|Forum topic by freixas||posted 11-26-2011 10:32 PM||14560 views||9 times favorited||27 replies|
11-26-2011 10:32 PM
NOTE: Edited on 11/29/11 to correct the images (exploded view missing, some images duplicated or in wrong place).
I’ve dabbled with woodworking for over 30 years, but I am only now starting to learn about fine woodworking techniques, so consider me a beginner. Like a lot of people, my first step is to put together a woodworking shop and the heart of a shop is the workbench. So I went to the library, got a lot of books on building workbenches and put together a design. I’m sure the design has problems and I’d like to see what you more experienced folks think. All critique is welcome.
Here’s an overview of the workbench design:
The workbench features T-track on all four legs, the two long sides and on the top. The T-track is intended to replace John White’s pipe clamps which themselves replaced the traditional bench vises. The top has removable panels. Although I don’t need them for the pipe clamps, I liked the idea of using them to create modular extensions to the bench. Here are some images that illustrate the features.
This first image shows how the top T-track can be used to clamp wood in a variety of ways. The “clamps” can be shaped as needed. The biggest problem I see is that these have a lot of height and could could get in the way. In the image above a piece of wood is clamped using shims to reduce the height problem.
Here is the planing beam as suggested by David Pruett. More T-track! The wood is held by planing wedges.
To hold the wood really tight, just add more planing wedges.
In this image, I replaced the middle section of the removable top with a router insert. I drew a crude fence (more T-track!). I know a router fence would be designed differently, but you get the idea.
Finally, here’s an exploded view of the whole thing.
Ok, drawing all this is relatively easy. Joining all the pieces into a solid, long-lasting workbench is another story.
I see a lot of bench tops that are assembled with splines, dowels or even metal rods. How necessary is this? The top is supported by four stout pieces of lumber and two endcaps. It seems to me that even the top boards weren’t fastened to each other, they are not going anywhere. Well, the top would slide on the supports unless it was attached, but it doesn’t seem like the boards that make up the top need more than to be glued together.
I tend to think in terms of screws and bolts for this project, so I’ll screw together the top and its perpendicular supports. Any tips? The top is made from lumber 1.5” x 3”, the supports are 2.25” thick. Should I screw down from the top (and cover the holes) or up from the bottom? Are there better ways to join these?
The long rails need to be fastened to the legs. I’d put a bolt through the center of their junction, but there’s T-track in the way.Suggestions? Also, what’s the best way to attach the legs to the base? Any tips on joinery would be great, the simpler the better.
I’d love to have the bench on lockable wheels, but the basemenet floor is not level. Any ideas for getting a level workbench in a basement other than making the table non-movable? That’s my current plan and the blocks under the trestle base will be adjusted to make the benchtop level.
A big mystery for me is planning for wood swelling and shrinking. Despite the multi-colored example, I’ll probably make the bench mostly out of the same kind of wood so I don’t think I’ll have to worry about differential shrinking rates.But there are several places where the grain of one piece runs perpendicular to that of another. The worst case is a 6’ board perpendicular to a 3’ board. How do you attach the pieces together so that they don’t warp or break?
Thanks for any tips, general or specific, big or small.