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Which bench should I get?

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Blog entry by Blake posted 11-11-2007 12:40 AM 1099 reads 0 times favorited 17 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I am planning on setting up a very small hand tool workshop for my father-in-law for a retirement gift. It will be in a small storage shed in his back yard. I plan to add some insulation and Sheetrock making it comfortable.

The one thing I would like to get for him is a European style bench. Please help me choose one. Any opinions are helpful.

I am looking for a simple, compact, hand tool bench. It needs to be a great value and I know it can’t be the highest quality. But I just want to get him something that he can use. He loves to tinker with hand tools and really appreciates the artform. It needs to be as small as possible for the small space (but still have all the features of the traditional bench). I know that even lighter-weight benches can have sand or cabinets added for stability.

I know there are several benches in the $400-$600 price range. I must stay in this range because the price is being split between three people and this is what we agreed on.

If you can, please post a picture with a link and a price, along with your comments/opinion. That way I can compare side by side in this thread. I will also be posting benches that I find. Let me know if you have opinions about any of the benches posted here. Thanks a lot!

-- Happy woodworking! http://www.openarmsphotography.com



17 comments so far

View mot's profile

mot

4911 posts in 2722 days


#1 posted 11-11-2007 12:42 AM

The little Sjoberg benches aren’t bad value.

You can get them at Lee Valley.

-- You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation. (Plato)

View Blake's profile

Blake

3437 posts in 2560 days


#2 posted 11-11-2007 12:49 AM

The above bench: $530.

Thanks Tom!

How do you think the vices are on this one?

-- Happy woodworking! http://www.openarmsphotography.com

View mot's profile

mot

4911 posts in 2722 days


#3 posted 11-11-2007 12:55 AM

I played with them a bit at a Lee Valley store. I felt the bench was well constructed and the vises were quite good. They are both single screw though, so a front vise in a tail vise location. I almost bought one when I was in the shop remodel stages. The LV that I can drive to has one on the floor. I don’t know what proximity you are to one, but it is a bench you can play with a little if you can get to a store.

-- You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation. (Plato)

View Blake's profile

Blake

3437 posts in 2560 days


#4 posted 11-11-2007 01:19 AM

Sjobergs Nordic Plus 1660 Workbench: $450

and

Sjobergs Nordic Plus 1950 Workbench (shown with optional $180 cabinets): $500

(From Woodcraft)

-- Happy woodworking! http://www.openarmsphotography.com

View Blake's profile

Blake

3437 posts in 2560 days


#5 posted 11-11-2007 01:24 AM

Too cheap, or good bargain?

Shop Bench: $200 from Woodcraft.

-- Happy woodworking! http://www.openarmsphotography.com

View Blake's profile

Blake

3437 posts in 2560 days


#6 posted 11-11-2007 01:32 AM

Good price but No front vice :(

60” Workbench With Drawers-Birch: $425 at Grizzly

Wait, and NO DOG HOLES???

-- Happy woodworking! http://www.openarmsphotography.com

View Blake's profile

Blake

3437 posts in 2560 days


#7 posted 11-11-2007 01:35 AM

Seems like good features and storage?

60” Workbench Birch: $350 from Grizzly

-- Happy woodworking! http://www.openarmsphotography.com

View mot's profile

mot

4911 posts in 2722 days


#8 posted 11-11-2007 01:40 AM

I’ve heard those grizzly’s aren’t too bad. You want a front vice. I can’t imagine that 200 buck one is going to make you happy.

-- You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation. (Plato)

View Blake's profile

Blake

3437 posts in 2560 days


#9 posted 11-11-2007 01:44 AM

For that maybe price I thought I could mount my own vice. I come across old USA vices all the time.

-- Happy woodworking! http://www.openarmsphotography.com

View mot's profile

mot

4911 posts in 2722 days


#10 posted 11-11-2007 01:53 AM

You can just buy the top, then make the base and put your own vises on and save a good sum too…as an option.

-- You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation. (Plato)

View Jeff's profile

Jeff

1011 posts in 2780 days


#11 posted 11-11-2007 02:55 AM

Hey Blake. I think it was Fine Woodworking, or it might be another mag, just published a good article on this subject. The covered the range of price and addressed things like the quality of the vices as well as how much they did or didn’t rack when under use. Let me know if you would like me to forward the article (a PDF). In the meantime, I’ll try to locate it.

-- Jeff, St. Paul, MN

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Jeff

1011 posts in 2780 days


#12 posted 11-11-2007 02:57 AM

Found the link to the article. I think this is non-membership-required article. If I’m wrong, I can forward. Let me know.

-- Jeff, St. Paul, MN

View Blake's profile

Blake

3437 posts in 2560 days


#13 posted 11-11-2007 03:01 AM

It would be great if you could forward that PDF.

-- Happy woodworking! http://www.openarmsphotography.com

View miles125's profile

miles125

2179 posts in 2691 days


#14 posted 11-11-2007 03:02 AM

I’d go with the $200.00 model then beef it up with stout aprons and lots o corner bracing after you get it. You probably have some drops around to do that with.

-- "The way to make a small fortune in woodworking- start with a large one"

View Blake's profile

Blake

3437 posts in 2560 days


#15 posted 11-11-2007 03:41 AM

I think I am leaning toward the 60” Workbench Birch: $350 from Grizzly

What do you think? I could put sand in that bottom shelf and then put a new shelf over that. But it seems to have all the traditional features. What do you think about those vices? OK or crap? What do you think, Mot?

-- Happy woodworking! http://www.openarmsphotography.com

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