1st Post, HF bench hotrodded ?

  • Advertise with us

« back to Focus on the Workspace forum

Forum topic by FlaMick posted 11-15-2013 07:01 PM 1079 views 0 times favorited 5 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View FlaMick's profile


9 posts in 2257 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


4032 posts in 3175 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.
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.

View Airframer's profile


3043 posts in 2157 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


1052 posts in 3126 days

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

In terms of a front vise, I have the “quick release front vise” from:

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:,41659,41661,41664

View FlaMick's profile


9 posts in 2257 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


810 posts in 2107 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.

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics