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Nov 18, 2018

How to Install and Mount a Vise without Drilling Holes in Your Workbench

My first "workbench" was a simple table-style surface. 2x4 legs, 1/2" plywood top, held together with black drywall screws. I built it in my first apartment when I was twenty-two, with my first (and only) power tools: a circular saw and a drill. 

In the back left corner, I mounted a shiny, new, bright blue Irwin swiveling bench vise. It was awesome to have it there when I needed it - holding metal stock and angle iron for cutting, helping me bend rod and pipe, even keeping dowels and small wood parts in place while working on them. Unfortunately, these activities constituted a very small amount of the projects I was doing, and mostly, the vise just got in the way during the other 97% percent of tasks.

So, for the past few years, that vise has just been in a storage crate, and I get it out and try to hold it in place when I need it. Which, in case you can't guess, does not work. Ever. So, I wanted to come up with a solution that would allow me to install a machinist's style swiveling benchtop vise, without having to permanently install it, or drill holes in my benchtop and have to thread and tighten nuts and bolts every time I use it.    

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Sep 20, 2018

Everything You Need to Know Before You Build Your First Workbench

One of the great conundrums of woodworking is this simple fact: you need a workbench to build a workbench. 

In fact, in order to build a proper workholding system replete with vises, rock-solid joinery, and a sturdy wood top, you also need a complete shop full of power tools to mill the wood to size, a fleet of clamps to laminate the top, and tons of experience to know how to use all that stuff in the first place. And to build it from hard maple or other appropriate wood, it'll cost at least $700 for the lumber alone.

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May 21, 2018

Large Yard or Small, Here's a Lawnmower that Can Do The Job

Thanks to Cub Cadet for sponsoring this post. 

 

Gordy the Goat was going for the ride of his life. It was 1:00 a.m., and Gordy was in the back of a white Yukon Denali blowing through a stop sign at Earl Street and Mounds Boulevard in St. Paul, MN. Just minutes earlier, the brown-and-white splotched ruminant had been quietly at work in a nearby park, doing what he does best: grounds maintenance. 

See, Gordy, and a herd of thirty others, are charged with removing invasive species, unwanted grass and vegetation in the city parks... by eating it. But on this night, Gordy fell victim to goat theft, though whether he viewed it as

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Feb 27, 2018

How to: Build a Custom Tool Wall

Move over pegboard. When you've assembled a proper collection of hand tools, the best way to keep them safe, organized, and available within reach is a custom tool wall. Each item gets a designed holder that keeps like pieces together and accessible, allowing you to maximize your storage space.

Plus, let's admit it: they also look super cool.    

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Oct 02, 2017

How to Build a Sturdy Workbench in a Single Day

This post is sponsored by the DIYZ® app.

A good sturdy workbench is one of the simplest, most useful projects any woodworker can embark upon. In fact, it's probably the first project every woodworker should embark up. And yet it tends to go by the wayside. You see people building remarkably complicated pieces on rickety, unimpressive workbenches. 

There's a saying about the cobbler's shoes that goes here but I can't figure out if it works or not. Anyway, the point is, having a rock-solid work surface on which to build other things is really important. And you can make a great workbench without spending too much money or much time

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Sep 19, 2017

How to: Build a Bike Repair Stand for $30 in Hardware Store Parts

Bikes have moving parts...it's precisely what they're designed to do. And things with moving parts need maintenance to keep them moving smoothly. And since a bike's very design is to move forward as its parts move, you either need to a) get your bikes wheels off the ground while maintaining access to gear shifts and break levers and b) grow two more arms and hands.   

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Mar 02, 2017

David's Shop Upgrade on a Budget: How to Build Affordable Shop Cabinets

Laying Out the Cabinet PiecesIt's time to actually build something for the shop upgrade. First up, we take a look at how to build wall cabinets from scratch (sheet goods at least).

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Sep 01, 2016

How to: Build Shop Cabinet Doors on the Cheap

Half Lap JointsThere are plenty of shelves in my shop that need doors to keep out the dust, and to keep the look of the shop more streamlined. These cheap doors are made from 2.5" pine boards and affordable 1/4" plywood. They still look great and function well, and they have enough heft to feel strong in your hand.  

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Aug 23, 2016

Is This the Perfect Workbench for the DIYer?

created at: 08/25/2016

Troy spent a few weeks researching and comparing workbench designs, and he thinks he's done it. This is, as he calls it, the perfect workbench.

His argument is thus:   

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Jul 21, 2016

How to: Make the Ultimate Workbench for Your Basement or Garage

created at: 07/21/2016

I don't think I've mentioned this on ManMade, but earlier this year, my wife and I bought our first (and hopefully last) home. It was a big deal, both emotionally and financially, and looking in one of the wildest and fastest changing real estate climates in the country, we got pretty lucky that our first offer was accepted. It's a solid home that we can afford, and it sits in a close-in neighborhood that's super liveable and great for walking, commuting by bike, and public transit. I totally love it. 

And...of course, when you own your own home, you get to mess with it. No more landlords to tell you what to do, no more wasting time and money investing in customizing a place that you'll only be in for a little while. And of course, as a DIY blogger, I had my sights set on the two most important spaces in the house: the garage and the basement.    

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Jun 30, 2016

14 Genius Garage Organization Ideas

Summer is a good time to let things go. Have fun with friends and family -- enjoy the sunny weather. But that doesn't mean you need to let that garage go as wild as you will. With these 14 organization ideas, you can streamline your summer fun and still be sure that everything will be in place come the autumnal cleanup.   

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Feb 23, 2016

A New House Gets a New Workbench

created at: 02/23/2016

ManMade reader Alan recently bought his first home, going from a one-bedroom apartment in a busy urban neighborhood to a three-bedroom house just south of downtown Portland, gaining lots of space and a new sense of quiet. 

On the top of his list for the new spot? The same as many a ManMade reader: a new place to work on his own household, creative, and DIY projects. First step - a new workbench in his new garage to provide a solid surface to bang around, and keep his tools organized.     

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Feb 19, 2016

How to: Make a "Hold Everything" Tool Rack

When I was in graduate school, I taught guitar lessons to several neighborhood kids for some extra income. Inevitably, after a few months of convert's zeal, their practicing would slow down, and a parent would always ask me, "how can I get ______ to practice more at home?" I had some musical tips, sure, but my first answer was always: buy a guitar stand, and leave it out. No one is going to pick up an instrument that's locked in a case and placed under the bed or leaned against a wall in a closet. But, have it out and within a grasp in just a few seconds, and one can't help but just pick it up and rock out.     

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Jan 05, 2016

10 Ideas for Organizing Your Workshop for the New Year

Hopefully, the new calendar has you motivated to take on some new projects. And we all know the key to working quickly, efficiently, and creatively is: organization. Keeping things where they need to be allows your work surface to stay clean and makes your tools easy to find. Plus, when well organized, you'll find you can actually fit a lot more gear and materials into a small space.   

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Dec 10, 2015

Workshop Upgrades: Adding Extra Electrical Outlets to the Shop for about $50

Outlet KitMost of us have claimed a corner of the garage as our workshop, where only a single outlet supports the growing clutch of tools. Mid-project my shop floor becomes a tangle of cords stretching to far-flung tools and tripping me every step of the way. This dangerous situation just can't exist in a safe shop. So I decided to add some outlets to make it a better place to work, and even added a switch-controlled plug to turn on my air compressor. The easiest way to add outlets to a finished wall is a surface-mount with conduit connected right to the wall. It was easier than I expected, and the results turned out great. This is part of my Shop

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Nov 23, 2015

ManMade Essential Toolbox: The Almighty Socket Wrench Set

Each week in 2015, ManMade is sharing our picks for the essential tools we think every creative guy and DIYer needs. We've selected useful, long-lasting tools to help you accomplish a variety of projects, solve problems, and live a hands-on lifestyle that allows you to interact with and make the things you use every day. 

 created at: 11/23/2015


An adjustable wrench is great for quickly tightening a loose bolt or taking a hex head measurement, but if you've got a lot of hardware to fasten and would prefer not to smash, scrape, and bang your hands and knuckles, only the ratcheting socket wrench will do.   

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Oct 29, 2015

ManMade Essential Toolbox: Step Up Your DIY Game with the Ladders Every Home Should Own

Each week in 2015, ManMade is sharing our picks for the essential tools we think every creative guy and DIYer needs. We've selected useful, long-lasting tools to help you accomplish a variety of projects, solve problems, and live a hands-on lifestyle that allows you to interact with and make the things you use every day. 

created at: 10/29/2015

For many people, there comes an act of ownership that signifies true adulthood. For some, it's that first car when you're a teenager. Others it could be an elective retirement account, a first home, or that dream electric guitar.

For me, it was a ladder.   

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Oct 27, 2015

David's Shop Upgrade: Building a Custom Tool Island and (Finally!) Cleaning Up...

Tool IslandA few months ago, I completely destroyed my shop. I pulled everything off the wall, tools off the countertops, and it just . . . imploded. My workshop need an upgrade and it's true - you need to break it before you can fix it.  

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Mar 03, 2015

ManMade Essential Toolbox: Why Every Man Needs a Serious (Actual) Toolbox

Each week in 2015, ManMade is sharing our picks for the essential tools we think every creative guy and DIYer needs. We've selected useful, long-lasting tools to help you accomplish a variety of projects, solve problems, and live a hands-on lifestyle that allows you to interact with and make the things you use every day. 

created at: 03/03/2015

So far in the ManMade Essential Toolbox series, we've named tools that actually do things; tools that cut stuff, measure stuff, tighten stuff, hold stuff, and clean stuff up. And after today, we'll do more of the same.

But no series on toolbox essentials is complete without, you know, the actual toolbox.   

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