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Workbench #1: Design Concept

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Blog entry by Marty5965 posted 03-13-2013 12:15 AM 1638 reads 1 time favorited 10 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of Workbench series Part 2: Design Concept Redux »

BASIC WORKBENCH DESIGN

This entry outlines my basic workbench design concept. It contains ideas from 3 different traditional style benches; Roubo, English, and Holzapfel inspirations. It is made from inexpensive Southern Yellow Pine and Douglas Fir with some hardwood accents (vice chop for example).

The overall dimensions are 6 feet long, 33 inches high, and just over 2 feet deep. The split top is designed to facilitate leveling the top after construction and provide an area for through clamping items to the top.

Lumber is all dimensional lumber, ripped and cut from 2×12 S4S stock with the exception of the legs and feet which are 4×4 Douglas fir.

All outside faces are co-planar, again to facilitate clamping items to the front, rear and sides if required.
Probable additions include bench dogs in the top and aprons/stretchers and maybe a sliding deadman, together with an adjustable planing stop at the left end.

Since this is my first major project, joinery is kept simple with stopped mortise and tennon joints and half-blind dovetails.

Base

The base should be solid enough to withstand hand tool use and act as a clamping surface as required. The top will be fixed to the base through the bearers at either end with lag bolts in slightly elongated holes. The bearers are screwed and glued to the stretchers.

TOP

The top is made up of 3.5 inch thick SYP laminations ripped from 2×12 dimensional lumber stock and consists of two 12 inch wide panels.

This exploded view shows the construction method. Joints could be pegged if required.

I appreciate comments and suggestions.

-- Marty, Columbus, OH, learning every day....



10 comments so far

View grfrazee's profile

grfrazee

341 posts in 863 days


#1 posted 03-13-2013 12:41 PM

I would overhang the ends by at least 4” to give you some clamping space. The way you have it works, but you’ll have to open up your clamps quite a bit more to clamp to the ends.

Personally, I think benches look better with over hangs, but that might just be my preference.

-- -=Pride is not a sin=-

View Marty5965's profile

Marty5965

158 posts in 669 days


#2 posted 03-13-2013 04:55 PM

Thanks for the feedback, good idea.

-- Marty, Columbus, OH, learning every day....

View Boatman53's profile

Boatman53

848 posts in 920 days


#3 posted 03-14-2013 01:56 AM

Same thing about the front stretcher and clamps. Coplanar is good on the front but if the stretcher is but an inch or so thick that is all you will have to clamp to.
Jim

-- Jim, Long Island, NY Ancorayachtservice.com home of the chain leg vise

View grfrazee's profile

grfrazee

341 posts in 863 days


#4 posted 03-14-2013 01:15 PM

Good point about that, Boatman. Though, in all honesty, if the top is secured to the frame, the top stretchers are pretty much redundant.

-- -=Pride is not a sin=-

View Boatman53's profile

Boatman53

848 posts in 920 days


#5 posted 03-14-2013 04:38 PM

As long as they are secured and not just sitting on dowel pins. If you really need the stretcher to resist racking you could move it to the inside of the leg. That would free up some room for a clamp.
Jim

-- Jim, Long Island, NY Ancorayachtservice.com home of the chain leg vise

View Marty5965's profile

Marty5965

158 posts in 669 days


#6 posted 03-15-2013 10:35 AM

All good points (thanks). The lumber is drying in my (soon to be) shop at the moment. Since I am just starting out on my journey I have no milling machines and everything will be milled by hand, hence the use of dimensional lumber to minimize the strain on my fledgling skills and muscles <g>. All stock is 2” nominal thickness so it will be around 1 1/2” final thickness.

Front to rear racking should not be a problem since the span is only 2’. I used dovetail housings for the front and rear stretchers and aprons to improve lateral stability. The apron is really there for aesthetics and to provide the rear jaw for my front vise.

I will re work the drawing this weekend to give an overhang on the ends and will probably increase the apron to increase the depth of the chop from 7” to about 10” since I think I can run it about 18 to 24” wide. I need to decide if it will mount inside or outside the left leg (front plate is about 10” wide).

-- Marty, Columbus, OH, learning every day....

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile

Smitty_Cabinetshop

10219 posts in 1342 days


#7 posted 03-15-2013 11:54 AM

Honestly, I’d try to lose the front and back aprons alltogether. I also wonder if the trestle extensions to the front won’t forever be toe stub material. The sled idea works, but less so with a benchfront that’s otherwise coplanar.

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

View Marty5965's profile

Marty5965

158 posts in 669 days


#8 posted 03-17-2013 12:08 AM

Since my top is only 3.5” thick, I put the apron there so I would have 7” of depth for the rear vice chop and still be co planar with the front edge of the top. I don’t know if a half jaw that’s only held at the top and one end (by the leg) would be secure enough. Take your point about the toe stub.

-- Marty, Columbus, OH, learning every day....

View TechRedneck's profile

TechRedneck

746 posts in 1580 days


#9 posted 03-28-2013 02:55 AM

If you have a little more cash, I would add a end vise as well. If you get into hand tools, they come in real handy.

My bench has both a end and leg vise, I use the end vise much more in every day work. Quick release is nice to have.

I agree with the overhang for clamping.

-- Mike.... West Virginia. "Man is a tool using animal. Without tools he is nothing, with tools he is all.". T Carlyle

View Marty5965's profile

Marty5965

158 posts in 669 days


#10 posted 04-01-2013 02:29 AM

I revamped my base, with an overhang, changed the joinery to pegged M&T and have begun the laminations for the top. I will post revised drawings in part 2.

-- Marty, Columbus, OH, learning every day....

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