Versatile small shop work bench - unique! - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 56 Old 06-29-2012, 09:55 AM Thread Starter
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Versatile small shop work bench - unique!

My work bench is a slab (old door) that I've been abusing for 12 years. I got tired of looking at the cuts, stains, gouges etc. so I decided to cover it up with bamboo flooring. I also up graded its' versatility. I've always admired those pretty fancy European benches with their expensive vises and dog holes. Who wouldn't like their holding power?

In an old FW magazine, I saw a bench with 2 T tracks and thought it was a good idea, but I couldn't dish out $300 for the fancy end vise. I thought about it for a month and came up with idea I'm very pleased with and would like to share.Name:  step1.jpg
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Versatile small shop work bench - unique!-actionbench.jpg

My idea has grown a bit. For instance, in a matter of seconds, I can remove the pipe clamps and insert a bar clamp to hold a board and work of the edge of the bench.

My bench has many possibilities. If you have a small shop and your power tools are limited to bench top tool that are secured on slabs of plywood that you store away and clamp on a surface when you need it, this bench could be of use to you
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Its' never hot or cold in New Hampshire... its' always seasonal.
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post #2 of 56 Old 06-29-2012, 10:14 AM
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Great ideas there.

That bowl was perfect right up until that last cut...
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post #3 of 56 Old 06-29-2012, 01:32 PM
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That's a great idea. I will have to try that myself.
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post #4 of 56 Old 06-29-2012, 01:34 PM
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You should submit that as a tip before old Serge does.
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post #5 of 56 Old 06-29-2012, 07:20 PM
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Amazing what you can do when your determined huh?
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post #6 of 56 Old 06-29-2012, 08:31 PM Thread Starter
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Not exactly determined - more like stubborn! I'm french and if someone tells me I can't do something, I do it. Over the years, I've learned that if I want to accomplish a difficult task - I tell myself I can't do it.


Versatile small shop work bench - unique!-sawhorse.jpg

Versatile small shop work bench - unique!-swivel2.jpg

Attachment 46973

All kidding put aside, this bench has filled all my wishes. Shopnotes had an article on workbench add ons and I added a couple of bench top saw horses. I own a swivel vise for certain types of jobs but I always had a hard time securing it to the bench. Now it's on a piece of plwood and it attaches to my bench in less then a minute. And of course there the face vise and a support leg for working the edge of a long board. Unlike the European ones, mine can be positioned any where along the surface and of course it can also be removed in less then a minute.
Versatile small shop work bench - unique!-facevise.jpg

Its' never hot or cold in New Hampshire... its' always seasonal.

Last edited by BernieL; 06-29-2012 at 08:34 PM.
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post #7 of 56 Old 06-30-2012, 08:11 AM
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That's really cool. I like your design a lot! Very unique and versatile.
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post #8 of 56 Old 06-30-2012, 08:23 AM
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Versatile...Excellent design.

Roger from the Great Horicon Swamp
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post #9 of 56 Old 06-30-2012, 11:35 AM
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I see some very cool ideas there. It looks very versatile and useful. Nice setup!
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post #10 of 56 Old 07-02-2012, 02:39 AM
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well...okay...

Bernie...this is incredible! I am very jealous. Just wanted to say that this is the best table I have seen to date for a small shop...even better...YOU built it

You can always check out the cool stuff Angel and I are working by going to our Etsy.com shop HERE... Let us know what you think
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post #11 of 56 Old 07-02-2012, 08:59 AM
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That's a slick idea with using the bamboo flooring. I think im gonna run out and find me a discount store and get me a box for my bench. Your t-track idea is slick. Im thinking I might run mine all the way to one end. I see the pipe clamp on top of the table, but can't figure out what the cut out on top of the bench next to the clamp is for. The box cut outs at the end of t+track is for slipping everything into the tracks I believe. Over all I love your idea. Nice job..
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post #12 of 56 Old 07-03-2012, 09:53 AM
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Bernie,
This looks like a very well thought out bench. Couple questions.
Did you also route a groove in the underside of bamboo for your pipe?
Where did you get your track and pipe clamps?
I am missing something. When you want to use your two pipe clamps to hold a board that is like 12" what provides the stop. (like where bench dogs would normally be)
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post #13 of 56 Old 07-03-2012, 12:57 PM Thread Starter
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Gillbie - the 2 "boxes" are for the ends of the pipe clamps. I wanted to be able to quickly release the clamps if I need to work on an extra long piece, longer then my bench. The clamps would be in the way. After I did that, I realized what a slick move it was because as you can see in the 4th picture, I removed the clamp and inserted a small bar clamp to secure a board I want to cut of the end of.

Deanr - no, I didn't rout out a groove on the underside of the bamboo flooring. The original door (bench) was thick enough to accommodate the pipe below its' own surface.

I got the T track from Rockler.

And for your last question - which is a good one -in the 5th picture, you can see a block of wood in the table. I fashioned that block of oak onto a single end vise so I can clamp any size piece. I stick a bench dog in the whole,place a piece of wood in front of it, secure a fence in the T track and clamp it down. I'll try to take a picture of that this in the next couple of days. That was a good question and did solve the problem. Thanks for asking!

Just happened to look at the last picture - a small piece if wood is snagged in there.

Its' never hot or cold in New Hampshire... its' always seasonal.
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post #14 of 56 Old 07-13-2012, 01:23 PM Thread Starter
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Got a picture of my bench holding a small > 12 inch piece of wood. Also, notice that the bamboo flooring fences are thinner the 3/4 inch stock for easy sanding and planing etc. I have fences up to 4 inches high and can easily make one much higher.
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Its' never hot or cold in New Hampshire... its' always seasonal.
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post #15 of 56 Old 07-13-2012, 04:58 PM
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Hi Bernie! What is the length, width, etc. of your entire bench? I have to build one very soon and was also looking at flush mounting my compound miter somewhere instead of a separate stand. Think this is a good/bad idea?

You can always check out the cool stuff Angel and I are working by going to our Etsy.com shop HERE... Let us know what you think
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post #16 of 56 Old 07-14-2012, 01:19 AM Thread Starter
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Ryan - my bench is a door found in most big box stores screwed on a 2X4 frame I built into the wood floor of my shop. It is L79' W30". Any bench top tools can be permanently mounted on their own piece of plywood and securely mounted on the bench in less then a minute. I'm including a picture of my dovetail jig that use to take me about 5 painful minutes (drill would not fit through the mounting holes so I had to screw in by hand - align etc etc. My jig is mounted on a slab of ply with holes positioned so jig sits flush with front edge of bench.

Your miter saw can own its' own slab. You will need to build one or two bench top saw horses to match the height of your saw as support for long pieces. Once you've made these - I bet you can have a set up in less then 2 minutes.
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post #17 of 56 Old 07-31-2012, 12:21 AM
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HI Bernie...Hope all is well. I ran across some Maple and want to make me a bench!

You are always so helpful and thought I could get one more from you because I am sure that you spent time shopping around. Where did you get the T - Track? Why did you go with "them"? Any particular reason? Are they all pretty much the same? I know...silly Q's but I am sure you had the same thoughts at some point.

Thanks in advance!

You can always check out the cool stuff Angel and I are working by going to our Etsy.com shop HERE... Let us know what you think
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post #18 of 56 Old 07-31-2012, 09:03 AM
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Rockler currently has a 17 pc universal T-Track kit for $21.49. This includes one 48" section of track and a variety of knobs and bolts.
I recently ordered two kits and got free shipping.
I also was amazed at the care they took in packaging/shipping.
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post #19 of 56 Old 07-31-2012, 03:51 PM
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Thanks Dean! I will be sure to check it out. I have just gotten started in my woodworking (3 months ago) and the more I learn, I realize a good workbench is invaluable. I have also learned that The great folks on woodworkingtalk.com (like you) will help me avoid timely and costly mistakes that most have learned through trial and error.

I suppose a follow up question would be: The Northern Maple Hardwood flooring that I have is over an inch thick! Around 1 1/8". So with something this hard and dense, what is the best way to cut the grooves for the tracks? A router?

Thanks again..

You can always check out the cool stuff Angel and I are working by going to our Etsy.com shop HERE... Let us know what you think

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post #20 of 56 Old 08-01-2012, 02:20 PM
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I don't want to impose on Bernie's thread, I guess I already have. I am still in the planning stage for my bench which will utilize some of his ideas.
You may want to cut the grooves with a dado blade in a table saw then glue the boards up. Or if you have a router table, do a groove in two boards prior to glue up as well.
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