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Workbench Build #22: Rough Plan For The Base.. Opinions Needed..

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Blog entry by Airframer posted 03-12-2013 07:00 AM 2559 reads 1 time favorited 17 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 21: Leveling.. Well.. Evening The Top.. Part 22 of Workbench Build series Part 23: Where we are at since last update... »

Well, I bit the bullet and finally installed Sketchup. I am very far from proficient at it but I was able to mock together a rough draft of what I have planned for the base of this bench.

Here is the deal. I am active duty military so I know I WILL be moving at some point. With that in mind I have to be mindful of what I build and the fact that I will need to load it into a truck at some point.

My second project for my shop was to be a tool cabinet for my various hand tools and such. Right now they are scattered all over and tucked away wherever I can find room. This bothers me to no end. I absolutely hate not having a home for each tool. Perhaps it is the number of years spent in aviation maintenance and having proper tool control drilled into me or my natural AR nature but I have to have a central container for all these tools soon.

Now the quandary is that I can have 1 very heavy item that takes up a set amount of space in a moving truck or multiple slightly less heavy items taking up a lot of space in a moving truck. I would like to try for option number 1 if I can.

I have read and re read CS’s book on workbench design and I know his thoughts on under bench storage but I have seen examples that work (see Smitty’s bench) and I like the idea of using the space under the bench for more than a junk/saw dust collector.

Here is my initial thoughts on how to accomplish this most effectively. Keep in mind this is my first Sketchup attempt. The measurements are arbitrary since I am just doing a rough draft and the joints are rudimentary at best but this is just to get a visual of what is inside my head and see how they fit together.

I battled with the straight leg or splayed leg debate for a bit and went with the splayed. One because of the added stability and two it provides more storage space and the 20 degree tilt of the back legs makes for the perfect hand plane storage rack. I would like to make that rack hinge up to allow more storage behind it on the backside of the cabinet but that may now work out. I’m going to try and see if I can find a way to make it work.

So anyhoo.. here is what I am talking about. Let me know what you think, even if I am completely off my rocker (which is entirely possible).

I look forward to your thoughts. You guys haven’t steered me wrong yet!

-- Eric - "I'm getting proficient with these hand jobbers. - BigRedKnothead"



17 comments so far

View hiswillus's profile

hiswillus

70 posts in 702 days


#1 posted 03-12-2013 12:14 PM

As a noob studying design for my work bench I would first off be concerned about vices being built into the bench. Will the angle interfere with any of those. Also the straight legs are often recommended to be flush to the bench front for clamping support. Weight also is a major concern. This bench looks pretty light. If it needs to be light then you might want to integrate a system where sand bags can be added when you reach your destination. It has also been recommended by many to wait even up to 3 years to build a bench and to just make a make shift bench until you learn through experience what you need for the kind of work you will be doing. Hope this helps.

View grfrazee's profile

grfrazee

346 posts in 893 days


#2 posted 03-12-2013 12:49 PM

Check out Mosquito's bench build. It looks like what you’ve envisioned is similar to what he’s doing for his bench.

-- -=Pride is not a sin=-

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile (online now)

Smitty_Cabinetshop

10394 posts in 1372 days


#3 posted 03-12-2013 01:27 PM

Air – I see what you’ve got in mind and I think it’s worth pursuing. The plane rack on the backside of the bench makes sense to me as well.

For the cabinet below the top, yes, it works well. I have a ton of stuff in the drawers below the top AND have clearance for all the hold downs / hold fasts in my arsenal. Just make sure you allow for clamping down on thin material and you’re golden; that space is wasted otherwise.

@his: I’ve not seen the ‘wait up to three years to build a bench’ recommendation but really couldn’t disagree more. To the contrary, jump in and get ‘er done with all you have at your disposal. Bench building is a remarkable learning experience, and if you cover the essentials in the design (weight, flush surfaces, work holding for faces, edges and ends), there’s little reason to hold off.

-- Don't anthropomorphize your handplanes. They hate it when you do that. -- OldTools Archive

View Mauricio's profile

Mauricio

6903 posts in 1905 days


#4 posted 03-12-2013 02:13 PM

Woohooo! Splayed leg benches of the world unite! We are creating a legion of splayed leg benches!

I like the idea of the tool board on the back. I would imagine its a good place to put saws. You could even make it where the board just rests on cleats and it could have a handle cut into for easy transport.

I was just using that space on my bench to keep a sacrificial board I use for gluing and finishing. I dont like it there much but there is definitely opportunity to do something with the space.

As far as the weight of the bench I would wory about that. Thats what the splayed legs are for. They not only grip the ground well but they tralsfer all the weight into the ground rather than relying on inertia/mass to keep the bench still. Plus I bet it will be plenty heavy anyway.

Make sure to add extra length to the rough length of the back legs, I cut it a little to close and almost didn’t have enough length when I cut them to final length. Especially since you are going with 20degrees (mine were 15degrees. Dont think there is any advantage to 15 vs 20, just saying.

-- Mauricio - Woodstock, GA - "Confusion is the Womb of Learning, with utter conviction being it's Tomb" Prof. T.O. Nitsch

View Airframer's profile

Airframer

2756 posts in 707 days


#5 posted 03-12-2013 03:36 PM

hiswillus I am not worried about the weight of the bench. There will be plenty there to keep it stable and still. My comments on the weight were meant to illustrate the fact that I would rather only have one elephant to move rather than 5 lol. So building the tool cabinet into the bench just makes sense to me. I am going to have to side with Smitty on the wait 3 years thing. I have learned soooo much so far on this bench build and I have just barely scratched the surface. It is a tool and I can’t think of a better one to learn on than something that is customized to your needs and will be around for a while.

Smitty After your cabinet build would you say it would have been easier to do before final assembly with the top or after to make sure everything clears?

Mauricio Thanks for the heads up on the splayed leg length. Just another pitfall I hadn’t thought much about up till now.

-- Eric - "I'm getting proficient with these hand jobbers. - BigRedKnothead"

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile (online now)

Smitty_Cabinetshop

10394 posts in 1372 days


#6 posted 03-12-2013 03:40 PM

Air, I think I’d do it after the fact and not change. It fits just right and can come out if I ever need it to.

-- Don't anthropomorphize your handplanes. They hate it when you do that. -- OldTools Archive

View Tim's profile

Tim

1394 posts in 715 days


#7 posted 03-12-2013 05:05 PM

Looks like a solid design. Roy builds one pretty much like that on the Woodwright’s Shop.

Curious, what is The Schwarz’s reasoning against under bench storage? I forget the name for the vertical board with holes for various clamping assistance that goes on the front of a bench between the top and the stretcher and can be made to slide back and forth, but maybe under bench storage would interfere with that.

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile (online now)

Smitty_Cabinetshop

10394 posts in 1372 days


#8 posted 03-12-2013 07:56 PM

Tim, you’re looking for a sliding deadman. His primary reason, as I recall, is “it interferes with clamping.”

The deadman has holes that originally held a peg that in turn supported ends of boards when jointing an edge. I’ve used a Veritas hold down in said holes to really pinch work against the front of the bench for work as well, but can only use it at the holes that are higher than the cabinet, true. But 90%+ of the clamping I do with the deadman includes the Stanley #203 clamp in a 1” hole. It has some tail end to contend with, so my cabinet is set back a couple inches, but it’s not an issue.

-- Don't anthropomorphize your handplanes. They hate it when you do that. -- OldTools Archive

View PurpLev's profile

PurpLev

8476 posts in 2402 days


#9 posted 03-12-2013 08:02 PM

use whatever design seems fitting for your taste. as for moving/breaking down – I made my bench with 2 sets of support legs each consists of 2 legs and 2 cross bars, and I have those 2 sets connected with 2 rails that are attached with bolts that keep it all snug together. provides for very stable stout support and can be taken apart for minimal size/weight and fits in a moving truck (the only heavy large part is the top). you can see it in pictures in my workbench blog and can do similar concept with the sprayed leg design.

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View Mauricio's profile

Mauricio

6903 posts in 1905 days


#10 posted 03-12-2013 08:14 PM

+1 to what Purp said. I dont think you were talking about disassembling the bench for moving but if you were here is a picture that will get the juices flowing. It’s the McGuire version of the splayed leg bench.

It would be easy to bolt the top on to the top stretchers to make it removable. However you would need a stub tenon to resist the force of the leg vise against the top.

-- Mauricio - Woodstock, GA - "Confusion is the Womb of Learning, with utter conviction being it's Tomb" Prof. T.O. Nitsch

View Tim's profile

Tim

1394 posts in 715 days


#11 posted 03-12-2013 09:07 PM

Sliding deadman, that’s the one, thanks Smitty. At some point your walls interfere with clamping too so I guess you’ve got to compromise somewhere. If you can design your storage so that it doesnt keep you from clamping what you need to like you did it sounds like a win win.

View Don W's profile

Don W

15581 posts in 1321 days


#12 posted 03-12-2013 09:18 PM

I’ve never had my under bench storage bother my clamping. I also like it because when I’m in that extra lazy mood, the drawers double as a deadman.

-- Master hand plane hoarder. - http://timetestedtools.com

View Airframer's profile

Airframer

2756 posts in 707 days


#13 posted 03-13-2013 06:42 AM

No plans to make a break down bench. Once this thing is put together it will stay that way. For some reason furniture that breaks down just reminds me of IKEA or the cheap “do it yourself” furniture of my youth lol. This is going together and staying that way.

The deadman just requires some careful planning as far as drawer/door placement is concerned. I hope to get more done on the base this weekend time willing so stay tuned for more updates on that.

-- Eric - "I'm getting proficient with these hand jobbers. - BigRedKnothead"

View RGtools's profile

RGtools

3314 posts in 1408 days


#14 posted 03-14-2013 06:44 PM

Mauricio I have always wondered about the stub tenon to resist the wracking forced of the leg vise on a break down bench like the one pictured above. I have drawn a few versions of this joint and I am not satisfied with any of my solutions…have you ever seen anyone elses version? Or do you have one of you own you could share?

I could just use bullets, but that seems so weak.

-- Make furniture that lasts as long as the tree - Ryan

View Mauricio's profile

Mauricio

6903 posts in 1905 days


#15 posted 03-14-2013 07:22 PM

Ryan one idea that does not require the stub tenon (on the leg any way) is the splayed leg moravian bench. This is designed as a breakdown bench. Wasnt that what you were thinking of building.

The stub tenon is actually on one of the “jaws” of the leg vise that is morticed into the top so it pinches aganist itself instead of againts that top. I’m not sure if thatmakes sense. here is a picture.

Look at the stub tenon to the right of the bullet.

If you do that you might as well make the whole leg vise a sliding leg vise. All you would have to do is rout a groove the lenth of the bench instead of just the mortice. That and add the bottom sliding rail.

-- Mauricio - Woodstock, GA - "Confusion is the Womb of Learning, with utter conviction being it's Tomb" Prof. T.O. Nitsch

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