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Workbench question.. HELP!

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Forum topic by newbiewoodworker posted 08-30-2010 02:48 AM 1438 views 0 times favorited 16 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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newbiewoodworker

668 posts in 2292 days


08-30-2010 02:48 AM

First off, I am new to this fine site, having viewed its forums for a while, but never had a question.

But I recently decided to create a workbench, having hurt my knees on the concrete for the last time. The past few days I have gotten all the lumber; (8x) 2×6x8, (2x) 4×4x8, (12x) 2×4x8s. The top is going to be 2×6s, with the legs being 40in 4×4s.

Today I began work, but tommorrow I have to redo that segment, since I realized that, while I made the legs so that the top will be level… the legs aren’t square… so its going to look crooked. I guess thats what I get for working with a helper…

The plan is to have it 8ft long, by 4ft wide, this creating an assembly table of sorts. The bracings on the legs should permit me to have a bottom shelf, once I get around to making it.

My question is: Should I run pieces of 2×4 around the outside of the table top, or will it be fine as it is? The table frame will be boxed with members running across the grain of the boards every 2ft, although at the ends and on the sides will be a 3-6in overhang…

Also, should I put hardboard on top of this, or is it better to have a solid wood top, rather than hardboard ontop of solid wood…

And my final question: I want to add a power strip to the workbench, since I am forever fighting extension cords. My plan was to mount it, then run an extension cord under the piece of carpet that will be infront of it, so that its less of a triping hazard, yet I can still get juice without having to find an extension cord every time I want to drill something, or jigsaw something… Should I mount this on the table top? How should I keep dust out of it? OR is it better to hardwire it? My helper(grandfather) just said that he could figure out how to hardwire it in, hes just not sure how to run it across the floor…. So I guess I could in that case use a regular outlet(maybe the outdoors type, so that theres a cover.)

I hope I made a little sense….

Thank you.

Ill post pictures in the end…

-- "Ah, So your not really a newbie, but a I betterbie."


16 replies so far

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Gregn

1642 posts in 2449 days


#1 posted 08-30-2010 03:19 AM

First off Welcome to LJ’s. Wow, there will be a lot of storage space underneath the work bench top. What are your plans for all that space? Will you be installing cabinets and drawers under there or will it be used as lumber storage. I’m assuming that this bench will never be moved once built. As for the top it depends on what you plan to do. If I were going to build a bench of that size I would be thinking about building a torsion box for the top of this bench. As for the electric situation and overhead drop would be an option. I have one of those reel style cords that I can pull down to use and give a slight jerk to put it up out of the way.

-- I don't make mistakes, I have great learning lessons, Greg

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Manitario

2402 posts in 2348 days


#2 posted 08-30-2010 03:43 AM

Welcome to LJ’s. My personal preference, having just built my first workbench would be to have a hardboard or MDF top; it is a nice uniform smooth surface and is easy to replace once you destroy it!
As for the electrical question; is your workbench up against a wall or in the middle of your shop? If it is against a wall, you may find it easiest to add in another receptacle above the bench with a power bar plugged into it and mounted on the underside of your bench.

-- Sometimes the creative process requires foul language. -- Charles Neil

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newbiewoodworker

668 posts in 2292 days


#3 posted 08-30-2010 04:42 AM

Greg: Hehe.. for a small shop that I have(11×24) I wanted to make sure that I have plenty of room to put my tools.. and projects… I dont plan for any shelves accept the one I mentioned. That will be tool storage. Unfortunately I havent brought myself to buy too many tools yet… since I am still deciding my priorities interms of balancing the costs of tools with that of projects… the only thing I have is a bandsaw(odd choice, but I felt that it would be one of the safest… although I forgot that is what my butcher uses to size my steaks.. :O ) as well as a few hammers, a jigsaw, a few drills, etc. I wanted somewhere I could securely place my tools, that isnt the floor… (I have shelves that will be used for tools that arent in use for the project…)

People say I have an organization issue… so maybe this will make things a little less cluttered..

As for the drop style… I wouldnt need a reel, since my ceilings are not but more than 7ft in height. Its a raised Ranch… so the garage is under my bedroom… this meaning that they cut my workshop short on space….

Manitario: I would do that, but that wouldnt be able to take the pounding of missed blows I dont think…. much less in a quiet manor…

As for your question: Not 150% certain yet… I want it in the middle, but fear that it might be in the way should I decide to add a table saw… but then I guess I could but it up against the back wall and use it 2 sided… as a long outfeed table…

-- "Ah, So your not really a newbie, but a I betterbie."

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Lee Barker

2170 posts in 2316 days


#4 posted 08-30-2010 06:16 AM

Some thoughts: Be sure you allow enough overhand so you can clamp things to the top.

2×6 material, unless you have a planer and clamps, isn’t going to give you a flat surface. 1 inch MDF or 1 1/8 plywood would be flatter and plenty strong. 3/4 ply would be amazingly adequate.

In 8’ of my work table I have two double duplex electrical boxes—8 receptacles total—just under the lip of the benchtop. Wiring is internal, and on the least traveled side the supply wire is on the floor, covered with a little ramp thingy I made out of plywood and Bondoed to the concrete. You can also buy the rubber kind from office supply places.

-- "...in his brain, which is as dry as the remainder biscuit after a voyage, he hath strange places cramm'd with observation, the which he vents in mangled forms." --Shakespeare, "As You Like It"

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Gregn

1642 posts in 2449 days


#5 posted 08-30-2010 07:51 PM

Wow, 11’ x 24’ shop and a 8’ x 4’ workbench. Might I suggest downsizing your workbench size some. You may find yourself needing some of that space when you acquire more tools. Your handle tells me that you haven’t acquired a specialized niche yet where you have all the tools needed to fill that niche. I think as you get into woodworking more you will be surprised at the tools you will have acquired. May I suggest a workbench design that you could make to fit the size of your shop better and give you clamping ability as well.
http://www.finewoodworking.com/Workshop/WorkshopArticle.aspx?id=28530
I have a 12’ x 30’ shop and plan to make this bench 6’ x 3’ for my shop. Not trying to tell you what to do but maybe give you some food for thought.

-- I don't make mistakes, I have great learning lessons, Greg

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newbiewoodworker

668 posts in 2292 days


#6 posted 08-30-2010 08:32 PM

I havent found a true specialized niche, but I do tend to do pretty much eyerything I need. Built a desk, cause my computer almost fell over, built a picnic table(when I was 8) cause the previous one collapsed when everybody was sitting at it..(I do admit.. I assisted on this one, because I hadnt the experience with powertools..), built a workbench at age 5… but as you can imagine… it was made for someone about 2ft less than my height now…. strong like ox, built only with plywood and nails… ten years later, after being neglected,mistreated, etc, its still standing…atleast till I break it down…

Eventually I plan to add: Jointer, Planer(soon, particularly if the 2×6s dont make a flat surface), air nailer/stapler, table saw (My eye is on one of those CMan ones), not 100% about a lathe, a Mill, and some hand tools, such as planes, chisels, better modern jigsaw, newer drills(Built after the Korean War is preferable), circular saw, you get the point.

That an eventually I am going to insulate the garage, so that will decrease the size of the garage by maybe 6in…

-- "Ah, So your not really a newbie, but a I betterbie."

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Gregn

1642 posts in 2449 days


#7 posted 08-31-2010 12:02 AM

Ah, So your not really a newbie, but a I betterbie. LOL Well it will certainly be interesting to see pics when your finished. Look forward to seeing shop pics as well.

-- I don't make mistakes, I have great learning lessons, Greg

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newbiewoodworker

668 posts in 2292 days


#8 posted 08-31-2010 12:51 AM

If I can find my phone maybe Ill post a few pictures…

Its not 100% complete… tonight I may very well apply a cut-coat of poly to the top… as well as the required first “ding” to get rid of that new feeling… The last thing to do will be to apply the electrical… but we are still contimplating whether to run it up the ceiling, then used it as a drop plug, or to afix it to the bench… and in that… where on the bench…

I think I will end up running her through a planer(I have decided its a definate buy for me…) so I dont know if poly is a good idea in the end…

-- "Ah, So your not really a newbie, but a I betterbie."

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newbiewoodworker

668 posts in 2292 days


#9 posted 08-31-2010 04:51 AM

Okay, as promised, here are some brief photos of the current progress.

This is the old one:

The old bench

This is the new one: ( I know that some of the boards are bowed…)

The new one

The shelf below:

The shelf below

Images of the framing(note 2 pieces on the underside of the bench are missing, I am waiting for my grandfather to bring down the chop saw to do them… since I cant cut too square on the circular saw):

Frame

More of the underside/storage rack, along with the bandsaw:

Rack/BS

I always deliever images… since no images.. it didnt happen… Sorry about the quality… I blaim LG…

Definately open to comments.

Also, note that I havent run the electrics to the bench yet, and I may well slide the bench down so that its workable from 3 sides, not 4, so that I can have room for other tools..

-- "Ah, So your not really a newbie, but a I betterbie."

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newbiewoodworker

668 posts in 2292 days


#10 posted 08-31-2010 06:07 AM

Ahh… crap… I forgot to include what it has cost me thus far: $100.13…. But I still have to get a box of screws, and perhaps another flouresent light… And a planer.. but I wont factor that in…

-- "Ah, So your not really a newbie, but a I betterbie."

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SABL

2 posts in 2290 days


#11 posted 08-31-2010 10:19 PM

Gonna hit you guys with my very first post and mention 2 (3 actually) very dirty words to any wood worker….plastic laminate and melamine. How’d I do??

I’ve worked on many benches over the years but the best ones are clad with either of the 2 materials I just mentioned. If you can get your hands on a “miscut” 1 3/4” solid core door (gotta know a commercial door supplier…and they do make mistakes every day)) and laminate the surface with P/L you will have a durable surface that glues will not bond to. Cleanup is easy with a scraper or “5-way” and larger projects slide easily on the surface. If you build the bench at the same height as your table saw it can be used as an infeed or outfeed table. Paste wax should be applied prior to use and silicone spray can keep the surface slick to allow for easy manipulation of materials and preventing glues/adhesives from taking hold.

Melamine clad PB will be the cheaper alternative but I have only seen 3/4” as the max thickness. It is available in 1 side and can be use in conjunction with 3/4” MDF to achieve a sturdy surface and 1 1/2” thickness. Either work surface can take a beating and last for years…even in a commercial shop. The melamine surface can be attached from underneath with 1 1/4” type “W” drywall screws and easily replaced without destroying the whole bench or making a big production out of a simple task.

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newbiewoodworker

668 posts in 2292 days


#12 posted 08-31-2010 11:30 PM

I would try to ask it on another thread… versus someone elses.

-- "Ah, So your not really a newbie, but a I betterbie."

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patron

13538 posts in 2806 days


#13 posted 08-31-2010 11:47 PM

you can get a ‘raceway’ electrical outlet that can be hardwired direct ,
at any big box store ,
they are about i 1/2 ” wide ,
and from 4’ to 8’ long .
they have 3 prong outlets about every 6” .
tuck it on the top rail ,
out of the sawdust ,
or just get one of those multi-outlets and
screw it on the bench rail , or a leg .
run a single plug extension cord however you like ,
an just plug it in .
some have a rocker switch that even lights up ,
and a breaker to reset them .

-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

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newbiewoodworker

668 posts in 2292 days


#14 posted 09-01-2010 02:05 AM

Hmmm good idea; But.. my grandfather has a bunch of duplex outlets and such that he is willing to let me have… since they were his fathers, and havent been touched since he passed 10 years ago… (He was an electrican… that extension cord thats in the picture is homemade.. wouldnt meet inspectors standards… but works like a charm… I guess thats what happens when you are in a trade for X amount of years..)

Since that is available, I figure that I might as well take the cheap option rather than pay for a raceway.. all I have to buy is conduit..

He has a bunch of stuff he wants to give me, since he doesnt use it, and it was his fathers… He wanted to give me a bench grinder, but I told him that I havent use for it (I don’t have chisels.. or a lathe/gouges).. He is also sending down a big old vice, its not a woodworking vice, but if its the one I remember, its strong like ox… He doesnt woodwork.. so he hasnt the use for many of these things… Although he does a small amount of utilitarian carpentry…

-- "Ah, So your not really a newbie, but a I betterbie."

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patron

13538 posts in 2806 days


#15 posted 09-01-2010 02:12 AM

you could mount them on the legs ,
facing each other ,
(so they are out of the way of clamping)
have them on all corners ,
wire up inside rail ,
out of the way .

-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

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