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post #21 of 76 Old 11-12-2019, 08:39 PM
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Originally Posted by phaelax View Post
As someone already said, you can never have too many clamps! I actually buy all my clamps from harbor freight, they work pretty well I think (never slipped or came loose on me) and cost a tiny fraction of what you'd pay for similar clamps anywhere else. It's like 5 for the price of 1. So if money is tight, it's something to consider. Better than nothing right?
I have various sizes of the Harbor Freight ratcheting clamps. The only nice things about them are:
1. Price.
2. Lifetime guarantee. Thank goodness for that, because they break a lot, and I don't abuse them. You get what you pay for. See #1, above.

I have other types of clamps from other sources. The HF ratcheting clamps are one-hand fast and easy for quick needs, but they do not grip well. If I need something stronger and better, my "go to" clamps are the heavy-duty Bessey F-clamps.

I looked at Harbor Freight's website, and I didn't realize until now that they sell various kinds of clamps other than the ratchet ones. I may give them a try, someday.
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post #22 of 76 Old 11-12-2019, 10:18 PM
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Since we're talking workbenches and tools, I decided to take a picture of my workbench this evening. Believe it or not, I cleaned up this space before I began work. I've been building drawer parts all evening. The tools you see strewn all over are the tools I'm using. You can see some of my expensive tools mixed it with my not so expensive and "found" tools.
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post #23 of 76 Old 11-13-2019, 09:32 AM
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Originally Posted by phaelax View Post
As someone already said, you can never have too many clamps! I actually buy all my clamps from harbor freight, they work pretty well I think (never slipped or came loose on me) and cost a tiny fraction of what you'd pay for similar clamps anywhere else. It's like 5 for the price of 1. So if money is tight, it's something to consider. Better than nothing right?
You are right. HF clamps are great, especially for beginners, because they are inexpensive, work "well enough", and have a lifetime warranty.

I have moved up to Dubuque clamps, which I really like, but I still use my HF clamps when I need more.

There are lots of ways to clamp things. One that I've used periodically is a simple bungee cord for clamping a carcass. Can be wrapped all the way around, and makes squaring easy. However, not so good for clamping edge glued flat surfaces, as the force can bow the glue-up if you're not careful.
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post #24 of 76 Old 11-13-2019, 04:23 PM
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Theses are the two types I buy from HF. I've tightened them down quite a bit and never had one fail. Though sometimes it's tricky getting it to stay in place when tightening down.

https://www.harborfreight.com/36-in-...amp-60539.html
https://www.harborfreight.com/hand-t...amp-96210.html
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post #25 of 76 Old 11-13-2019, 05:32 PM
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Originally Posted by AwesomeOpossum74 View Post
Since we're talking workbenches and tools, I decided to take a picture of my workbench this evening.
i have no idea what AwesomeOpossum's skill level is, but his workbench look well loved. proof that you don't need a solid maple top on a furniture grade base to do woodworking
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post #26 of 76 Old 11-13-2019, 09:37 PM
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Originally Posted by _Ogre View Post
i have no idea what AwesomeOpossum's skill level is, but his workbench look well loved. proof that you don't need a solid maple top on a furniture grade base to do woodworking
My workbenches have always been made with plywood tops - double layer, except for the rear section where (tool well) it drops down to one layer.
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post #27 of 76 Old 11-13-2019, 11:43 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for all the workbench pictures! It gives me confidence that I'm going to be able to get good things done with mine.

I dimensioned the stretchers today. At first I was a little disappointed that I only got the two of them done in two hours. Did I not just do two legs in one hour thirty minutes the other day? But I realized that the stretchers are almost twice as long and are one and a half times as wide. So my efficiency actually increased quite a bit. Much room for improvement of course.

I rolled back my decision to buy the Lee Nielsen face vise. I ultimately picked up this one instead. It's a lot cheaper and it won't prevent me from installing the LN one later if I happen to find this unsuitable.

I really wish I had picked up extra wood when I ordered the wood for my bench, because I need a little more to finish this thing. I need a bit more 2x6 to serve as the jaws of the vise. So I guess I'm going back to the lumber yard this weekend, or on Friday morning. I may check out another place that's said to be cheaper and more noob friendly. And I guess I will pick out some wood for my next project. I'm thinking some sort of wall-mounted storage space for all the tools.

I will also visit a big box store to get some pipe clamps. I have a half dozen bar clamps and two parallel face clamps. However, the bar clamps are not very good for forcing wood together on account of not having any way of getting extra torque beyond the handgrip. With the parallel clamps, I can insert a hex key, but with only two, this doesn't give me enough high torque coverage.

I decided that I will not glue the mortise and tenon joints. I intend to drawbore them instead. I'm terrified of glue setting before I finish with things, and anyway drawboring doesn't look that hard. If anyone can recommend an inexpensive set of drawbore pins, I'd appreciate it.
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post #28 of 76 Old 11-14-2019, 08:33 AM
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I would rethink the idea of 'draw boring instead'. Draw boring is not meant to add that much strength, it is for pulling a joint closer and tighter - not for bonding. On a work bench leg, a dowel is just not going to work for very long. The white wood glues such as Elmers Glue All or some such name are fairly slow curing and have as much strength as you will need. As long as the joint is just slightly snug, it will work fine. If for some reason, the tenon is slightly loose, you can glue on a layer or two of wide shavings.
If you really still dont want to glue the Mortise and tenon, run through bolts with washers and nuts.

As for the vise, I'm sure it will do just fine. Also note, for now, you can use 1X6's for the vise jaws. if you dont think they will hold up, glue 2 1X6''s together to make a 2x6, thats assuming you still have 1X stock left over.

The clamp issue, I am not there to actually see what you are talking about, so let me just say this....It takes a certain amount of experience, or an experienced person with you, to see how much clamping pressure to use. It's OK to use a moderate amount of pressure to hold to pieces together . If you r-e-a-l-l-y have to force 2 pieces together to close a joint, like in a table top, it may not hold forever. This is really hard to describe, so I will restate this, if you have to crank down with all you got, maybe you should go back and try to make a better joint. Also, depending on how big the gap, you can glue an additional piece there to act as a filler and plane it down to size.

Other than that............keep on truckin'

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post #29 of 76 Old 11-14-2019, 09:28 AM
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i have no idea what AwesomeOpossum's skill level is ...
Long enough to know I don't enjoy laying out dovetails, but do enjoy paring and chopping them. In solid wood, I typically free-cut them.
Long enough to confidently free-hand sharpen my tools, yet still need to reset the bevel every few sharpenings.
Long enough to have just about all the tools I need, yet every now and then find something else that would help my process.
Long enough to be able to hold my saw at 90 or 1:6 (for dovetails).
Long enough I can look at a piece of furniture, and pretty well know how it was assembled.
Long enough to be confident in my workmanship, make mistakes, and not be too worried about them.
Long enough to have favorite tools that you'll probably have to bury me with.

Long enough to know I still have a lot to learn, but possess enough experience to pass on knowledge.
Long enough to know there are people on this board who have much more experience than I.
Long enough to be about 5 years.

Quote:
Originally Posted by _Ogre View Post
... but his workbench look well loved. proof that you don't need a solid maple top on a furniture grade base to do woodworking
Thanks, I think? :)

I built it about 15 years ago as my garage "do everything" bench. At that time, I was largely using machines, doing home repair and upgrades, working on my cars, etc. It's simple construction, 8'x3', with 4x4 legs, 2x4 aprons and stretchers, and a 3/4" ply top.
What you don't see on the other end is my metalworking vice, and the recently installed second face vice I installed for my son to use. (that vice was passed to me from my grandfather and I refurbished it).

The top isn't perfectly flat. It wasn't built for fine woodworking. But it's sturdy, and it doesn't shake or bounce.

And yes, I am proud of it. If it weren't for this bench, I probably would not have had the wherewithal to begin my trek into fine woodworking.

@jags217, Thank you for keeping us updated. I enjoy watching your progress.

Paul Sellers has a video on drawbore. You can make your own drawbore dowels, or just buy generic dowels and cut them to length. I recommend you practice the process on scrap wood before doing it on your bench.

As I'm sure you're figuring out, your bench is probably going to be heavy. There's a reason for that ... so it doesn't rack and bounce as you do your work on it. Same goes for joints, which need to be tight so they can't move. It's elegant to think about not gluing, but a loose joint can produce undesired results. I'm not saying you *should* glue, but unless you plan to disassemble the table, it'll give you much more strength.
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post #30 of 76 Old 11-14-2019, 09:58 AM Thread Starter
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So, the reason I had thought not to drawbore is that whenever I read up on it, people mentioned that when done properly the joint does not need glue to stay tight. For example, Paul Sellers says in his video on drawboring that glue isn't essential when making a drawbore joint.

That being said, maybe I'll try making one on some of the wood I buy this weekend and see if it's as tight as it should be. That should give me a little mortise and tenon practice as well, which is sure to be valuable in the near future.
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post #31 of 76 Old 11-14-2019, 10:08 AM
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So, the reason I had thought not to drawbore is that whenever I read up on it, people mentioned that when done properly the joint does not need glue to stay tight. For example, Paul Sellers says in his video on drawboring that glue isn't essential when making a drawbore joint.

That being said, maybe I'll try making one on some of the wood I buy this weekend and see if it's as tight as it should be. That should give me a little mortise and tenon practice as well, which is sure to be valuable in the near future.
I would think typically, most furniture isn't subjected to forces that a workbench is. If you still want to go the drawbore route, maybe consider a doubled drawbore? But as @Tony B said, draw bore in white wood may not last long.
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post #32 of 76 Old 11-14-2019, 10:30 AM
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The only time I ever see a draw bore used is when someone is making a breadboard end table top. That is where glue is not used because the ends must be free to move with seasonal changes. The holes are elongated to allow for this and dowels are used. The draw bore is to pull the end piece tighter to the long grain boards for aesthetic purposes. Even at this, one needs to be careful not to pull too tight or you will split the end piece. I really dont believe this will work for a work bench which is under much greater stresses than an end decorative piece on a table.
The attached sketch may help you understand

Mortise and tenon joinery with adhesives has been used for thousands with great success and that is why it is still used today. Look up wedged tenons for better strength.

My old house in the Hudson Valley was built in the early 1800's. In the attic, it was quite noticeable that large 'pins' (dowels) were used in the construction. This was common and also to note, it was normally used on green wood which is a whole different world from kiln dried lumber. There were no nails. BUTTTTTT.......the strength was also aided by the use of large cross-members. I have been in the repair and refinishing business for many, many years. About the only time I ever saw dowels used in furniture was during the great depression and much of the really cheap 1950's furniture. It saved on the cost of wood (no additional length for the tenons) and ease of assembly. Most of my furniture repairs were due to broken dowel. Most of my repairs that involved M&T joints was due to glue failure over a period of a hundred years or so. To repair the glue failure joints, it was a simple matter of cleaning up the joint and re-gluing.
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post #33 of 76 Old 11-14-2019, 03:30 PM
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Thanks, I think? :)
it was meant to be a compliment, in my twisted ogre way
simple and effective workbench that didn't set you back a house payment
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post #34 of 76 Old 11-14-2019, 11:16 PM
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Hey dude, glad to see you getting into this craft, its rewarding and definitely takes some time.

Im going to risk being a complete #@%-hole here and give you some tough love... Please take it for whats its worth, im not attacking you as a person nor am I trying to disparage you from getting into this. Those joints are completely unacceptable. They will NOT hold up, and will fail eventually. Either spring for a jointer, or work on your hand planing techniques here. Id say rip those boards apart and start over tbh.

As far as clamps go, I might catch some flack here... I have some super high end bessey and I have harbor freight clamps. Yeah the bessey's are great, but I'd argue they really arent worth the money. I'd rather have 10 harbor freight clamps than 1 bessey clamp. F clamps at HF are stupid cheap and they are actually mad decent. IM NOT a shill trying to justify the cheap purchase, they are just good enough to do anything I need them to do, and Im not gentle. Stay away from their parallel and click/trigger clamps though lol, those are hot garbage.

Things that are most important for a starter are blade quality objects. A good chisel, a good table saw blade, a good router bit, a good planer blade... those are far more important than having bessey parallel clamps. A good drill bit set, good sandpaper... I can think of so many things better to buy than bessey clamps.


I highly recommend you find
- a used no 7 or no 8 plane for cheap
- decent sharpening stones
- good drill bits
- a bunch of HF clamps
- a GOOD table saw blade (if you own one??)
- one or two GOOD chisels that fit sizes you need (i.e. 1/2 and 3/4 or whatever)
- a half decent pull saw


Good luck! And dont be disparaged by my negativity my dude, I just see a lot of "positive reinforcement" on things that arent quality, and Id hate someone to give me that kind of encouragement. Hope you understand! Take your time, do it right, and you'll be much more rewarded.
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post #35 of 76 Old 11-15-2019, 12:23 PM
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Not sure what bob's deal is ... just keep doing what you're doing, @jags217.
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post #36 of 76 Old 11-15-2019, 12:54 PM
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Not sure what bob's deal is ... just keep doing what you're doing, @jags217.


My "deal"? My "deal" is not pandering to new woodworkers regarding subpar work. You dont learn by having older members telling you you are doing great when you can do better. Positive reinforcement includes coaching on difficult things. Thats my "deal".

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post #37 of 76 Old 11-15-2019, 01:37 PM
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Not sure what bob's deal is ... just keep doing what you're doing, @jags217.
agreed. we learn as we go and (hopefully) we learn from our mistakes
it's a workbench, if later on jags finds it wobbles, he can screw knee braces in
he's already learned that wood can't be glued up without a little massaging
i would not rip it apart, it's a workbench. we all start somewhere
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post #38 of 76 Old 11-15-2019, 02:30 PM
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agreed. we learn as we go and (hopefully) we learn from our mistakes
it's a workbench, if later on jags finds it wobbles, he can screw knee braces in
he's already learned that wood can't be glued up without a little massaging
i would not rip it apart, it's a workbench. we all start somewhere
For better or worse, we all have different needs and perspectives on things. I'm sorry you take what I said so negatively, I'd personally find it more insulting for someone to basically lie to my face and tell me its fine when its not. Spending 15 minutes to fix it now, or spending hours chasing tails later when it inevitably fails seems to be a more enticing operation to me. And fwiw, its not about the "object" in question. From a workbench, not learning how to joint legs properly transposes into poor miters, which transposes into poor framing, which transposes into projects falling apart. It will echo further on, as his wobbly bench makes any precision work far more difficult. I made it very clear it wasn't an "attack" and wasnt intended to be taken as such. You two are doing more harm than good telling him its "good to go" in my opinion, but you know what they say about opinions...

Theres one great thing about the internet. The absolute compendium of knowledge is enormous, and theres no need to always "learn from your mistakes" when plenty of us are here to teach and guide you to prevent them in the first place.
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post #39 of 76 Old 11-15-2019, 02:45 PM Thread Starter
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bob, thanks! I agree the work is not good for that first joint especially. But I've consulted with a few more experienced woodworkers in my life and they have suggested the joints will likely hold up ok, given that the legs don't get too much stress put on them, and given that glue is very strong. That being said, I'm going to pick up more wood this weekend since I've decided I need a bit more for mounting the vises. So I guess I might as well pick another 2x4 and make another leg to replace the bad one. I can use the bad one for scrap or something else later.

For the vise: the front of the work bench will serve as the face of the vise. However, the vise and vise screw are mounted to the bottom of the bench, so I need to extend the front of the bench downward. There are two options I can think of.

1. I could glue a 2x6 as the frontmost piece of the laminated benchtop.

2. I could glue a 2x2 to the bottom of the bench. I'd drill the holes for the vise screw through this 2x2. It would make the benchtop about 5" tall where the vise lives, with the rest of the bench being 3.5" tall. The vise would be mounted directly to the right of the left front leg, with the jaw extending to the end of the bench on the left side. So the 2x2 would be glued from the edge of the leg to the other end of the vise jaw.

I am currently leaning toward option 2, because I want the front of the bench to be flush with the legs. If I made the front of the bench a 2x6, I'd have to saw out a cut for the legs to sit on, which seems tricky to get perfect.

I've included a drawing below. Does anyone have thoughts?
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post #40 of 76 Old 11-15-2019, 02:46 PM Thread Starter
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not learning how to joint legs properly...
Bob, just to be clear, are you objecting to the joint on the first leg, or do you think all of the legs I posted are unacceptable?
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