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Thread: What kind of bench to build

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    34

    What kind of bench to build

    I have read the two books by Chris Schwarz and am still not sure what to build.
    At the moment I'm mostly a power tool guy, but hope to learn more about using hand tools and develop the necessary skills to make good quality furniture, boxes, cabinets,etc..
    LOML gave me a Veritas® Low-Angle Jack Plane which I’m told will work great to flatten some of the wider stock that doesn't fit my 6" Jointer. My current bench (4' x 8' x 3/4 sheet of MDF with 2x4 legs that serves as out feed/assembly table) doesn't give me the clamping capability required to use it properly.
    I’m thinking that I should build a smaller out feed table and a separate bench that can serve as an assembly surface. I'm interested in getting some advice on what type of bench to build and am interested in knowing what other wood workers use for a work bench.
    Bruce

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Tokyo Japan
    Posts
    15,807
    I love his book and I will one day be building a version of the Robu (sp?) bench.
    The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.
    William Arthur Ward

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Delton, Michigan
    Posts
    17,470
    i dont have one of the special benches i just have a 4x8 flat surface that i have a vice on and it doubles as my assembly table to.. so for me it was easier and more usable to make a bench that way rather than a real woodworking bench like the books show.. if yu have room in your shop make the most of your space and try for double duty bench -tables..
    If in Doubt, Build it Stout!
    One hand washes the other!
    Don't put off today till tomorrow!

  4. #4

    First off,

    that low-angle jack will do more than flatten. You should get rid of it now because you'll find so many uses for it that you'll want more and different kinds of planes. There are many of us who've slid down that particular slope. Doesn't take much of a nudge, either.

    The Roubo bench is remarkably adaptable to whatever woodworking style you practice.

    My own bench is a traditional European style that was described (plus plans) in the woodworking books by Tage Frid, nearly 30 years ago. Mine is made of 2X4's face laminated so the thing is 3.5" thick. It's about 6ft long and heavy. It has both tail and shoulder vises, with a row of dog holes 1.5" from the front. Although I love hand tools and use them on every project, truth is I'm a hybrid woodworker, a neanderdabbler, using whatever tool makes the most sense for a particular application. However, I do love chisels and planes. I don't have many saws, about 15 or so, but only 4-5 get used on a regular basis.

    Just 3 ft from my regular bench is an assembly bench that is 3' X 4' and stands about 26" high. It gets used for a lot of stuff.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Kansas City, Missouri
    Posts
    13,437
    I'm planning to do the same as Larry and build some tables to use for assembly as well as the same height as my table saw so they can be used for out-feed and support. I would like to have one bench just for clamping things down too though.
    Darren

    To a small child, the perfect granddad is unafraid of big dogs and fierce storms but absolutely terrified of the word “boo.” – Robert Brault

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Delton, Michigan
    Posts
    17,470

    better idea of what i meant:)

    this what i meant by dual purpose bench bruce.. and it will soon have another vice on it and some dog holes..
    Click image for larger version. 

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    If in Doubt, Build it Stout!
    One hand washes the other!
    Don't put off today till tomorrow!

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by larry merlau View Post
    this what i meant by dual purpose bench bruce.. and it will soon have another vice on it and some dog holes..
    Click image for larger version. 

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    Larry

    Is that a Stainless top?....hard to tell from the pic

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Posts
    810
    .,.,.,
    Last edited by John Bartley; 11-27-2010 at 01:17 PM.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by John Bartley View Post
    Yup, I agree. You can do the same work on a big plain cheap bench as you can on a bench that's a masterpiece of woodworking and joinery. You can also pound, drill, screw to, paint on, modify it to fit the job, and when it's served its purpose and paid for itself 34-1/2 times over, you can burn it for heat and not feel bad. OTOH.....if making a fancy bench is what does it for you, then don't be shy .... go for it. Personally I'll stick with plain big ugly ones, and put the time and money towards tools and projects instead.

    just my $0.02

    cheers

    John
    I agree with that, and that's why I made mine from pine 2X4's. I've dropped routers with spinning bits, rebuilt motorcycle engines, stained projects, slipped with chisels, drilled holes, drove nails and screws into it, and not once have I worried about the bench. When it gets out of flat, then out come the planes and belt sanders. Same for when it gets dirty.

    However, a steel top would not work for me. I don't lay planes on their sides, and my chisels occasionally do slip. That just wouldn't work with a steel top.

    Trophy benches are beauties to behold, but if I can't use it, it's absolutely no good to me.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Reno NV
    Posts
    13,357
    I think if I was more of an artist and had a dedicated wood shop, I'd put together a nice fancy bench. My bench though handles all kinds of projects from engine work to woodworking. Hard to tell what kind of abuse it will take next.

    The one thing I would do differently with mine would be to have built it with the idea of putting drawers under it from the get go.

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