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Forum topic by NicholasS posted 12-20-2011 06:17 AM 2048 views 0 times favorited 17 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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NicholasS

23 posts in 1814 days


12-20-2011 06:17 AM

I do not have any woodworking experience but I am eager to start learning. One of the first things that I thought I would need is a workbench. I did a lot of researching and thought I would make “Bob and Daves good,fast,cheap bench”. But I do have this old table that Im thinking, with some adjustments, could work as a workbench.

The top piece of wood isn’t in great shape and could be replaced to make it more level.

also, I would like it if the front legs and the top of the bench were flush to make a good surface to clamp boards to so I think I would have to glue up some wood to the legs and frame to accomplish this.

Then I just add some holes in the top and legs for holdfasts and get a couple vises and I think I’m done. What do you think? I would like to skip the bench building, if I can, until I have a little more experience and know what I want in a bench.


17 replies so far

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile

Smitty_Cabinetshop

13712 posts in 2078 days


#1 posted 12-20-2011 06:35 AM

Go down the legs w/ some stock 2x material, and join pieces at the top and maybe 10” off the floor to stabilize it and you may have something. Cut off the edge of whatever may still overhang if you have to. It could work for awhile, and then you’ll have a better idea what you need in a bench… Go for it, as long as uou’re enthusiasm to make it work is strong, anything is possible.

-- Don't anthropomorphize your handplanes. They hate it when you do that. -- OldTools Archive --

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Viking

878 posts in 2655 days


#2 posted 12-20-2011 06:42 AM

Nicholas;

A couple of suggestions to consider;

1. Remove the existing legs and replace with some made from two laminated 2×4’s to give the ability to support a bit more weight and added stability.

2. Once you have ability to support more weight, replace the top with two thickness of 3/4” MDF with maybe a sheet of 1/4” hardboard to provide a sacrificial top. Hold fasts or bench dogs will never hold in a single thickness of plywood and a decent side or end vise would probably sag your present top.

There are some great plans to make simple workbenches from basically 2 x materials available to have a real work bench for low cost. Saw a pretty good one on Woodsmith.com that would be easy to build and give your sturdy construction. And there are many other plans out there as well.

Log on to Woodsmith.com, find link to videos / plans from their TV shows and look for Episode 206: Easy-to-Build Weekend Workbench

Good luck!

-- Rick Gustafson - Lost Creek Ranch - Colorado County, Texas

View Don W's profile

Don W

17955 posts in 2027 days


#3 posted 12-20-2011 06:30 PM

I see a miter saw and a hand plane which leads me to believe you want to do some hand tool work. Your bench needs to be stable. I worked for 10 years on benches with 3/4” plywood top, so it can work. I was doing it for a living at the time.

As Smitty stated, you’ll need to stabilize it. Along with stretcher (I think that’s what he was saying) add some weight or attach it to the wall. Adding weight allows it to free standing so you can walk around it as you show it now. Use the stretchers to stack lumber, add cement blocks, bags of sand, bolt it to the floor, anything to hold it solid.

Ricks idea for adding more beef to the top is a good one as well. The heavier you make it the better. As he states, to use dog holes, it will be required, and they are way more convenient, but there are other ways around them if you don’t have the means right now to do that.

As you use it, you will discover its inefficiencies and you’ll figure out how to fix them. You will be making improvements to your shop equipment for the rest of your life. Its part of the fun of woodworking.

-- Master hand plane hoarder. - http://timetestedtools.net

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Smitty_Cabinetshop

13712 posts in 2078 days


#4 posted 12-20-2011 06:44 PM

Yeah, if it’s got lags holding it together now, the first time you push a jack plane hard across anything the table is going to dance… Stretchers + weight = stability. The thicker top, as viking said, will go a long way to making holdfasts workable. 3/4” isn’t enough.

But this is all encouragement, Nicholas! Also, if you don’t already own it, get a copy of Chris Schwarz’ first Workbenches book. It talks in detail about proven attributes of benches that work, and that last. It’ll help you mod this one to get the most out of it, for sure.

-- Don't anthropomorphize your handplanes. They hate it when you do that. -- OldTools Archive --

View Don W's profile

Don W

17955 posts in 2027 days


#5 posted 12-20-2011 06:54 PM

Smitty hit the nail on the head. This is all encouragement.

Even though I have 3 decent workbenches now (maybe more if you count my outfeed table), One of my last endevors was on saw horses. Part of the fun is making what you have work. The last few boards I was sitting on the board planing. The sitting was for two reasons, first I was dead tired, second, the horses needed the weight.

-- Master hand plane hoarder. - http://timetestedtools.net

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RGtools

3372 posts in 2114 days


#6 posted 12-20-2011 07:10 PM

Smitty and Don already hit the key points on getting this one functional so I won’t repeat them.

Bob and Daves bench is pretty darn solid if you intend to build it. You could build it very easily on a modified version of this table. I did basically the same thing.

Brace this bench against a wall and build your top first.

-- Make furniture that lasts as long as the tree - Ryan

View NicholasS's profile

NicholasS

23 posts in 1814 days


#7 posted 12-20-2011 08:02 PM

Thanks for all the replies. I’ll see what I can do about replacing the legs. I’ll see if I can get some MDF for the top but Im a little hesitant, It sounds like that stuff is pretty toxic. If I replace the legs and the top and add stretchers I think I just built a new bench though, which might be a better idea.

RGtools: If I do make that Bob and Daves bench what size boards would you use for the top? I know they say to use 2×4s and I think, from looking at your bench, thats what you used but I would think using something bigger would be easier to plane and glue up. Maybe 4×4s for the top and 4×6s for the legs?

Also, does anyone have any good ideas on what would be good cheap tail and face vises? It seems thats where most of the money on a bench goes.

View Don W's profile

Don W

17955 posts in 2027 days


#8 posted 12-20-2011 08:36 PM

Nicholas
I bought all of my vises used except for my twin veritas. Flea markets, craiglist and ebay can be your friend. You may even want to post on the tool forum here and see if anyone has one. If I remember correctly, smitty just sold a nice one a while back.

-- Master hand plane hoarder. - http://timetestedtools.net

View TCCcabinetmaker's profile

TCCcabinetmaker

930 posts in 1814 days


#9 posted 12-20-2011 08:45 PM

If you need to do this much work to this table to use it as a main work bench, I’d suggest starting from scratch. It will probably save time and energy to not have to tear apart and replace. Use this old table as an auxilary assembly table or work bench.

-- The mark of a good carpenter is not how few mistakes he makes, but rather how well he fixes them.

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile

Smitty_Cabinetshop

13712 posts in 2078 days


#10 posted 12-20-2011 08:53 PM

If you do a leg vise, the hardware for that is inexpensive. A very versatile vise, too.

-- Don't anthropomorphize your handplanes. They hate it when you do that. -- OldTools Archive --

View RGtools's profile

RGtools

3372 posts in 2114 days


#11 posted 12-20-2011 09:16 PM

I should have shared this link on my post earlier as well. It includes some good modifications to make to the bob and dave bench. I really think that bench is worth building. It’s serving me very well.

http://lumberjocks.com/RGtools/blog/24979

edit:

Also look for Schwarz 10 rules of building benches, that is solid information.

-- Make furniture that lasts as long as the tree - Ryan

View Don W's profile

Don W

17955 posts in 2027 days


#12 posted 12-20-2011 09:27 PM

there is an advantage to beefing up the table and using it for a while. If you’ve never done much woodworking you’re not going to know how you want to build your bench. Would it be best if the vise was on the left or the right, left end or right end? Would a tool tray be helpful or not? The questions are pretty endless. Beefing up the table and using it for a while will give you some indication of “how” you will use it, and a good solid table will be useful even after you’ve figured it out and built a beautiful bench.

-- Master hand plane hoarder. - http://timetestedtools.net

View TCCcabinetmaker's profile

TCCcabinetmaker

930 posts in 1814 days


#13 posted 12-20-2011 09:30 PM

If he’s replacing the legs, stretchers and top, he is building a new table :P

-- The mark of a good carpenter is not how few mistakes he makes, but rather how well he fixes them.

View Don W's profile

Don W

17955 posts in 2027 days


#14 posted 12-20-2011 09:37 PM

personaly I’d just add stretchers and weight, use it until I built a bench. Just screw or bolt the stretcher inside so you’re not kicking them, throw some plywood or lumber on it then make some sawdust on top.

-- Master hand plane hoarder. - http://timetestedtools.net

View wingate_52's profile

wingate_52

224 posts in 2029 days


#15 posted 12-20-2011 09:54 PM

How about a B&D Workmate. I have 2 and they can be really useful and versatile.

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