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Upcoming projects and designs. #11: You guys stole my thunder...

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Blog entry by dbhost posted 1217 days ago 3050 reads 0 times favorited 12 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 10: Slight adjustment to the parts cabinet design methinks... Part 11 of Upcoming projects and designs. series Part 12: Now that the workshop is clean, the upcoming projects list... »

I am talking about bertch and nbeener. In nbeener’s blog entry about the $175.00 workbench it would seem the idea that has been banging around in my head is taking shape in other guys shops. And the results are nice…

You see, my bench is okay. But just barely. There are mistakes that drive me CRAZY about my build here… In particular, my selection of base materials, cedar. It’s pretty, bug and weather resistant, and machines super easy. That is ALL the good I can say about it… The stuff is super light, flexes like crazy and is just a terribly inappropriate material for a workbench. The top is okay, but overall, the entire thing lacks the mass I want for a proper workbench.

Overall the only things I am truly happy with about this bench are…

#1. The height. It works perfectly as an out feed support for my table saw. #2. The Harbor Freight 9” Quick Release Vise. #3. The 70” width is just right.

I would love to scrap the whole thing, pull the vise off, and start over again…

The cedar base can be repurposed as is to my wife’s potting bench project I am working on in the back yard. This saves me from having to make one from PT 2×4s…

The top. Well not sure what I can do with a 24×70” 1.5” thick BB plywood top. I am sure I can come up with something…

So now that I have myself sold on the idea of building a new bench, that leaves a couple of questions.

#1. How to design / build the base? #2. How to design / build the top? #3. I have a face vise, what about an end vise? Do I really need one, and will it get in the way of my SMT?

My thought process on the material to use is… Well plentiful around here… Southern Yellow Pine. The recommendations I am hearing from fellow LJs and reports of what Chris Schwarz is recommending is 2×12x10, and as straight as I can get it. Now THAT is going to be fun! I will need to…

#1. Reposition my table saw in order to get the clearance to feed 10’ long stock in and out of it… #2. The existing bench will work for out feed support, but what about in feed support? I don’t have rollers, or adjustable supports. But I DO have adjustable sawhorses. I suspect I will end up using them to support the stock having out of the end…

Now that I know HOW to rip the stock. I will need to know what sizes of what I will need…

I don’t recall the issue offhand, but a couple of months ago, there was a plan in Shop Notes for a weekend workbench, made from 2×4s, that looked really good. I am thinking about ripping my stock 3.5” wide, and making it, well… sized to match those plans, accommodating the 3.5” thick top.

The top I am hoping to size to be 32” deep x 72” wide, and 3.5” thick, including breadboard ending the thing.

I am also thinking of laying out the spreaders on the legs to allow a shelf below the top for small tool storage. Again made from the 2x stock and laminated up.

In order to work with the vise I have, and potentially an end vise, I am figuring the base should be 24” deep, and 48” wide. I just hope, and pray that will provide a wide enough footprint. It does in my present setup, I just wanted some overhang that my present setup does not have…

So as I hammer out the details, and try to decide which way to go with the vises, I have a lot to think about. Particularly how on earth am I going to get this whole thing moved in to place once it is all built? If it works out as I am hoping and praying it will this thing should be a behemoth…

-- My workshop blog can be found at http://daves-workshop.blogspot.com



12 comments so far

View Jim Bertelson's profile

Jim Bertelson

3589 posts in 1663 days


#1 posted 1216 days ago

I’ll make my usual plug, but it sounds like you are thinking about it. Include shelves and or drawers, and load them with tools. That will make the bench feel like a piece of concrete, as long as the top is sturdy, and all your joints are good. Depending on what you are up to, ie are you making a show piece, or heirloom, or do you just want a good workbench, consider carriage bolts for joints, consider a plywood top. If you want the traditional bench, check out Timbo’s.

Have a good one…....my wrists are better, I may get some shop time in this weekend.

Jim

-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska

View dbhost's profile

dbhost

5275 posts in 1730 days


#2 posted 1216 days ago

I want as little metal hardware in this thing as possible. So lag bolts are out. The part of me that needs more practice at it is screaming THROUGH TENONS! We’ll see if I get enough gumption to actually want to go through that. The only thing I am certain of is the top size, and the fact that I want to make it with a SYP lamination. The stuff is inexpensive as all get out over here, and relatively easy to work with.

I am not wanting to build something to go in to the Smithsonian museum or anything, but I would love to build a bench that is well made enough, that I can hand this down God willing to a grand son, or grand daughter that has taken an interest in woodworking.

I did discover that the HF 9” Quick Release Woodworking vise is no longer listed on their website… I guess that is okay, that makes one decision for me…

-- My workshop blog can be found at http://daves-workshop.blogspot.com

View dbhost's profile

dbhost

5275 posts in 1730 days


#3 posted 1216 days ago

I am not sure why the edit function won’t let me edit my post above… What I was trying to illustrate was the way Bert connected the end caps, using screws. While I like the breadboard ends, I do not want to use metal fasteners, but I am thinking of with similar alignment to bert’s screws, using 3/8” walnut dowels… (I have a bunch of 3/8” walnut dowel stock just sitting around…)

-- My workshop blog can be found at http://daves-workshop.blogspot.com

View Jim Bertelson's profile

Jim Bertelson

3589 posts in 1663 days


#4 posted 1216 days ago

In that case, check out Timbo’s, he seems pretty satisfied with his bench, and it is pretty to look at. I will probably stay with smaller work benches due to my proclivities, which do not include making chairs or tables.

The dowels sound neat, by the way, and it wouldn’t take much to use them. (We doubled, so I am editing my post). With your intentions, there are a lot of neat techniques to use in a bench that will give you an opportunity for skill developement.

A workbench is certainly a very individual item. I was reminded most vividly again this week that I will never use hand tools much, my wrists absolutely will not take it. So a traditional workbench is mostly wasted on me. Although I might grab a plane now and then, or do some chisel work and handsanding, it will be mostly machines.

Have a good one, back to Sketchup for some design work for the TS dustcontrol/guard/splitter system.

Jim

-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska

View helluvawreck's profile

helluvawreck

14571 posts in 1365 days


#5 posted 1216 days ago

I’m going to build a workbench right around the corner and it will be a traditional European workbench but I’m not sure which style yet. Nor am I sure of the wood. However, I do have access to 3×3 laminated maple lumber so I will probably use that because it’s free and it’s very straight and stable. Like Jim said, I will definitely put drawers under the bench because I have a small shop and have to use all available space. My bench will be heavy without the tools but even more so with the tools and the drawers. The ends of the base will be mortise and tenon with heavy inside panels. The rails will be at least 6 inches x 1-1/2 and the legs 2-3/4×2-3/4. The rails will have tenons and will be drawn into the leg mortices with heavy bolts and cylinder nuts. I will probably make the cylinder nuts and they will be 1 or 1-1/2 in dia. The bolts will be 1/2 – 3/4. This is what I’ve thought about so far and things might change.

-- If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away. Henry David Thoreau

View Jim Bertelson's profile

Jim Bertelson

3589 posts in 1663 days


#6 posted 1216 days ago

Oh, and re editing….....you may be in preview mode, and that is pretty confusing when you try to edit, made that mistake yesterday….......

Jim

-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska

View Jim Bertelson's profile

Jim Bertelson

3589 posts in 1663 days


#7 posted 1216 days ago

helluvawreck

Sounds pretty neat. I have found the carriage bolts I used made joints that just have never moved at all. Of course, by adding shelves, and 3/4” plywood to the back and sides, I pretty much immobilized everything. That bench is absolutely solid and will not move even if you try. I think I got into some good old fashioned kiln dried lumber when I built it 40 years ago, and it hasn’t split or shifted or shrunk at all. It is not finished, except for the plywood on the top. Like I said, gotta get to some design work…........later….......

-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska

View dbhost's profile

dbhost

5275 posts in 1730 days


#8 posted 1216 days ago

On the drawers thing. Most anything that goes in a drawer, I find I am more comfortable with it being hung on peg board. I know lots of guys hate this, but it works well for me… But yes, the storage space underneath the bench WILL NOT go to waste. All of my handheld power tools have cases, and are strewn about the shop. I am figuring the more heavily used tools such as drills, routers, sanders, biscuit joiner etc… will go on a shelf on this bench. The lesser used tools, such as the jig saw, angle grinder, circular saw, recip saw etc… can be stashed on the current shelf, and provide better storage for things like finishes on the lower shelf… It can work. I will have to post pics when I am done, but that will be a ways off…

-- My workshop blog can be found at http://daves-workshop.blogspot.com

View helluvawreck's profile

helluvawreck

14571 posts in 1365 days


#9 posted 1216 days ago

DB, I don’t have any problem with peg board. I don’t like it personally but I always think it is best for each person to do what is best for himself and his situation and work style. It’s good that you will use the space under your top for storage and it doesn’t have to be drawers. Shelves are just as good. I will like very much to see how your bench turns out and wish you the best of luck with it. A good workbench is arguably the most important tool in anyone’s shop and so it is good that you are concerned about having a really good bench.

-- If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away. Henry David Thoreau

View dbhost's profile

dbhost

5275 posts in 1730 days


#10 posted 1216 days ago

Okay, I had a chance to read the Chris Schwarz article (That Neil and Bert didn’t LINK to…), and there appears to be VERY good reasons to actually use lag bolts. However I still do not like the look of them. It is very possible that I can recess my lag bolts and plug the counterbores to look like BIG pegs…

-- My workshop blog can be found at http://daves-workshop.blogspot.com

View Jim Bertelson's profile

Jim Bertelson

3589 posts in 1663 days


#11 posted 1215 days ago

I have very large open topped drawers that were removed from some other shelves and put in the bench. I also have a shelf without a drawer, and frequently leave my hand power tools plugged in, but sitting on the shelf. That is a good arrangement. Be sure to consider electrifying your bench as well. Mine has three separate outlet strips/boxes. Most of the time they are nearly maxed out….........

No question about it, carriage bolts and lag screws are ugly. My lag screws are not visible, they are under the plywood top sheath, which is attached with countersunk deck screws. But my big carriage bolts are very visible.

Jim

-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska

View Jim Bertelson's profile

Jim Bertelson

3589 posts in 1663 days


#12 posted 1215 days ago

Oh, and I use a lot of pegboard, I store mostly hand power tools and socket sets under the bench.

-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska

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