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Thread: Building a modern traditional work bench

  1. #1
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    Building a modern traditional work bench

    I got some hardware and some wood to build a bench but I haven't settled on a design yet. I am going to incorporate a leg vise and a twin screw end vise that I made, and possibly a shoulder vise of some kind. I was going to just glue together a bunch of 3" wide boards stood on edge to do the top. I want about a 30" top. In some of my research I see that some people have some problems with this due to the expanding and contracting causing the top to bow and such. I had an idea to make the top out of vertical and horizontal glue ups. One idea is to glue up 3 different tops out of 6" wide boards then laminate all of those together to end up with a 30" wide 3" thick top. My other idea is laminate 5 sets of 3 6" wide boards together then do a glue up of all of those. Would one of these methods produce a more stable top that is less likely to bow or warp with moisture change? Any thoughts for top construction or anything else for the bench.

  2. #2
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    Hi Dave, good luck in building your bench, I wish I could have a stand alone bench

    My best piece of advice is to get the book.....

    >> Workbenches: From Design And Theory To Construction And Use by Christopher Schwarz <<

    So much information in this book I honestly think that if you are going to build a bench you really should read this book.

    Best of luck, take lots of pictures!
    The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.
    William Arthur Ward

  3. #3
    Maybe you should have a look at the gluebo bench over at popular woodworking. They have all the info on it there and it was designed by the Schwarz.
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  4. #4
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    Gluebo Bench? I did a search for that on Popular woodworking .com and came up with 0 results. Do you have a link for it?

  5. #5
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    I found it, I saw that bench before and I like that Idea, I want to make this out of stuff I have so I would rather not have to buy LVL to make the top. My main concern is it I will have major problems with the top warping if I do a traditional workbench top glue up, ie, 4/4 or 8/4 boards stood on egde and glued together. I suppose I should buy one of those workbench books and read it.

  6. #6
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    Hi Dave I picked up the book " The work bench, a complete guide to creating your perfect bench " by Lon Schleining from lee valley when i was designing my bench. It had some good ideas and different styles. What are you going to do with your bench and why do things certain ways. Very helpful. I have hopes of getting mine completed this year if I ever get the time. 3 inch thick maple top and I am putting two full banks of drawers under my bench with full extension 150lbs slides for tool storage and have built it on locking wheels for mobility (though it is heavy enough without the locking wheels to roll freely). The twin screw clamp on one end and a tail vise on the other. This Forum has lots of advice too and look at past posts for pictures of what has been built before.
    Daily Thought: SOME PEOPLE ARE LIKE SLINKIES..... NOT REALLY GOOD FOR ANYTHING BUT THEY BRING A SMILE TO YOUR FACE WHEN PUSHED DOWN THE STAIRS...............

  7. #7
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    Have you looked at Garrett Hack's bench in the recent Tools and Shops issue of fine Woodworking? He glues up the top with the boards laying flat. He made three layers and staggered the joints which results in a sort of tongue and groove assembly.
    Last edited by Dave Richards; 01-04-2010 at 11:23 AM.
    Irony: The opposite of Wrinkly

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Richards View Post
    Have you looked at Garrett Hack's bench in the recent Tools and Shops issue of fine Woodworking? He glues up the top with the boards laying flat. He made three layers and staggered the joints which results in a sort of tongue and groove assembly. It's his second bench. The first lasted 30 years and from what I understand, he had no trouble with the top warping.
    Thats what I was thinking, I think I saw the bench but I didn't realize that was how he did the top.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Richards View Post
    Have you looked at Garrett Hack's bench in the recent Tools and Shops issue of fine Woodworking? He glues up the top with the boards laying flat. He made three layers and staggered the joints which results in a sort of tongue and groove assembly. It's his second bench. The first lasted 30 years and from what I understand, he had no trouble with the top warping.
    I don't think his first bench was built that way (three layer top), as I have a couple of books which show his old bench. I will confirm when I get back home tonight, but I believe it was just a single plank thickness laid with the flat sawn side down (not on edge). I have been meaning to email him on his bench to ask about way he believes his new bench is better than his old. The article never really gets into it, it just says he believes it to be an improvement.

  10. #10
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    I'm looking for a book about benches, was looking at the Workbench: A Complete Guide to Creating Your Perfect Bench
    and
    Workbenches: From Design And Theory To Construction And Use

    any thoughts one over the other? I assume that both are good books but if one is better than the other I would rather get the better one.

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