I agree. The only way a bench that narrow will be stable is if you pile 800
pounds on the bottom. That is commonly done for lathes. In fact I thought
it was a lathe bench when I looked at it. Those guys must have narrow
benches to get close to their turning. So they stack sand bags on the
bottom. This creates a stable base and cuts down on vibration.
Remember the comment I made about benches need to be heavy? If you are not
going to something really heavy, it must be wide enough to give a stable
work surface. Particularly if you are going to install a vise on there. I
have a fairly narrow bench in my shop. But it is made from solid maple and
always has tools stacked on the lower shelves. So I can get away with it.
It is very heavy.
Another suggestion I would make. If you are going to put a vise on there,
particularly a solid metal one that sits on top of the bench, think about
putting some additional wood underneath the bench to mount the vise to. A
heavy vise on a bench can introduce extra stresses on the bench. If some of
those stresses are shared by some kind of underlying structure, there is
less stress on the bench top. Of course, I will confess to building every
thing super strong. I guess that comes from seeing people hurt, growing up,
who built flimsy crap. Not me. One thing I have done on small benches like
this is to fasten numerous 2 X 4's or 6's to the top. Then install and
additional layer on top of this. I have even put down a layer of 2 X stock,
then plywood, then more sold stock over that. You can't have a top that is
too strong, heavy or sturdy!
Unless you are going to bolt this to the floor or wall, or pile on lots of
sandbags, I would expand the foot print of this thing.
Something that you might consider to salvage your completed work:
Use some 1/2" or 3/4" plywood glued/screwed to the outside (or inside of
the legs. (You could go from there and build in some drawers or cubbys
beneath the bench top.
Make a trestle style base of 2x stock to give those legs a slightly
larger footprint and added stability.
Not being critical, but what was going through your head in the planning
stages of this bench that caused you to run the spreaders inside the
legs rather than on the outside?
On 6/3/2012 7:20 AM, Unquestionably Confused wrote:
Absolutely nothing structurally wrong with that concept in the least:
AAMOF, it has some elements that makes it inherently flexible. Here is
that same bench in use today:
The only thing questionable about the implementation of Bill's design so
far is the legs possibly being too close together on the ends, relative
to the height, at least for the use he originally expressed.
Working with what he already has, and providing the floor of his shop is
flat enough to allow without too much shimming, this would solve that
problem in a few minutes:
I like it. Nice and easy and it would only use a minimal amount of wood.
Notice how the ends have an angled cut on them? That will be much nicer
to step on or roll something against (Why do they put long cords and
small wheels on vacuums?) than just a straight end.
Thank you for making this post/(reply to UC). As I mentioned last night,
I already removed the end arbors and cleaned up the legs.
Attaching the end grain of the legs to an "extended base" would have
been an interesting option, but I have no regret on what I already did.
I've noticed that the design I have for a "big bench" has the pedestal
feature that you and others have described.
Thank you for looking. A 26.5" long apron is supporting a 27.75" wide
top, so the benchtop overhang will only be 3/4" at the aprons. The
aprons extend 4.5" past the legs. So the legs span 17.5". My intuition
anticipates that the ratio of benchtop width to leg span = 27.75/17.5 ~
1.6, while larger than I might prefer, seems workable, especially given
the mass. The decision on top width was guided by the 9.25" width of
the SYP lumber at Menards, and other choices followed from the required
5"by5" area that my vice wants to occupy on top. Trying to maximize
support for the vise, one is led to positioning at least one leg where I
have it. 'Course, no one ways table legs have to be symetrical, but this
is my first table, and I don't want family and friends to think I
haven't seen a table before (j/k)!
The height is 40". Is there a "back of the envelope" way to estimate
it's stability? 40/17.5 ~ 2.3? (good enough?).
If is doesn't work out, I can reposition the legs outward, without any
modification all all to the long stretchers, without unreasonable
inconvenience, since I'm not planning to glue the top down. I could
make all 4 short aprons out of one 2by4. The inconvenience is dealing
with those square ("Robertson") deck screw heads which my drill is rough
on. Next time aouund I will be seeking deck screws with Torx heads!!!
If anyone else is considering a similar project they would do well to
observe that remark!
One thing you can try that should be simple and easy is to clamp a 2x on
the stretcher at the proposed distance. Push down on the very end and
see how hard it is to make the bench structure move. You basically have
a lever at that point, although not as simple as described in the
It might be worth finding a different bit. The fit between bit and
screw needs to be tight and the bits should fit solidly into the screw.
My experience with the Phillips bits has been that there's a bunch of
bits out there that kinda work ok with Phillips "general purpose" or
"drywall" screws and only 1 or two that really work well with them. I
imagine it's the same for square drive.
Are you predrilling before attempting to drive the screws? It really
does help, even if you're not close to the edge where it's required.
Yes Puck, I have been thinking about the vertical (downward) vector that
needs to be supported. And, that the distance from the leg (fulcrum) of
the origin of that vector relates directly to the force exerted on the
leg by that vector. So if someone sets something heavy right on the
edge, I wouldn't want the table to break or cartwheel.
So at this point, we have 5" of distance past the fulcrum. I'm curious
to do the experiment you suggested and see what it takes to lift the
back legs off of the ground, or perhaps, break 5" off of the apron (s).
Everyone knows it is easier to push over a longer pole than a shorter
pole. I would expect excessive horizontal force to result in the
screws/wood breaking loose. Intuitively, I think my pole analogy should
apply to the bench, but you have to accept that the force is being
applied at the feet (due to friction?) to make it work. I think this is
correct. I don't claim to be knowledgable about physics. I am just
trying to apply the basic leverage relation.
Again, you are over thinking this. The purpose of a bench is to USE it.
For a lot of different things. And you will be applying force in many more
different ways then the lever experiment you propose. That is why I am such
a proponent of the heavy bench. They don't move around much. And when you
are drilling, sometimes, the force will be in different directions. And
when you use power tools, that adds an even different kind of dynamic.
I remember, years ago, a small time gym equipment manufacturer. He wanted
to emphasize how strong his equipment was. So he hired a guy who had
trained elephants to stand on his equipment. 40 years ago, I was making
coffee tables. I photographed them with a pickup on top of them. That is
my reference point. If they will support elephants and pickup trucks they
are strong enough. Anything less than that is suspect. ;)
Lee Michaels wrote:
The purpose of a bench is to USE it.
Yes, you make a good point. I already performed Puck's experiment anyways.
In the right-hand coordinate system (remember, where the positive x-axis
rotates into the positive y-axis like the fingers on your right hand
with thumb up), force applied in the directions (0,0,-1) and (-1,0,0)
could be applied "safely". It was force in the direction (1, 0,-1) which
created a smooth flipping motion at say about 35 pounds of force, with
no boards on the top. While this is not typical usage for the bench,
as you suggest above, it is a real possibility via drilling, routing or
something and it has the potential to create a nasty accident.
Thus I dismantled the (end) arbors and Titebond-II works just fine. The
cleanup created the nicest shavings I've seen from my modern Stanley
Thanks to everyone for their concern, especially maybe tiredofspam who
maybe I took out some frustration on. Sorry, tiredofspam.
All I can say is "With that shallow leg spacing, he'd better lag that
puppy to the wall, or the vise will drag it down onto his toesies."
Shake off all the fears of servile prejudices, under which weak minds
are servilely crouched. Fix reason firmly in her seat, and call on her
tribunal for every fact, every opinion. Question with boldness even the
existence of a God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of
the homage of reason than that of blindfolded fear.
-- Thomas Jefferson
"Lee Michaels" <leemichaels*nadaspam* at comcast dot net> wrote in message
Addendum: One other thing I have seen done to stabilize narrow benches is
to install some cross pieces on the bottom of the legs. These extend out
from the bench, on the floor. I do not recommend this. People can trip
over them and get hurt. I am a bit clumsy myself and can trip over things
easily. But I have seen it done.
I will experiment, and use sandbags or equivalent as necessary. By the
way, this was originally intended as a "work table" to help me get off
the ground, so to speak, until I build my heavy bench. The "heavy
bench" is expected to have a top consisting of halfed/ripped 2by8s,
glued together. Lew make this suggestion to me almost 3 years ago, but
I started working on electrical enhancements.
Someone wrote that it takes a bench to make one, and I surely understand
the truth of that! I anticipate that the new bench will help me gain
some traction in my woodworking. I anticipate that it will be a
relative joy to complete an array of small jobs I have in mind already.
I won't hesitate to add more wood under the vise if necessary. I think
the weak spot is the 4.5" on the apron that it overshoots the leg
(adjacent to the vise). It's not like a stinking air conditioner--If I
can build it, I can fix it! I like that alot! : )
If I move each leg so that it was 2" from each neighoring edge, would it
satisfy your stability criteria?
It would be 58"L by 27.75"W by 40"H.
Or would you like to see it wider (or shorter)?
I put alot of thought into choosing the height, but did NOT anticipate
that the height would factor into safety when I started.
Bill I agree with everyone else. The legs are too close together.
I also believe that your stretcher underneath needs to come out on the
side toward your work side. Since you have indicated you are using ply
for the top, your support should go close to the edge, but allow
yourself some clamp space. This will support your work better at the
edge if you wish to hammer a nail into something.
Also With that height, I would use at least 2x6 , maybe a 2x8 stretcher
between your legs (length wise) to prevent racking. You can do so along
the short side too. I would mortise it, but given your abilities, you
might try barrel bolts and bolting them. Or if you have a router
creating a pocket in the stretcher for a nut and bolting them.
Bill you sound like the generation X kids that need encouragement for
everything they do like even getting up in the morning. Wow great that
you got up... Wow it's great that you screwed four legs on...
How's that Bill? Am I getting better at encouragement?
On 6/2/2012 4:25 AM, Bill wrote:
Awe, you may as well get off that theme. I DO enjoy communicating with
others. Because I find encouragement from the newsgroup (or magazines,
books, etc.), doesn't mean that I am asking you to provide it for me.
Just listening to a musical performance used to inspire me to play my
guitar. Viewing art inspires me to draw. Reading inspires me to think.
It may surprise you that an important part of my profession is
motivating people to think/work. Some kinds of work are 2nd nature to
me, others less so--especially since I got married. : )
You think you work more than me? I will caution you that you have to go
some to do that.
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