Friday, 4 May 2012

On my work bench

Just over 12 years ago, I bought a work bench from Travis Perkins. I don't think it cost much. I used it for the occasional DIY job when we lived in a house. It lived outside (it was only a little house) unprotected from the elements. It came with us to France and still lived outside. The leg braces broke a couple of years ago, but nothing that couldn't be fixed with a bit of rope. Sadly, at the end of last year, it died.

I looked at the work benches in my local DIY place and was STUNNED by the prices. Not just that, but none of the benches on offer had wooden worktops (my cheap old one did - which is how it survived for so long). Fortunately, my dad had an almost new leading-brand work bench in his garage which he let me scrounge. I tried to look after it, but eventually it found its way outside for a few days. I also did some round-wood work with it, which is quite normal for us, but which immediately demolished the pressboard worktop. Look:

Absolute crap. Almost certainly designed to fall apart*. For the price it probably was, scandalous.

Fortunately, I had some pieces of chestnut lying around from a failed kitchen cupboard project and knocked up a new worktop in a couple of hours.

I had to do this because I was just about to go to work on the project1p solar shower. And I hope you'll agree, if you're going to work on a solar shower that's been in the making for a Very Long Time and has cost an Eye-wateringly Large Amount of Money, you're going to need a decent work bench.

More on this, later.

*(For more on designed obsolescence, I strongly recommend you watch Pyramids of Waste aka The Lightbulb Conspiracy (2010). Contains some very surprising information and tells you why that leading-brand printer isn't working any more.)


dND said...

That's a good looking top.

My bugbear about built-in obsolescence is plastic. Plastics manufacturers must have been beside themselves with joy when the law was passed that plastics had to break down in UV.

I would be happy with having to replace stuff every year or so(my pressure sprayer just exploded on me), if the plastic did actually biodegrade, but it just breaks down and enters the food chain at the base level and we have to keep buying replacements that use up more and more resources. :-(

the devolutionary said...

That makes it even more ridiculous that most of the solar showers on offer when we looked last year were made from... plastic! We got the last aluminium one in the shop, left over from the previous year's stock!

Arch said...

Build your own ( only if your seriously worried about these sort of things, as some just love to bleat ! )
Out of sustainable used materials.
There that's my bleat for the day

the devolutionary said...

We did consider it, Arch. The thing is, many of the people who come here bring very young children - and the problem with a DIY solar shower in this climate is it could get too hot. So we needed something controllable. I am going to set up an Aussie style bucket with holes in it, but more for a bit of fun for the kids.

Stephen said...

Wasn't directed that at you Alex, I am all for being pragmatic !
But it is possible to make things with full function and safety
from existing items and pleasing to the eye, but the drawback is it as you know takes time know how and a lot tools.
How does that solar shower work there doesn't seem to be much surface area to heat exchange ? Is it just the back of the upstand ? If so its a great use of new materials, once cooked a pie in a cake tin using a big mirror, no chance of that today, ground source heat pump would be good for you guys in winter but how long would it take to payback the things used to do it ?
I rest my case, I have gone mad ! So are you a fan of Andrew Neil and this week ?