New-Fangled Workbench

Dave Richards

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Thoughts? I'm thinking I need to replace my current bench. I like John White's "New-Fangled Workbench" from Fine Woodworking Nov/Dec 99. I might replace the stretcher with a cabinet. I hate to give up that much potential stroage space.


Please note: I drew a SketchUp model of John White's New Fangled Bench. Since making this post back in January I have had several hundred requests for the SketchUp model. The model is available from Fine Woodworking along with a plan for building it. October, 2009
 
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Dave Richards

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Pipe clamps? :huh:

That's what John White used on his. The front vise clamps can be put in through any of a number of holes so the front vise can be a variety of widths. The sliding jaws for those clamps support the planing rail making it height adjustable. The end vise clamp pipes run the length of the bench and any or all of the lift out panels can be removed or replaced as needed so that any size piece can be clamped up.
 

Art Mulder

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My thoughts on that design: No.

I place things on my bench, far more than I clamp them with the tail vise.
I pound things on my bench, far more than I clamp them with the tail vise.
IMHO, the way I use the bench, I'd hate all those light lift-out panels. I'd rather have the front 8-12 inches be nice and solid.

I would just make it solid and if money was an issue, slap a cheap metal face vise on the end as a tail vise. If money were less an issue, I would like to get the veritas twin-screw vise. (haven't used one, but would like one.)

When I built my bench, I simplified the construction by making the front 8" out of 1-3/4" thick strips of maple, and the back 18" out of two pieces of plywood laminated together. I have found this to be very workable to me. My only wish would be for it to be even heavier. (every now and then I consider attaching it to the stud wall behind it in my basement shop. But I worry about sound transmission going up through the wall members.)
 
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Doug Shepard

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Thought for sure I was going to see some more stainless steel when I saw the thread title.:D

Seriously - what's the purpose of the jog in height on the far end?
 

Dave Richards

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Thanks Art. Things to consider.

Thought for sure I was going to see some more stainless steel when I saw the thread title.:D

Seriously - what's the purpose of the jog in height on the far end?

I was trying to figure out how to include some stainless in there. :D

There's no jog in height at the far end. The lift out panels weren't drawn all the way to the end.
 

Kevin Murdoch

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Dave,

I agree, that bench looks really interesting. Also, it wouldn't cost that much to built relative to other designs.

Watching the planing beam in use on the website video on Fine Woodworking's website really got me thinking about how nice it would be to have one. It's just not something that you see very often.

My main concern was racking given the single stretcher and the removable panels. Though the author mentioned that it's been solid after years of use.

Are you planning to use construction grade lumber to build it?

BTW, nice sketchup rendering as always.

-Kevin
 

Dave Richards

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Thanks Kevin. As far as lumber, I don't know for sure. I was thinking of maple for the top and oak for the base.

Alan, thank you for the comments. I thought about the lightness of the bench. I guess a cabinet underneath, as I mentioned, would help that.
 

Dave Richards

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All the lumber (except the planing rail and the spinning supports for the long pipes) is drawn at 1 1/2" thick. I imagine you're right, I could probably go to 8/4.
 

Bill Lantry

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Dave,

When I was building my bench about a year ago, I thought very, very seriously about building that one. Even went so far as to buy the pipe clamps. In the end, I decided that building it was beyond my skills at the time, and I went more conventional. So my "bench" is really more of a worktable than anything else. But during the process, I looked at pictures and plans for hundreds of benches. They all fell into three catagories:

1. Good, solid, old time benches for good, solid long lasting work (Alan's is a good example).

2. Vanity benches (we've all seen these, lovingly crafted out of 8/4 purpleheart, the kind of thing you wouldn't want to put your coffee cup down on).

3. The other kind. Think Sam Maloof's bench: it does exactly what he wants it to. These are usually refined and well thought out, by experienced people, who don't give a darn what other people think a bench is *supposed* to look like. That new fangled bench is a thing of practical beauty, designed by someone skilled in the useful arts. If you've got the skills to make it, as I'm certain you do, I say "Go for it!" Just make sure you post lots of pictures of the process... ;)
 

glenn bradley

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I found that bench fascinating as well and the way I use a bench it would probably work well for me. Very versitile. I have a beater bench that I use when I beat on stuff (it doubles as an outfeed table and is slowly getting coated with every finish I have a leftovers of).
 

Stuart Ablett

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I'd not seen that before, that is a VERY cool design, but it would not be for me, as I can only have ONE bench, and more than anything I need a table.

I agree with Alan, that the way it is now, it would be a little light weight, but if you beefed it up and put a bunch of drawers below it, not necessarily full of tools, the added weight would be a good thing.

Cheers! :wave:
 

Art Mulder

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For those that haven't seen the video, it's at this link.

Thanks for posting the link, Alan. I watched it with interest.

Dave, you haven't really told about what your shop is like -- for instance, do you have a large shop or small shop? In a small shop you can't spare the wasted space under this bench, so cabinets underneath would be mandatory. Next, are you looking for a hand-tool bench, or do you mostly use power tools? Or something else? In the video, John White spoke of this bench as being good for hand tool work.

After watching the video, I'm still pretty negative towards it. About 2/3 of the way through the video, suddenly the name "Shopsmith" popped into my head. I looked at all the flipping, fiddling, and switching, and lifting that John was doing as he converted the bench from use to use, and I just was reminded of the big negative to the Shopsmith tools: all the changeover fiddling.

The tail vice, for instance, seemed like a lot of work to set up. To me, it would be a llot easier to have a conventional tail vise, or maybe a twin-screw tail vise, and pop in a bunch of dog holes. It'd be way easier to just move some bench dogs around then all the work that John did to set things up.

Have you looked at Frank Klausz' bench? Seems like it has a lot of the similar features.

...art
 

Garry Foster

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Southeast Pa
Dave
I just looked at the video and I kinda like the concept.

As far as being flimsy I didn't notice that as he was planing. I was surprised at how stable it was....

I have limited space and to many interests so I am always looking for ways to pack more in. I especially liked the idea of the bench top tools. In my mind I saw three of four sitting in a row on a dedicated bench. I could see making some shop benches based on that concept even if not used as a "Workbench".

I also thought about doubling up on the drop ins just to keep them from bouncing around so much if that became a problem.

However with the present day price for pipe I am not sure it would be that economical to build...

Garry
 

Alex Reid

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Zushi, Japan
Dave,

I saw a video of this bench a few months ago and thought it was functionally very nice. The clamp set up was versitile and easy to use. As others have mentioned it could be adapted for more functionality with drawers ans shelves. One thing I wouyld be wary of or at least careful about is if your shop has moisture you would have to be fastidious about keeping the threaded clamps from rusting. Why I say so is because in my shop I have 8 pony pipe clamps that need to be de-rusted. No problem really but on a bench it might be a little more of a problem.
 

Dave Richards

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Art, the shop is a two car garage but the cars live outside. I would definitely want to put some sort of storage underneath the bench. The bench would get sort of combination use. Both power and hand tools. Intended projects include some furniture as well as another boat or two or three.

I drew the bench to the length inidcated in the article but would probably make it 6' long instead of 8'.

I have looked at Frank Klausz' bench among others. Still trying to make up my mind.

Alex, I guess I've been fortunate in that my garage, er shop, stays pretty dry. I have a number of pipe clamps. No rust in 6 or 7 years. Even the cast iron machine tables only get waxed once every other year.
 
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