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Work Bench #1: What parts of a work bench are most important?

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Blog entry by sandhill posted 11-25-2012 04:31 PM 1311 reads 0 times favorited 10 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of Work Bench series Part 2: I have been busy building a new work bench »

Now that I have finished the CHEVALET I need desperately to get the work bench done so here are my questions and thoughts. I have glued up half of the top and made two of the stretchers then the question came up do I use “Bench Bolts” or just use “mortise & tenons”? If the bench does not come apart why use bolts? “Exposed Wedged Through Tenons” if done correctly will do the same job at no cost where bench bolts are about $20.00 for a set of four and if you have them on the rails and stretchers that’s $40.00 plus shipping. What would you do? The other question that came up was what is the purpose of the dove tail and tenon that is exposed in the top where the legs come up? Why not just two tenons and why through tenons? I am installing a leg vice. (The leg and top will be flush) So what are your thoughts on these items and if you built a bench what would you add or not add now that it’s done and being used. Thanks for your comments.



10 comments so far

View GlennsGrandson's profile

GlennsGrandson

433 posts in 1056 days


#1 posted 11-25-2012 07:39 PM

I don’t know what bench bolts are I guess but I was recently in the same predicament. I am getting close to finishing up my base and have finished my top…how to attach them? I want as little metal in my top as possible (besides the vises). I’m just going to use 1” oak dowels in the top of each leg with corresponding holes in the bench. It will only sit on there, no glue or screws so moving it (state to state) will be a bit easier in the future.

Wedged through tenons are very strong and will doubtfully ever come apart. If you do through, you might as well wedge them too, besides strength it looks really cool. IMO I would say that the wedged through tenons would probably be better than bolts. I’d skip the bolts, save some money for some holdfasts or something.

Not sure about the dovetail…

Since my bench isn’t complete yet and I’m still fairly new to custom workbenches, hand tools, etc., I cannot give much advise on what to do or not to do…I’ll tell you that in about 6 months.. Good luck!


-- Grant - S/N Dakota

View sandhill's profile

sandhill

2128 posts in 2671 days


#2 posted 11-25-2012 08:07 PM

GlennsGrandson Bench bolts are basically a long bolt and a barrel nut used to draw the leg and rail together. The dove tail I am talking about is here
This is where this person cut out for the Dove tail and tenon.

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GlennsGrandson

433 posts in 1056 days


#3 posted 11-25-2012 08:34 PM

Oh, gotcha, I would assume that the dove tail is just for extra strength and stability of the leg..? keep it from popping out.

I am using bolts on my lower cross beams to pull them together, just regular 5/16” by 6” bolts though, nothing fancy.

-- Grant - S/N Dakota

View sandhill's profile

sandhill

2128 posts in 2671 days


#4 posted 11-25-2012 08:54 PM

I have the Leg vice and just ordered the Wagon vice from Lake Erie Toolworks I have about 4 weeks to plan the rest of the bench because they are very slow to get orders from but the quality is the very best.
Your bench is coming along real nice when will you add the vices and what ones will you end up with?

View Boatman53's profile

Boatman53

848 posts in 944 days


#5 posted 11-26-2012 04:22 AM

I chose to not do the dovetail on my bench. It is a dovetail shape so it actually contributes to the strength of the joint. Since it is exposed on on the outside edge without that shape it wouldn’t do much. With a leg vise you need to be sure the top and leg joint is very strong because the vise closes on the top and wants to push it off the leg.
If you don’t want to deal with the pin on the leg vise, check out this review of the chain adjuster that I’ve started to sell. http://lumberjocks.com/reviews/3065
More details can be found here. http://ancorayachtservice.com/?page_id=221
Good luck on your build I’ll be watching your progress.
Jim

-- Jim, Long Island, NY Ancorayachtservice.com home of the chain leg vise

View sandhill's profile

sandhill

2128 posts in 2671 days


#6 posted 11-26-2012 01:46 PM

Thanks boatman, I think I will wait and see what the difference is using wood screw hardware vs metal vice hardware. I think the wood has a faster action because of the pitch of the thread, possibly 2X as fast. As far as knowing which hole to use I guess I will be using less holes so that may not be a problem for me. I will keep this in mind for sure if it does become an issue, I was looking at the chain and was wondering if there is a problem when the vice is open. It seems like there is a bit of slack in the chain.

View Boatman53's profile

Boatman53

848 posts in 944 days


#7 posted 11-26-2012 02:18 PM

Your welcome, here is a link to Derek Cohens installation and review with a wooden screw. He has a lot of interesting things on his site so be sure to look around at the other things he has going on.
http://www.inthewoodshop.com/ToolReviews/AYSLegViseChainAdjuster.html
There is no problem when the vise is open, the chain is attached on both ends so it really has no place to go.
As to fewer holes what you will end up with more chances for the jaws to be clamping out of square and not nearly as effective as they really are. As you can see from the reviews they are easy to retrofit to existing benches, but it is a neater installation if they are installed during the build because the chain can lay right next to the back of the leg.
Jim

Edit: here is a photo of the upper sprocket installation when the bench is being built you are able to eliminate the upper bracket.

-- Jim, Long Island, NY Ancorayachtservice.com home of the chain leg vise

View sandhill's profile

sandhill

2128 posts in 2671 days


#8 posted 11-27-2012 04:11 AM

Interesting

View GlennsGrandson's profile

GlennsGrandson

433 posts in 1056 days


#9 posted 11-28-2012 05:16 PM

Here’s what I’m doing, regular bolts. Cheap. Sorry the picture is sideways. I don’t know how to change them when I upload from my phone.

-- Grant - S/N Dakota

View sandhill's profile

sandhill

2128 posts in 2671 days


#10 posted 11-28-2012 05:52 PM

That works.

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