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Thread: Wood working bench question

  1. #1
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    Wood working bench question

    I have the new area for my shop expansion cleaned and is a blank canvas The first project for it is a proper wood working bench. The top will be 6' x 3' made from ash. I plan an end vice of some sort and a leg vice for the front. The top will have dog holes also. So my question is how thick to make the top? I have heard 1 1/4" minimum for dog holes, I have seen 3" thick tops, that seems overkill. So some where between 1 1/4" and 3"? I have had 2 1/4" thick in my mind. Am I thinking correctly or should it be a different thickness?

  2. #2
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    Tom, I think 2-1/4 is fine, as it is the thickness of my bench. My only comment about the size is that the thickness of the bench adds weight to prevent it from moving around. With a smaller bench, thicker might be better. What are you intending to be doing on this bench? I ask because your dimensions are a little different (a little short and a little wide) if it was mainly a planing bench. I assume you are constrained by your room available and that this bench will serve many purposes, thus the size you came up with. What height do you have in mind? And lastly, did I miss your post where you show us your new space all cleared out?
    “When love and skill work together, expect a masterpiece.” - John Ruskin
    “Nowadays people know the price of everything and the value of nothing.” - Oscar Wilde

  3. #3
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    Bill, this will be used as a multi purpose bench, planing, assembly and such. The room will hold a larger bench but I am holding it to 6' for getting it down to my basement shop 8' at that thickness is too long, I could go to 7' max. 3' wide is just a personal preference, 4' is too wide for me to work around, 24" is too narrow as an assembly bench. Height??? have not figured that out either, is there a basic formula for that? As you know I am, well, quite short so my bench will be shorter that a normal bench so what would you suggest? And as for pics or a thread, I did start this http://familywoodworking.org/forums/...ion&highlight= quite a while back and there have been some small changes but close to where I am going

  4. #4
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    Attachment 66904Hi,

    My bench is also 2 1/4 inch thick. It has dog holes. The thickness seems fine to me. My bench is heavy enough for my work. I have not had it move while planing (or anything else). However, I am also on the small size: 114 pounds, 5ft 5in tall, long back but short arms and legs.

    Glenn is lucky. He got Myrna's very long arms and legs. Glenn could pick me up between his thumb and forefinger and toss me across the shop.

    Oh. Back to the bench: 69 x 27, 32 1/2 tall. I measured different table, bench, etc. heights and pseudo planed a board on them. I also pseudo drilled, drove screws, and other wood working tasks to come up with that height. I am very happy with it.

    I wanted the narrower top so I could easily reach across it. I do work on both sides and both ends of the bench. I do have power strips on each end of the bench. I do not have a second bench. Because I do not have a second bench or other normal flat area, Glenn threatens to tilt my TS on a 45 degree angle so that nothing can stay put on its top.

    Enjoy,

    JimB
    First of all you have to be smarter than the machine.
    VOTING MEMBER

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
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    The Gorge Area, Oregon
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    Heavier is better. I cheaped a bit on my last bench and wish it was heavier somewhat frequently. For a planing bench I don't think I can repeat enough that heavier is better. Also solid stable legs

    You can put the weight in places other than the top though and 2 1/4 should be fine. The minimum thickness is so that the dogs have enough meat to get ahold of. If it gets to thick they can't angle enough and also won't grab quite as well (solved by boring out the bottom a little). You're well within the sweet spot.

    For height its very personal. A decent rule of thumb is to try at the height of your knuckles. This is pretty good for planing but kind of low for a lot of detail work (hence the moxon bench on bench idea). What I did was get a couple of adjustable saw horses and used them to set the top on while planing it flat and adjusted until it was comfortable. Then I build my legs to match.

  6. #6
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    Tom, my bench is 24" wide, 84" long and 34" high. I will probably be building another bench and the width of that bench will probably be 30" and 96 inches long, but I have not had a problem so far with assembling anything on my bench. If something is wider than the bench, I figure I could always lay down a small sheet of plywood on top of the bench for those few times it was needed. I think having a longer bench is really nice as you are able to perform a couple of activities on the same bench. I would highly recommend 7' if you can pull it off.
    “When love and skill work together, expect a masterpiece.” - John Ruskin
    “Nowadays people know the price of everything and the value of nothing.” - Oscar Wilde

  7. #7
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    we can get a 84" in there tom you go to more hands and dense head to help yu
    If in Doubt, Build it Stout!
    One hand washes the other!
    Don't put off today till tomorrow!

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Niemi View Post
    ...Height??? have not figured that out either, is there a basic formula for that?...
    Why yes, yes there is. I think this should be pretty self-explanatory:



    Glad I could be here to help.
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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vaughn McMillan View Post
    Why yes, yes there is. I think this should be pretty self-explanatory:



    Glad I could be here to help.
    Got it, 32", thanks for the formula Vaughn and Yes I agree and will go with 7' for sure

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Niemi View Post
    Got it, 32", thanks for the formula Vaughn and Yes I agree and will go with 7' for sure
    I need to go back and re-do the math. I got 33".
    Chinese Proverb: Man who eats many prunes gets good run for the money.

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