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Workbench #1: Workbench kick off

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Blog entry by Matt posted 07-15-2014 10:19 PM 999 reads 0 times favorited 2 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of Workbench series Part 2: Purchased my base material tonight (and my table saw is better than I hoped) »

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.

Work clamping:

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.

Materials:
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.

Cost:
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.



2 comments so far

View shampeon's profile

shampeon

1378 posts in 907 days


#1 posted 07-16-2014 12:12 AM

Cool. Meranti/luan is easy to work, and looks beautiful. A good choice for the top for those reasons, but also it can be a little soft, which isn’t a bad quality for a bench top—better to dent the bench than the furniture during a mishap.

And +1 to the recommendation to just use construction spruce 2×8s laminated.

I’ll assume you know about the Workbench Smackdown thread on the forum here. It’ll be a great resource during your build.

-- ian | "You can't stop what's coming. It ain't all waiting on you. That's vanity."

View Matt's profile

Matt

81 posts in 142 days


#2 posted 07-16-2014 01:01 AM

Thanks Ian!

Yes, it was the the smackdown thread that attracted me here a week or so ago looking for ideas. It is a treasure trove!

I think the meranti will be a cost effective compromise. At that cost bracket it was that or SYP, or step down to 2×4 which would have been fine for my purposes except for all the work I wanted a little something extra to show for it.

-- I do this for fun.

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