (I had three, but the fiance wont let me do it in the dining room area). I either A.) Have to build a bench that I can roll into a roughly 7ft x 2.5ft closet with a centered door (meaning my bench would probably be about 4ft x 2.25ft) or, B.) build a larger one and cover it (likely just a tarp) to withstand the elements.

So which brings me to my concerns. I live in Kansas (KC area), and we get snow, rain, hot and cold. I want to have a bench vise obviously (http://www.leevalley.com/US/Wood/page.aspx?p=49980&cat=1,41659 would love one of these). And a more minor concern, I need a place to store all these tools I am collecting.

The tools are of a more minor concern because I can always bring them inside if it's not okay to store them in a non climate controlled closet on the patio of my apt. The bench however would obviously have a vise attached to it. Can the vise fair the weather? I would cover it with a tarp, but I am not sure if this would be enough.

So in summary, could a bench vise such as the one I linked fair living out doors? Can hand tools fair the weather from inside that closet? How small would to small be for a bench (in case I do have to make it fit in that :censored: closet)?
 

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Half a bubble off.. {Θ¿Θ}
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Even if covered, I feel the changes in humidity would cause condensate on the steel and that's going to equate to rust..
The closet option is going to make for a pretty small work area but should be do able. Keep in mind the clearance of the vice handle or mount it on the end of the bench.
Small rental spaces are a bummer.. BTDT. Any basement space in the building you can get the use of??
Best luck Alan.
..Jon..
 

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I think you are trying to bite off more than you can chew. I think that you should start small and only work on projects that are compatible with the space and type of space available. Power tools and an apartment environment are not compatible. Your neighbors will not like the noise.

George
 

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Hunter
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I don't know that the vise will do that badly. Especially if you keep it covered and do regular maintenance on it.

The hand tools should be fine. My shop is only a little better than what you are describing and I don't have any problems.

Hunter
 

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My woodworking bench is just over 4x2 (roughly 4'3"x2'3/4"). The vise probably sticks off the front about 8 inches, but I've been thinking that if I build another I might replace it with a hook and holdfasts. For handtool work on small projects, it's entirely adequate; in fact, I'm planning another, which will be 5' long, but only about 20" front to back, plus the hook. If you're using hand tools, that's more than big enough.

As to storing the tools: it depends how you do it. If you just put them on plastic shelves in a non-climate controlled space, they're likely to collect condensation. On the other hand, if you build a reasonably sealed (we're talking "keep dust out", not "keep air out") toolbox and put some silica gel packets inside, they might very well be fine. I've stored all my tools in an unheated garage for years, and I've only found rust on a couple that I didn't put away properly. I live in Massachusetts, with a temperature range probably from about 0 to about 100, and plenty of rain and snow. Can I guarantee that you'll have the same luck? Nope! But you might.

Now, that said, here's what I would recommend in your place:

Build the small bench. Put it on a set of retractable rollers so you can get it in and out of the inside closet. Build a toolchest that fits into one end of the closet, and use the other end to store wood. Get some of those rubber floor mats (the ones they sell for people who have to stand on hard floors all day; I like the interlocking tile type) to protect the floor. Enjoy your ability to work in all weather, and learn to use almost entirely human-powered tools. It's a good workout, and working in the house builds good habits, like sweeping the dust and shavings off the floor every time you finish working for the day. Get a circular saw, speed square, and 8' fence for breaking down large stock, and a high-quality electric drill for drilling lots of holes. I have a cordless saw that works great on most things, and I had a cordless drill that was fantastic until I abused it enough to kill it. Both are Ryobi, and the drill worked fine up until I used it to drive that twenty-somethingth 8" TimberLok screw....
 

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Check out the
Use your imagination and make something similar that will fit in your closet. Search You Tube. He has several videos including how to build the bench and miter saw station.

Good luck. Post some pics.
Mike
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Wow, thanks for the responses. Hand tools is the only way to go for me, not only for my neighbors sake, but for mine. I've always been sensitive to loud machine noise, so I wouldn't enjoy doing work with them. And it's good to hear that some of you find a smaller bench adequate. I only have a single large project in mind in a desk at one point, but I would do the final assembly in the room it will be in anyways because the fiancé won't help me move it there lol. I also had a thought before going to bed last night, if I rounded a single corner I can get some extra overall length if needed, but now I find that unnecessary.

On the bench in that video, I feel kind of dumb now for just skipping over it in YouTube. It popped up as a recommendation on more than one of my searches when in truth it would work for my size requirements, but I don't need one for full sheets but I do have ideas from it.

The only other option I have is they do rent garages here, but you don't have a guarantee that yours will be near your building because they didn't build one for every apt. I know a guy in the building next to me has his at the front of the complex when we are at the back. So I kind of view that as a non option.

I think ill do some sketch up drawings to get an idea on how the space will work, I appreciate the input, can't wait to get some work started :)
 

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@Alan - I bought Ron's plans but didn't follow them exactly. I built a miter saw station with a pair of rolling cabinets under the bench. Being able to clamp your work to the table is a real gas! :)

He modified his plans for version II and used 1/2 inch plywood. However it was only $5 more for the 3/4 inch so that is what I used.

I think you could build one section two feet wide and long enough to fit in your closet. Add a couple of the saw horses and you should be set. Note: The Festool style clamps I use are part of the accessory package from Grizzly Tools.

Here are a couple of pics of my setup. It works great.

Hope this helps.
Mike
 

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I built an outdoor work bench almost 15 years ago completely out of a shipping crate. It has withstood snow heavy rain and even an attempted break-in. I have a vise that swivels around for when I close the top and I use spring counter weights to help lift it up.
I use it for most of my heavy stuff like metal fabrication, but it could be used for most anything. I have a Pick up crossover tool box on a mover’s dolly underneath that rolls out to store tools and I use pipes slid down through holes that lock it in to prevent theft.
The best thing was it was just about free except for hardware



 
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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
That thing is pretty cool. All all the stuff in there sits in there year round and is just fine? Kind of looks like there is somthing on the top piece, or is that just my eyes deceiving me.

So glad to see so many of you have done this, really eases my mind of the worry of having to figure something else out.
 

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Have you seen the plans Lee Valley has for the 'apartment workbench' it could work for you. You can see it in their catalogue or google images of it online. Have been considering doing that build myself
 

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Do it first class

Build yourself a sturdy, six foot Trestle table, with two benches. Add front and end vises. When your lady isn't around, do your work. When you are working on long pieces, let it hang out into the kitchen. If not enough, hang it out the sliding glass door. Install peg board under your kitchen cabinets, for tool storage. Use all the drawers, after throwing out all eating and cooking utinsils.

Then take full advantage of kitchen. Use the microwave or regular oven, to dry small pieces of wood. You have water near by to thin finish and glueing materials. Use the iron and ironing board for edge treatments and veneers.

If you become lost, unevened keeled and/or frustrated with your work, just drop everything, open fridge door and pop open a cold one.

woodchuck1954
"A Legend in his own Mind"
 

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That thing is pretty cool. All all the stuff in there sits in there year round and is just fine? Kind of looks like there is somthing on the top piece, or is that just my eyes deceiving me.

So glad to see so many of you have done this, really eases my mind of the worry of having to figure something else out.
Not sure what you talking about with something on top, but at the time of this photo we had a horrific rain storm that just came down in buckets and I had a small leak along the top edge of my side roof support. I was experimenting with some flashing to see how I could cover that spot and still have the roof free to open.

Everything stays inside year round and the rust isn’t any more than you would find in a garage, although I do wipe stuff with WD40 once in a while. I wasn’t interested in looks because it’s a ‘workbench’ and I would be banging on it with sledge hammers, scratching it and spilling stuff on it. I just didn’t want anybody getting into it I when I was away.

When I got the crate I wasn’t thinking of a work bench, but something for the grand kids to play in. I just didn’t know what and it was free. :laughing:
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
woodchuck1954 said:
Build yourself a sturdy, six foot Trestle table, with two benches. Add front and end vises. When your lady isn't around, do your work. When you are working on long pieces, let it hang out into the kitchen. If not enough, hang it out the sliding glass door. Install peg board under your kitchen cabinets, for tool storage. Use all the drawers, after throwing out all eating and cooking utinsils. Then take full advantage of kitchen. Use the microwave or regular oven, to dry small pieces of wood. You have water near by to thin finish and glueing materials. Use the iron and ironing board for edge treatments and veneers. If you become lost, unevened keeled and/or frustrated with your work, just drop everything, open fridge door and pop open a cold one. woodchuck1954 "A Legend in his own Mind"
hahaha. I literally think she would kill me. Or kick me out and Craig's list the bench to buy the food back.
 
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