As a home owner I’ve struggled for years with projects because I don’t have a solid work surface. When I started wood carving recently this became painfully obvious. So now I’ve decided to invest in a proper workbench.
After looking at 100s of benches online and in books I think I know what I want:
Size: 6’ long, 24” deep. This will fit my workspace well.
1) A leg vice. For this I will use this from Veritas: http://www.veritastools.com/Products/Page.aspx?p=161
2) Two wagon vices. I’ve selected these screws from Rockler: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B001DT3SXS/ref=oh_details_o00_s00_i00?ie=UTF8&psc=1
I want 2 wagon vices for clamping larger panels whil carving. I think I will bias them toward the front of the bench, maybe 3” and 15” from the front edge (centerline of the vice), but I still haven’t decided. It will look a little odd I suspect, but it might be more usefull than on the far side of the bench.
I got to spend some quality time at the lumber yard near me (ww.thewoodery.com) with Steve, a worker there who was extremely helpful and knowledgeable. We talked through a bunch of aspects of the build: what it would be used for, how it would be finished, was it a show piece or a working bench?
Together we landed on a Meranti top laminated from 2×6 stock ripped in half with some Ash edging and accent strips. This will give me about 2 5/8 thick top. For the base he convinced me to go with HD spruce 2×8s laminated. The legs will be very robust, if not beautiful. I may cant them at about 5deg for stability, or add some diagonal bracing. I need to do some sketching to decide.
Top lumber: will come in around $250
Vice hardware: $100
Base: guessing at $100
So, call it $500 all in.
It won’t be a work of art, but it will be functional, reasonably attractive, and suit my space.
I am debating adding a removable mini bench on top that can tilt and clamp work solidly for panel carving, but we will see about that…
Now, off to craigslist to buy a thickness planer…
-- I do this for fun.