|Forum topic by upriver||posted 05-16-2011 05:46 AM||1612 views||0 times favorited||10 replies|
05-16-2011 05:46 AM
First post though longtime lurker. Love this place. I will do a proper intro and post some projects at some point but for now I need some guidance.
I would like to set up a woodworking bench so that I may learn more handtool and fine woodworking skills. I’ve been focusing on rough outdoor and home-improvement projects—lots of mitersaw and tablesaw use but not much fine joinery or anything like that. I am very eager to learn to work with dogs and vises, and especially hand planes.
I might have the space for a dedicated woodworking bench at some point, and I am attracted to the idea of building one. You kindof need one to make one, though! At the same time, I would like to start to dabble before I build or buy a dedicated bench.
I am not opposed to some hard work and some expenses (such as a vise or two).
To that end, I am considering converting an existing area of bench towards this purpose, but have some questions.
I am not sure what the existing bench is made of, though it seems likely it is douglas fir as that is a common wood around here. The beams it is made of are a bit rough, though very solid. They are 3” thick. I am thinking of convering this with something like ApplePly. MDF was my first thought but I was told that it will not hold up to the abuse dogholes receive, they will erode and become mishapen. The bench is perfectly level according to my 48” level, but not smooth.
1) Is it a bad idea to “convert” a bench like this rather than making a new one for some reason?
2) If converting is wise, what is the best surface material? I do not believe strength is important as the existing wood is incredibly solid. It just needs a smooth top layer, which can stand up to have the dogholes bored and used.
3) As the existing bench is wall-mounted and continues beyond the “woodworking” area, I only have access to 2 sides, the 6’ long front” and the 3’ deep end. Initially I was considering starting with a vise like the Veritas twin-screw on the end. This would allow boards up to 6’ long to be easily worked. However, the more I think and learn, it seems that a front vise is a better choice. Perhaps the same one, although I wonder if it is in the way when mounted on the front. Any guidance here? I know it depends on what type of work one does, but I can’t answer that yet, because I don’t do much hand tooling yet, because I don’t have a bench! Aye the nested rubs…
Here are some pics to help show the situation. I want to “convert” the area the mitersaw is presently occupying, up to the vertical post, which is 6’ in from the edge. The bench grinder on the other side of the post will also be moved.
I sincerely appreciate any input and would be glad to elaborate if my descriptions and intentions do not make sense. Thanks!