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Thread: Make a Workbench Class

  1. #1
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    Make a Workbench Class

    Hi all,
    Thought some of you might find this interesting. I'm taking a class at Santa Fe Community College on how to make a workbench. The class meets 9-5 every day for two weeks (so most of the students are retired old farts like me). At the end of the class we will have built a workbench for each of the ten students. Basically everyone is building the same workbench except you get to chose lefty or righty, tool tray or not, height of the bench, and you pick your own vises.
    Its my first experience in "production" woodworking. Everyone takes a small task and does it for all ten workbenches. Yesterday I chopped 40 mortises to connect the legs to the stretchers and glued up ten rails with dog holes. Frankly it feels a little disconnected, after getting used to doing projects from start to finish by myself. The other weird part is that I, like most of the students, haven't done a 40 hour week of physical labor in a long time (about 30 years for me).
    It is exciting, though to see the benches coming together. We will be finished next Friday, so this weekend I gotta figure out where in the heck I'm gonna put it
    OK, here's some pics. One shows the legs/bottom/top of the trestle assembly - 80 components. We are using floating tenons 3 1/2 inches long, 3/4 inch thick,and 2 inches wide. The next pic shows the glueup of the 72 inch long dog rail. We dado dog holes into one face and then laminate the other face to that. Each piece takes about 30 clamps - yes, you can never have enough clamps

    I'll post pics of the finished products next week.
    Don't believe everything you think!

  2. #2
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    Oct 2006
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    Cool stuff Jesse. We'll be looking forward to more progress pics. I'll bet it is quite an adjustment getting used to production line work. And since you're going to own one of the finished benches, you've got to put your faith in the other guys' abilities as well.
    When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson
    When the weird get going, they start their own forum. - Vaughn McMillan

    workingwoods.com

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
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    Trinity County - 160 miles north of San Francisco. Redwood forest.
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    Make a Workbench Class

    What would you say is the trickiest operation thus far? I've been stalling on assembling my bench. I've got the lumber, had the lumber dealer glue-laminate the Euro Beech top and plane it flat. Legs and stretchers wil be Maple.

    Gary Curtis

  4. #4
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    Looks like fun. Even with the ardous work load and doing it other folks' way, I'm sure you wouldn't think of quitting. Yes, we do need to see the finished bench.
    "Folks is funny critters."

    Think for yourselves and let others enjoy the privilege to do so, too. ~Voltaire

  5. #5
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    Tokiwadai, Japan
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    Great way to learn, build a bench and relationships with other "old fart" woodworkers...

    Look forward to watching your progress, Jesse.

  6. #6
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    Wow... imagine *running* that class! You'd have to have everything together, parse out the work, time it all perfectly, and all with workers of varying skill levels, who you have to motivate and coach, instead of just telling them what to do...

    On the other hand, imagine, toward the end of the second week, watching them all come together! That would be cool. And each succesive class would be a different story.

    Way cool stuff! Enjoy the ride!

    Thanks,

    Bill

  7. #7
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    Very nice Jesse. this will make a great thread for folks to follow for their own bench adventures.
    Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
    - Arthur C. Clarke

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
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    Placitas, NM in the foothills of the Sandia Mt
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    Quote Originally Posted by gary curtis View Post
    What would you say is the trickiest operation thus far? I've been stalling on assembling my bench. I've got the lumber, had the lumber dealer glue-laminate the Euro Beech top and plane it flat. Legs and stretchers wil be Maple.

    Gary Curtis
    Hey Gary,
    What was the trickiest operation? Well, I think Bill nailed it when he said, "can you imagine running that class?" The teacher is definitely earning his pay, keeping us all safe and productive. He seems to have an uncanny sense of knowing when each of us has had a little too much teamwork and would enjoy doing a task all by themselves.

    The trickiest part for the students so far is fitting the mortises and tenons. One student got a little distracted and didn't notice that a stop on the mortiser table was loose, so the mortises kept getting longer. We still made strong joints (the thickness part of the fit was right on), but we had a devil of a time getting the legs and top/bottoms of the trestle square. We had to dry fit on center, futz with it till it was square, then mark the new locations, then glue up. It taught us a good lesson though. Everyone started building in periodic QA checks to make sure nothing got sloppy.
    Don't believe everything you think!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
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    Trinity County - 160 miles north of San Francisco. Redwood forest.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jesse Cloud View Post
    Hey Gary,
    Everyone started building in periodic QA checks to make sure nothing got sloppy.
    That is a bit intimidating, to not have the base square. What did the QA checks correct, specifically? Squareness of the legs to the Trestle and the feet? Squareness of the tenons?

    Garu

  10. #10
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    Mar 2007
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    WNY, Buffalo Area
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    Jesse,

    I have never done production work. I think it would be difficult going from being use to building something from the beginning to the end, to only make a small part of a project repeatedly.

    QA is always a good idea, especially when may sets of hands are involved.

    Looking forward to more pictures as the benches progress.
    We create with our hands in wood what our mind sees in thought.
    Disclosure: Formerly was a part-time sales person & instructor at WoodCraft in Buffalo, NY.
    www.tinyurl.com/thewoodshoppe

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