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Bowling Alley Workbench #1: Conceptual Design 1 - feedback appreciated

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Blog entry by PurpLev posted 05-27-2009 11:37 PM 12098 reads 5 times favorited 21 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of Bowling Alley Workbench series Part 2: Design B...B...Because I said so. -more criticism please »

So after we've got the bowling alleys. now it’s time to put them to to use (not really ‘now now’ but … you know what I mean).

So, I really would like to make this one a keeper, and not have to redo this bench unless I really fancy it in the future with lots of extra time on my hands and nothing better to do with it (hence – not likely it’ll happen), and in order to do that, I figured I’ll make this one as close as I can to the ‘ultimate’ bench for me- having the things I need, and could use the most.

obviously the vises play a major part in this – after thinking it through, I decided to dump the idea of a tail vise for it’s tendency to rack, and drop below the surface of the bench itself. and go with a wagon vise. I still need to figure out how to make the rails for it to ride as I’ll most likely use the Lee-Valley Tail Vise screw for that one (budget) – sure I’d love to have one of them $350 benchcrafted vises... but I could find better uses for $350 right now. the other vise I wish to have is a shoulder vise which will let me clamp boards vertically without any guide rods in the way for endgrain work (joinery).

All of this is based on the fact that I have 1 large slab of 77”x24” which is the bowling alley and has nails and god knows what else in it – so drilling it for bench holes or the likes is out of the question. I will be skirting it with maple boards that I have at hand, and some breadboards to keep it aligned and secure on both edges. and dog holes will go into those.

Anyways – here is the preliminary design, any feedback, ideas, suggestions, and what not – are MOST WELCOME!

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



21 comments so far

View GaryK's profile

GaryK

10262 posts in 2643 days


#1 posted 05-28-2009 12:35 AM

Looks like a good design.

You may want to put the horizontal pieces across the front on the flat. This will make room for some cabinets below the top. Then use wider ones on the back to prevent racking. I think I used 2×12’s and have no problem with racking.

For the base of mine I used Southern Yellow Pine. A lot cheaper than hard wood and very strong. My bench hasn’t moved one inch no matter how much force I use. This allowed me to use more wood for a more substantial base. for example the legs are three 2×6’s laminated together.

Check out mine to see what I am talking about:
Click for details

-- Gary - Never pass up the opportunity to make a mistake look like you planned it that way - Tyler, TX

View a1Jim's profile

a1Jim

112089 posts in 2232 days


#2 posted 05-28-2009 01:46 AM

Looks like a good design. If yours is half as good as Garys you’ll have a winner.

-- http://artisticwoodstudio.com Custom furniture

View kiwi1969's profile

kiwi1969

609 posts in 2096 days


#3 posted 05-28-2009 04:55 AM

With people mentioning your lack of space, how about replacing the bottom stretchers with a row of drawers for tools etc. Other than the fact you work backwards ( joke ) it looks like this design would serve you well.

-- if the hand is not working it is not a pure hand

View PurpLev's profile

PurpLev

8476 posts in 2303 days


#4 posted 05-28-2009 05:45 AM

Thanks for the responses. I chose this type of legs as opposed to the Roubo flush look because of esthetics- I like this look. and I’ll probably have a workbench helper that will hold the other side of long boards/panels when clamped to the side of the bench. I know I’m sacrificing functionality with looks here, but I’m ok with that aspect.

Kiwi – you are wrong, everyone ELSE is working backwards. I’m the only one that’s right! (errr…. Left that is).

As far as space – yes I will have a set of drawer cabinets between those stretchers (similar to FWW the Essential workbench boxes of drawers) – I like the idea of keeping it off the ground so that I can vacuum under the bench, or pass DC pipes under if I need to. but I might try to go with GaryK’s suggestion and do the horizontal support on the flat and have freestanding drawers cabinets under the bench – GaryK – how did you get those cabinets under the bench? are they butting against the flat support? or are they overlapping on top of it? I also might change the 2×3 hardwood legs, with something more stout after considering GaryK’s 6×6 legs…

P.S. the reason I’m out of space, is cause I have 2 bowling alleys in my garage… once I have this thing setup, I can relieve the space where I have my current bench, and reorganize a bit to clear a lot of space… just need to start with ‘step 1: make new workbench’

Thanks again for the ideas.

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

View Francisco Luna's profile

Francisco Luna

936 posts in 2048 days


#5 posted 05-28-2009 06:16 AM

that bench looks great!
Both vises have an excellent performance….in my last project, when I was working with the mortises at the top (heavy top!) I really saw the need of this shoulder vise, I love the simplicity and effectiveness of this vise.

Keep in mind this vise works with a long threaded rod that crosses the slab all the way, as a buttress, to support all the forces.

-- Nature is my manifestation of God. I go to nature every day for inspiration in the day's work. I follow in building the principles which nature has used in its domain" Frank Lloyd Wright

View ellen35's profile

ellen35

2570 posts in 2087 days


#6 posted 05-28-2009 12:18 PM

and when you are not woodworking…can we find you bowling????

-- "Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good." Voltaire

View PurpLev's profile

PurpLev

8476 posts in 2303 days


#7 posted 05-28-2009 03:36 PM

Thanks Francisco. I do play to have 2 3/8” threaded rods that will go through the bench and support each of the vises.

Ellen – what do you mean “not woodworking”? is that even allowed? (I think I missed that part in the manual)

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

View sIKE's profile

sIKE

1271 posts in 2408 days


#8 posted 05-28-2009 03:58 PM

Purp,

The flush look of the Roubo are there for more than asethicts, they provide places for both clamping and dog holes. Plus with flush stechers you can add a sliding deadman. It really depends on your plans for working with hand tools. Other than having flipped the bench in Sketchup, everything else looks great!

-- //FC - Round Rock, TX - "Experience is what you get just after you need it"

View Tim Dahn's profile

Tim Dahn

1468 posts in 2220 days


#9 posted 05-28-2009 11:15 PM

Purplev-

Kiwi – you are wrong, everyone ELSE is working backwards. I’m the only one that’s right! (errr…. Left that is).

Give it up man they will never understand us “right minded” lefties! I am also building a bench in the correct configuration.

Are you planning on working more with hand tools on this bench?

-- Good judgement comes from experience and experience comes from poor judgement.

View PurpLev's profile

PurpLev

8476 posts in 2303 days


#10 posted 05-29-2009 01:35 AM

haha, Tim, everyday I find that we have more and more things in common – I’m still pretty sure we are 2 difference people though :)

most of my work on this bench will involve freehand-router work, and handtool work which will mainly be planing/jointing by hand, and also mortising, and dovetail work. I will probably also use this as an assembly table when I can for smaller projects (drawers/boxes/etc)

based on suggestions here- I have already beefed up the legs to 4×4 lumber (from the original 2×3) and added a sliding deadman (still not finalized whether it’ll ride the upper stretcher, or run on a 3/4” pipe) – while still keeping the original base/legs design.:
Design 1B

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

View Tim Dahn's profile

Tim Dahn

1468 posts in 2220 days


#11 posted 05-29-2009 02:14 AM

Purp, check out this video http://www.khalafoud.com/media/Roubo.wmv a little over half way through you will get to see how a removable leg vise works, a deadman could work the same way. I went with 5”x5” legs like the Roubo bench then mortise and tenon the stretchers with drawbore.

-- Good judgement comes from experience and experience comes from poor judgement.

View PurpLev's profile

PurpLev

8476 posts in 2303 days


#12 posted 05-29-2009 04:40 AM

Damn Tim, thats the same bench that sIKE send me a pic of – I must admit – it looks pretty incredible, but:

1. I already have the maple top – and don’t want to mess around with that – so It’ll be hard to get that 4” top from my 2” plank.

2. those screw vises look like $$$$ – not to mention the handcrafted wagon vise – thanks a lot – I’m really trying to avoid seeing it, cause everytime I do I find it harder and harder to resist – but I really should, as all of those are just completely out of my budget. right now I’m trying to make the best with what I’ve got without having to go overboard (pun intended).

But I do like that bench – looks extremely efficient and convenient. and I’ll take to heart that removable vise/deadman idea and see how best I can incorporate that into my current design.

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

View sIKE's profile

sIKE

1271 posts in 2408 days


#13 posted 05-29-2009 04:45 AM

Told ya she was purty!

-- //FC - Round Rock, TX - "Experience is what you get just after you need it"

View GaryK's profile

GaryK

10262 posts in 2643 days


#14 posted 05-29-2009 04:47 AM

PurpLev – To answer your question. It’s one big cabinet resting on that bottom stretcher on the bottom and against the one in the back. It’s bolted to the one in the back only.

-- Gary - Never pass up the opportunity to make a mistake look like you planned it that way - Tyler, TX

View kiwi1969's profile

kiwi1969

609 posts in 2096 days


#15 posted 05-29-2009 02:20 PM

You lefties are so militant! I actually write left handed, everything else I do is right handed. No idea why. good luck with the build, i,ll be watching.

-- if the hand is not working it is not a pure hand

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