So...I hate my bench - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 16 Old 05-01-2019, 05:42 PM Thread Starter
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So...I hate my bench

Confessions of a Frustrated Woodworker - Part I: The Workbench

Last summer I built the Paul Sellers Nicholson-style knockdown bench. You can follow the build progress here. It was my first bench, built with a bare minimum of tools and experience. Now that I have a bit more of both, I feel like the bench is holding me back.

1. This bench is not designed for preparing rough stock. Paul prepares all of his stock with machines, which I don't have and probably never will. As sadistic as it sounds, I enjoy the process (frustrating as it is on this bench). I find myself wanting a real dog system, complete with end vise or wagon vise.

2. Limited clamping options. Due to the aprons, you can't really use much of the bench surface to clamp against. And because the face vise isn't flush with the front apron, you can't really use the front apron as a clamping surface. The tool well prohibits using the entire back side of the bench - so all you're left with are the ends.

3. It's too narrow. Nuff said here. It's okay for small projects, but becomes a problem for anything bigger than a bread basket.

4. It's not long enough (that's what she said). Ever since the CEO approved using the entire 2-car garage as my shop, my bench keeps looking smaller and smaller.

Guess I just needed to air my grievances. I think I'm going to build a new bench - a Roubo style this time. With more goodies.
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⚡ Anthony
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post #2 of 16 Old 05-01-2019, 06:37 PM
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check out my sketch, 7ft bench - it's close to roubo style but instead of leg vise a veritas sliding tail vise

https://3dwarehouse.sketchup.com/mod...672c/workbench

for dimensional stock preparation, a drill press vise is a good option that can be used temporary with a table
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post #3 of 16 Old 05-01-2019, 11:15 PM
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Sorry Anthony...I'm sure your next will be a lot more to your liking, since now you know what you don't like...

Good luck and here's a video of a dear friends work you may like and to inspire you...!!!

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post #4 of 16 Old 05-08-2019, 08:50 PM Thread Starter
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Well, it looks like this will be happening after all.

Got a quote on some hickory, and I can't pass it up. Every board hand-inspected to be free of knots, cut slightly oversized so I can hand plane them to final dimensions. The top will be laminated of course, but everything else will be solid - including the 5" square legs. All for less than I can buy pine for at the big box store. I'm ashamed to post the price, because it feels like I'm stealing it. I had to ask him for confirmation twice, because I thought it was a typo.

The vice hardware is expensive, so it may be awhile before the bench comes together. I figure a hickory bench will last the rest of my lifetime, so I might as well put good hardware in it.
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⚡ Anthony
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post #5 of 16 Old 05-11-2019, 08:51 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AmishElectricCo View Post
Well, it looks like this will be happening after all.



Got a quote on some hickory, and I can't pass it up. Every board hand-inspected to be free of knots, cut slightly oversized so I can hand plane them to final dimensions. The top will be laminated of course, but everything else will be solid - including the 5" square legs. All for less than I can buy pine for at the big box store. I'm ashamed to post the price, because it feels like I'm stealing it. I had to ask him for confirmation twice, because I thought it was a typo.



The vice hardware is expensive, so it may be awhile before the bench comes together. I figure a hickory bench will last the rest of my lifetime, so I might as well put good hardware in it.


Donít know if youíve watched it, but Third Coast Craftsman has a really nice video on building a workbench. Same with Wood By Wright, who does mostly hand tool work from rough stock.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
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post #6 of 16 Old 05-18-2019, 11:50 AM Thread Starter
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No turning back now! Went and picked up the hickory today. It's pretty green, so the build thread will probably be later this summer. I've got enough projects lined up to keep me busy while this stuff dries out.

He threw in some extra scraps as well, including a nice piece of figured Ash with some cool spalting in it. The county fair is coming up soon, I'm thinking a Paul Sellers wall clock made of cherry and ash might bring home a ribbon. :)
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post #7 of 16 Old 05-18-2019, 03:54 PM
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Can't wait to see it!

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post #8 of 16 Old 05-18-2019, 05:50 PM
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Sounds like a fun project. Be sure the wood has reached equilibrium before you start.
I've got an old German made traditional European style bench. Bought it cheap at auction. It was a mess. Made of beech.
What I really like about it: Wooden side and tail vices, square bench dogs with springs that keep them where they need to be. I've added an adjustable support on the side, opposite the end of the side vice so I can clamp long parts to the side of the bench. Fixed jaw of the side vice is the side of the bench.
I've often thought I'd like a pinch dog (wrong name?) clamp (a bar that drives into the dog slots and has a piece of spring steel to clamp the work)but never got around to getting one. The tool tray is OK but I keep a rolling cart near for tools.
This type of bench allows you to hold flat work W/O anything sticking above the work. Nice for using a plane. I've got a shooting board that I can dog-clamp to the top.
Using hand tools is great therapy. I've made a variety of wooden hand planes.
I still like my power tools but they don't give the same satisfaction, feeling of accomplishment.
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post #9 of 16 Old 05-19-2019, 03:54 AM
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Hey bud sorry to hear your bench didnt work out for you. On the bright side now you KNOW what you want in a work bench and you can build one to fit your style of work. Maybe you can sell your other bench to help offset some of the cost for the new one. I followed your first build and look forward to seeing your new bench

P.S. Im incredibly jealous about the hickory. Nice find.
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post #10 of 16 Old 06-22-2019, 11:18 AM
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AmishElectric, How's your new bench coming along?

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post #11 of 16 Old 06-22-2019, 04:55 PM Thread Starter
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AmishElectric, How's your new bench coming along?
It will be awhile yet before I start on it...wood is still pretty wet. Probably not until fall.

We've had record-setting amounts of rain here, and even though my wood is in the garage, there's so much moisture in the air. Today is the first decent day we've had in weeks, and more rain is coming. Ugh.

⚡ Anthony

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post #12 of 16 Old 06-22-2019, 06:33 PM
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dogs, hole spacing and the 'right' vises / clamps are obviously the key.


one thing I've noticed / chatted up / absorbed from craft show vendors - on the dog thing....
the 'curved hook' style relies on canting the vertical leg in a wooden hole.
bang bang bang - eventually the wooden holes 'oblong out'

some dog designs use a rectangular metal plate sunk into the bench with a metal collar/pipe that holds the vertical dog component.
they are seriously more resistant to oblonging out. bit more like 'not subject to...."

the modern design is a metal 'disc' mounted on a (much smaller diameter) vertical shaft. this style does not rely on canting/cocking the vertical dog post to keep it in position. it is subject to wear&tear lateral banging.

lots of choices. back in ye' olde daze when wood was near free and apprentices veddy cheap, the olde style dog made sense.
today I'd go with one of the more modern versions.
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post #13 of 16 Old 07-10-2019, 11:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AmishElectricCo View Post
It will be awhile yet before I start on it...wood is still pretty wet. Probably not until fall.

We've had record-setting amounts of rain here, and even though my wood is in the garage, there's so much moisture in the air. Today is the first decent day we've had in weeks, and more rain is coming. Ugh.
Have any other recent projects to share. I'm getting withdrawal.
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post #14 of 16 Old 07-11-2019, 10:32 AM
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My philosophy on benches is either the bench determines your method of work, or your method of work determines the bench.


You've found out its the latter.


Quote:
Originally Posted by AmishElectricCo View Post
It's pretty green, so the build thread will probably be later this summer.)
You sure want that lumber acclimated. Hickory like a lot of wood, is notorious for internal stress & moving.


I suggest you buy a moisture meter and see what you have now and track it over the next few months.



Be patient and aware you could easily be looking at 6 months to even a year for 8/4 lumber to acclimate.


When you start milling, don't go straight to final dims. Take your time and allow 2-3 days in stickers between sessions.

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post #15 of 16 Old 07-11-2019, 07:20 PM
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Can't see the initial pictures for some reason

Rick

Just a simpleton in Alaska who likes guns, wood working, and other odd things
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post #16 of 16 Old 07-11-2019, 11:27 PM Thread Starter
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Have any other recent projects to share. I'm getting withdrawal.
Finishing up another wall clock that my mom wanted. It's cherry and maple, but the cherry will be stained dark like walnut. Should be done with that in a couple more days.

Then I want to get started on my Anarchists Tool Chest build. I've been putting it off because of all the dovetails.

THEN I'll build the bench.
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