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Old 01-11-2018, 07:34   #1
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work bench on a small cruiser

Hi all

Getting the boat ready for next season's extended cruising, and thinking of eventualities that may become essentialities at some point. I can only afford to go cruising if I do my own maintenance and repairs as far as possible. That includes having a multi-purpose and complete set of tools permanently onboard. It also may include having some sort of work bench to do the work. Even if only a 1' X 2' surface, but sturdy, that I can put weight/pressure on, I can attach a small vice on it, without damaging the furniture. Maybe detachable, that I can take to the cockpit? This is a structural component. if I am going to have one, I need to build it and install it.

Of all the experienced cruisers out there with a finite budget, that do their own dirty work, what would you say is the usefullness of such a workbench? Did you ever need one and really wished you had?

Touch choice of priorities. I have a 30 footer. There isn't enough room for a few things that others may consider absolutly essencial, so the need for a workbench needs to be well justified.

Thanks for your input!
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Old 01-11-2018, 07:49   #2
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Re: work bench on a small cruiser

On our 31', we had a stout board that would fit across the inside cockpit well (on wooden cleats) near the companion way. This served as the removable work bench and was very helpful at times. The board had pre-drilled holes to mount a removable 5" vise.
Found this set up very good and kept the most of the mess out of the boat/mostly in the cockpit. Even if you have work bench inside, sometimes you need a space to handle longer pieces and then the cockpit work bench worked well.


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Old 01-11-2018, 08:03   #3
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Re: work bench on a small cruiser

I do all my own work and have for 20 years although I'm not a full time cruiser. I have simply not ever felt the need for a dedicated workbench. I find a few doubled over layers of newspaper, judicious use of pieces of wood as backing plates under items being drilled, and vice grips are enough to use. I've rebuilt pumps, but no complete engine tear-downs (which I hope to never have to do). sailorchic34 rebuilt her Yanmar in her cockpit a few years ago. That said, I don't have a home workshop either. I figure you like what you're used to using. So, like the "What stuff should I bring on the boat with me from home when I sell out and sail off?" threads:
Your boat, your choice.
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Old 01-11-2018, 08:27   #4
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Re: work bench on a small cruiser

I've not felt the need for a workbench that much. You could take a 2 x 12 that wedges across the cockpit though. It could then be used as a "fender board" also. But in a pinch, going to a dock works fine for some major sawing, bending etc.
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Old 01-11-2018, 08:31   #5
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Re: work bench on a small cruiser

Thanks Bill, Stu!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Stu Jackson View Post
Your boat, your choice.
Evidently..., but life throws all of us comparable challenges. Hoping to learn from other's experience, and mistakes!

Yes, my approach would normally be to use the right tool for the task, if available. I've done al awful lot of work on the pontoon, holding stuff with my feet and teeth with glueing, drilling, screwing, grinding, and what not with my hands. I will not even have that once I'm out there.

A board across the cockpit is a great idea I had not thought of, and I think I may just have the right piece of hardwood timber in my shed for it. Thanks!

Rafael
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Old 01-11-2018, 08:44   #6
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Re: work bench on a small cruiser

A large, heavy duty, plastic tool box often serves as my portable workbench. To its top I have permanently installed some pieces of hardwood and metal which comprise an adapter and allow me to quickly attach a lightweight, quick-acting woodworking vise, which itself fits inside the box for storage.
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Old 01-11-2018, 08:52   #7
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Re: work bench on a small cruiser

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A large, heavy duty, plastic tool box often serves as my portable workbench. To its top I have permanently installed some pieces of hardwood and metal which comprise an adapter and allow me to quickly attach a lightweight, quick-acting woodworking vise, which itself fits inside the box for storage.
Great idea. May I ask you post a pic of it when you can? thanks!

BTW, your "1rst Rule of Yachting" is priceless. Is it copywrighted?
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Old 01-11-2018, 12:11   #8
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Re: work bench on a small cruiser

If this 33' boat wasn't already equipped with a 2'x1' workbench and vise I would have wanted to fit one; lucky for me it came already built in. PO was a very practical solo voyager who sailed to the world's remote places and had no home base, so things like workbench and sewing machine were priorities. If you carry a hammer or hacksaw in your toolbox then some day you'll need that solid workbench and vise - so much easier if they are set up and ready to use.
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Old 01-11-2018, 12:11   #9
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Re: work bench on a small cruiser

I really like my portable Craftsman Workmate. Not sure if they are still available. Combination workbench and viceClick image for larger version

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Old 01-11-2018, 12:16   #10
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Re: work bench on a small cruiser

Oops, meant Black and Decker, not Sears.
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Old 01-11-2018, 12:35   #11
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Re: work bench on a small cruiser

I've been meaning to make one of these:
http://www.cruisersforum.com/forums/...ml#post2403608
My fenderboard doesn't get much use as a fenderboard, so it might as well serve double-duty as a workbench.


But the trouble with building a workbench ... is that it helps to have a workbench.
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Old 01-11-2018, 15:51   #12
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Re: work bench on a small cruiser

Quote:
Originally Posted by seadago View Post
Great idea. May I ask you post a pic of it when you can? thanks!...
My old vise is branded: "Sears Craftsman", was made in Germany IIRC. Now knockoffs are available imported from China or Taiwan. It just slides into the channel I fabricated and locks in place via a tight fit.

The "channel" is fabricated of oak and scrap 3/16" aluminum, held together with machine screws and self-locking nuts. There is an aluminum backing plate on the inside of the lid. I cut ~ 3/4" off the aluminum vise handle so the vise could be stored vertically inside, as shown, without taking up too much space.

(for scale) next to the vise is stored a standard drill index, 1/16"-1/2" by 1/64'ths. Other storage is used for a 3/8" close quarters Milwaukee drill motor, a plastic box with stainless flat head sheet metal screws, another plastic box with Fuller bits, Vix bits, countersinks, etc, 12" driver bits, 25' triple-tap power cord, plus extra stuff depending on a specific job I might have to do. The box measures ~20"l x 10-1/2"h x 9"d and is strong enough to use as a step, which I often do. Being plastic, it does not mar boat finishes. The handle is also very heavy duty.

This is my basic drill/driver kit. But it serves as my portable work bench and is used to hold pieces of wood (etc) for sawing, shaping and drilling.



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Old 01-11-2018, 16:12   #13
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Re: work bench on a small cruiser

For circumnavigating we had a small solid workbench with swivelling vice built in up forward. Invaluable for emergency gear repairs in bad weather at sea. When suitable and in port we have a removable vice and clamp planks as required to make a cokpit workshop,
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Old 01-11-2018, 17:22   #14
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Re: work bench on a small cruiser

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I really like my portable Craftsman Workmate. Not sure if they are still available. Combination workbench and viceAttachment 179969
I was just going to suggest that - very handy, but yet another thing to stow. There may be more compact versions available, of it may give the PO ideas of making something similar (or modifying) to suit his situation.

With stowage in mind we need to think laterally too. Move past the usual lockers, and think of an area under a squab, under a berth, under a section of sole, up under the deck .. One of the things I like about sailing is that it forces one to be very organised, very efficient - and somewhat frugal as regards what is really necessary.
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Old 01-11-2018, 17:48   #15
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Re: work bench on a small cruiser

One of the POs of my boat converted the mid cabin berths into a workshop. The workbench has a vise and about 30w x 16d area. It's very similar to what I had at home and it works well for me. There are times when a vise is really nice to have, although it's not difficult to improvise when you don't have one. Having a solid surface is important. But what it really boils down to is space available and what you are used to using. Put those two together with a little ingenuity and you have a workshop.
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