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Forum topic by newwoodbutcher posted 10-09-2015 05:13 AM 1301 views 0 times favorited 24 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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newwoodbutcher

552 posts in 2317 days


10-09-2015 05:13 AM

OK, I’ve got the bug but I’m almost through it. Just need some help here. I’m ready to start gluing up the top and milling the base parts. I’m using the Benchcrafted metal glide C leg vice hardware and wondering about the leg vice dimensions.
The Benchcrafted plans call for the Chop to be 9” wide at the top. Mr Schwarz says make the chop 8” wide at the top. I’m wondering if these widths will cause racking problems. Does it make more sense to make the Chop the same 51/2” width of the leg it will be clamping against? Less leverage to rack? Am I over thinking this?

-- Ken


24 replies so far

View Mark Kornell's profile

Mark Kornell

1061 posts in 1997 days


#1 posted 10-09-2015 05:00 PM

Over thinking it :-)

The chop clamps against the front edge of the workbench top. The primary use is to.clamp boards horizontally, so you can position the board to be centered above the screw if the piece is shorter than the chop width.

When the need arises to clamp a board vertically – or if its width is such that it extends below the screw – then you’d have racking regardless of the width of the chop.

-- Mark Kornell, Kornell Wood Design

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bondogaposis

4036 posts in 1818 days


#2 posted 10-09-2015 06:17 PM

Am I over thinking this?

Yes. Mine is 8”; racking problems, zero.

-- Bondo Gaposis

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Planeman40

805 posts in 2228 days


#3 posted 10-09-2015 06:41 PM

I have never understood the craze over the Rubo type workbench. A fine woodworking bench is not for pounding, it is for holding your work in good positions so you can comfortably perform woodworking operations while the work is held firmly and steady. To me a Rubo bench is massively overbuilt, is very heavy, uses a LOT of very expensive wood, and the holding arrangements are primitive. Back in the 1970s I built myself the Tage Freid workbench from one of the first issues of Fine Woodworking magazine. Sadly, the drawings were lost or destroyed at Fine Woodworking and they no longer offer the plans. However, I never used the plans, I just built from the magazine article. I absolutely LOVE this bench. I couldn’t ask for better. I wish Fine Woodworking would re-draw the plans and offer them. Or maybe someone else could do so.

Anyway, that’s my two cents. I know I’ll be berated and condemned, so have at it. : )

Planeman

Here are some links:

http://www.codesmiths.com/shed/workshop/bench.htm

http://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://pic.zuojiaju.com/forum/201312/11/225705kx3alzz9otzsfz5i.jpg&imgrefurl=http://diwuedjob.blogspot.com/2015/02/tage-frid-workbench-plans.html&h=456&w=600&tbnid=SNbYL118r9RjUM:&docid=PkWAA3yqUy-QwM&ei=MgsYVviSDIeWgwTQ65ioDg&tbm=isch&ved=0CCMQMygCMAJqFQoTCPjz2oaGtsgCFQfLgAod0DUG5Q&biw=1286&bih=824

-- Always remember: It is a mathematical certainty that half the people in this country are below average in intelligence!

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roderick

18 posts in 1242 days


#4 posted 10-09-2015 06:53 PM

I don’t have an 800 lb gorilla sleeping on my workbench. Being on a fixed income since 1987 I prefer to use my money on good power tools. My workbench has two 2×4s for legs, a plywood shelf on the bottom and 3 drawers made from leftovers. The top is 1 3/4×36 x 80 solid core door. It has served me well for years. The top is still flat. What more do I need?

-- just doug

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roderick

18 posts in 1242 days


#5 posted 10-09-2015 06:57 PM

I don’t have an 800 lb gorilla sleeping on my workbench. Being on a fixed income since 1987 I orefer to use my money on good power tools. My workbench has two 2×4 legs, a plywood shelf on the bottom and 3 drawers made from leftovers. The top is 1 3/4×36 x 80 solid core door. It has served me well for years. The top is still flat. What more do I need?

-- just doug

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Smitty_Cabinetshop

13738 posts in 2085 days


#6 posted 10-09-2015 06:59 PM

Let’s explore (not berate or condemn).

massively overbuilt
—Disagree. It holds work firmly, good positions so I can comfortably perform woodworking operations. No wracking when hand planing or scrubbing (which I do routinely), sawing, and pounding mortices. Can it be overbuilt? Certainly. I think it 6” top is too thick, for example. Mine is just under 3” thick and not overbuilt.

very heavy
—Agree, and don’t know why this is an issue. I never move it, and my floor doesn’t seem to mind the weight one bit.

uses a LOT of very expensive wood
—Like the input to overbuilt above, Roubo benches can use a lot of wood, and might use expensive wood. To quantity, so what? Seen a dumpster at a local jobsite or renovation address lately? More dimensional lumber tossed there than needed for several Roubo benches. And as to expensive, the Roubo form itself doesn’t call for high dollar woods. That people may choose to use mahogany or select cherry or whatever is totally up to them. My bench cost me exactly $0 for wood, as it was made entirely of salvaged oak (top), pine (legs), walnut (cabinet) and mahogany (chops).

the holding arrangements are primitive
—I’ve seen benches with embedded t-tracks and wonder why, when primitive (I prefer the word simple) workholding methods like bench dogs, holdfasts and leg vises make so much more sense when the emphasis is really to “hold work firmly and steadily.”
.
.
.
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To the OP, I’d suggest this: Doesn’t have to be much more than the width of the leg at all, if you don’t want it to be. Think of working the ends of boards or panels that are being held vertically via leg vise: with enough meat there, it’ll hold. I’ve got about 3” on either side of the threaded vise rod, if that helps. Maybe a little less than 3”.

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

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Planeman40

805 posts in 2228 days


#7 posted 10-09-2015 08:41 PM

That’s a good reply Smitty.

What I like on my Fried bench are the tail vise and the protruding screw vise on the left side. I use my tail vise more than anything else. I love the way it grips and holds odd shaped pieces and the way it works with the bench dogs. The screw vise on the left side was deliberately designed the way it is by Freid to hold long pieces vertically all the way down to the floor. The vise face articulates some to accommodate tapers. Not seen in the photos is a T-shaped fixture that clamps in the tail vise that has peg holes and a dowel that acts as a rest for oversize work. I have planed down large doors using this and it does make it easier and more enjoyable. The bench also has a recess that runs the length of the back side of the top to hold tools. Nice to keep tools out of the way when rotating and sliding work around the top of the bench. And one last thing. The bench can collapse to four flat pieces for moving or storing, something most of us deal with periodically.

But what matters is being happy with the bench you have. “You pays your money and takes your choice.

Planeman

-- Always remember: It is a mathematical certainty that half the people in this country are below average in intelligence!

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Smitty_Cabinetshop

13738 posts in 2085 days


#8 posted 10-09-2015 10:27 PM

Sounds like a good bench, Planesman! We’re not that far apart after all. :-)

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

View newwoodbutcher's profile

newwoodbutcher

552 posts in 2317 days


#9 posted 10-11-2015 01:54 AM

Thank you all. I’m not usually a guy for fads, but this bench really has me. I’m sure it’s overbuilt, I think that’s the big idea. Anyway, my old (current) bench is a 25 year old repurposed bookcase made of 2” thick pine turned on its side with two 3/4” plywood sheets laminated into a top. I have a Record Quick release vice mounted on the wrong end of the bench and can see the unevenness of the top from across the room. And it rocks when I exert force. Like planning… I’m starting to really enjoy woodworking and have been making some beautiful things lately. My hand tool inventory and use have grown significantly. My work is much better than it was 5 years ago and continues improving. Yes, I’m sure this bench is over engineered. That’s usually the way I build things in general.

My top will be 4” thick Ash I picked up for $350.00. The legs are 6×6 Doug Fir leftovers from a patio cover job I did a few years ago, milled to 5” x 5”. The stretchers are also Doug Fir leftover milled from 4”x6” into 3”x5” The vices are the big expense, $700.00 for the Benchcrafted leg and wagon vice hardware. Is it over Kill??? You bet it is. I’m going to love this bench for the rest of my life, I’m sure of it. Sure I could continue without it. With that old wobbly rickety and uneven shelf/bench. But I have $1, 00.00 to do this and am grateful and appreciative of that fact.

Thank you all for your input and advice. That’s what I love about this place.

-- Ken

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newwoodbutcher

552 posts in 2317 days


#10 posted 10-11-2015 02:57 AM

THANK YOU Smitty, VERY HELPFUL.

-- Ken

View Combo Prof's profile

Combo Prof

2385 posts in 744 days


#11 posted 10-11-2015 12:52 PM

I built my Roubo 24”by 8.5” almost entirely of Ash for around $350 including hardware. The 4” top was under $250. I think if you looked arounda little you could do better on the wood.

I did not get the super expensive benchcrafted leg vise and went closer to the traditional (except instead of a wooden screw I used a Lee Valley Tail vice screw). Regardless Do buy the gramercy holdfast.

Also mine can be taken apart, so if I want to update the bench to more expensive hardware I can.
The top sits on blind tenons and is not otherwise secured. The top is so freaking heavy it does not move when hand planing. Yet all by myself I can (barley) lift off one end of the top and maneuver it inch by inch onto saw horses should I need to. (I cannot lift the whole top.) The base comes apart in 4 pieces.

I love this bench it has made a super big difference to my woodworking.

-- Don K, (Houghton, Michigan)

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newwoodbutcher

552 posts in 2317 days


#12 posted 10-11-2015 09:21 PM

Don,
Sounds like a great bench.

-- Ken

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paratrooper34

892 posts in 2418 days


#13 posted 10-11-2015 10:36 PM



I have never understood the craze over the Rubo type workbench. A fine woodworking bench is not for pounding, it is for holding your work in good positions so you can comfortably perform woodworking operations while the work is held firmly and steady. To me a Rubo bench is massively overbuilt, is very heavy, uses a LOT of very expensive wood, and the holding arrangements are primitive. Back in the 1970s I built myself the Tage Freid workbench from one of the first issues of Fine Woodworking magazine. Sadly, the drawings were lost or destroyed at Fine Woodworking and they no longer offer the plans. However, I never used the plans, I just built from the magazine article. I absolutely LOVE this bench. I couldn t ask for better. I wish Fine Woodworking would re-draw the plans and offer them. Or maybe someone else could do so.

Anyway, that s my two cents. I know I ll be berated and condemned, so have at it. : )

Planeman

I am not going to beat you up, Planeman. I see your point and I want to input these points:

1. Craftsmen back in the day were very smart about the way they did things. Because everything was done by hand, they made sure they did not waste their “human” power. If they felt smaller, lighter benches were the way to go, that’s how they would have been designed. It would have been easier, less time consuming, and less costly. But they discovered less strong and heavy wouldn’t work. Those benches were not just for holding; they were for holding, staying put and staying together. Think about this: they had to dimension and surface plane every single board by hand. That puts a lot of stress on a bench. You want a strong and heavy bench to make sure it stays in place. If it is too light, the bench is going to move. If it is not made to be strong, the wracking forces will break it down quickly. If you have never taken rough sawn lumber and processed it to finished quality, give it a try and see what kind of stress it puts on your bench. I myself have a pretty heavy Ulmia bench. I made two storage shelves underneath to help add weight and always keep stuff stored on them. With that in mind, I am thinking about adding another shelf at the very bottom to load up with bricks. Last time I processed rough lumber by hand, I felt added weight might be helpful.
2. Very expensive wood is not a requirement for this type of bench. While I personally don’t think softwoods should be used for the top, they absolutely can be used for the frame structure which dramatically reduces costs. As for the top, there are many, many choices for good hardwoods that won’t break the bank; Maple (even soft maple which is not soft), Beech, Ash, Hickory, Oak (red oak is pretty inexpensive), SYP, etc. Shopping around and finding a good deal can save a lot of money.
3. The holding arrangements seem primitive because, for the most part, they are. They were using what was the easiest and most cost effective methods of the day. I am not a big fan of the crochet hook, but it worked for them. Other holding arrangements they used proved to withstand the test of time: Benchdogs, I use them all the time – Holdfasts, same. They are simplistic and absolutely do the job – Planing stops, quick and easy solution for many circumstances. But here is the thing; with all of the modern advances (bench vices, tail vices, etc), you can build such a bench and customize it the way you like.

There is a new found love of hand tools making its mark on the woodworking hobby. With that, people found that a bench that can withstand the abuse and forces associated with hand tool work is required. I built my first bench from plans I found on FWW. It is a simple bench but small and not very heavy. When I decided to move exclusively to hand tools, I quickly found that the bench I made was not going to cut it. So I got another. I think you are seeing that other people are finding out the same thing. They need a strong, heavy bench for hand tool usage.

That’s my two cents :)

-- Mike

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Planeman40

805 posts in 2228 days


#14 posted 10-11-2015 11:57 PM

Good post Paratrooper 34.

What you say is very true for 18th century woodworking. However we are living in the 21st century and things are not the same any more. Here in Atlanta, GA there were about five woodworkers who got together and all built Rubo benches together. I was told the wood was sawn by a local Woodmiser owner and then sat for four years to dry. The total cost of the wood was more than $1,000 per bench. It was local hardwood, however I don’t know what kind. I saw and sat on one of those benches and I can tell you putting one of those bench tops through a planer would have been a wrestling match! But these guys didn’t do that. They hand planed each bench! You refer to “abuses and forces”. Having been a woodworker (and metal worker) for 60 years I have NEVER abused my bench. I take too much pride in it. And any “forces” I can envision that can wrack a modern Freid type bench would be out of my capabilities and would be used in timber framing. Once again I say these type of benches are for holding work in a comfortable working position, not for massive and heavy pounding or chopping.

However, I will say I have wanted to build something just to have it and I too occasionally love to experience a little bit of what the master woodworkers of the past did. Enjoy your Rubo bench! And no powered sawmill! You gotta get that axe, chop down that tree, and saw it up with a pit saw. : )

Planeman

-- Always remember: It is a mathematical certainty that half the people in this country are below average in intelligence!

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newwoodbutcher

552 posts in 2317 days


#15 posted 10-12-2015 12:01 AM

Mike and Planeman,
Good discussion, thank you. Today I made the template for cutting the dog holes in the top. I’m starting to glue up the top. It’s all looking good, so far

-- Ken

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