Suggestions for a new bench please - Router Forums
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post #1 of 33 (permalink) Old 11-04-2014, 04:30 PM Thread Starter
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Default Suggestions for a new bench please

I think it is about time I changed my workbench for something more suitable for woodworking, and am looking for suggestions. Attached are some photos and a Sketchup drawing of my "workshop" if you could call it that - it is really a small corner of our back deck about 2.7m x 3.6m (9' x 12') where I can make a mess without upsetting my wife, well not upsetting her too much...

It is an old family home. It's been in the family for 100 years and now the council has put it under demolition control which is a fancy way of saying we can't do much to the building without getting their approval. We were lucky to get the back deck on before the demolition control order happened. Working on the deck has a lot of advantage. I can be out in the open without being in the sun, and large pieces can easily overflow into the yard etc. while I am working on them. However the room for equipment is very limited.

Currently I put a piece of MDF on the table saw and use that as a general work bench. I have a portable workbench about 600 x 600 (2' x 2') that I use as a vice when I need to hold things, and that is one of my major bugbears. The existing work bench has become a storage place for all sorts of things, including the drill press, and I am gradually working through sorting that out. It is a bit tidier now than when the photos were taken, but still too messy to actually use. The table saw is positioned with a bit over 1200mm (4') clearance between the blade and the railings, and with assistance I can cut full size sheets if necessary. However this leaves the minimum amount of walking room between the table saw and the bench - 650mm (26"). The router is mounted under the table saw extension on the bench side. All in all, it is a very compact workshop and I am constantly re-arranging the layout for whatever stage of the job I am at.

My jobs include a range of things like:
homewares such as shadow boxes, serviette holders
coffee tables
inlays
bird feeders (get asked for them all the time)
cabinets
minor joinery and mouldings for house maintenance
Any suggestions for the features I should build in a bench given the jobs that I do and the limited space? What I think I want so far are lots of holes for bench dogs with matching vices/clamps to hold small pieces, particularly for sanding, and a leg vice with supports that will hold panels vertically - Roubo workbench style. I don't want it blocking the door so maximum width is 1020mm (40").

Suggestions? Comments?

Darryl
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Providing Web and IT services through my own business (Darbeth) by day, and by night , saving my customer's sanity.

Escaping to the workshop to create things out of slabs of wood by day or by night , to save my own sanity.
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post #2 of 33 (permalink) Old 11-04-2014, 05:16 PM
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Darryl I'm sure there will be many suggestions.

Ross,
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post #3 of 33 (permalink) Old 11-04-2014, 06:04 PM
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All committed woodworkers eventually face the challenge of building "their" bench. The one that will meet their needs over the long haul. Lots to think about for sure. I agonized over mine and eventually settled on this design for a lot of reasons. It is made of hard maple so it can withstand a good pounding. It has a leg vise which is inexpensive to make. It also has a surface vise which I bought, but it wasn't too expensive. Dog holes as needed. I also have a hold down which is not shown. The cantilever on the end is critical for clamping things to the bench. The shelf holds my most used tools, but could house storage cabinets as well. Of course yours would be smaller but 40 inches is a reasonable work surface. Good luck. I'm sure you will get lots of valuable input here.
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post #4 of 33 (permalink) Old 11-04-2014, 06:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by darsev View Post
I think it is about time I changed my workbench for something more suitable for woodworking, and am looking for suggestions.

Darryl
Dumpster dove special???
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post #5 of 33 (permalink) Old 11-04-2014, 07:15 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by denniswoody View Post
All committed woodworkers eventually face the challenge of building "their" bench. The one that will meet their needs over the long haul. Lots to think about for sure. I agonized over mine and eventually settled on this design for a lot of reasons. It is made of hard maple so it can withstand a good pounding. It has a leg vise which is inexpensive to make. It also has a surface vise which I bought, but it wasn't too expensive. Dog holes as needed. I also have a hold down which is not shown. The cantilever on the end is critical for clamping things to the bench. The shelf holds my most used tools, but could house storage cabinets as well. Of course yours would be smaller but 40 inches is a reasonable work surface. Good luck. I'm sure you will get lots of valuable input here.
Dennis,

That is something like one of the configurations I had imagined. How do you find just having one row of dog holes? What about a tail vice?

thanks,
Darryl

Providing Web and IT services through my own business (Darbeth) by day, and by night , saving my customer's sanity.

Escaping to the workshop to create things out of slabs of wood by day or by night , to save my own sanity.
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post #6 of 33 (permalink) Old 11-04-2014, 07:21 PM Thread Starter
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Stick,

interesting - with all those boards how do you get a flat surface?

Darryl

Providing Web and IT services through my own business (Darbeth) by day, and by night , saving my customer's sanity.

Escaping to the workshop to create things out of slabs of wood by day or by night , to save my own sanity.
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post #7 of 33 (permalink) Old 11-04-2014, 07:45 PM
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My work bench is multipurpose. It serves as an outfeed table for the table saw, an assy bench, and anything else that comes along.

It is built like a tank. The top is heavy enough that it is not fastened to the frame. It is a solid core door covered with Formica. I drilled dog holes in it but they don't get used too often. Most of the time, they are in the wrong place. However, the Kreg track has worked out really well.

The frame is dual 2x4 construction. It has served me well for the past couple of years. As time permitted, I have added drawers underneath that hold all sorts of clamps.

It doesn't have the leg vise but somehow, I have managed. I might note that I don't do much hand planing.

Then there is the mobile workstation and the adjustable height/dual router tables. They come in handy all the time. The dog holes and slots are great for a variety of clamping possibilities.

And a cabinet for your drill press.

Good luck building your new bench. I hope you get some inspiration you can adapt to your bench.
Mike
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post #8 of 33 (permalink) Old 11-04-2014, 07:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by darsev View Post
Stick,

interesting - with all those boards how do you get a flat surface?

Darryl
which boards???

This would have been the week that I'd have finished chewing thru the restraints...
If only new layers hadn't been added....

Stick....
Forget the primal scream, just ROAR!!!
"SNORK Mountain Congressional Library and Taxidermy”
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post #9 of 33 (permalink) Old 11-04-2014, 08:28 PM Thread Starter
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which boards???
The ones at the top which make up your work surface. I thought I could count about 6 plus the edging.

Providing Web and IT services through my own business (Darbeth) by day, and by night , saving my customer's sanity.

Escaping to the workshop to create things out of slabs of wood by day or by night , to save my own sanity.
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post #10 of 33 (permalink) Old 11-04-2014, 08:43 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks Mike, lots of ideas for me to chew over. I didn't think of putting T tracks in but that looks like a good idea. How do you find the stability of the adjustment bolts on the legs? I will be putting the bench onto a timber floor, so I couldn't use bolts directly, but the idea is worth pursuing. I'm just wondering if over time the table might rock as the bolt gets a little more room in the bolt hole.

PS - I seem to end up with small parts to sand (10mm thick for the current job) which are difficult to clamp. That's why I am looking at bench dogs and clamps that will hold them sideways.

Darryl

Providing Web and IT services through my own business (Darbeth) by day, and by night , saving my customer's sanity.

Escaping to the workshop to create things out of slabs of wood by day or by night , to save my own sanity.

Last edited by darsev; 11-04-2014 at 08:48 PM. Reason: extra info
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