Plans for bench

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Good Lord. I've been using mine for a couple years and applying what I thought was pretty hard pressure now and then, and haven't had any trouble with the pad.
Just how hard were you pushing that thing, and what were you doing?
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One of the magazines just had an article about using ROS and pushing is defeating the workings and takes longer. I can't imagine enough to melt the Velcro.
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I came to that same conclusion. Heavy pressure doesn't seem to do any better than just guiding it around the piece.

Seems like that much heat oughta make smoke. :-)
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Edwin Pawlowski wrote:

I think you may be asking the wrong question. "Hard" is a relative thing. I'm 6'4" 265 and haven't have that problem, Bob, HOW BIG ARE YOU? %-)
Dave in Fairfax
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I'm 5'10" 190# and at 76 can't push anything as hard as eons ago!
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nospambob wrote:

Darn! Another good idea down the tubes. %-)
Dave in Fairfax
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Melt was my choice of a word, seem to recall a post citing "fusing" the loops making them useless. May have been changes in materials in past 13 years also.
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Bought it 1993 and sanding wide glue up panel made from several narrow boards. Didn't know that sandpaper has a relatively short life and was trying to get more use from discs that were gone. Our DIL is learning woodworking and uses discs that our son has put back in the pile and she presses down making the same mistake I made. Oh well, ...

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It is common for the body to be more comfortable when performing different tasks with the workpiece at different elevations.
I tend to have back problems if I bend over too much for too long.
One of my benches doubles as an outfeed table for my router table/drum sander which are mounted next to each other. I chose the router table height which felt right for my height and then raised the drum sander to match.
I knew I would want the bench to be higher or lower for certain tasks and so when I saw this neat idea at a woodworking show, I took the plunge and bought one.
http://www.adjustabench.com /
It is very sturdy and a breeze to adjust up or down. Not cheap, but worth it to save my back.
Dave Paine.

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My ideal bench is one I saw at a rehab hospital. 1 3/4" laminated Maple top, solid metal legs on the ends, hand crank height adjustable. I seriously considered buying one at the glorified price of $1700, but the only place I could find them was in the USA and shipping up to Canada was quoted along the lines of $300. Just too rich for my blood.
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Thanks for the link & I've bookmarked the site. It is damn pricy but maybe I could swing it by just getting the legs & building my own top. I have a couple of good friends, both serious craftpersons, who messed up their neck & backs by constantly hunkering over their work. Both had to have surgery and now have lingering neurological problems. When I'm working, I often lose track of time and will spend sometimes an hour or more hunched over. Afterwards my neck and back just ache. I'm coming to the conclusion that it's smarter for me to spend my meager funds on a really fancy bench that'll save my spine than go through surgery or - worse - give up on my sculptures/wood work.
Chris
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Don't know about a really fancy bench, but if you're seriously concerned about injury and comfort when doing your woodworking, I'd look into an adjustable height bench.
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Perfectly square top with many holes for the screw and dogs, and the top adjusts different ways, a good view of one that is sold on this site: http://www.leevalley.com/home/main.asp
A sculpter's bench, kind of like a really big single hinged "knee" with a dimensionaly small but heavy platform on top, in "The Workbench Book" on pages 202-203.
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wrote:

I know a carver who has a bench mounted on a dentist's chair base. There's a hydraulic lift to adjust the height.
Of course when I wanted to get rid of a dentist's chair, no-one would take the thing away for free!
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I hate to say it, but, just exatly that is also in the workbench book... a dental chair based table on page 200. It's "pink".
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Those guys had a booth at the Twin Cities woodworking show a couple years back. I was impressed. Looked like a good, solid framework. You're limited to the increments built in, but I'd be happy with that.
In one of Frank Klausz' videos he talks about bench height. It's supposed to be just high enough so if you let your arm hang at your side fully extended, then bring your hand up at 90 degrees, you hand should just rest on the bench without bending or stretching your arm. So when I built my bench, that's what I aimed for and it ended up about one inch higher than that.
THEN, I find a transcript of an internet chat with Frank when I was looking for something else, and in it he says he's building a higher bench because he doesn't like bending over to get at stuff any more.
So all the people who said "It's up to you and the stuff you do and what makes your feel comfortable" are right. My bench works fine for now but now that I've used it for a while, I've got a pretty good idea how I'm going to build the next one. :-) It just might have that adjustabench frame on it, I'm not sure.
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I need that Adjust-A-Shop, that flexes outwards when I need it, and makes room for other stuff on the lot when I don't...
Patriarch
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wrote in

Oh, yeah. Like you wouldn't fill it up a month after you get it, and the only setting you'll use is "Bigger".
Or, maybe you're not like me. :-)
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On Sat, 23 Jul 2005 21:27:49 -0500, Patriarch wrote:

Stanley today makes just the product you need. Just push a button...
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Do a lot of Google, and read "The Workbench Book" before you start. There's a _lot_ of information out there, especially this newsgroup.
Benches are important. Expensive in materials too. But no-one ever builds their "ultimate" bench - most people will re-work the old one every few years, as they want more from it. So don't be afraid to make something usable but basically nasty, if it gets you going.
What are you going to do with this bench ? Just woodwork, or other stuff too ? Clean or dirty ?
What have you got to make it with ? How much skill? Have you got an existing bench? - I wouldn't fancy chopping mortices without one!
What machinery have you got to work with ? A substantial table saw is a great advantage for ripping the strips of a bench top to size.
What's your budget ? 2" solid maple top, or just two layers of 3/4" plywood and a 4mm MDF top for wear ? (cheapest sensible option).
If you're a woodworker, what tools do you use ? Hand or power ? Hand work puts a lot more force (especially sideways) into the frame and needs something that resists these racking forces.
Just one bench ? It's worth having more than one, even if this means a smaller bench. A benchtop that's always clean and clear is a great help - find an adjoining table for storing small parts and tools "out of your hand", or something as an assembly stand for the finished item. As these aren't workbench surfaces, they don't need to be so substantial. But hand woodworking needs a benchtop that's empty before you start.
Simple benches are the Workmutt. Get a genuine B&D, solidly-made model but without the gimmicks. It's a terrible bench, but an excellent clamp. Every home owner needs one.
Another simple bench is a pair of trestles, either portable and nesting, or semi-permanent with a strong firedoor blank on top as a workbench. Not a great bench, but easy and quick. Trestles are also great for big work outdoors, when the weather is good. If you're in a cellar you'll be doing a lot of ripping up big sheets of plywood, just to get them downstairs easily.
Next up is a laminated plywood top. Two 3/4" plies and 4mm MDF or Masonite on top. Stick the top down just with DS tape, so you can pry it off and replace it every few years. Fit a hardwood trim strip around the edge.
The frame can be construction-grade softwood; 4x4 legs and 2x4 framings. Use screwed half-laps (easy to make) to hold it together. Make the end frames as one panel each and _bolt_ the lengthways stretchers on, for easy dismantling. Put diagonal bracing (or sheet plywood) across the end panels and the rear, as bracing. Size all the screws to be twice what you expect to need - there's a lot of racking force in a handwork bench and you don't want it wobbling.
Don't put drawers and cupboards into a bench. You need that space fro framing instead, so a useful cupboard needs to be
Then you're into laminated wood tops. These are probably best bought as a one-piece. There are several makers doing maple, beech or oak and they're not easy to make yourself until you have an established workshop.
Think about vices. IMHO, there are three sorts worth having.
First off is a big cast iron face vice - as big and wide as you can find, ideally an old English one like a Parkinson's, Paramo or Record. Fit maple faces to it. Attach it firmly too, to the underframe rather than the benchtop. Add extra framing to the underframe, if needed.
Secondly you need a lengthways clamp system, which holds timber for planing. The best of these is a set of movable height-adjustable dogs, ideally in two rows. Moving these is the real function of a tail vice.
If you aren't building a traditional European bench (Frank Klausz <http://www.workbenchdesign.net/frankbench.html or Tage Frid pattern)then you don't get moving dogs. Moving dogs are _the_ way to clamp for hand woodworking - they're why you'd bother with this complex style of bench. In other cases (especially the plywood top) then drill two rows of 3/4" round dogholes and buy some of the Veritas "Wonder Dogs" which are a dog with a built in clamp screw.
Thirdly you need a metalworking vice. This should be a _small_ _East European_ vice, possibly with a rotating base, and attached to a 3/4" plywood sub-panel that attaches to your main workbench. If you have a metalworking bench, then just use that and put a 6" jawed '50s Western monster onto it. But if you're sharing a bench for two tasks, then go with a demountable vice on a dirt-catcher panel that bolts quickly to your bench (through the dog holes, or maybe held in the vice). It might have a plywood front apron too. The Czechs, maybe the Poles, make the best of these vices. Chinese are rubbish, with brittle castings. Get some soft jaws for it too.
You also need clamps - lots of clamps. A thick 4" deep apron on the front of a 2" solid bench is great, because you can cut the dog holes into the apron, you can G clamp downwards and still get a clamp over the apron, or you can G clamp onto the face of the apron. One of my other benches (not my manufacture) has a 12" deep front apron that's a nice thing for stability and vice mounting, but it spoils it entirely for clamping.
Vices you don't need:
A Klausz/Frid style shoulder vice. They're great for holding assembled drawers, no damn use at all for holding a shallow piece of timber. Go for an iron face vice instead.
A patternmaker's tilting vice - Emmett style, or the 150 Taiwanese copy. Nice things to have in the workshop, but they'll drive you batty as an _only_ vice with their wobbling jaws.
A tail vice. Not much use for clamping stuff onto the end of a bench, especially when you're tight for space.
A tail vice - the L-shaped Euro style, where the two ends of the frame form a notch in the front edge of the bench. Now these are great if you're building a Euro bench, but if you're not, then the iron vice will do what you need.
If you're fitting out a workshop you also need wall cupboards, which in a cellar should have doors on. Get yourself a load of good 1/2" WBP plywood and a biscuit jointer, maybe birch plywood (lighter) for the doors. You'll also want some sort of circular saw to slice it up - either a decent table saw, or those trestles again with a handheld saw and a decent plywood blade.
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