Tuesday, December 11, 2007

A Workbench to Die For

Everyone who has had an email account at anytime within the last 47 years has seen the photo of the Volkswagen Jetta in a Lowe’s parking lot with 24.65 metric tons of construction lumber piled on the roof. Well, tonight I figured out how that whole situation went terribly wrong. (They put the wood on top of the car instead of putting it inside, and they used a 4th Generation Jetta instead of the MK5.)

Tonight I picked up 150 board feet of 8/4 hard maple and of the four vehicles that my wife and I own (I work in the auto industry… I have to do my part to support my own team)… I decided we would take our diesel Jetta to get it.

Sure I have a trailer…but there was slushy snow and freezing rain… who wants to pull a trailer in that. Yes, we could have taken a Jeep Grand Cherokee with Full Time 4WD and anti-lock brakes, but who wants to get 14 miles per gallon on a 60 mile round trip.

Yes, we have a Jeep Wrangler with a full roll cage, air-locking differentials with 4.56 gears, winches, and skid plates… but we weren’t getting this lumber from the top of School Bus (somewhere there is an old school off-roader reading this who has been to Tellico and knows what that means).

Obviously, our Mercedes Convertible only has two seats, so it isn’t really a good vehicle for hauling lumber…unless (in a voice like Thurston Howell the 3rd) unless it is beautiful burl wood trim on the Benz’s instrument panel (Besides the roadster’s put up for winter.)

So, naturally, the 40+ mpg Diesel Jetta was the vehicle of choice.

QUICK ASIDE: If you are in the market for winter tires… I cannot say enough good things about the Bridgestone Blizzak WS60’s. Honest to God… they turn snow and ice into sandpaper. Bridgestone is messin’ with the laws of Physics with these things. They are Crazy Good.

So here are a couple quick pictures of 150 board feet of Hard Maple loaded into our Jetta. You can see that Gail just tucked into the seat behind the driver and we drove home through the crappy weather contemplating what kind of carnage would occur if we got T-boned by another lumber-laden vehicle. (I started my engineering career doing occupant restraints. I know there is no way to secure lumber against a 30g collision inside a vehicle, but hey… sometimes you gotta put your life on the line if you want to build a great work bench.) Yes, Mr. Schwarz, you talked me into it. I am going to cancel my bench order with Lie-Nielsen and build one myself.... but I'm going to put a tool tray on it just to spite you. HAH!!!!!!!!!!!!! Put that in your pipe and smoke it, but don't do it near the bench... all the shavings in the tool tray will go up like Richard Pryor, Joan of Arc, Michael Jackson's hair, or Ricky Nelson's plane. (Feel free to pick your own simile depending upon your personal tolerance for inappropriate humor.)

So here are the pics. By the way, in case you are wondering about the background in one of those pictures… ”Why yes. That is a life size cardboard cut-out of Mario Cipollini during the time he was the Italian Champion and had Peter Frampton hair.”


Anonymous said...

Although the tires may be great, they may have been working better due to the extra 700lb of lumber pressing those tires onto the ice.

Buddy2x4 said...

"Cancel my order with Lie-Nielsen"


Why would you want to do that? You know it's gonna take you forever to finish your bench - you might as well have a good bench in the meanwhile on which to build your bench. Heck, with the way Lie-Nielsen prices are on ebay, you coule probably make money by reselling it used...

Bood luck,
Buddy Twobyfour

Jason said...

I envy the selection of vehicles you have to choose from! On another note, I'm enjoying your blog.

Jeff Skiver said...

Ya know, Buddy...I have not actually canceled the order yet. I ordered it the first week of May and when I checked last month I think I was still number 85 in line...

(The Lie-Nielsen benches take a long time to get. Apparently Thomas individually plants the maple trees for each bench, so there is a maturing pause required.)

Honestly, considering what I was willing to pay to move up the list...(do you think Thomas would move me to the front of the line if I gave him an extra ten US Dollars??????) I have considered buying it and reselling it. However, the logistics of shipping a 350 pound hunk of maple around the country is a pain.

Then, I start to consider the possibility of collector value...if they are struggling to get good maple for these and they eventually decide to drop the bench business, will these be immediately collectable where you could take it to the Antiques Roadshow and watch the Keno Brothers have a tandem hissy fit. "Oh my God!!!! It's a Lie-Nielsen, isn't it."

I mean think about the printing press business. At one point Gutenberg had about 367 presses on backorder when he finally said, "With all this press building, I am falling behind on my Bible printing." (Was Gutenberg the first one to put in red letters for the words of Jesus?) So where I am going with this is: if Gutenberg Bibles are valuable today...how much would one of his presses be worth?

So I am still entertaining the thought of buying it. I have only seen one of them on Ebay in the last two years.

Speaking of Ebay...I feel like a champ. But I should probably make that a real posting.

Ed Skiver said...

Since my woodworking endeavors have been limited to designing and building a fort/ swingset/ sand box for my two boys (your nephews)and installing interior trim in the house (which a friend of ours thought I was an infidel when his wife told him I wasn't home one day because I was going out to get some trim).....I thought I would have few opportunities to add to your blogspace with comments.

However, now that I have finally read through each of your posts, I see that you offer a wide range of variety. Something for everyone, every race, gender, and age.

Even though I'm not in the Air Supply/ Bee Gees fan clubs, I can relate to the AC/DC genre. And relating to your plane post, I have always enjoyed flying. Though I thought round trip tickets to most places in the continental U.S. are less than the $350, I also had no idea travel agents could be found on Ebay.

Which also makes me wonder if the D.C. Sniper is alowed to bid from prison?

Being a pipefitter and a person that enjoys fine dining, I can relate to "tubing and spoons".

Well, I suppose I should return to the grind before I'm accused of my last name and receive a reprimand.

Your big brother,

Chris in MD said...

OK I had myself a good time this evening reading your blog. What started off slow (the plug from Chris Schwarz) I gave another chance and its hit my funny bone. Thanks for the laughs I will be checking in routinely.

Chris in MD

Anonymous said...

How much weight can yout workbench hold? Can it hold 330?