I'm sort of thinking out loud.
After selling a couple cars this weekend, it looks like I'll have maybe
$1000 to spend on something. I have a fairly complete shop with only a
couple glaring omissions of tools that I think I would use regularly if
I had them. One option is a performax 22/44 (I know it's a little more
than $1k). The project I'm working on now would definitly benefit from
a drum sander. And I can see using it on probably every project I do,
mainly for sanding glue-ups and doors/face frames, then there's
But the other thing I was looking at was this:
Now I know that some people would call it heresy to buy such a
workbench rather than make one. And I sort of agree. I do have a
long-term plan to make the mother of all workbenches once I have the
space. But this looks like it would be very useful until that happens.
And when you conside the price of wood and vices, it's starting to
look like a good deal. I don't have anything that resembles a proper
workbench at the moment, just my table saw outfeed table and this thing
I threw together with 2x4s, pocket screws. and some leftover melamine.
So does anyone have any experience with this workbench, or see anything
wrong with it? Can anyone suggest a different brand with a similar
> I'm sort of thinking out loud.
> After selling a couple cars this weekend, it looks like I'll have maybe
> $1000 to spend on something. I have a fairly complete shop with only a
> couple glaring omissions of tools that I think I would use regularly if
> I had them. One option is a performax 22/44 (I know it's a little more
> than $1k).
Don't know where you are located but here in SoCal, there are several
commercial drum sanding shops.
Most are equipped with 48" wide drums that use three (3), 25HP motors,
charge about $25 for the first 15 minutes, then $1/minute for
Takes a lot of drum sanding to spend $1K.
The only thing that I see a potential issue is that tilting drawer at
the bottom. Sounds more like an automatic tool disorganizer to me,
and that's MY job description, not something I want done for me ;)
I'd also be curious as to how much assembly is required. Is it throw
a few bolts in and away you go, or are you going to be spending a week
installing vises and whatnot anyway. Grizzly is pretty good about
Another option might be to get one of the premade benchtop slabs,
Grizzly among others sell them. Take the top off your current bench,
throw the slab on there and have at it for now. Then when you get
round to it you can replace the bottom. Might even have enough
leftover for the 16-32 performax.
Ah the workbench paradox - you almost need a reall woodworking
bench to make a real woodworking bench. OK - so you don't NEED
one to make one - but it sure would make things easier.
A seven foot long bench gets really long if you have to walk
around it often - and if you put it more or less in the center
of the shop you will be walking around it.
Four inch thick and in birch is nice. Space under the bench top
can come in handy. BIG single tilt out "drawer" - not so handy.
When you have to dig down through the pile to find what you
need that will become clearer. Some shallow drawers for single
layering of semi-flat tools, a little taller drawers for the bigger
stuff and maybe one for a router or two and perhaps some bits.
Not sure about the flat base bottoms - upside down "sleigh"
feet are easier to level.
Figure $200 -$250 for the vise hardware another $300 or $400
for the wood - not a bad bench at not a bad price. But I'd
skip the tilt out and build some drawers.
It looked to me like there are low flat spots at the end of the sleigh
rails, not one continuous flat bottom. I'll have another look.
This is exactly what I was thinking. I would throw some large
cumbersome jigs in there for now, but later, just take it out and
replace it with a proper cabinet with drawers.
I'm still torn between this and the 22/44. My wife likes the idea of
the 22/44 better. She sees this as an expensive table that will
collect junk. I tried to tell her that it was so much more, but I
think she didn't understand. :-)
It looks like a nice bench. But it looks kinda big. Are you sure that you
will be happy with those vises?
If you want something fast and now, you might consider getting the metal leg
kits and put some laminated maple tops and bottoms on them. Legs are here;
Maple tops are here;
I once scored a bunch of metal leg kits from an airplane factory. I put on
tops and bottoms to them. I extended the top out on one end in case
somebody wanted to put a vise on it. I also installed outlet boxes on them
that could be plugged into nearby outlets.
They were incredibly strong and sturdy. I could build them quick once I got
the materials together. I cranked out a bunch of them and sold then in the
paper. They were all gone in a week. I think material costs were about
$40 - $50. This was about 25 years ago.
Anyway, you can do this for much less than a thousand dollars. You would
have to buy and install some vises though. Then you could build some
cabinets below. Build a wood base for the bench later. You will already have
the tops. (and maybe some cabinets as well)
If you do ever build the MOAWB (yeah I know 'workbench' is one word, but the
acronym works better this way) the Griz bench will be a bit of a waste.
I would propose that you get good hardware, and build a interim bench from
ply or something relatively inexpensive.
When you do get to the MOAWB, you can recycle the vises and walk away from
a minimal investment in material. The side benefit is that the interim bench
will serve as prototype to some degree. You will then have a good idea of
what dimensions work best for YOU.
I way go for the performax. Conventional wisdom dictates buying tools when
they are needed. The interim bench can be built with good hardware for
around $350 and most of that investment is a downpayment on the MOAWB.
Man, to me, this is a total no brainer. Get the performax. I've had a
drum sander for about 8 years now, and it makes woodworking such a
pleasure. Sure, you could hunt down a cabinet shop to outsource that as
someone else suggested.. but then you have to drive your stuff there,
and do it on their schedule, etc.
IMO, you can make do with a mediocre bench.. but if you do a lot of
solid wood stuff, a drum sander is an absolute godsend.
I don't see anything wrong with it, but I think I'd go for the drum
sander, given a choice between the two. If you get that sander, you
could make a good workbench top out of all sorts of things, and sand
it down with the new toy. I sure could have used one when I made
mine- I used laminated 2x4s (glued face to face) and hand planed that
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