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Forum topic by hondo13 posted 07-13-2017 03:33 AM 556 views 0 times favorited 18 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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hondo13

7 posts in 514 days


07-13-2017 03:33 AM

Topic tags/keywords: workbench

Hi everyone,

So I’m looking to build a new workbench in the next week or so, and wanted a few opinions on what I should do. First off I want a solid benchtop, I can’t decide between 2×4’s and 2×6’s. I’m on a low budget but is it worth it to pay more and do the 2×6’s? Or will 2×4’s be better? I am thinking of making it 8 foot long and 24” deep, and the height I don’t really know about, I’m about 5’9”- 5’10”, so any height suggestions would be awesome!

Thanks


18 replies so far

View KelleyCrafts's profile

KelleyCrafts

2817 posts in 733 days


#1 posted 07-13-2017 03:55 AM

If you’re going to use construction material I suggest watching this. It’s a great starter bench. There’s like 11 videos on the series and lots to learn.

https://youtu.be/ru2ZiNs_Wek

-- Dave - http://kelleycrafts.com/ - pen blanks - knife scales - turning tools

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Woodknack

11601 posts in 2374 days


#2 posted 07-13-2017 04:04 AM

2×4’s will be plenty thick enough. I prefer a bench that is 18-20” deep but that is a personal preference. I had benches that were 30” deep and tore them out. You didn’t mention a bench design so you probably have that figured out. There are lots of designs, the one Ki7ty posted is a popular option. Most of them are going to boil down to a thick top that is flush with the legs and most of the variation will be in the understructure. Unless you go Scandi but those are out of style at the moment. The common recommendation on height is knuckle level for general purpose hand tooling.

-- Rick M, http://thewoodknack.blogspot.com/

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hondo13

7 posts in 514 days


#3 posted 07-13-2017 04:09 AM

If you have any input on deigns themselves I’d love to hear.

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KelleyCrafts

2817 posts in 733 days


#4 posted 07-13-2017 04:10 AM

Oh, I absolutely agree with Rick. 20” is plenty mine is 30ish I think and wish it were thinner. I built the bench I linked and still use it. There are many things I would change but I’ll do that when I figure out my “forever bench” which I still haven’t figured out exactly after all this time. Too many options.

-- Dave - http://kelleycrafts.com/ - pen blanks - knife scales - turning tools

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KelleyCrafts

2817 posts in 733 days


#5 posted 07-13-2017 04:10 AM



If you have any input on deigns themselves I d love to hear.

- hondo13

If you want a cheap good bench the one I linked is cheap and good. Gets pretty pricey otherwise.

-- Dave - http://kelleycrafts.com/ - pen blanks - knife scales - turning tools

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hondo13

7 posts in 514 days


#6 posted 07-13-2017 04:12 AM



Oh, I absolutely agree with Rick. 20” is plenty mine is 30ish I think and wish it were thinner. I built the bench I linked and still use it. There are many things I would change but I’ll do that when I figure out my “forever bench” which I still haven’t figured out exactly after all this time. Too many options.

- ki7hy

would you suggest 20” or 24”? I was originally going to go with 36” but quickly changed that as I figured out thats way too big!

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Woodknack

11601 posts in 2374 days


#7 posted 07-13-2017 05:13 AM

Wide benches are good for assembly but for hand tool work, there is no need for a bench deeper than your arm. If it will be in the center of the shop and used for both hand and power tools then 24” might work out. Many people make the main part, the front, about 16-18” and then attach a tool well that extends out more. Gives you some versatility. But the meat and potatoes work will be done on the front of the bench where it’s comfortable.

-- Rick M, http://thewoodknack.blogspot.com/

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KelleyCrafts

2817 posts in 733 days


#8 posted 07-13-2017 05:18 AM

My next bench will likely be 20”. Saves space and it’s all you’ll need. Then make it however long you have space for. Mine will be 5.5’ likely because that’s mostly all I need and space is precious. I’ve thought this through a bunch. It’s the work holding stuff I can’t decide on for me and which wood I’ll use. So for now, I’ll be plenty happy keeping my Seller’s bench I made from those videos.

-- Dave - http://kelleycrafts.com/ - pen blanks - knife scales - turning tools

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KelleyCrafts

2817 posts in 733 days


#9 posted 07-13-2017 05:20 AM

I think Rick and I agree on this one. I also dig my tool well on the sellers bench but hate that it’s in the middle. One at the back would be nice. His advice is good here.

-- Dave - http://kelleycrafts.com/ - pen blanks - knife scales - turning tools

View HokieKen's profile

HokieKen

4960 posts in 1132 days


#10 posted 07-13-2017 11:48 AM



Hi everyone,

So I m looking to build a new workbench in the next week or so…

- hondo13

BAHAHAHAHAHAHAH! I wanted that too. I’ve been working on mine since August and I’m almost done. I spend close to a year prior to that designing it. Then again, I built my first one in one evening. Of course it wasn’t aimed specifically at woodworking either.

On the serious side, I think taking your time up front on the design is VERY worthwhile IF you plan to use this bench for a quite a while. If this is just a bench to use for a year or so until you’re ready to build your “real” bench, then just go at it.

There are lots of decisions to make that will have a big effect on how you can work. Aprons or no? Knock-down or permanent? What kind of vise(s)? Where to put the vise(s)? Storage below or open space? Dog holes? Round or square? Tool well? Big or small? Where? Etc, etc, etc….

My bench is 26” deep with a narrow well ~2/3 of the way to the back. As Rick suggests, my bench is in the middle of my shop so I can work from both sides and I use both power and hand tools. I also use my bench for assembly which is the reason for the narrow tool wells. I can still use the full bench for assembly when needed. If it were against a wall though, I’d probably have gone 20” with a shelf above it for tools or 24” with the back 4-6” as a well.

Construction lumber is commonly used to good results for benches. I’d recommend going with SYP if it’s available to you. It’s heavy and fairly hard for a soft wood. Doug fir is also a good choice. Personally, I’d buy it in 2×10 or 2×12 and rip down to the width needed. You’ll get straighter, clearer boards by buying thicker stuff and you’ll be able to be pickier about which parts you use.

Okay, that’s enough :-) Probably more than you bargained for. But I’ll follow the post so if you have more questions, I’ll be glad to chime in. Here's a blog I've been writing during my workbench build. Part 2 has details of my design if you’re interested.

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

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gargey

972 posts in 770 days


#11 posted 07-13-2017 12:06 PM

4” is more than enough.

View OleGrump's profile

OleGrump

167 posts in 339 days


#12 posted 07-13-2017 12:50 PM

A different workbench is on my list of pending projects, too. Some time ago, I was fortunate enough to score four eight-foot 2X6 boards from where I work. (A contractor was required to use them under a dumpster, so he put four brand new boards down, then left them once the dumpster was pulled…They fit very nicely in my truck bed!) Anyway, the plans is to use them for the top, which would make it 22 inches wide, which is plenty for a work bench. One thing I know I personally DON’T want in the top is a “tool tray”. A previous bench had one, and I filled it in with solid lumber within a year. (Kept filling up with sawdust and shavings) But that’s my personal choice.
Height is somewhat determined by the type of work you will be doing on the bench. You will want it a little lower for mostly hand tool use than you would for using mostly power tools. Most folks say to have the bench top at about the height of where your knuckles are from the floor for hand tool use. This allows comfortable positioning for planning, chiseling, sawing, etc.
I’m still considering some design options for the base, so the build can’t proceed until final decisions are made. In addition to the videos mentioned, try to check out the excellent reference source “The Workbench Book”. Yes, that’s REALLY the title! It’s full of great information.

-- OleGrump

View ChefHDAN's profile

ChefHDAN

1062 posts in 2843 days


#13 posted 07-13-2017 01:03 PM


Personally, I d buy it in 2×10 or 2×12 and rip down to the width needed. You ll get straighter, clearer boards by buying thicker stuff and you ll be able to be pickier about which parts you use.
- HokieKen

Agreed, with careful picking you can get boards that once ripped will be QS

-- I've decided 1 mistake is really 2 opportunities to learn.. learn how to fix it... and learn how to not repeat it

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bondogaposis

4719 posts in 2345 days


#14 posted 07-13-2017 01:06 PM

I highly recommend the “Workbench Design Book”. Link here. You need to think about what type of vises you like, your workbench should be built with the vise or vises in mind from the beginning. There is thread on this site called Workbench Smackdown, there are some really fine benches in there and a great place to get ideas.

-- Bondo Gaposis

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hondo13

7 posts in 514 days


#15 posted 07-13-2017 03:05 PM

Since I’m just starting out in woodworking, I don’t have a table saw so I don’t have the ability to rip a 2×10 or a 2×12 down. Since I know it’s hard to find straight 2×4’s in my situation would it be better to buy 2×6’s since they are easier to find straighter boards?

Also I’m not putting in any tools trays because I want the clean solid surface and this bench will be going up against a wall with a pegboard above.
If you have any suggestions of any kind I’m open, I’m wanting this bench to last me a long time so I want to make it the best I can.

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