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Distance between legs assemblies on a new workbench?

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Forum topic by skogie1 posted 08-09-2015 09:40 PM 853 views 0 times favorited 4 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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skogie1

95 posts in 829 days


08-09-2015 09:40 PM

Topic tags/keywords: workbench

I’m building a new workbench (finally). I have room to make it 6’ long by 2’ wide. I would like to put on a twin handle front vise on the front left and a sliding tail vise on the right end. I realized today however that once I allow for the necessary clearance on either end of the bench for the vise hardware I’m only going to have about 32” of distance between the legs on the left and the legs on the right (center-to-center). The legs are sturdy 3.5” by 6” of poplar and the rails both lower and upper are pegged tenons and wedged tenons so there’s lots of sturdiness, but I’m worried that the 32” distance between the left and the right isn’t enough. Will it tilt around when I’m working on it with heavy and difficult woods? My biggest complaint right now is that when I’m planing on my current bench it tends to lift and wobble. Don’t want to put all this time and money into this bench and end up with the same situation. Oh, lastly, the top will be 4” thick maple. Thanks in advance for any advice.


4 replies so far

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WhyMe

615 posts in 1026 days


#1 posted 08-10-2015 12:17 AM

Can you angle the legs to get a wider foot print?

View BadJoints's profile

BadJoints

103 posts in 554 days


#2 posted 08-10-2015 04:03 AM

Which vise and how much clearance are you giving them? If I’m doing the math right, you’re allowing 14” overhang on each end. A 3.5×6 leg and a 4” top is going to be decently heavy. I’m not sure it will move as much as you are afraid it will. My current bench is a single layer 2x top and double layer 2x legs and it never moves, yours will be much heavier than that.

As WhyMe suggested, angling the legs would help. If you don’t like angled legs (I don’t), you can also move the vise to the inside of the leg. This will allow you to push the legs further outside and solve any stability issues. I am retrofitting a record style vise to my current bench and chose to put it inboard of the legs. There isn’t any reason I can think of that requires a vise to be outboard of the leg.

As a third option, if you can rearrange your shop space to allow a 7’ top, that would also work. I’ve had 6, 7 and 8ft benches over the years. 7ft is pretty much perfect in my opinion.

-- Producing furniture grade firewood since 1984

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skogie1

95 posts in 829 days


#3 posted 08-10-2015 05:20 AM

Thanks for the input gentlemen. Helpful. I can’t do angled legs because I’ve already done the leg assemblies. (This is a bad habit of mine. “I’ll-figure-it-out-when-I-get-there!”) I’m using the Veritas twin-screw vise and the Veritas quick-release tail vise. I think I’ve got it figured out. I was placing the leg on the left right in the middle of the jaws of the twin screw. I’ll just move that to the outside of the screw closest to the edge and that will give me about 42” between the legs which feels like plenty of distance on a 72” bench. I can’t think of any reason why the leg can’t be on the outside of the twin screw vise. Is there something I’m not thinking of? As for the tail vise, I want to be able to clamp up against the leg if necessary so I want to use the full 17” on that side (the amount required to allow the jaw to meet the leg in it’s closed position). BadJoints, you’ve given me a thought. Rearranging my little shop to accommodate a 7’ is possible. Perhaps I’ll do that. Why do you prefer a 7’ bench? My current bench is 5’ and yes it’s a total piece of crap but I’ve never felt I needed a longer bench. I do plan on getting into bigger and better projects so perhaps then I’ll see the benefits of a 7’ bench but I’m curious why you feel that’s a good length. Thanks again and happy woodworkding to both of you!

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BadJoints

103 posts in 554 days


#4 posted 08-10-2015 07:43 AM


I ll just move that to the outside of the screw closest to the edge and that will give me about 42” between the legs which feels like plenty of distance on a 72” bench. I can t think of any reason why the leg can t be on the outside of the twin screw vise. Is there something I m not thinking of?

That’s exactly what I was talking about. It should work fine.

BadJoints, you ve given me a thought. Rearranging my little shop to accommodate a 7 is possible. Perhaps I ll do that. Why do you prefer a 7 bench? My current bench is 5 and yes it s a total piece of crap but I ve never felt I needed a longer bench. I do plan on getting into bigger and better projects so perhaps then I ll see the benefits of a 7 bench but I m curious why you feel that s a good length. Thanks again and happy woodworkding to both of you!
- skogie1

I’ve found it to be a good working length for everything from planing long boards to assembly. It gives you enough room to assemble most furniture and have your tools in easy reach. I always found myself needing more space for tools and sub assemblies on a 6ft bench, and 8ft takes up too much space in my wall only shop.

-- Producing furniture grade firewood since 1984

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