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Discussion Starter #1
Here's the score: I've been getting by with a Harbor Freight work bench, and it's just about to get tossed out into the yard in pieces. I mean, I knew what I was buying, so I can't really be that mad, but the thing is NOT a work bench in the true sense of the word. So, this is what I was looking for from you guys(particularly you hand-toolers): if you could build a bench for hand planing and hand planing ONLY, what would it look like? What kind of accoutrement would it include? I should also mention that I am on a tight budget. Luckily, the wood is no issue; I've got several thousand board feet of 200+ yr. old poplar, 4" thick, 15" wide, 20' long(don't ask me what I paid for it- you may kick me off the forum), so I'm more concerned with hardware for the vises stops, etc. Any advice is greatly appreciated. I'm going to hit the flea markets in a couple days and try to find some old bench vise hardware(stranger things have happened). In the meantime, I'm just trying to visualize this thing. I'm fairly new to hand planing in general, but I plan on using it on the majority of my pieces from now on(people LOVE that stuff), so this project should help out quite a lot. Thanks!

WCT
 

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Some years ago there was a craftsman here in town who built and carved solid wooden rocking horses .
He had made all sorts of jigs and devices for holding blocks and slabs while he worked on them .

One was so simple that I often wonder why his is the only one I have ever seen.
An old style T bar sash cramp , a long one , bolted (with inch spacers) to the edge of a long wide bench , the bar just below the horizon .

It held all shapes and sizes of timber ,
long and narrow , fat and wide , tall , stumpy , boards , sheets , the lot .
Sometimes in conjunction with pegs , bench dogs or the like , sometimes on it's own .
 

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I built a English Joiners Bench similar to what Paul Sellers did in his video series and outfitted mine with a wagon vise and leg vise. I use the wagon vise with bench dogs for hand planing and also built a Moxon style vise as an accessory. These vises along with a couple of hold fasts and I can do practically anything with this bench. One variation would be a Moravian style or you could substitute any vise configuration you find useful. I use mostly metal hand planes so the height is such that the first knuckle on my pinky is in line with the top of the bench when I stand comfortably next to it. I kept the length to 7' and the work surface is 18" deep with a tool till along the back edge. Paul made his with a tool till in the middle between work tops, and there is nothing wrong with that setup, it's just I have a limit on how much bench I could fit in the workspace. It's a little high for sawing so I use a saw bench for that purpose, but I can cut dovetails and tenons using either the Moxon or leg vise. BTW, I made my own wooden screws for both vises and my own brass garters to attach the vises to the screws. 8 months into using it and I have no complaints.
 
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Excellent information, guys! Woodenhorse, if possible, could you give me some info on making the screws? I've never threaded wood before, though I suspected it may be my best choice in order to save money. Plus, I will be able to say that I REALLY made my bench. Tha me guys! Time to get to work.

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Well I have yet to actually build my bench but a book by Chirstopher Schwarz called Workbenches from Design & Therory to Construction & Use really helped me zero in on vises, stops and other accessories. Good luck, looking forward to seeing what you come up with.
 

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Well I have yet to actually build my bench but a book by Chirstopher Schwarz called Workbenches from Design & Therory to Construction & Use really helped me zero in on vises, stops and other accessories. Good luck, looking forward to seeing what you come up with.

Ditto here. Helpful in getting my mind around construction. Now I just have to finish doing it.


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Camden said:
Excellent information, guys! Woodenhorse, if possible, could you give me some info on making the screws? I've never threaded wood before, though I suspected it may be my best choice in order to save money. Plus, I will be able to say that I REALLY made my bench. Tha me guys! Time to get to work. WCT
Look up the Woodwrights Shop on PBS. He has a great program on making the threading box and there was one episode with Chris Schwartz on making a Moxon Vise that also covered threading. They explain it much better than I can. If you intend to make anything greater than a 1-1/2" diameter screw you will have to make your own thread box since I could not find anyone making them any larger.
 

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Considering you already have the stock for the basic bench - how does under $100 sound? And consider you may already have some of the added material - knock off some more $'s. My bench is perfect for your needs... it will secure any stock which needs to be hand planed and the holding mechanism will allow you to run your planes off the stock with no interference.

Before you see my bench (a long thread with lots of info...), I want to tell you I've upgrading the bench this past week. For your concern, I'm scraping the bamboo surface for a tempered hardboard ($14.42). Look for my upgrade post in a couple of days. Here is a link to the original post http://woodworkingtalk.com/f2/versatile-small-shop-work-bench-unique-40361/
 

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Considering you already have the stock for the basic bench - how does under $100 sound? And consider you may already have some of the added material - knock off some more $'s. My bench is perfect for your needs... it will secure any stock which needs to be hand planed and the holding mechanism will allow you to run your planes off the stock with no interference.

Before you see my bench (a long thread with lots of info...), I want to tell you I've upgrading the bench this past week. For your concern, I'm scraping the bamboo surface for a tempered hardboard ($14.42). Look for my upgrade post in a couple of days. Here is a link to the original post http://woodworkingtalk.com/f2/versatile-small-shop-work-bench-unique-40361/
WOW Great bench! Very versitile.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Bernie, that's perfect! I remember reading your thread before, now. Thanks for reminding me!
 

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I also recommend Schwarz’s book. I read his follow-up book "The Workbench Design Book: The Art & Philosophy of Building Better Benches". Schwarz is a hand tool guy, and his philosophies for benches are very much in tune with using hand tools. One thing to keep in mind for hand planing is you want a fairly heavy bench that is staple while you work.
 

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Ditto here. Helpful in getting my mind around construction. Now I just have to finish doing it.


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Likewise I read his book and then built the English bench, also called a Nicholson bench. I have pictures of mine here.

The benefits of this design are a large apron and no laminations for the top. I did put some extra blocks on the bottom of the top for double thickness at the dog holes and holdfast holes. SYP is also much cheaper than hardwood.
 
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