Ok, another Bruce Johnson creation hits the airwaves. Bruce builds
a new workbench!
Anyone watch this episode? He starts by explaining how bad and wobbly
his old workbench is, then decides on building a new one! I had high
when he specified hard maple for the frame. He made M&T joints and
did the large mortises in the legs by dadoing two 2x4s and gluing them
together. He even used the clipped head brad trick (also shown by Mr.
on his show today) to keep the large glued surfaces from sliding around.
So far, no major screwups, just some poor fitting tenons that "will get
cleaned up with some sanding", and some cheap hardware to hold it all
together. I knew things were going downhill when he used basically a
bolt arrangement to hold the legs together and had a flat washer and nut
inside a 1" hole gripping against the curved side.
I still was maintaining my composure until he decides to top off this
workbench base. Did he use more hard maple? Noooooo! He decides on three
of 3/4" MDF. Awesome dude! He spritzes on some yellow glue around the
of one sheet and without even stopping to spread it out any slaps on the
sheet and installs about 100 screws "to give it incredible strength".
and a few hundred more screws and he has a nice particle board
He did decide to protect the MDF from dents by banding the top with some
(attached to the MDF with brads, no glue)
He went on to say that since he is always spilling cans of varnish and
he'll give the top a nice durable coat (2) of poly to protect this fine
He claimed a total cost of $4-500 (including a small Record vise
attached with lag bolts into the MDF).
I admit I've built benches this way, but I down graded his hard maple
section to pine 2x4's and upgraded the top to some nicer plywood. Total
about $20-30 (vise not included)
Those are exactly the same issues I had, and told the wife that if I were to
build one, I would have glued better and maybe used a chunk of real wood
sandwiched between the MDF in the corner for the vise. That said, I'd own
it, and use the hell out of it.
I don't recall (saw this episode months ago), but did he use bolts or lag
screws to mount that vise. I've never used MDF, but I've heard it said it
doesn't hold screws very well, so lag screws might not be the best choice.
Poly on a workbench doesn't sound too repairable, either.
I got the sarcasm no problem, and agree that you could drive a sports car,
if not a truck, through the hole in the top of the tenons in the "family
heirloom table" and even my wife walked up to the boob tube and pointed it
out and went "What the hell is this?" LOL I don't even have any problems
with you pointing out the man's shortcomings (he's definately got them). My
concern was that of my understanding of the show, and my conceptions of
being able to make good use of that bench for the uses I described. It was
also on my thinking that on the tenons that finishing to size was better
than too loose. I will admit that I learned to cut MDF paterns for parts
and run them through the router to make clean curves and stuff. It works
very well. As a newbie in the WW stuff (IT/Network regular job), I have a
ton to learn, and that is why I was questioning your comments, not defending
I made the workbench and I think it's good for an
inexpensive workbench (if made from 2x4s and
not maple). The problem is that the workbench
is not Bruce's at all. The plan, every idea, every tip, etc.,
comes from a Workbench magazine article/plan written
by another woodworker. If you try to get the plan from DIY
you will be directed to a pay plan web site.
Try getting a plan from David Marks' site. You have to pay just to get a
materials list, or so I'm told.
"The California crunch really is the result of not enough power-generating
plants and then not enough power to power the power of generating plants."
George W. Bush
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