New general workbench project NEED HELP!!


Hi guys! I am somewhat new to woodworking and have been spending a lot of time designing this bench. It will be permanent and attached to the garage walls. This isnt a woodworking bench speciically (I will build one of those later for the center of the garage) I would like to get some feedback and suggestions on wood types and other possible considerations for the construction. I want the wood to be heavy but not too expensive (maybe cedar). The dimensions are 40" high and one half of the L is 30" deep and the other is 24" deep. So far I think I am about 90% done with the design and just trying to polish up the engineering of the bench and details for wood stock and hardware. The bench will be anchored to the wall via lag screws and cement fasteners for the lower foundation section supports (the lower 2 feet of the walls are cement foundation). Some of the sections I am not sure how to fasten yet, but am working it out. I have looked at a ton of other designs and photos so that is a big help.
http://realeyz.com/misc/workbench3d_3.jpg
So let me know what you all think - I would love to get some suggestions if you have any. I can show any view needed with the top removed or whatever in order to more fully explore the design. I may also build some shelves in the sections below the bench top. Its great to be here and I look forward to hearing your thoughts. BTW the software I used for the design is Maya in case anyone wants to know.
- todd
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You will regret not putting in more drawers. Nice job laying it out. For the wood, consider using standard fir on edge for the top. Heavy, strong and inexpensive.
Dave
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Todd,
Nice rendering. As someone else already mentioned - more drawers. You could place two sets of drawers at the "L" and do away with the support post. Drawers left and right. While only one drawer could be opened (left or right side) the frame becomes the support for the bench. Also consider adding a shelf below the bench and on top of that ledger board that is attached to the wall.
Bob S.
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My understanding is that a workbench should be a height that you can walk up to and place your hands palms down on it with your arms fully extended. This calculates to 35" for me. You might want to re-examine the 40" height. I'm not saying change it, just make sure. You can see my new bench on alt.binaries.pictures.woodworking.
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up
This
That is incomplete advise. That rule is for a traditional (neander) ww bench for which you will wan to get your bod weight up on top of the workpiece (e.g., hand planing). A taller bench can be much better for other types of work. I believe that the OP stated that a traditional free standing bench would come later.
-Steve
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On Sun, 04 Dec 2005 15:02:16 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@spam.invalid (realeyz) wrote:

Make the top of double or triple thickness of plywood or MDF with replaceable1/4 masonite over it, edge with hardwood. That's all the weight you'll need.
-Leuf
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Triple is overkill (remember this is not a traditional WW bench) but double is nice. make sure that you have a ~2" overhang with the full bench thickness. It's nice to be able to use that edge as a clamping space. If you had (for instance) a 1" thick top with 3/4" thick by 2" apron/edge it would make a lousy clamping surface.
I would move the metal vise to the left a bit and have it closer to right over a leg.
What's with all the knee space? One "desk-like" space is nice to have, but unless the other space is specifically reserved for the shop vac or a trash can, I say: fill it all with drawers.
A few words on drawers.... don't make them all the same height. 2" of usable depth is good enough for screw drivers and wrenches. 4" for hand drills, more for things like routers. You will want a mix.
-Steve
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The top's going to get dinged up, glue, stains and other finishes will get on it. SO - going with an easily replacable working surface is something to keep in mind - 1/4" melamine or masonite - screwed down - works pretty well. Flip it over when one face gets too bad.. If you frame the top and use a rabbet on top to hold the replacable working surface you're less apt to chew up the edges of the melamline or masonite. Round the otside edges and corners of the top "frame". Sharp edges and corners hurt.
BTW - if you wax the working top semi-regularly, glue and stuff won't stick to it.
Hang the cabinets/shelves off the wall rather than having them sit on the bench top. Makes the top working surface easier to replace. If you hang them with french cleats they can be moved easier later if need be (you will re-arrange things over time).
Go with adustable shelves rather than fixed shelves.
Wall space is always at a premium so consider doors on the wall units and some of the peg board wall. If the doors are 2-3" deep you can effectively almost double your wall space storage capacity. If you go with modular inserts you can re-arrange things as need be. Doors also keep dust etc. off of the cabinet's contents. Here's some stuff to consider http://home.comcast.net/~charliebcz/RightToolCabinet.html
As for drawers, shallow drawers means more drawers AND less digging down through layers to find what you want. Full extension drawr glides also means less feeling around in the back of the drawer. Also, holes in drawer faces let things into the drawer you don't want in the drawer. Low profile or partial insert drawer pulls would be preferable.
Mount the vise and the grinder on the ends of the bench top. You want as much uninterupted bench top space as possible. And if you're going to go with a metal vise, get one with an anvil - that's handy.
Consider a power strip in or on/in the apron/stretchers or the legs. Climbing under a bench to plug things in is a PITA and power cords from the wall above the bench get in the way.
You're going to probably need task lighting. Some holes in the bench top for a moveable flex or goose neck lamp could come in handy
Just some things to think about
charlie b
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charlie b wrote:

I go a step further; I periodically scrape off the glue, sand with a ROS, buff with synthetic steel wool, apply 2 wiped-on coats of shellac. Buff that with the SSW. Finally, I wax. That all may sound like a big deal, but it doesn't take more than 6 or 7 minutes. (I don't need to refinish the entire top; just the center section--the rest of the top is obscured by tools.)
dave
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Nice work, Charlie! I built that very same cabinet (except I need to work on the interior, so I'll be borrowing some of your ideas--I can give them back when I'm done if you like). Like you, I too procrastinated on installing the piano hinges. I think I know how I'd do it now, but it was hard to do at the time. Finished it weighs a TON!

My first reaction was that the one fluorescent light wouldn't be enough. Consider adding another over the right hand side as well.
- Owen -
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Owen Lawrence wrote:

Snip

There are some slick tricks for piano hinges 1. the reaily available ones (aka the less expensive ones) don't close flat - out of the box. But if you put them in a metal vise, with the hinge rod down flush with the vise jaw tops and then squish them flat you can fix that shortcoming 2. If you -lay the cabinet on its back - tape s piece of wood that's the same thickness as the hinge to the side as a spacer - block and shim up the door 'til its inside edge is at the same height as the front edge and up against the shim taped to the cabinet side of the cabinet - MAKE SURE THE TOP (or bottom) OF THE DOOR LINES UP WITH THE BOTTOM OF THE CABINET - clamp the door and cabinet together so they can't move - ovalize three of the holeson each side of the hinge - the second down from the top, the second up from the bottom and one towards the middle - will give you a little (emphasis on "little") adjustment room. - set the opened hinge in place, the hinge rod side against the cabinet edge (should fit snug in the space between the door and the cabinet) - use a self centering VIX bit to drill pilot holes for the ovalized locations of the screws - put in six screws in the predrilled ovalized holes - test the fit - if need be, adjust the fit using only two of the ovalized holes on either the door or the cabinet. - test the fit again and, if need be, use two of the ovalized holes in the cabinet or door, whichever hasn't been tweeked yet.
- when you've got the fit you want, VIX the rest of the holes and install the rest of the screws.
Simple right?
charlle b -
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From the picture the OP referenced, the metal working vise appears to be one that has a swivel base. I would further emphasize charlie b's advice that the vise should be mounted at the end of the bench. There are times when swiveling it 90 degrees is real handy.
Bill Leonhardt
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wrote in message

It is nice to have the vise near the grinder.
j
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I have a power strip on the front apron of the bench and an extension cord hanging above the bench. Both used frequently.
wrote:

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Thanx very much for all the ideas and suggestions guys - I will definitely start re-tooling the design to incorporate some of them.
Keep em coming! :)
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Thanx again so much for all the suggestions...
The space under the bench will certainly be used for some shelves and also room to roll the shop vac underneath. I also want to keep enough spec underneath to prop my feet up and legs under when sitting on a stool. I like to sit and work at the bench on a lot of small projects like electronics and whatnot so I will mot likely make any shelves underneath take up the back half of the space.
Llighting: I have been looking around at stores and such for a good lighting solution beyond just a big florescent one. Maybe some aimable spot type lights or something - any ideas?
Drawers - yes the drawer sizes arent decided upon yet but will most likely be different sizes.
SO MANY THINGS TO THINK ABOUT...I might never get this design done. :retard:
Thanx again for everyones generous comments and ideas. Mucho appreciated!
- todd
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On Sun, 04 Dec 2005 15:02:16 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@spam.invalid (realeyz) scribbled:

I don't know why you need all those lags on the bottom stretcher against the wall, I don't think they will do much good. In fact, I don't see why that bottom piece against the wall is needed at all. You need to attach the stretcher under the bench top to the wall. A lag or a couple of large wood screws at each stud should hold up the bench to pretty much anything.
Also, consider not putting openings in the drawer fronts and use knobs or handles instead. A lot of dust will get into your drawers instead of just a bit. You need some kind of frame around the drawer sides to attach the slides.
HTH
Luigi Replace "nonet" with "yukonomics" for real email address www.yukonomics.ca/wooddorking/humour.html www.yukonomics.ca/wooddorking/antifaq.html http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:WikiProject_Woodworking
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