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Forum topic by Kennethjg posted 11-04-2015 03:02 PM 862 views 0 times favorited 15 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Kennethjg

41 posts in 400 days


11-04-2015 03:02 PM

Topic tags/keywords: bench work bench resource tips

Hey fellas. I’m new to this site and wood working in general, but I figured this would be the place to get a little feedback and constructive criticism. I’ve been doing cabinets at a local shop for a few years, and developed a love of woodworking. Over the last few years, I’ve taken a shine to using hand tools, but my every attempt I’ve made to use them, I find that it’s very difficult without proper vises, and a good solid workspace that doesn’t scoot across the floor.
So I got it in my head to make this workbench. I got some 8/4 soft maple, and a general design, and got to it! I figured as badass as I am, I’d have it whipped in no time, and then I could start to learn how to use hand tools.
I have the top all glued up. I cut roughly 3 1/4” boards (because that got the most yield) for the outer 6” of each side of the top and then made the interior 12” with the face grain. I cut I guess you’d call it a half lap(?) for the legs to have a tenon through the top because I’m not brave enough to attempt the roubo style dovetailed tenon I’ve been seeing. And I plan on capping the other end with that 4×4 which is super heavy, to add some mass to that side of the bench.
Then for the legs, I plan on having them through-tenon on the bases/feet, and a support for the top, and then having stretchers to connect them across.
If all that makes sense…
I’ve got end vise and front vise hardware too, just haven’t gotten the end vise figured out quite yet.
My question for you guys is: before I get too far, do you see any design flaws? Do you see something I should do or not do when it come to building the legs? Give me any constructive criticism, anything that can help me out here. If hate to build this thing, and after all the trouble, find some design flaw, and not be able to fix it.
One more thing: I have the square dog holes, and I plan on drilling some round ones for a holdfast. But should I put a row (or two) of dog holes for the face vise? I’ve seen benches with and without. But I can’t quite see why you’d need that.

-- It ain't custom unless you fucked it up.


15 replies so far

View BurlyBob's profile

BurlyBob

3692 posts in 1731 days


#1 posted 11-04-2015 03:18 PM

Ken, that’s a nice looking bench. Have you checked out the workbench smack down topic here. those guys will give you all sorts of advice. that’s where I’m going when I start my bench. Hopefully in the near future.

View Richard H's profile

Richard H

489 posts in 1146 days


#2 posted 11-04-2015 03:27 PM

That is a nice looking top and looks like something that will make a very good bench.

I am working on my 4th bench right now and I really hope it’ my last but we will see. It’s by and far the biggest and heaviest bench I have built but the trend of my workbenches has been a steady evolution that way. The one thing I decided to do this time around was build something that could be packed on a moving truck if needed. My last three benches ended up getting torn apart or given away because I couldn’t fit them on the truck. A bench fully assembled takes up a lot of room on that truck and when you are making decisions on what moves and what doesn’t mine have suffered in the past.

Given that my current bench build is a split top Roubo with Benchcrafted bench bolt hardware. The short stretchers are glued together with drawbore pegs and the long stretchers will be attached with these huge bed bolts they sell into mortises. The two top pieces can be moved by one person with effort and come off the base which breaks down into four parts. The whole thing breaks down into a relatively flat space. My hope is that I will still have a rock solid bench to work on but if I do ever need to move it I can break it down into more manageable pieces.

I am not saying you have to make you bench break down but I have found that making it a huge single piece in the past while nice to work on has been difficult to move. I present it as something to think about at least.

Good luck and that’s a great start.

View helluvawreck's profile

helluvawreck

23181 posts in 2332 days


#3 posted 11-04-2015 03:29 PM

This will be a great addition to your shop. Congratulations.

helluvawreck aka Charles
http://woodworkingexpo.wordpress.com

-- If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away. Henry David Thoreau

View laketrout36's profile

laketrout36

197 posts in 1492 days


#4 posted 11-04-2015 04:34 PM

I like the idea of being able to break down or make the bench mobile. So far your bench looks good.

View Kennethjg's profile

Kennethjg

41 posts in 400 days


#5 posted 11-04-2015 04:43 PM

Thanks for y’all’s input. Bob, I sifted through the smackdown once, but I may need to re visit it. Richard, originally, I had planned to make the bench a break-down-and-move kind of bench. My idea was to make the legs in two “sets”, that way when I do move, the top and legs will be three pieces, and then the stretchers (or I guess you’d call them rails) would be separate. And all I was gonna do was make it to where the legs slide in the mortises on the top, then just bolt the rails to the legs. This is something I forgot to mention on the original post. Would that be a good idea? Or should I have some way to bolt the legs to the top if I go that route? After some thinking about it, I kind of steered away from that idea, since the table is only 6’ by 2’. However, I could be persuaded to go back to the breakdown idea.

-- It ain't custom unless you fucked it up.

View Andre's profile

Andre

1022 posts in 1271 days


#6 posted 11-04-2015 04:49 PM

By End vise are you talking about a Tail vise? I am almost finished my bench and as far as the Dog holes I will go round, drill for the tail vise and wait for the the Face vise, hold fast only on the Deadman so far. It really depends on what and how you build? Everyone is different, that is why I built a hybrid, hope it works but if not guess I just build a new one! LOL.

-- Lifting one end of the plank.

View Kennethjg's profile

Kennethjg

41 posts in 400 days


#7 posted 11-04-2015 05:19 PM

Andre, yeah, I thought tail vise and end vise were the same thing. I’m still new to all this. And to tell you the truth, I’m not sure what kind of projects I’ll be making on this bench. But I’ve read that you want to be able to work on the face of the board (tail vise with dogs), edge (face vise), and the end grain (face vise as well). So as far as I understand, putting a row of dog holes on the top for the face vise is kind of redundant. However, I haven’t been there yet! What applications would that be useful? I’m sure I’m overlooking something.

-- It ain't custom unless you fucked it up.

View kiefer's profile

kiefer

4881 posts in 2132 days


#8 posted 11-04-2015 05:22 PM

Looks like a well thought out design to suite your needs and preferences .
I went through the same process some time ago and kept changing things around designing several vice and I am now at the point where I am happy with the vice arrangement .take a look at my projects and you may find a couple ideas that interest you .
http://lumberjocks.com/projects/116121
http://lumberjocks.com/projects/105719

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5x6Oa0OuQ34

Klaus

-- Kiefer https://www.youtube.com/user/woodkiefer1/videos

View Richard H's profile

Richard H

489 posts in 1146 days


#9 posted 11-04-2015 06:35 PM

Kenneth,

I had a bench with rails bolted though the tenons as you mentioned and the bench started to rack over time because the bolt holes in the stretchers elongated. Now that bench was made of construction lumber so was pretty soft and my mortises where probably not as tight as they could have been but still I wouldn’t do that method again. The bed bolts shouldn’t have that issue because of how they are oriented.

My last bench was also about 6’ by 2’ and when we where packing up our POD moving container it didn’t make it on the thing. Between concerns about the total weight of the container and space we just ran out of room for it. If you are not planning on moving more than local anytime soon (I wasn’t) you can just make it in a second trip but life has a tendency to throw curve balls at you every once in awhile and having a bench that can be broke down just seems like the best idea for me. My last bench was all 4X8 fir and had mortise and tenon legs glued in place with drawbores and while it wasn’t a pretty bench it was solid as a rock and a great one to work on.

There are other alternatives to bed bolts as well. A through mortise with a wedge is probably even stronger and doesn’t require any hardware. It’s the kind of joint that can sit in your shop for 100 years than when someone does decide to break it down come apart and go back together without any issues.

View HokieKen's profile

HokieKen

1780 posts in 604 days


#10 posted 11-04-2015 10:08 PM

I’d say your intended design will give you a solid bench. There are many ways to do anything and it seems like you’ve made solid, well thought out decisions so I would proceed as planned.

For your dog holes. Don’t drill them in front of the face vise. Yet. Why put holes in that fine-looking top if you don’t have an intended use for ‘em? If, down the road, you find out you do need them, it’ll only take an hour or so to mark them out and bore them. I wouldn’t put any dog holes that I didn’t already know what I was going to use them for.

Just my HO! Welcome to LumberJocks!

-- Kenny, SW VA, Go Hokies!!!

View Karamba's profile

Karamba

116 posts in 401 days


#11 posted 11-05-2015 05:23 PM

The bench is massive ! I like it.
However do plan hand planing on it ? If so I wold beef up the legs. They looks somehow in-proportionally thin.

View Kennethjg's profile

Kennethjg

41 posts in 400 days


#12 posted 11-05-2015 06:40 PM

Thanks, hokieken, that’s what I was thinking too.
And karamba, maybe the pictures are deceiving. The top is 3 1/4” think on the outsides, 2” thick in the middle, and the legs are roughly 3”x3”
Plus I plan to add supports and bases to the legs. That should be pretty good, right?

-- It ain't custom unless you fucked it up.

View rwe2156's profile

rwe2156

2198 posts in 946 days


#13 posted 11-05-2015 09:46 PM

Good looking top. I like to see massivity (is that a word).

Looking at the pic, isn’t your end vise actually a tail vise?

Put up some pics of your vises and I can help you better.

-- Everything is a prototype thats why its one of a kind!!

View Kennethjg's profile

Kennethjg

41 posts in 400 days


#14 posted 11-05-2015 11:30 PM

whats the difference? I thought they were the same.

-- It ain't custom unless you fucked it up.

View HokieKen's profile

HokieKen

1780 posts in 604 days


#15 posted 11-06-2015 01:29 PM



whats the difference? I thought they were the same.

- Kennethjg

I think most refer to the “L” shaped vise as a tail vise and a double-screw vise that runs the width of the bench as an end vise. The two terms do get used interchangeably and I have no idea what the correct terminology is but that’s how I see them referred to most often.

-- Kenny, SW VA, Go Hokies!!!

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