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1st Post, HF bench hotrodded ?

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Forum topic by FlaMick posted 11-15-2013 07:01 PM 878 views 0 times favorited 5 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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FlaMick

9 posts in 1520 days


11-15-2013 07:01 PM

I’m retired with 150 sq. ft shop (1/2 of one stall garage), I would love a big, beautiful high dollar bench but Santa is not going to bring it. HF 60” woodworking bench for $112 seemed to be my best starting point, that wouldn’t buy much material at big box store. I’ve got to be happy with what I got! Need advice on anything else I can do to improve this bench or as I call it ” Hotrodding it”?The bench is half way done, any ideas?
I’ve added four 1/2” steel rods front to back and side to side. I’m using Titebond glue on every thing I can. I added 1”x3” oak bracing for the bottom shelf. The stock top is only 3/4” so I added three layers of leftover plywood to add an additional 1-1/2”, leaving room for the vices. I need advice on what I can do to improve the the end vice that came with it, I’m spending some of the saved money to put a good front vice on it, but not sure what to buy? The top had 1/2” dog holes? Using a MDF jig I bored these out to 3/4” with a Foster bit to use my bench dogs and holdfasts. I’ll finish everything with three coats of polyurethane prior to final assembly.
I want to add 3” to the feet to bring the overall height up and also a caster system like the Rockler for mobility. Any ideas of the best way to do this?
I will be using the bench mostly for carving and small box building but still trying to make the most bench I can out of what I have.


5 replies so far

View crank49's profile

crank49

3981 posts in 2438 days


#1 posted 11-15-2013 08:15 PM

Have you done anything to prevent racking? I’d look at that if you haven’t already.

I have had terrible luck with front vises.
Look at this thread.
http://lumberjocks.com/topics/54526
I responded to this post with a picture of the vise I have had the best luck with.
I don’t have one, but a leg vise would also be good, I think. Bottom line, a vise that binds up when you try to clamp something is nothing but pure frustration.

-- Michael: Hillary has a long list of accomplishments, though most DAs would refer to them as felonies.

View Airframer's profile

Airframer

3041 posts in 1420 days


#2 posted 11-15-2013 08:21 PM

Honestly.. I would remove the top and buld a sturdier base for it. You can use construction grade 2×4’s and it wouldn’t cost all that much. The tops on those are a good starting point but the base is the weak point.

-- Eric - "I'm getting proficient with these hand jobbers. - BigRedKnothead"

View brtech's profile

brtech

906 posts in 2390 days


#3 posted 11-15-2013 08:29 PM

In terms of a front vise, I have the “quick release front vise” from:
http://www.ptreeusa.com/woodworking_vise.htm

My bench isn’t completely finished, but I have it mounted and it seems very functional.

You could consider dropping the vise that comes with the bench and building a wagon vise, either using the screw that came with it, or this one:
http://www.leevalley.com/US/wood/page.aspx?p=41664&cat=1,41659,41661,41664

View FlaMick's profile

FlaMick

9 posts in 1520 days


#4 posted 11-15-2013 09:28 PM

I thought the 1”x3” additional framing added under the shelf combined with the 1/2” steel rods would tighten the whole the frame. I’m thinking of enclosing the back of the frame in one piece of 1/2” plywood? That would stop it from racking. Maybe reinforcing the cross member just below the drawers? I think it will be solid enough remembering I usually only working with smaller projects ex. Under 10 lbs. a good front bench would help with dovetail sawing etc.

View unbob's profile

unbob

719 posts in 1371 days


#5 posted 11-15-2013 11:50 PM

Hey there! I bought one of those benches to buy some time, and to get an idea on how I want to build a bench later on. This is what I did, and its working really pretty good. I did replace the end vise, using a heavier screw, and added a leg vise.

http://lumberjocks.com/topics/53194

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