Workbench recommendations please

Yes, after 25-odd years of a trusty B&D Workmate I've finally got the space and opportunity to get myself a 'proper' workbench. Multipurpose D-I-Y but primarily for woodwork I hope. Can anybody recommend an off-the-shelf one which won't break the bank? I almost hesitate to ask, but has anyone got the 'Ferm'-branded one from Screwfix (ref 18684) at 82 quid?
Should I be making my own? Is there any second-hand market for benches (I never see them advertised anywhere).
Thanks David
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On 24 Sep 2003 15:00:11 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com (David) wrote:

What's a "proper" workbench ? What are you going to do on it ? Can you dedicate it to just woodworking, or will you need to use it for other things too ? What's "woodworking" ? Are you going to do a lot of planing, or is a router worktop ?
My bench is deliberately small, but it's not the only bench / tabletop in the workshop. So I used Tage Frid's "dedicated clamping machine" design, I use trestles for sawing, and another tabletop for assembly work. http://codesmiths.com/shed/workshop/bench.htm
Of course, I've started to hate things about this bench before I've even finished it. The shoulder vice with the big screw and the wobbly plate jaw is great for holding a drawer, but useless for holding anything less than 2" deep. And I should have used pairs of bolts to bolt the demountable rails to the rigid leg frames from the start, rather than having to retro-fit them in situ to stop it wobbling. OTOH, clamping between the row of dog holes and the tail vice is wonderful.
Improvements over my last bench are that the top is 2" thick oak right the way across, and the front apron is no more than 4" deep and 2" thick. This lets me use G clamps either vertically or horizontally.
The back rail, behind the tool tray, is 1" thick oak and level with the top - so I can also use it as a clamping support, as if the tool tray wasn't there. Removable end ramps in the tray allow shavings to be swept out and also allow clamps to be used vertically onto the back of the top.

How big is the bank ? Could you afford a maple top and build your own frame ? Do Axminster still have any of their (very nice) Rhodesian ones on clearance ?

Wouldn't touch it, IMHO.
It looks like a woodworking bench. But the vice is rubbish, the legs are flimsy, there's no planing stop and (worst of all) there's no bracing against sideways forces.
A woodworking bench isn't the best design as a general benchtop. And this is rubbish as a joiner's bench.

You may need a bench to make the first one !
A double lamination of 3/4" ply, with a replacable 4mm MDF top is a good start. Frame it with 2" square hardwood legs, or bolted softwood 2x4s for speed http://www.jarkman.co.uk/catalog/furnitur/bench.htm Not the best design for hand benchwork, especially heavy planing, but it's a good start for powertool woodworking
There's also Taunton press's ubiquitous "The Workbench Book" (Amazon.com product link shortened)

Huge S/H market. Not much advertising.
-- Smert' spamionam
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(David)

<loads of useful advice snipped>
Many thanks for all this Andy - there's clearly lots I need to think about here before making a decision!

Mm, kind of what I surmised. As a d-i-y-er without trade contacts, how can I tap in to this market?
David
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Make your own. Tailor made to suit the space. You can't beat the satisfaction of doing it yourself. :-))
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snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com (David) wrote:
Hello David

Depends what you want of it.
I made mine, but then my demands are fairly simple. A very strong flat surface with a medium metalwork vice attached.
The best chippie I've worked alongside made his own set of benches and use sash cramps for large work so no need for fancy bench cramps.
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Simon Avery, Dartmoor, UK
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snipped-for-privacy@digdilem.org (Simon Avery) wrote in message (David) wrote:

Concur with Andy D, Ferm bench total Mickey Mouse. Build your own (a good learning experience) or try and pick a decent used one up somewhere. Only people I know deal in used benches are www.gandmtools.co.uk Bit pricey, but at they seem to be solid and with beech top.
Rgds
Noel
noel dot hegan at virgin dot net
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