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Thread: New Bench For New Workshop

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Puyallup Wa

    New Bench For New Workshop

    I am sure the question has been asked ALOT. I will be turning the garage into a small workshop. As of right now I have limited tools to work with. I really like this bench
    I dont think I will be able to do that one without a jointer and planer.

    I may just wing it. Anyone want to share their workbench to give me some ideas I would highly appreciate it.

    Thank you

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Tokyo Japan
    That is a great workbench, and you do NOT need a jointer and planer to do it, even a tuned #5 hand plane would do a good job on it. You could also find a commercial shop to run the top through a widebelt sander or such.

    I'd say go for it, that is a going to make a great first bench, a LOT better than the first bench I ever had
    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 2010
    Puyallup Wa
    I think you are right. I will give it a go. I have this plane already.

    And this

    I can make it work..

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    somewhere east of Queen Creek, AZ - South East of Phoenix
    Matt i think you can do it and there are a few family member near you who can offer some advice. They may even help. The have shop that can do anything you need to do Contact Glenn Bradley, I am sure he would give you any help your require.
    "There’s a lot of work being done today that doesn’t have any soul in it. The technique may be the utmost perfection, yet it is lifeless. It doesn’t have a soul. I hope my furniture has a soul to it." - Sam Maloof
    The Pessimist complains about the wind; The Optimist expects it to change;The Realist adjusts the sails.~ William Arthur Ward

  5. #5

    Do it!! It's likely the only workbench you'll ever need.

    Stu is right on the money. Find a cabinet shop that has a wide belt sander. Take your 2X4's over and have them sanded flat on both faces to get a really good glue surface. Take them home and glue them together. Take the glued up top back to the cabinet shop and have it sanded flat. I'd be willing to bet you could get both operations done for $40-50, probably less. I've had many table tops sanded flat when I don't want to take the time to do it myself, and I've got a lot more planes than you, plus a lunch box planer (but no power jointer). What you really need at this point is access to a bunch of clamps big enough to clamp that top together, at least a half dozen, maybe 8.

    Don't worry about making a trophy bench. IMHO too much importance is given to producing a work of art for a bench. What you need is something that is sturdy, flat and doesn't move when you use it.

    My own personal bench is made of 2X4's, in a traditional European design. I like it quite a bit, but I doubt it's any more useful than the PopWood design.

    BTW, that Buck Bros plane at Home Depot might require quite a bit of fettling to make it work right. Don't worry about it right now. You've got a bench to build.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Tokyo Japan
    I think that #4 plane is too short to flatten that bench top, you really need a #5 or even better a #7, but that will be some investment and some grunt work. I can't give you an idea of how much the widebelt would cost, but at the price Bruce is suggesting that sure sounds like the way to go.

    When you build it, take lots of pics please!
    The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.
    William Arthur Ward

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Palm Beach Gardens, Florida
    Consider this though, when I put together my SYP workbench I had to let the lumber sit for a period of time before using it. Construction grade SYP, which is what we are talking about here, is very wet stuff. When you first rip the pieces for the top you will find the pieces moving as you watch them!

    Additionally, it is a lesson in conditioning when to move on to the next step at each major cut to the wood. Waiting too long can be hard on your body if you will be using a hand plane. Those large grain striations will dry at different percentages and make for an interesting planing session, not unlike the change in grain direction causing tear-out.

    The end result and low cost makes it a worthwhile investment, but know what a popular magazine will not tell you in addition to what they talk about before you begin. Keep it in mind throughout the process and make use of the offcuts to test when to move on to the next process.
    Bill Antonacchio

  8. #8
    Chris Hatfield is offline Former Member (by the member's request)
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    That's one of the benches I've been meaning to build for awhile. Well, a choice between that one and a couple of others.

    Although my $20 bench has served me well to this point.

    Edit - This is the one I was actually leaning toward, but I may make a Frankenbench of both.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Windsor, CT
    FWIW - For a top/worksurface of both of my work benches I used two sheets of three quarter inch plywood topped with a piece of tempered masonite.

    If you cut in half one 4 by 8 piece of material you can end up with one 2 by 8 workbench with a double thickness top or two benches with a single thickness.

    Just remember where you place and counter sink the screws so you don't drill thru them when you make dog holes and mount the vice(s).

    I finished the masonite and rest of the workbench with whatever clear finish I had laying around and when I finish a piece of work I use the finish soaked rag to rub down the top of each workbench to add finish to it.

    Remember you are making a work bench not a piece of furniture. I didn't have to use a hand plane, planer or jointer. I used dimensional lumber and screws to hold it together. You could practice half lap or M & T joints on it too.

    Walt in CT

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    GTA Ontario Canada
    Well Matt for once i have the ability to say BTDT got the bench to show for it.

    I used that exact plan and you can follow the whole thread on my construction of it here on our forum. I am still not completely done too many other projects keep getting in the way.

    (Edit inserted after looking at the American Woodworker bench again.) Go for that one if i were you with the tools you have. Thats a real neat design. Just skip the tool tray, to me they nothing but junk collectors.

    BTW mine started out as that bench then i got to read the Chris Schwarz book on bench design and that caused a few modifications like the addition of a leg vice to the side of the bench and the addition of a dead man (yet to be attached) .

    I think for the cost its a great first bench. Its a user which in my mind is what a bench should be. All good and well making it out of the best lumber etc and having all the perfect elements but then when you finished although its work of art i could see myself not wanting to spill something on it or treating it like fine furniture.

    I would say make sure you pick your lumber out. I learnt about what SPF stands for in the process and wish i had known before. Spruce Pine and Fir. Yup thats the mix at the HD. If you selective and can identify the differences you can try to pick out one of them. Today i would go for the the fir also feel the weight of the wood assuming its been reasonably dried.

    I echo whats been said about your plane but if you have some real muscle and determination anything is possible.

    Search on the forum for vice there has been much discussion on this topic and many have commented on low cost well made vices available. It does not always need to be top draw stuff.

    Good luck and enjoy the journey.
    Last edited by Rob Keeble; 11-17-2010 at 03:11 PM.

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