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Naked Woodworker Bench vs English Woodworker Bench for newish woodworker?

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Forum topic by SMP posted 08-29-2018 05:58 PM 2112 views 0 times favorited 14 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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SMP

17 posts in 26 days


08-29-2018 05:58 PM

I have collected various hand and power tools over the years and have built various furniture and boxes etc. But more DIY stuff, kreg jig construction etc. But its time to build a proper bench and I want to start using more hand tools. My latest project was a wedding album box with handcut dovetails. I would like to have a better place to make things like this rather than clamping things to my table saw. And would like to gather a complete set of hand tools. After doing some research, I think what makes the most sense for me time wise, skill, and financially, is either the Naked Woodworker bench, or the English Woodworker workbench. I don’t want to buy both sets of videos since I would rather put the money into tools, as I still need better saws, and some planes etc. But am wondering which of these plans would be best for somebody trying to gain skills and build a decent bench.
Does either of these video series have more/better tips for learning skills for a newbie?
Are either bench better at scaling down to the size I need? I have 5-6 feet for a bench, I think these are larger and would need to be scaled down.
Can the Naked Woodworker bench have a vise added later if I feel I need it?

If anyone has purchased one or both of these videos and can give pros and cons that would be much appreciated.

Thanks
Steve


14 replies so far

View therealSteveN's profile

therealSteveN

1237 posts in 695 days


#1 posted 08-30-2018 05:31 AM

Never one to tell folks not to spend $$$$$$ But before you do, have you exhausted woodworking benches at you tube

Many are a series of a build, possibly copies of one of the benches you are thinking about, or possibly after looking them over you may change course.

My suggestion to anyone who doesn’t have a clear idea of exactly which bench they want to build is to start the journey making one of the weekend built 100 dollar benches. Just make sure you make it to be flat, or adjustable so it can be made flat/level. Once you have a bench you will see projects become easier because of that flat and level surface to work on, ability to add vises, dog holes, and all the other. There are several plans out there to build such a bench for free.

Plus it will allow you to evaluate what you may want to do different on a second bench. I have a theory if you do woodworking for 25 years or so, you’ll probably be on bench 4 or 5 by then. You don’t have to keep them all, but you will build or seriously redo at some point.

-- Think safe, be safe

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waho6o9

8362 posts in 2697 days


#2 posted 08-30-2018 12:13 PM

https://paulsellers.com/?s=workbench+

HTH and welcome to Lumber Jocks SMP.

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Mr_Pink

123 posts in 492 days


#3 posted 08-30-2018 12:47 PM

I’ve seen neither of these bench videos, but I have watched a few of Richard Maguire’s video series. I think he’s an excellent, thoughtful instructor; and I doubt you’ll regret buying one of his series.

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LittleShaver

367 posts in 740 days


#4 posted 08-30-2018 01:02 PM

I’ve lost track of the number of benches I’ve built over the years. The only one I’ve kept came from a GM Pattern-maker shop with a Emmert vise attached. A neighbor recently gave me some old planks that came from a bridge, so I’m now starting a Moravian Bench. It also gives me a chance to use the wooden screw and nut I picked up a flea market a few years ago for the vise.

The Paul Sellers bench build is worth watching even if you choose a different design.

There is no perfect bench, there is just to one that works for you for now.

-- Sawdust Maker

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therealSteveN

1237 posts in 695 days


#5 posted 08-31-2018 03:47 AM

A lot of the info in any bench build could help a guy making any bench. Methods of joining top to frame, cabinets beneath, sheesh too many possibilities to state. It’s all on the journey, just depends on which path you choose to take.

LittleShaver I thought I had built some benches, I think I am now on #11. I know some guys that call me a slacker though.

-- Think safe, be safe

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woodbutcherbynight

5545 posts in 2529 days


#6 posted 08-31-2018 03:52 AM



There is no perfect bench, there is just to one that works for you for now.

- LittleShaver

Could not agree more. Make a plan, build it, wear it out, learn what you liked or did not like and make another. repeat as many times as you like.

Or the money and beer run out.

LOL

-- Live to tell the stories, they sound better that way.

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Woodknack

12340 posts in 2501 days


#7 posted 08-31-2018 04:31 AM

SMP, I can see why you can’t decide, they look the same. One is 3 boards wide while the other is 2 boards wide. Both based on the English carpenter bench. In America there are similar designs that showed up in carpentry books around the late 1800’s – early 1900’s. I think it’s a good design, can’t go wrong with any of them.

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

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Sylvain

713 posts in 2620 days


#8 posted 08-31-2018 04:16 PM

Even if you choose another model afterwards, watch the Paul Sellers video ; they are free.
One important difference between the Naked bench and the Paul Sellers one is that Paul Sellers uses wedges which can compensate any workbench leg shrinkage.

The Paul Sellers can be knocked down if need be (moving) but if you need one that can be assembled or knocked down in minutes, the Moravian workbench is a good way to go. You can buy a video but otherwise the extensive article on the “eclectic mechanicals” site might be sufficient (if you wander how to do any operation you probably will find a Paul Sellers video on how to proceed).

My P.Sellers bench is 1m50 long.
It is easy to scale it up or down (length, width, height). In his old videos , P. Sellers made a double one (with a central tool well). Those old videos are also worth looking at.

-- Sylvain, Brussels, Belgium, Europe - The more I learn, the more there is to learn

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SMP

17 posts in 26 days


#9 posted 09-10-2018 06:02 PM

Thanks all for the input. I did in fact watch the Paul Sellers videos, great stuff! One thing I heard is that you have to be careful with his as he makes everything look easy, much easier than it actually is. Also, I don’t have the proper clamps for a laminated top, which is why I was aiming for one of the plank top Nicholsons. I’ve watched a lot of videos on YouTube as well and a lot of great builds, but none really go into detail or technique. I ended up buying the English Woodworker course/videos. I’ve only watched the first 2 videos and I have to say I am impressed so far. He is showing in great detail how to cut a lot of interesting joinery by hand with cheap tools, to show you don’t need any fancy tools to do this. Which is perfect for me as I am slowly building up my hand tool collection and need to learn these techniques. He also shows how to do this without a bench, using the planks for the top on top of 2 saw horses as a temporary workbench, and using a wedge under one plank as a saw stop, but also explains how you could do certain steps if you had a bench or vise, etc. Its clear to me now that I first need to get a proper sharpening setup for my chisels, as he is doing a lot of this by hand with chisels as training/practice for learning chisel techniques. Once I get my chisels nice and sharp I’ll start gathering lumber for the build. I am thinking of using Alder, as I can’t get SYP here, and the sugar pine here is riddled with knots and actually more than alder for the clear 8/4 stock.

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Sylvain

713 posts in 2620 days


#10 posted 09-11-2018 08:54 AM

Skill needs practice. Paul Sellers has been woodworking 6 days a week for about 45 years. In his video he nevertheless has slips from time to time and you will hear him say “oops”.

Some essential videos:
- to understand how the chisel’s bevel works to shear the wood fiber and how to make a mortise (I must have looked at this one at least 20 times).
- using a guide to make your mortise straight and meeting in the middle when working from either side.
- preparing a chisel
- restoring and setting a plane
- making a router to build his workbench
- planing technique
- stock preparation 1 & 2
One of his essential advise: work with sensitivity. In particular, when sawing, let the saw do the work.
When chiseling a mortise, listen to the sound change when one more mallet whack would be too much (and ineffective).
His marking method (“knife wall”) works very well for me.
He has more than 220 video
blog about sawing and practice.

-- Sylvain, Brussels, Belgium, Europe - The more I learn, the more there is to learn

View waho6o9's profile (online now)

waho6o9

8362 posts in 2697 days


#11 posted 09-11-2018 01:29 PM

His marking method (“knife wall”) works very well for me.

+1

View Bill White's profile

Bill White

5054 posts in 4081 days


#12 posted 09-11-2018 01:51 PM

I would (at the risk of attracting angst from some) question the use of alder. It is a pretty soft wood. Pretty is not a disclaimer. It is gorgeous wood, but will dent easily. Might wanna consider a tougher wood.

-- bill@magraphics.us

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mramseyISU

542 posts in 1666 days


#13 posted 09-11-2018 02:01 PM

Here’s what I would suggest before making a decision. Go buy a a book with a lot of benches in it like one of the Chris Schwarz books. I have the red one and spent months reading and re-reading it. There are so many good ideas in there that you can beg, borrow and steal during your build.

I ended up settling on a mostly holtzapffel after reading the book.

-- Trust me I'm an engineer.

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SMP

17 posts in 26 days


#14 posted 09-12-2018 09:10 PM



I would (at the risk of attracting angst from some) question the use of alder. It is a pretty soft wood. Pretty is not a disclaimer. It is gorgeous wood, but will dent easily. Might wanna consider a tougher wood.

- Bill White

Yeah, I read Richards thoughts on choosing wood for this build https://www.theenglishwoodworker.com/best-wood-for-workbench-building/
In my area, I can’t get SYP, which I have seen people use. I have also seen a lot of builds of nicholsons using construction grade doug fir, but all the stuff I see here is really wet and when dried I have had some boards twist like crazy. I can buy rough alder 8/4 about the same price as doug fir 2x material. I can get poplar for about double that, and ash for a bit more than that. All 4 of these choices seem to be similar janka ratings more or less. Where as a hardwood will cost me 4 or 5 times that amount. I suppose, however, that I could do what Richard suggests as using a nicer wood on the front top, the “work” section.

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