workbench?

At the risk of all the abuse I am about to receive... :-)
http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/displayitem.taf?Itemnumber454
Has anyone seen one of these up close and in person? Of those that have, any opinions?
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Duck, wrote the following at or about 6/13/2007 4:40 PM:

Funny you should ask. I saw it just last Saturday at the local HF.
Two things jumped out at me:
1) if that's oak, I'm made out of Ipe. Very tight grain and/or filled like crazy and then lacquered until hell wouldn't have it.
2) I doubt there was a singe piece of wood in it that was longer than 10". Every visible piece had that zig-zag finger jointing to make it into a board.
However, now that I read the ad copy, it does say oak TOP. I couldn't see the top since it was sitting on top of one of those 4'tall tables in the back of the store with the generators, welders, etc.
Other than that...
Somehow I had the feeling that it wouldn't last very long in a shop. In a family room, maybe! I recall some years ago seeing somebody who'd taken a for real workbench and cleaned it up and made some minor mods to turn it into a bar for their home. This might be up to that task.
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It's light duty , more drawers than the Ace hardware one. Don't count on the wood being any kind of "oak" you have seen before (Asian) It would make a good bar.
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One of the "lies" advertisers use is to tell you something's "oak" or "maple" or whatever, when infact the "oak desk" is really "oak colored desk" or "oak stained pine finger jointed desk." (Or how about "1/64 inch veneer that will come up if you look at it wrong oak?"
You have to look carefully when any discount or big box store says something is a better quality wood. Somewhere on the box, it should tell you what part is the better wood.
Puckdropper
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Duck wrote:

One of the woodworking magazines did a review of the various purchaseable work benches out there and I believe this one or its two vises cousin was included. Comments as I recall was a) to light weight b) base not stabile so it tends to lean when planing because there is no apron / upper stretcher because of the drawers c) can't clamp to the underside of the top because of the drawers d) vise hardware wasn't very strong and would "lean back" under pressure e) top of vise jaw not level with the top of the bench
For this specific model - lacking a front vise is a real shortcoming since that's the one used most often. The weight of 111 pounds is also a hint that this isn't a very solid bench - remember - weight is inertia and inertia is your friend when it comes to work benches. The other tip is the $179.99 price tag, marked down from $199.99 If they couldn't sell it at $200, do you think it's a good deal with $20 off?
charlie b
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Duck wrote:

In fact I have one very much like it, purchased from Home Depot in a fit of...needing a bench :-). Mine has a front vice, and only one level of drawers. Now, in the get-what-you-pay-for category:
3/4" top with apron - it's not solid. Makes it hard to clamp to. Crappy bushings on the vises so they rack pretty badly. Vise tops not level with bench surface. Rounded edge on bench top and vise tops, makes clamping small pieces difficult. Not terribly stable/heavy overall. The shelf is a piece of very-nearly-cardboard.
I have an unfortunate tendency to polish turds, so I've fixed each of these issues. I added a plywood plate under the bench top so I can clamp to it. I hemmed in the guide rods on the vises with maple. I made a hard-edge inset for the bench top and a hard-edge cap for the vise, planed level. I added cross bracing to the frame and piled stuff on a replacement shelf made of plywood.
The bench has actually served me quite well and I can plane on it with no problems. But you'll really need a face vise if you get one.
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Duck wrote:

The legs look too flimsy for woodworking, but it might be a great bench for model making or the like.
FWW has a workbench to build that looks to be strong and inexpensive to build. It also doesn't look like a year long magnus opus.
They call it their "New-Fangled Workbench" and it relies on pipe clamps, wedges and move-able center plates for some pretty versatile clamping. Dimensions are not given ... build to suit. I've pretty much decided that it will be my next project.
You'll find it in their November / December 1999 issue, starting on page 98. You may need to subscribe to the Taunton Press website to get the .pdf file, I'm not certain, but I've had no regrets over the money I laid out for that subscription.
Bill
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On Tue, 26 Jun 2007 12:51:35 -0400, BillinDetroit wrote:

I purchased one of these and have been happen with it. It has been strudy. One thing I have not liked about it is the depth of the drawers. Don't expect to put anything very tall into the drawers. I like the bench dog layout and the fact the vise has holes for bench dogs.
Paul T.
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