Reply by Brett

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Posted on Best Work Bench Design for Hand Tools? Your thoughts.

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660 posts in 2650 days

#1 posted 09-12-2012 10:59 PM

ChrisCarr, “flatness” is more important for the top of a hand-tool workbench than for a power-tool workbench. That’s because you’ll use the bench top as a reference surface to determine whether your boards are flat or if they need to be planed some more. If you can make the top out of plywood and feel confident that it will stay flat to within 1/16” or 1/32”, then go for it. But if it ever warps, you’ll have a harder time making it flat again if the top is made out of plywood. A benchtop made out of solid wood can be planed flat if it ever warps.

“Heaviness” is also more important for a hand-tool workbench. I’ve read comments from knowledgeable workbench experts that a 100-lb bench is far too light. A southern yellow pine Roubo-style workbench with a 4” thick top (for example) will likely weigh over 300 pounds. You’re better off trying to make sure your bench weighs closer to 200 lbs (or more) than 100 lbs if you’ll do a lot of planing.

The important things here are the ends, not the means. Make your bench heavy with a flat top (one that you can keep flat) and you’ll be fine.

-- More tools, fewer machines.

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