Design by Gerry Dale / RCM
Notes by Marty Moleski, SJ
The design for this bench is by Gerry Dale. It was published in RCM in April, 2001 (pp. 154-155). Subscribers to RCM can access the article online here. He used 2x6" material for the top frame. I wanted to keep my bench at desk height with room to sit comfortably at it correcting exams and papers, so I used 2x4" for the frame instead.
I had a very hard time understanding the article, so I made up my own terminology. What he calls the "working surface" I think of as the "floating top." What he calls the "base top" I call the "fixed top."
My building sequence:
It took me about a week to acquire the materials and assemble the bench. I bought the plywood at Thruway Plywood near Walden, the other wood at Frontier Lumber on Elmwood, and the bolts at North State Supply on Ontario Street and Military Road. I also purchased a 4' carpenter's level to help me keep the top flat and level ($30 at Home Depot). When I get serious about truing the top, I think I'll get a friend or two to help me. I'll turn the bolts from underneath and they can keep track of the effect from up above.
The hem fir studs are straight, but very dry and brittle. After I cracked a few pieces, I decided to drill pilot holes for the deck screws. I also cracked a couple of pieces of the poplar trim--I got too enthusiastic with some screws near the ends. Dale used carriage bolts to assemble parts of his frame.
I had to draw a lot of pictures to prove to myself that 2" bolts would give me the height I wanted:
Questions and Answers
>...are those bolts only 2 inches long?
> It would appear that 1 inch is taken up with the base top and washers
I'd guess more like 7/8"--5/64" per washer.
> and 1/2 inch for a nut ...
About a quarter inch.
> then it looks like there should be 1 inch remaining for the gap
The gap does not have to be high. I could draw my floating top down lower if I wanted to or needed to. But nothing happens in the gap. I actually use it for storage of a self-healing cutting pad and a scrap piece of Homasote.
> plus a reasonable amount within the blind nut.
I started with three or four turns, I think.
> I noticed that the RCM article did not mention the length.
Yes. I just made up my own mind, I guess.
> Thanks for your time......great web site!
Thanks for the kind words. Thanks for the questions!
7 October 2017: Bye, Bench!
I signed the underside of the frame on 7 August 2001. Today, I finished hauling it out of my room and downstairs, where it will be someone else's problem. He plans to use it--or part of it--for a railroad layout.
I thoroughly enjoyed the bench, but I haven't been active in building and flying RC planes for nine years now (!). I know it is unkind to my brother Jesuits to leave a room in this condition when I'm dead, dying, or otherwise disabled. I've given away all of my airplanes and helicopters except for one built by another man. I hope to make a funeral pyre for that plane.
As you can see, the bench most collected things that collected dust. I began the transition to a new layout at 7:43 PM on 4 October, the feast of St. Francis of Asissi and the birthday of Uncel Dan, one of my good friends and major RC benefactors. I took him a van full of stuff earlier in the day after he mentioned that there was a local shortage of glo-fuel. I took over about a dozen very old gallons of fuel and about five gallons of methanol. I haven't heard how it is working for the guys yet.
8:46 PM. First layer of dust-catchers distributed elsewhere.
9:03 PM. Glass, vinyl, posters, mementoes gathered up. This is the first time the workbench has been uncovered since 2001.
There are 25 adjustment bolts that allow the floating top to be adjusted to be flat and level.
The bolts protrude through the fixed base. I decided to leave them there despite the danger that they presented to me and the bannisters on the way downstairs. The floating top is visible over on the right. As you can see, I woke up before dawn and got the floating top off before the sun came up.
Underside of the floating top.
Breathing a sigh of relief partway down the stairs.
Waiting to be hauled away.
Gives me shivers just looking at it. I've created a monster! You can see that the sun has come up. I think I stopped for some water and pizza and coffee before tackling the base.
Down one flight. Three chips from the railings, one ding on the wall. Live and learn!
Ahhhhhhhh. Micky Corcoran came to my rescue on the last flight of stairs to the outside door.
I feel GOOD!