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Work bench smack down

by Newage Neanderthal
posted 1000 days ago


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12322 replies

12322 replies so far

View Newage Neanderthal's profile

Newage Neanderthal

190 posts in 1155 days


#1 posted 1000 days ago

Wood- SYP construction 2X10 Its heavy, cheap, hard enough to stand up well, softer than the woods I use, except poplar. Face vise chop and sliding dead man are hard maple. That and 1 gal glue was and I was off. Top is 4” thick and legs are just shy 4.5” thick. All mortise and tenons are pegged with white oak dowels. Shelf is ¾” thick and holds my bench appliances. Its heavy, real heavy.

Vises- Veritas quick release face and tail vise.
Face vise is nice, beats a leg vise in my book any day. I know, it racks. So what, make a simple wedge or card spacer, when it’s an issue (honestly, with this vice, it rarely is). Beats bending over to change the pin in a leg vise.

Tail vise is the bees knees. That long chop mean very little unsupported area like with other types of tail vises. Also means I don’t need holes every 3” in a row. Plus it moves the dog holes right up front, which is great for fenced planes.

-- www.newageneanderthal.blogspot.com . @NANeanderthal on twitter

View stevenmadden's profile

stevenmadden

174 posts in 1694 days


#2 posted 1000 days ago

Here is mine (dream workbench, that is). It will be delivered this Sunday, after 24 weeks of waiting:

I took these pictures from a blog written by Christopher Schwarz introducing the “new improved” workbench by Lie-Nielsen. You can read about it here:

http://www.popularwoodworking.com/woodworking-blogs/chris-schwarz-blog/workbenches/new-workbench-from-lie-nielsen-toolworks?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed:+woodworkingmagazine+(Woodworking+Magazine)

I had ordered the original European workbench back in May 2011, and then in late July early August I heard about the “new improved” version. After reading about it and calling back to the Lie-Nielsen workbench department, I decided that it was more of what I was looking for, so I changed my order.

I went to a Lie-Neilsen hand tool event in October 2011 and got to see the new bench in person. I definitely made the right decision, for me.

Steven

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richgreer

4522 posts in 1679 days


#3 posted 1000 days ago

Okay – Here’s my bench. The carcass is a cabinet we used to have in my wife’s flower shop. On the back side are several very handy drawers and storage spaces.

I put down 2 sheets of MDF on top and then topped them with bamboo flooring. I ran 8/4 oak around the perimeter and installed a quick release vice on one end.

The bamboo is very rugged and it has held up well.

IMO, you can never have too much storage space and often the space under the workbench is under utilized.

The carcass was almost too heavy for two men to carry, but two of us got it in place. Then I put on the MDF, bamboo and oak. It has not been moved since all that was added and I pity the people who may have to move it some day (long after I am gone).

If you look close you will see 2 Kreg clamp hold down plates. You will also see the clamps at the end of the table. Those things are very handy. I use them a lot.

Since the carcass used to be in my wife’s flower shop, I may have the only workbench in the country with a built in ribbon dispenser.

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

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Brandon

4137 posts in 1556 days


#4 posted 1000 days ago

Great forum topic and very timely since I’ve been thinking of making a proper bench. I hope this thread flourishes. These are some beautiful benches!

-- "hold fast to that which is good"

View Dan's profile

Dan

3543 posts in 1485 days


#5 posted 1000 days ago

You just wanted to show off your nice bench didn’t you?.... :)

No, but really thats one of the nicest SYP made workbench that I have seen. Looks like you have another nice looking SYP saw bench tucked back there also?

I have built 4 work benches now and I will probably build more in the future. Here is my main bench that I made about a year ago… Its a split top design made from red oak, maple, silver maple, cherry, and basswood. Basswood was only used for bottom storage planks. The most interesting feature of my bench is probably my shop made sliding tail vise. Rather then buying a tail vise I made my own using an very large and heavy antique bar clamp. The clamp is attached to a sliding section on the top of the bench as shown in the photos. I went with square dogs so I could make my own out of wood. The makeshift tail vise actually works pretty well and I am happy with it. For the front vise I used an antique Wilton vise that I restored/repainted.

-- Dan - "Collector of Hand Planes"

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Newage Neanderthal

190 posts in 1155 days


#6 posted 1000 days ago

Steven
That thing looks like a beast, is that a tail or some sort of wagon vise, it hard for me to tell in the pic.

Rich
That tkreg hold down idea is pretty jazzy. what kind of depth can you get out of it?

-- www.newageneanderthal.blogspot.com . @NANeanderthal on twitter

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Dan

3543 posts in 1485 days


#7 posted 1000 days ago

-- Dan - "Collector of Hand Planes"

View Newage Neanderthal's profile

Newage Neanderthal

190 posts in 1155 days


#8 posted 1000 days ago

Dan
That tail vise is a great idea, my last bench had something sorta similar with a pipeclamp, but mine was designed nearly as well and I didn’t really dig it. How deep is that bench, looks nice a deep which is great. I think the no wider than 24” rule is great for some, but taken as gospel because of who said it. I think 24” to 30” is the sweet spot for me

-- www.newageneanderthal.blogspot.com . @NANeanderthal on twitter

View David's profile

David

195 posts in 1268 days


#9 posted 1000 days ago

Here is my bench, click on the link for a couple extra shots. The top is an old lab bench my grandfather used when he was in med school. Later when they were remodeling the building he took it home where it sat in his garage for 40 years waiting for a grandson to come along. It’s solid maple, 96×30x2”, and probably weighs in the 300-400lb range (150lb for the bench top alone). The frame is construction lumber, drawers are plywood and everything has a coat of tung oil on it. Not pretty, but very functional and it has some sentimental value as well. Next step is to add some wheels that can be raised or lowered so I can move it around when necessary.

-- Perilous to all of us are the devices of an art deeper than we ourselves possess. --Gandalf the Grey http://davidwahl.org/category/woodworking/

View Bertha's profile

Bertha

12951 posts in 1298 days


#10 posted 1000 days ago

I hope this thread explodes. I love nothing better than looking at workbenches. There are some incredibly fine ones here. Can’t wait!

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

View Newage Neanderthal's profile

Newage Neanderthal

190 posts in 1155 days


#11 posted 1000 days ago

David
I think you’re crazy saying thats its not pretty. Look at that top, that is something I would love to have in my shop.

-- www.newageneanderthal.blogspot.com . @NANeanderthal on twitter

View stevenmadden's profile

stevenmadden

174 posts in 1694 days


#12 posted 1000 days ago

The Newage Neanderthal: It’s a tail vise. The older version looked like an upper case “L”, this one looks like a lower case “l”. On the old version, the short part of the upper case “L” was known to break off from excess clamping pressure (I don’t think it was intended to be used for face clamping anyway), so this is one of the “new improved” items.

Steven

View David's profile

David

195 posts in 1268 days


#13 posted 1000 days ago

Thanks Neanderthal :) I did debate taking off more material to get rid of the burn marks and gouges, but there goes the character. My grandfather laughed when he saw the marks, made a comment about how it was probably him that burned it.

-- Perilous to all of us are the devices of an art deeper than we ourselves possess. --Gandalf the Grey http://davidwahl.org/category/woodworking/

View Don W's profile

Don W

14672 posts in 1172 days


#14 posted 1000 days ago

it doesn’t look as good now.

-- Master hand plane hoarder. - http://timetestedtools.com

View Newage Neanderthal's profile

Newage Neanderthal

190 posts in 1155 days


#15 posted 1000 days ago

David
I would say that would be the worst thing to do, a workbench should show real wear from use. Makes it looks so much better, not some fake distressed crap, but real long term wear.

Don
Just like with David, the wear makes it much greater. I am looking forward to the use my bench will show one day.

-- www.newageneanderthal.blogspot.com . @NANeanderthal on twitter

View Dan's profile

Dan

3543 posts in 1485 days


#16 posted 1000 days ago

Neanderthal, I don’t know exactly how deep my bench is… If I count the open space of the split top I think I am right around 30in total.

The shop made tail vise I rigged up is not as versatile as your traditional tail vise but the only time I ever really use it is when I am planing wider glued up panels or planing wood across the grain. I do almost all of my hand planing with just a bench stop or dog.

-- Dan - "Collector of Hand Planes"

View Tom Clark's profile

Tom Clark

51 posts in 1626 days


#17 posted 1000 days ago

While I have always admired the traditional woodworking benches, I have never had the reason to build one. I’m just a powertool and nail gun kind of guy. Twenty-seven years ago I purchased this good 36×72” top with lousy steel legs, and have used it ever since. I loved having all the power tools plugged in and ready to go in a second.

Now retired and not building so many cabinets and telescopes, it was time to rebuild the old beast. I have always loved drawers and had no love for benches that have just dust-collecting empty space under them. I still like all my tools at my fingertips! So just last month the old bench finally got a makeover. It is taking some getting used to, but I think the change will be for the better.

-- Tom

View Newage Neanderthal's profile

Newage Neanderthal

190 posts in 1155 days


#18 posted 999 days ago

Tom,
If I was a power tool guy that is exactly the way I’d go. Power hooked up to the bench, lots of cabs underneath, and probably shorter and wider. I also prob would have went with a sheet good top. But alas, the only power I use now is for my lights, so I went somewhat traditionally.

-- www.newageneanderthal.blogspot.com . @NANeanderthal on twitter

View Bertha's profile

Bertha

12951 posts in 1298 days


#19 posted 999 days ago

Where’s Smitty for a major smackdown?!
Heck, I don’t think he’d mind.

Whoa.

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

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PurpLev

8476 posts in 2253 days


#20 posted 999 days ago

OK, I’ll play. Recycled material from a bowling alley lane hard maple and hemlock FIR for the base :

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View Rick  Dennington's profile

Rick Dennington

3274 posts in 1799 days


#21 posted 999 days ago

Ok…. I’ll play the bench game…..It’s my 5th bench that I built, and the only one with a storage cabinet, which I built at the same time…The original top began to waver a little, so I removed it, and made the new top out of 4 layers of MDF, making it 3” thick, and trimmed it with Douglas fir. I had one power strip on, and added another when the new top was added. Plenty of power right at hand now. The cabinet has plenty of drawers and storage, and I keep my making tools, layout, drafting equipment, hand sanders, ROS, palm sanders, etc. close at hand. The top is 3” x 42 “wide x 101” long…..Plenty of dogholes, and about 5 coats of poly. This thing is a beast, and heavy as hell. Most times when I’m finishing, I cover the top with a 1/4” hardboard. No problem clamping up projects as it has about a 4” overhang all the way around it. It is dead-flat
and a real pleasure to work on…...Here’s a couple of snaps of the Frankenbench…....

-- " I started with nothing, and I've still got most of it left".......

View Bertha's profile

Bertha

12951 posts in 1298 days


#22 posted 999 days ago

Purp’s still got the baddest wagon around. It’s got the reach that a lot of the little prefabs can only dream of. I had the whole benchcrafted set in my cart when my better half discovered it. Hard to slip $800 worth of vises past the grand auditor on the amex.

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

View Brit's profile

Brit

5109 posts in 1448 days


#23 posted 999 days ago

My dream bench. This is Jameel Abraham’s (Benchcrafted) bench. I have it as the desktop on my PC although since I’m left-handed, I flipped the image. I would also build a bench on a bench with a twin screw vice, so I have all the versatility and height variation I need.

This is my current bench, so anything would be an improvement. LOL

-- Andy -- Old Chinese proverb say: If you think something can't be done, don't interrupt man who is doing it.

View Bertha's profile

Bertha

12951 posts in 1298 days


#24 posted 999 days ago

Long live the workmate!

Andy, that’s just about my dream bench as well (flipped, of course). Since we’re dreaming, my bench would have both a shoulder and wagon. I have a shoulder vise fetish and although the wagon and leg can do most anything, I just like to see a big, massive, lumbering shoulder on the move. What’s another screw when you’re $1000 deep, lol. I considered making my dream bench out of $15/bf wormy chestnut. It’s sacrilege, true, but that vise bill would be painless at that point;)

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

View stevenmadden's profile

stevenmadden

174 posts in 1694 days


#25 posted 997 days ago

Update: My workbench arrived Sunday afternoon.

The pictures were taken with an iPhone, to explain the quality.

Steven

View Brit's profile

Brit

5109 posts in 1448 days


#26 posted 997 days ago

Congratulations Steven, I’m sure you’re going to enjoy that.

-- Andy -- Old Chinese proverb say: If you think something can't be done, don't interrupt man who is doing it.

View Bertha's profile

Bertha

12951 posts in 1298 days


#27 posted 997 days ago

Wow, nice bench, Steve!

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

View Newage Neanderthal's profile

Newage Neanderthal

190 posts in 1155 days


#28 posted 997 days ago

Great bench Steve, I predict you too will like a real tail vise better than a wagon. Does everything a wagon can, and some more.

-- www.newageneanderthal.blogspot.com . @NANeanderthal on twitter

View Rick  Dennington's profile

Rick Dennington

3274 posts in 1799 days


#29 posted 997 days ago

Great-looking bench…I know you couldn’t wait to get it…I see why now… A good solid dead-flat bench is a must in the shop, and the work horse of the shop….You have all of the above now, and it will be a real joy to work on…Just don’t feel too bad when you put that first scratch or ding on it…it’s gonna happen….sooner or later….sorry…....:))

-- " I started with nothing, and I've still got most of it left".......

View calicant's profile

calicant

30 posts in 1013 days


#30 posted 997 days ago

Great thread. Lot’s of nice benches.

View Newage Neanderthal's profile

Newage Neanderthal

190 posts in 1155 days


#31 posted 997 days ago

Feel bad about the dings Rick? Nea, nea Feel good about them. Just like the scars on my body from the Marine Corps, the scars through real use on a bench are a testament of character.

-- www.newageneanderthal.blogspot.com . @NANeanderthal on twitter

View Rick  Dennington's profile

Rick Dennington

3274 posts in 1799 days


#32 posted 997 days ago

Hey NAN,

Me feel bad….Nah….I’ve got a few on my benches, and I call them battle scars. I was just telling Steven not to feel bad…..it’s gonna happen….You’re right about the character scars on the bench. And like you, I have plenty of battle scars on my body too…..from a booby-trap mine in VietNam, and 2 bullet holes in ‘67-68….We’re both a testament of character….:)

-- " I started with nothing, and I've still got most of it left".......

View stevenmadden's profile

stevenmadden

174 posts in 1694 days


#33 posted 996 days ago

Rick Dennington and The Newage Neanderthal: Thank you for your comments and for your service. I do have a full compliment of handtools to go along with the new workbench, so it should have it’s share of battle scars in no time at all. Thanks again.

Steven

View Newage Neanderthal's profile

Newage Neanderthal

190 posts in 1155 days


#34 posted 978 days ago

now this is a work bench
http://www.fullchisel.com/blog/?p=2237

-- www.newageneanderthal.blogspot.com . @NANeanderthal on twitter

View benchbuilder's profile

benchbuilder

93 posts in 1055 days


#35 posted 978 days ago

Nice bench top Rick, I have two benches, one is 25 1/2” wide and one 40” wide. The 40” top gets the most use, its great for glue ups and layout. I have built several benches now and think the wide top is best. But everyone has there own ideas of the right width, so I guess there isn’t a wrong size. How is the MDF holding up, is there any saging at the ends, I have been using SYP for my bench tops, but have given thought to the MDF for a small assembley table.

View RGtools's profile

RGtools

3302 posts in 1259 days


#36 posted 978 days ago

I shall post my ugly as sin rock solid bench.

As far as a dream bench. A solid Roubo style with no tool well would fit the bill quite well. Anything that weighs 400+ should be fine.

-- Make furniture that lasts as long as the tree - Ryan

View a1Jim's profile

a1Jim

112002 posts in 2182 days


#37 posted 978 days ago

Wow lots of cool benches I wish I had room for one .

-- http://artisticwoodstudio.com Custom furniture

View Rick  Dennington's profile

Rick Dennington

3274 posts in 1799 days


#38 posted 978 days ago

benchbuilder,

Thanks on the bench top…..It’s holding up very nicely, with no sag at all. It’s going on 3 years, and still flat and stable, but very heavy…...with 4 layers of MDF making it 3” thick. I thought with it being a long top (101”) and wide (42”), that it could sag, so I beefed up the underside quite a bit…..no problems yet, and still going strong. I think you would have no trouble with an MDF top on an assembly table. This is my first bench made of MDF, and so far I’m pleased with it…..If you decide to build one. post some pics…..

-- " I started with nothing, and I've still got most of it left".......

View benchbuilder's profile

benchbuilder

93 posts in 1055 days


#39 posted 977 days ago

Yes I hope this becomes one of the great threads here. I do believe that there are a lot of woodworkers who love looking at and talking about workbenches. Just look at the post by GaryK and his workbench post, over 72000 views, now thats shows a great interest in workbenches.. Somethings you just can’t get enough of…

View 404 - Not Found's profile

404 - Not Found

2544 posts in 1574 days


#40 posted 975 days ago

I’ll have to post a picture of my bench when I get to clear it off, I think it is a very well thought out bench, perfectly sized and suited to my workspace, but in the end, it doesn’t get used much. It’s more like a dumping ground for all kinds of crap, but that’s more to do with convenience, the type of work I do and the space I have. Based it on a Sjobergs, have you seen the price of those?

View HorizontalMike's profile

HorizontalMike

6915 posts in 1519 days


#41 posted 975 days ago

OK, I’ll bight… Here’s mine that I built/finished last March 2011 It is all White Ash, with the sole exception of one piece of Red Oak hiding in there somewhere:

More HERE

-- HorizontalMike -- "Woodpeckers understand..."

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Smitty_Cabinetshop

9624 posts in 1223 days


#42 posted 975 days ago

As I’ve said before, this bench has been presented and re-presented a couple of times here on LJs. It has fans (Thanks for the Mention, Al!) as well as detractors, I’m sure, but for me it’s been nothing short of wonderful having this bench become part of my woodworking life. There is no way I’d be where I am regarding handtools, craftsmanship or confidence without this bench.

Anyway, there’s more if you’d like to see it via the projects for the bench, roubo cabinet and end vise chop in my projects section.

The bench, at it’s core, started life as a hunk of oak that was a one-piece entry threshhold in an old home that was torn down many years ago. My father asked why I wanted the hunk of wood pulled to the side when the trackhoe came. I said, oh, I don’t know. Just such a cool piece, maybe I’ll make something out of it someday.

Well, someday was a long time later and the one-time entryway became this bench. Thanks in no small measure to the inspiration provided by Scott Landis and Christopher Schwarz. I used wood chisels ‘with intent’ for the first time building this bench. Started my sharpening journey, used my first handplane (Sandusky Jack), and used a brace and bit for the first time building this bench. Solid eastern pine for the legs, asian mahogany for the chops, walnut and pine for the cabinet. All the wood was free / reclaimed / repurposed. The leg vise hardware was salvage from an old alley garage (I didn’t know what it was at the time I pulled it out of there, but glad I did). Anyway, enough jabbering. Here are some new, higher resolution pics than my phone has gotten lately.

Across the top from the end vise end:

From the tail vise and crochet:

A look down the not-perfectly-flat benchtop:

And for a never-before-seen look at the threshold history of the bench:

-- Don't anthropomorphize your handplanes. They hate it when you do that. -- OldTools Archive

View RGtools's profile

RGtools

3302 posts in 1259 days


#43 posted 974 days ago

Smitty. Your bench is one of my favorites here on Lj’s to drool over. The story behind the thing is great too.

-- Make furniture that lasts as long as the tree - Ryan

View prodesigner's profile

prodesigner

15 posts in 1000 days


#44 posted 971 days ago

Needing help/advice please. I need to make a new top for my general use workbench. I am going to use 1/4” tempered hardboard as the work surface. My question is should I use MDF or particle board under the hardboard? I plan on using 2 pieces of 3/4” thick material of the MDF or particle board glued together. I am also considering “edge banding” the work surface with 2×4’s and adding a woodworking vise to the front right corner. I am going to mount my other vise to something that I can then clamp into the woodworking vise when I want to use it. I have never used MDF for anything so I do not know anything about the material.

Any advice you guys can offer will be appreciated.

View Newage Neanderthal's profile

Newage Neanderthal

190 posts in 1155 days


#45 posted 971 days ago

Prodesigner
My order of preference as the substrate would be
1.Plywood
2.OSB
3.MDF

All three will make a fine substrate for a general purpose bench. My “DIY” bench is two pieces of 5/8 OSB stuck together with liquid nails and then covered with hard board. Works great and stands up to some serious abuse, probably much more “abuse” than my wood working bench. I wrapped the sides with hard board as well. I will say if you use MDF be careful what kind of distance you leave unsupported, it will sag under weight and break much eacier than OSB or ply.

-- www.newageneanderthal.blogspot.com . @NANeanderthal on twitter

View Tom Clark's profile

Tom Clark

51 posts in 1626 days


#46 posted 968 days ago

Prodesigner,

I needed a larger assembly table a few years ago, and used two layers of 3/4 MDF for the base, followed by a piece of 1/4” masonite as a replaceable top. The finished size is 40×80. It has held up quite well, and is far more solid than I thought it would be. The base and legs are all 3/4 plywood.
I did put a few crossbraces under the top to keep it from sagging.

-- Tom

View Rick  Dennington's profile

Rick Dennington

3274 posts in 1799 days


#47 posted 967 days ago

Ok….so now we’ve moved on to assembly tables, huh? Ok, I’ll show-n-tell… I built this assembly table about 2 years ago to handle the “big projects” that I do. It is 48” wide x 96” long. It is 3/4” Birch ply, and has a torsion box top. Stands about 30” high (a little higher than I wanted, plus the casters), but the nice thing is: when I unload ply out of the truck, it’s as high as the tailgate, so it’s easy to just slide the ply right onto the table, and keep it flat until a store it in my plywood bin….actually I have 2 assembly tables: the big one, and a small one…..the smaller one is about 18” high, 32” wide, and 70” long. ..it’s for the “smaller” projects when the big one is too big and tall…....here they are:.......

The small oner I built about 8 years ago, and has a solid-core door for the top, and beefed up to keep it from sagging…so far…so good…..

-- " I started with nothing, and I've still got most of it left".......

View doordude's profile

doordude

1085 posts in 1588 days


#48 posted 962 days ago

nice work table Rick. looks like you’ve got plenty of room for more

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doordude

1085 posts in 1588 days


#49 posted 962 days ago

nice bench from horizontal mike; never no what you can do, when you get your tax return.
humm… pay bills,buy the little woman something,wood,new tool, no a couple of nice vises to finish off my new work bench. yes, it feels good, and looks good

View Rick  Dennington's profile

Rick Dennington

3274 posts in 1799 days


#50 posted 961 days ago

If I can keep from it at all, and most of the time I can, I will NOT use my main work bench to do any kind of assembly on….I like to keep it clear for the next project, or whatever comes up. I do not like my bench to be cluttered up..I understand that a lot of folks on here HAVE to use theirs for that, cause of the size of their shop and the room they have….Some have large shops, like mine, and can have a table or two just for doing assembly. Some have to even use the table top on their saw which is about dead-flat for glue-ups, clamping, etc…I never liked that idea, either, and don’t…...So…if there is anyway possible for you to have an assembly table, no matter how big or how small, and it’s pretty dead-flat, by all means build one….If there’s no way possible for an extra table, then you have no choice…

-- " I started with nothing, and I've still got most of it left".......

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