The "Next" Workbench - I Think I'm Done

glenn bradley

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Well finally time to post about the “next” workbench. I call it the “next” workbench because it’s better than what I had but not as nice as I will probably build one day.

Using ShopNotes Vol. 15 Issue 89 as a guide I went with layered MDF for the top. I laid waxed paper on my TS deck (as it is the flattest thing in my shop) and went at it:

First two layers are full size; dry fit here with screws to allow flush routing:

1 Dry Fit Top 2 Layers.jpg

First two glued up (I used whatever was at hand for weights):

2 Glue Up Top 2 Layers.jpg

Second two layers are in parts to save material. This approach turned out to be useless for me as I decided on multiple rows of dog holes and had to increase the size of the “parts” to where four full size layers would have been less work:

3 4 layers flipped.jpg

After deciding on the vise positions and drilling the mounting holes I flipped it onto a temporary platform to add the trim. Here’s the old extend-o pipe clamp trick:

4 Extended pipe clamps.jpg

Can you ever have enough clamps?

5 More Clamps Igor.jpg

I clamped some scrap to the frame pieces for router support. After free-handing the original pocket to a depth of 1/4" I used a dado clean out bit to finish to required depth.

6 Vise Jaw Pocket.jpg

Here's a shot of one of the vises mounted and in the pocket. The last piece of trim is not on yet (or should I 'Norm-out' and say "removed for clarity"?).

7 Vise shot.jpg

I'll post more here once the top is done. I'll post the base after construction begins.
 
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glenn bradley

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The 'Next' Workbench - Saga Continues

I knew this one would drag on as I'm a bit of a slow mover. The top is pretty much ready to apply the BLO.

Hand plane brought the trim flush with the top.

9 Plane Trim 2.jpg

Front vise face is beech.

A Frt V Pre BLO.jpg

Tail vise ditto.

B Tl V Pre BLO.jpg

Ready to BLO and start the stand.

C Rdy 2 BLO.jpg
 

Jeff Horton

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The Heart of Dixie
Anxious to see how well the dog holes hold up and how flat it stays. I am assuming that is a pretty rigid top with 4 layers? How much support will it need under it to prevent any sagging? What kind of spacing between them?

Reason I ask is I want to build a new top for one of my benches. Primary goal is a flat top for assembly work. I do want vices and dog holes too so I am looking for solid top. I have been thinking SYP on edge. That way I can hand plane it flat once it is done and if it ever needs flattening again. I have that on my other bench and I am happy with it. But this is interesting too and no hand planing for days on end. ;)

Jeff
 

Bart Leetch

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Clinton, Washington on Whidbey Island
I didn't see it so will ask did you make it so you'll have a 1/4" masonite replaceable top if not I believe you should have. Its real nice to be able to renew the top when it gets worn bringing the bench top back to like new.

I have another bench top that is just MDF wrapped with an edging that my CMS & small Drill-press & Mortiser set on & are operated on. Because I need to move the Drill-press forward when in use & back out of the way of the CMS when not in use I have noticed there are scratches in the MDF which is quite a bit softer than tempered Masonite.

Yes I have tempered Masonite on my bench top & yes it is scarred but it is several years older than the other bench top & has seen much harder use over many more years.
 

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glenn bradley

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Hi Bart,

I have a rolling worktable with a replaceable Masonite top and am really glad I made it that way. Although it hasn't needed changing yet it will be easy to do when required.

My original plan was for dog holes in the workbench top and after a brief waffling over maybe using t-track, I am back with the original idea. I was concerned that the side pressure of the bench dogs would push the 'floating' hardboard top into the capturing trim.

This could be solved by making the holes in the HB a little oversize but then I was faced with keeping debris from between the surfaces. In the end I went without the HB. If I gouge the top brutally . . . bondo or epoxy could save the day. A piece of HB could also be added with little modification to the trim if the MDF becomes prematurely beat up.
 

glenn bradley

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SoCal
Anxious to see how well the dog holes hold up and how flat it stays.

I was concerned about the dog holes in MDF as well. Several folks answered my thread on just that question stating that they had them and that they had held up for years. I guess I'll add myself to the test-bed. ;)

I am assuming that is a pretty rigid top with 4 layers? How much support will it need under it to prevent any sagging? What kind of spacing between them?

It does seem awful stout but I have personal experience with just how non-self-supporting MDF is. It will be pretty well supported by the stand. I just have to space supprting ribs so they miss the dog hole positions.

I will probably design in some additional support for the vise wings. This may be overkill but the top is dead flat now and I've "less than super" supported MDF before and felt the pain. :(

I keep reminding myself this is just a "next" bench and the whole thing was under $100 less vises.
 
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Houston, Texas
hI gLENN, that was with the cap locks on:rofl: My typing needs help.:D
It is very considerate of you, as with some of the others to spend so much time sharing your process with us. It is hard enough doing what we do, the real woodwork, but then to include the photos and the dialog, :thumb: to your credit. THANKS, GOOD PROJECT! A bit heavy, but who knows how hard you bang on stuff.:rofl: :rofl: I make my stuff in Balsa, that is north of Houston...Shhhh:rofl: :rofl:
Thanks again,
Shaz
 

glenn bradley

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SoCal
The Saga Continues . . .

I told you I was kinda slow . . . . .

The "next" bench's top has been BLO'd and waxed. Time for some dog holes.

A dog hole size drill and the vise faces get their turn:

D Dog Size Drill.jpg

Clamp a guide jig to the bench:

E Dog Hole Jig.jpg

And we have dog holes:

F Dog Holes.jpg

Next is the long row for the other vise and then I can continue on the stand. You can see the two-by material drying in the background of the last pic. Two or three more weeks and I'll machine them down and continue on.
 
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Bart Leetch

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Glenn

I have seen suggested several times lining slightly bigger dog holes with copper pipe & using wooden dowel dogs. This is what I am considering. My top has a 1" thick plywood base with 3/4" high density chip board next & then 1/4" Masonite wrapped in Poplar. I am looking forward to you continued success & many pictures.
 

glenn bradley

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SoCal
Slow and Steady Wins the Race

I warned you this might be slow and painful . . . I went for 3 dog holes in the vise faces and a single row front to back and side to side. Original idea was for three rows on all but I'm gonna play a bit and see what I think. The dogs in the first pic haven't had the shoulders cut yet.

G More Dog Holes.jpg

The holes have been BLO'd since the pic and here's one variation on a dog.

Dog with Shoulder.jpg

I'll get on the base as soon as the material I'm going to use is dry enough.
 
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glenn bradley

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11,020
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SoCal
The Base Takes Shape

Well I finally got back to working on the 'next' bench. I'm hoping to get the base all glued up before the Fourth of July. The reason I want to get on with it is I made the boards by machining down 2-by lumber that I bought green and stacked and dried. Despite 6 weeks of drying time the wood still moved quite a bit during jointing, planing, etc.

By the way for those of you thinking this is a good way to save money on material; its not. I ended up with so much waste that I could have gone to the lumber yard, bought real wood and broke about even. A few more pieces to go. Hope to be basically done by end of day. I'd be even happier if I could set the 200 pound top on the base to make it "comfortable" while it settles in.

The top is setting on an old workbench and is way too high. Since I have it shimmed up dead-flat, I am using it as a reference surface. My step stool has come in handy a couple times during assembly.

The base is upside down in the pic. I have pretty much decided on three drawers along the upper portion of the base opening, just under the top (with a gap left for dog hole droppings). I was going to do vertical drawers but have found the open area under the bench is quite handy for just stuffing things into while working; a router, a drill, some clamps, etc. This keeps them at hand without taking up area on the top. Of course if I let a bunch of junk snow-drift under there it will foil that benefit so, clean, clean, clean.
 

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glenn bradley

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The base went a lot faster once I faced reality; its made of 2-by lumber and you can't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear. I re-mention that anyone thinking they'll save little money by buying BORG 2-by lumber and machining it down into something useful . . . it's a false economy.

I had to give up so much material to waste I could have bought some 'real' wood at the lumber yard. Just thought I'd save you all the pain of trying it.

The ends will have pegboard panels and at this point I'm still going with three shallow drawers under the top leaving an open space/shelf below for setting things down as I'm working. The 2-by stuff has been BLO'd and the levelers are on. The inside of the panels will get BLO as well.

P.s. sorry about the poor pic. I couldn't post it till it was about 34k regardless of 800 x 800 compliance(?)
 

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glenn bradley

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Almost Forgot to Keep Up

The 'next' bench top and base have made friends. This position is 90* from where I had originally planned but I'm going to test drive it for awhile while I build the drawers.
Top and Base A.jpg
Top and Base B.jpg

There's still the end panels to put on the base and a bottom shelf coming along with the drawers.

This is how I fixed the bolt head recesses I drill at 9/16" instead of 11/16". Drill the 11/16" hole in a piece of scrap and clamp in position to guide the forstner free hand.
Fix Hole 1.jpg
 
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