Exit the workbench with shop renovation, sigh.....

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Blog entry by Craftsman on the lake posted 12-21-2013 11:09 PM 1328 reads 0 times favorited 15 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Four years ago I made a ‘new fangled bench’ as seen in Fine Woodworking. Since then my so called woodworking journey has been good and I think I’ve come a long way and done a lot of stuff. I’m always on my bench and work from it all the time. Thing is I rarely use any of it’s features. Don’t get me wrong. I think this is a great bench. It works well and when planing and holding things in place of all sizes in many positions it can’t be beat. But, I find that 98% of the time it’s an assembly bench.

After five years I’m going to be cleaning and remodeling a lot of my shop. It’s 24×24 ft. and space is at a premium. I have a kick down outfeed table on my moveable table saw. I’m thinking of getting rid of the bench and building a movable table saw outfeed table/assembly bench. This would free up the space that the bench takes up now and combine the outfeed table with the bench as one unit with some tool and clamp storage.

No question, just blogging about my thoughts on this. The bench, maybe will be passed on to a family member or if not I might try to sell it locally. I kind of hate to do this as the bench and I now have a history, but in the long run I think it might be for the best.

-- The smell of wood, coffee in the cup, the wife let's me do my thing, the lake is peaceful.

15 comments so far

View sandhill's profile


2122 posts in 2575 days

#1 posted 12-21-2013 11:19 PM

Thinking of going somewhere? I think you and your bench still have a lot of projects to build.

-- Bob Egbert AKA Sandhill

View Dan'um Style's profile

Dan'um Style

12985 posts in 2634 days

#2 posted 12-21-2013 11:52 PM

can’t loose the bench till it shows a little wear… it still looks brand new !

-- keeping myself entertained ... Humor and fun lubricate the brain

View Craftsman on the lake's profile

Craftsman on the lake

2385 posts in 2089 days

#3 posted 12-22-2013 12:03 AM

The bench is plenty worn. This a picture on the day it was finished!

-- The smell of wood, coffee in the cup, the wife let's me do my thing, the lake is peaceful.

View grizzman's profile


6997 posts in 1955 days

#4 posted 12-22-2013 12:07 AM

well dan, i say come together with your thoughts and do what you feel is right for you and your shop, you will do what you think is right for you….

-- GRIZZMAN ...[''''']

View John Stegall's profile

John Stegall

405 posts in 2168 days

#5 posted 12-22-2013 02:26 AM

I built that same bench and my shop is smaller (16×10) than yours, and it is going to get a major rework. I have seen some small work benches but have not decided which one yet. FWW showed one that was two torsion boxes that could be put on special sawhorses. One idea to explore anyway. Like you said, this is a good bench but you need the room. To use it.

-- jstegall

View RibsBrisket4me's profile


1376 posts in 1157 days

#6 posted 12-22-2013 03:14 AM

I am one of those who is bench less. Got rid of my workbenches years ago and use workmates and a Rockwell jawhorse with MDF on top. That way I can move these any where I want and then hang them up on my Gladiator wall hooks. It really does save a ton of space and I have never regretted it.


View Dan'um Style's profile

Dan'um Style

12985 posts in 2634 days

#7 posted 12-22-2013 03:19 AM

just ribbing you Daniel … The first bench I built is in my garage. It was too big for my shop too.

-- keeping myself entertained ... Humor and fun lubricate the brain

View 489tad's profile


2322 posts in 1663 days

#8 posted 12-22-2013 04:45 AM

Would making the bench mobile help? I’d hate to do it but would making the top narrow help?

-- Dan, Naperville IL, I.G.N.

View Craftsman on the lake's profile

Craftsman on the lake

2385 posts in 2089 days

#9 posted 12-22-2013 05:45 AM

I can move it now so it’s okay to get out of the way. And it’s not that big to begin with. Maybe the picture makes it look that way.

-- The smell of wood, coffee in the cup, the wife let's me do my thing, the lake is peaceful.

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


14742 posts in 2327 days

#10 posted 12-22-2013 06:13 AM

Thanks for the insight and thoughts. I haven’t built one yet and it probably won’t be a big one ;’-)

-- "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View stefang's profile


13017 posts in 1986 days

#11 posted 12-22-2013 08:55 AM

I think traditional benches are best for hand planing, chiseling, and handsawing. Otherwise a regular table will probably be sufficient for a shop where machines are the primary tools. I’m sure if you ever feel the need for a planing bench again you will simply build another.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View Garry's profile


98 posts in 367 days

#12 posted 12-22-2013 10:13 AM

Hi Dan, We have similar ideas. I’m about 75% complete on my Ultimate mobile Workbench. It’s probably more elaborate than what you’re thinking for your moveable table saw/assembly bench but I can tell you that it’s working great already.

I’m very challenged on space and facilities. One half of a two car garage in a rented house. I like to do much of the work outside in the driveway. The UHMW let’s me take most of my tools with me so I’m not constantly trekking back and forth into the garage. The open Paulk bench concept let’s me keep hand tools handy without cluttering the work surface. I building a compact Thien style dust separator to fit under the bench now.

-- Garry, North Carolina woodworker and engineer - The journey you're preparing for has already begun.

View EEngineer's profile


891 posts in 2265 days

#13 posted 12-22-2013 12:28 PM

Frankly, I have been a little puzzled by all the attention that these kinds of benches get here. As Stefang said, they are limited in their usefulness and a lot of those limits are geared towards hand tools.

I recently redid my shop and I opted for more of an assembly table. I started with a 1 1/2” thick laminated top from an electronics bench that my company was throwing away, reinforced and braced it to keep it perfectly flat and then added drawers underneath it to keep the small tools handy – screwdrivers, wrenches, pliers, etc.

This table is too low to use as an outfeed table, however. I prefer to work with the table saw at a higher elevation than is comfortable at an assembly table. I use the router table (also at a higher elevation) for outfeed.

-- "Find out what you cannot do and then go do it!"

View Sylvain's profile


553 posts in 1151 days

#14 posted 12-22-2013 02:23 PM

Do you remember this one :

-- Sylvain, Brussels, Belgium, Europe - The more I learn, the more there is to learn

View doordude's profile


1085 posts in 1634 days

#15 posted 12-23-2013 07:13 AM

Craftsman; just my two cents, I built the roubo bench from chris schwarze’s book. not only was it challenging; but its been the best tool in my garage. two vise’s, square bench dogs, the hold fasts; I think I use the most. while routing, carving and such. 3 3/4 inch thick top, you can clamp and pound on it till you wear your self out. But I do like what you mentioned about the kick down out feed table for the table saw. I need to make one this coming year. Wish I had the room for an assembling table, but I don’t; maybe someday…

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