Bench Recommendations


I see a lot of bench plans out there. The bench will go in my garage and I do work on my cars occasionally like brakes and any other small component replacement. But mostly its going to be building cabinets and deck for my house. I want a nice flat sturdy face. And Ill be hanging up pegboard behind it on the wall so I don't want a hutch.
I like the 'Full Service Workbench' from wood magazine. I like the 'Weekend' bench from plansnow.com but not so much the mechanics bench or the handymans bench.
Pretty much those are the only two I have seen that are nice. Any favorites out there?
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Thank you,



"Then said I, Wisdom [is] better than strength: nevertheless the poor
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I just went through this, having moved into a new house. I did something really simple. Lag screwed 2x4s to wall, and in a corner. Cantilevered frame to foundation, so I have essentially full clearance under this. Bench is 24" deep. Went to Lowes and had them take a 4'x8' sheet of 3/8 plywood and cut it lengthwise into two 24" x 8' pieces. Put one on the frame (also 2x4s). Screwed it down. Put construction cement, and cemented 2nd sheet down, which is also screwed down with dry wall screws (the short ones). Three coats of grey enamel for a nice finish. Edges stick out 1 1/2" for a lip on front side and one end. Bench vises then either bolt through with bolts and washers, or the two smaller ones that clamp/screw on are then braced with small blocks of 2x4 cut to fit, glued, and screwed in place with deck screws. A morning's work.
I do some carpentry, automotive work, and gunsmithing, so a level and solid surface was the major consideration.
I haven't worked out the lighting completly yet. Have a desk lamp clamped to one end. Overhead flour. lights a possibility, but I have a very high ceiling in the garage.
Steel wire shelf for storage (put this in first), two peg boards at either end, electrical strips at either end. Salvaged kitchen base cabinet slips under for some storage, and two of the Black and Decker plastic storage cabinets for the rest.
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I do both metalwork/welding and woodworking. I found the best combination is NOT to combine. Find a place two benches. If this is simply out of the question, have a heavy gauge sheet metal top made that will fit over the woodworking bench. I used a version of this in reverse. I had an old butcher-block type countertop that fit over my metal working bench. The only pain was the vises. Woodworking vises hate doing metalwork and visa versa.
Dave
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i have a book from the library called "the workbench book" by Landis. It has a lot of pictures. 100 dwgs and 250 photos. 247pages. it allowed my to spend enough time browsing to see why benches are the same, why they are constructed the same. I had to open Lee Valley so I could see what shoulder screws and tail screws, threaded rods, hooks, benchstops, and holdfasts cost.
You need to get your parts first- vice(s), whether removable, or under-mounted, or the parts, and all your dogs, clamps etc.. rods first. From several sources. When you know, you know.
Drill 3/4" round dog holes on the front and side legs and top, use adjustable leveling feet
underneath front apron clamping (groove)
removable machinist vise - u want the whole table top and projection to yourself when not in use- I haven't figured how yet - some say to mount a jig in your woodworkers vice. Then get the sledgehammer- right. Definefelty want it out of the way (off)
you want to put boards down directly in front of you to see both sides for making dovetails
im making a mess
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u can make a leg vice with a leg, a board and a screw, even adjustable.
modular. everything. everywhere
you have to have an idea and go for it
I don't have a prayer
-
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type in "dogs" and "vice screws" at leevalley.com. dogs can spread and form ! then you can source them cheaper if need be
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oh ya, if a smooth surface is needed, say for nice painting, hardboard is about $10 for a 4x8 sheet I think. Like 1/8" or 3/16 or whatever. Same for whiteboard (softer 1/8").
hardboard has that very smooth oily-looking polished surface look.
The dual boards are for leaving a tool tray below the surface of the main top.
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Actually, if you plan to work on cars (dirty, greasey stuff) and cabinets (need clean, smooth, dust/grease free areas), you should either find a way to make it two benches, or somehow have a way to switch the surface from nice and clean to "ok to get dirty". A grease stain on a cabinet or piece of decent wood is a bit_h to get out. when I was first starting out and space was a premium, I found an old chest freezer top I took apart, and used the metal for keeping the bench clean for when I did car work. It cleaned easily, had lips, in case gas or oil or whatever spilled, to contain parts & liquids and was real easy to clean up afterwards. And of course it did a decet job of keeping the woodworking area of the bench in shape. If you can, IMO, have at least a small "L" shape on one end of the bench. I ended up putting my pipe vise on it - and parts cabinets. Also watch the overhead room; you want it as clear as possible.
The really important parts of a bench are its strength, stability and drawers/doors underneath, if you have that much gumption. I always started by checking the space, and then building the bench accordingly. That means plans are harder to find, but they're generally easy to modify to fit. The better you start with, the less time you'll spend "adding" bells and whistles later <g>, but you'll still add them.
HTH
Pop
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Pop wrote:

workbench was on my mind last night. I was gluing a face frame together, but didnt have any flat surface. Then cleaned off this old table of my wifes in the basement I had tools piled on. Nice flat surface. But I wonder, how do you get the spilled glue off the surface of the bench once you glue a face frame or what have you, together?
Right now im somewhat fruastrated. We bought a bigger house 3 years ago. Having a hard time finding a place for all this junk!
--
Thank you,



"Then said I, Wisdom [is] better than strength: nevertheless the poor
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wrote:

Put some melamine over the table you have and use that as your assembly table. The glue won't stick to it, run a chisel or screwdriver over it and it'll pop right off.
Then build yourself one up against the wall to work on. Don't sweat the details unless you have specific needs. Over-build it not over- engineer or over-think it and move on to actually doing things with it. Doubled up 2x4s for posts. The thicker the top the better. I like having open shelving under it with a powerstrip nearby. Keep the most used tools plugged in with easy access right there, and they aren't taking up space on the work surface.
-Leuf
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wrote:

My bench is accessible from all around, but it sounds like you want one to go up against a wall. A back-board bench might work for you. There's workbench plans in Time Life books, including one for a back-board bench. These are made from 2x4s and materials readily available. My bench is all 2x4s, large, and can be broken down for moving if necessary.
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"The Workbench Book" by Landis is an excellent resource.
One of the truths about bench building is that the best bench for one purpose is often no so good for another. I have four bench-like spaces in my shop. Melamine makes a great surface for assembly, gluing and finishing, but not so good for pounding. Wall-mounted benches suck for assembly of anything bigger than a jewelry box. I know this because that's all I used to have. Higher is better for close-up detail work, lower is better for hand planing because you have to get your weight up over the workpiece. "High" or "low" is also a function of your personal stature.
Landis' book will give you lots of ideas of what bench designs work for what types of activities.
-Steve

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