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Digging the new bench

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Blog entry by David Craig posted 807 days ago 1043 reads 0 times favorited 10 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I had a couple days off so I got to spend a few early mornings jamming to 90s Alternative tunes and prepping some lumber for a few projects on the “to-do” list. A couple years ago, I picked up a couple oak tables destined for landfill. An amusing story really. I helped a friend with a 70s style, oak coffee table she picked up at an auction for a few bucks. I went outside and there was an identical table sitting by the dumpster. It was in better condition than the one she just picked up. So I traded her and took the other one home for dismantling. A month later, she gets another table that I lugged into her apartment, and took that one home as well.

I’ve been tripping over the pieces of both of them for a good while and since I just built my bench, thought it time for a test drive. The table was somewhat rounded, consisting of a middle piece and two end pieces that would lift or fold down, depending on your needs at the time. On the way through a tight spot, a part of the end piece busted off and I needed to put an edge on it for the TS.

Two Bessey 24” clamps and I was in business. I was able to clamp it to the face of the bench. This should illustrate the difference between a HF clamp and the more expensive models. The top was probably around 30 pounds, the jointer plane around 7. Add to it the downward force of planing and that adds up to a decent amount of weight. The table didn’t budge and I was able to get a decent edge on it after using the scrub and the jointer plane -

I set up the low profile bench dogs I got from Rockler and scrubbed off the finish. The top coat was rather thick, too tedious for a card scraper, so I set the scrub for a lighter cut and went to work. Didn’t take too long and my planer blades were not going to suffer the extra wear.

After cutting on the tablesaw and running through the planer, ended up with a fairly decent stack of red oak boards.

Overall, pretty happy with the bench. Height is perfect for me with hand planing. Was rather nice to not have to stand on a bench to keep it from moving across the floor. I can pretty much clamp from any directon on the surface and the width allows me to make good use of clamps that are 2 feet long. Look for project posts in the near future.

David

-- There is little that is simple when it comes to making a simple box.



10 comments so far

View eddie's profile

eddie

7031 posts in 1215 days


#1 posted 807 days ago

David i know the feeling .i just got my bench and it made a world of differenc .its a joy to not have to struggle holding it and the material . make planeing a lot easier enjoy it and be looking for your projects

-- Jesus Is Alright with me

View oldnovice's profile

oldnovice

3625 posts in 1969 days


#2 posted 807 days ago

Nice pile of oak!

What are you going to do with all that oak?

I have a bench that was originally designed (by me) to serve as an electronics and woodworking bench and has served neither purpose effectively. Now that IBM retired and basically “shut down” my electronic work. So i think it is time I build a good shop bench …....... like yours!

Can you point to any pictures?

-- "I never met a board I didn't like!"

View David Craig's profile

David Craig

2130 posts in 1710 days


#3 posted 807 days ago

eddie – Thanks for the comments. Kind as always. Not quite as robust as your bench, but it fits the bill :)

oldnoviceThis link will take you to my blog on my own bench. There are quite a few nice benches here that make mine look like a pile of milk crates :). It was a pretty straightforward build. A few things I would do differently would be to narrow my glue-ups to only 1-2 new boards at a time for a more gap free surface. Plus, I would take the time to make a better set of cauls than I used which would result in a more even surface. Depending on your use of handtools and the need for weight, you can just laminate some solid core doors together for the top or use MDF. I don’t have a jointer so I flatten and edge with hand planes. I chose the laminated 2×4s because they made for a very heavy top and my bench would not move with the force of the planing.

-- There is little that is simple when it comes to making a simple box.

View Beginningwoodworker's profile

Beginningwoodworker

13337 posts in 2274 days


#4 posted 807 days ago

Looks good!

-- CJIII Future cabinetmaker

View Jim Bertelson's profile

Jim Bertelson

3622 posts in 1766 days


#5 posted 807 days ago

Benches make a lot of difference. I am going to build a couple of 4 foot x 1 foot x 6” torsion boxes for La Conner. I have a top for a bench sitting on saw horses, but I need one more construction area. The torsion boxes will be clamped to saw horses or whatever to serve as work surfaces, either together, a slot in the middle for cut throughs, or separate. Everything here has to be stowable or mobile, except for the main bench. Not much room.

-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska

View David Craig's profile

David Craig

2130 posts in 1710 days


#6 posted 807 days ago

Thanks Charles, your comments are always appreciated.

Jim – Sounds like an interesting idea. Have you considered something like this? I am emptying out one end of my basement and I thought this would be excellent for a foldaway assembly and finishing table. My space is also limited. If I could clear out enough space away from the saw dust area, this type of thing would work well.

-- There is little that is simple when it comes to making a simple box.

View Jim Bertelson's profile

Jim Bertelson

3622 posts in 1766 days


#7 posted 806 days ago

I may still need something like that, I don’t know. I am making a smaller version of a FWW bench from 2008 Tools and Shops Issue 202. He made 8 foot boxes. I am going to make 4 foot boxes to fit my shop and the likely projects. I will also make sure there are lips to clamp them down to things. I will also use somewhat lighter materials, but more compartments in the torsion box. This is still something in my head, so nothing cast in stone. Kinda the reverse of my multifunction bench which was way over the top in terms of complexity….and utility, of course. I will have a more normal size bench with a woodworking vise installed, which I have, and a removable machinists vise. Don’t have the pedestals for that bench, I am using high quality plastic saw horses for now. Later, or tomorrow, I will send you a PM.

-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska

View Dennisgrosen's profile

Dennisgrosen

10850 posts in 1716 days


#8 posted 806 days ago

good to see you execise and taking care of your body :-)

take care
Dennis

View David Craig's profile

David Craig

2130 posts in 1710 days


#9 posted 806 days ago

Thanks Dennis. I have my physical coming up next week. You didn’t think I actually made this because I liked woodworking did you? ;)

-- There is little that is simple when it comes to making a simple box.

View Dennisgrosen's profile

Dennisgrosen

10850 posts in 1716 days


#10 posted 806 days ago

does anyone actuly like it …. wow thats a new one ;-)

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