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First Real Workbench... It's About Time

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Project by SirGareth posted 12-20-2016 07:18 PM 5686 views 1 time favorited 15 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I started this workbench a year ago. But then, woodworking was pretty much on hold in 2016 due to chronic illnesses that my wife and I deal with. Before that, I had a large 5×5 foot MDF sheet on sawhorses. It was fine for assembly, but it was way too rickety to learn to add handtools to my skillset.

This is based largely upon Chris Schwarz’s 2-Day Workbench video. The top is made of two 6’ x 2’ hardwood countertops laminated together. The base is made from 4×4s. Since my shop is a very small 1-car garage, I wanted this to double as an outfeed for my tablesaw. So, instead of an end-vise as shown in the video, I have a Veritas surface vise. I may decide to add an end-vise down the road. But, for now, I added a quick-release face vise instead.

I’m very happy with the outcome and I look forward to a healthier 2017 so I can add some handtool work to my arsenal. Gee, all I have to do is make a bench hook, shooting board… maybe a moxon vise… (happy sigh) :)

-- Even if you fall on your face, you are still moving forward. - Tim, Southern California





15 comments so far

View Siv's profile

Siv

62 posts in 747 days


#1 posted 12-20-2016 07:53 PM

Looks great! I like the idea of it being the same height as the table saw – something that I’ll do. What table saw are you using?

View muesli's profile

muesli

390 posts in 1687 days


#2 posted 12-20-2016 07:54 PM

That is a nice, sturdy workbench and a real invitation for woodworking ( and some additions, of course)!
I know what a huge difference a real workbench makes. Before I built my own, I worked on an old wobbly kitchen table.
All the best to you and your wife and less problems with your illnesses for the next and all following years!

-- Uwe from Germany.

View SirGareth's profile

SirGareth

126 posts in 2378 days


#3 posted 12-20-2016 08:05 PM

Siv: That’s a Grizzly GO-715P. It has worked very well for me.

Muesli: Thanks for the encouragement and kind wishes!

-- Even if you fall on your face, you are still moving forward. - Tim, Southern California

View Dave Rutan's profile

Dave Rutan

1733 posts in 2366 days


#4 posted 12-20-2016 08:10 PM

Wow! Looking good. I love how it doubles as a table saw extension.

-- Ni faru ion el ligno!

View CL810's profile

CL810

3857 posts in 3166 days


#5 posted 12-21-2016 01:07 AM

Great job Tim! It certainly will serve you well for a long time.

-- "The only limits to our realization of tomorrow will be our doubts of today." - FDR

View TechTeacher04's profile

TechTeacher04

392 posts in 1709 days


#6 posted 12-21-2016 01:26 PM

Nice build, the only problem or benefit is that your bench needs to be clear to use the table saw. Based on your pictures you are far more organized than myself.

View Derek Oliver's profile

Derek Oliver

243 posts in 2329 days


#7 posted 12-21-2016 05:43 PM

Great job.

View John's profile

John

1285 posts in 1448 days


#8 posted 12-21-2016 08:49 PM

These benches always catch my eye, real nice.

-- John, Sunshine Coast, BC, Canada.

View Schwieb's profile

Schwieb

1871 posts in 3639 days


#9 posted 12-21-2016 11:40 PM

Beautiful

-- Dr. Ken, Florida - Durch harte arbeit werden Träume wahr.

View Easterlake's profile

Easterlake

36 posts in 701 days


#10 posted 12-22-2016 07:57 AM

Thanks, this gives some ideas for my top. With a small shop, oh how I wish my bench could be the same height as my table saw. At 6”7” that’s not going to be possible. Looks great!

-- Life is hard; It's even harder if you're stupid. - John Wayne

View SirGareth's profile

SirGareth

126 posts in 2378 days


#11 posted 12-22-2016 01:28 PM

Thanks everyone for the great comments!

Easterlake: 6’7” would be a challenge. I’m 6’2” and the bench height is 34”, about 1/8” below the bottom of my saw’s miter slots. (The saw is on a mobile base).

You could build a small platform for your saw (about 5 inches or so), and build your bench about 39” height, but you’d lose the ability for the saw to be mobile if it has that capability now.

Or, there are height-adjustable bench designs… you could raise the bench for working and lower it for outfeed.

-- Even if you fall on your face, you are still moving forward. - Tim, Southern California

View JCinVA's profile

JCinVA

148 posts in 1008 days


#12 posted 12-23-2016 05:11 AM

Easterlake: 6 7” would be a challenge. I m 6 2” and the bench height is 34”, about 1/8” below the bottom of my saw s miter slots. (The saw is on a mobile base).

You could build a small platform for your saw (about 5 inches or so), and build your bench about 39” height, but you d lose the ability for the saw to be mobile if it has that capability now.

Or, there are height-adjustable bench designs… you could raise the bench for working and lower it for outfeed.

- SirGareth

First I’ve seen that bench design and keeping it multi-functional is even better. Nice project.

Easterlake: Exactly what SirGareth said. Search on here for lots of great examples of bases that expand the table saws functionality by adding mobility, storage, dust collection, routing or sanding stations, outfeed and more. The beauty is that you control the dimensions to make the saw fit you. I’ve also seen work surfaces that are height adjustable by using pins and holes, and even with an automobile floor jack inside.

View Holt's profile

Holt

277 posts in 2807 days


#13 posted 08-11-2018 08:47 PM

I have two counters similar to these and have the same intention to stack them to make a thicker top. I was thinking of staggering the seams when I glue them together to help avoid the seams from separating. Any opinions?

-- ...Specialization is for insects.

View SirGareth's profile

SirGareth

126 posts in 2378 days


#14 posted 08-12-2018 01:57 PM

I don’t think it’s necessary as my glue-up has been fine through a few seasons now. When I glued the countertops together, I drove several rows of screws from the underside to help clamping (per Chris Schwarz video). After glue up I removed the screws before attaching the leg supports and drilling dog holes.

But, if you prefer to stagger the seams, I don’t see any reason you shouldn’t.

-- Even if you fall on your face, you are still moving forward. - Tim, Southern California

View Holt's profile

Holt

277 posts in 2807 days


#15 posted 08-12-2018 08:54 PM

Thanks! I’d prefer to just stack them and keep all the width I can. I had figured out that I was going to screw through the bottom to give me good clamping pressure for the sandwich. Didn’t know the Schwarz mentioned doing that. I’ve been “working” on this bench so long that I think I started before his first workbench book hit the shelves. Could be that I’m jinxed, whenever I have a good workshop space, something happens. Lost the current one when a hen house fire got into my wife’s glass shop so instead of me taking over the “pool house”, we are getting it refitted to be her new glass studio. At least this time she will have room to teach classes if she wants.


I don t think it s necessary as my glue-up has been fine through a few seasons now. When I glued the countertops together, I drove several rows of screws from the underside to help clamping (per Chris Schwarz video). After glue up I removed the screws before attaching the leg supports and drilling dog holes.

But, if you prefer to stagger the seams, I don t see any reason you shouldn t.

- SirGareth


-- ...Specialization is for insects.

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