Woodworking Talk banner
21 - 40 of 79 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,056 Posts
For Others:

In case you don't know, Christopher Schwarz has authored several books on woodworking workbenches, their history and design. "The Anarchist's Workbench" is a 334 page book containing the culmination of Christopher's research about woodworking workbench design. It is primarily focused on delivering detailed instructions to build your own "Anarchist's Workbench", based on the best features that Christopher has learned, along with the reasons and justifications for those choices.

Christopher Schwarz has generously made "The Anarchist's Workbench" available as a free PDF file download, or you can purchase a printed copy of the book in various forms. The book and PDF file are updated from time to time.

Information about "The Anarchist's Workbench", including how to order a print copy and the link to download the free PDF file:
https://lostartpress.com/products/the-anarchists-workbench

Here is a link to the free PDF file, as a convenience. This link points to the June 2020 version of the book, which is updated from time to time. Check the general web page above, to make sure that Christopher has not released another update since I posted this link:
https://blog.lostartpress.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/AWB_Consumer_June-2020_v5.1-1.pdf
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
2,513 Posts
I've never seen the need nor the logic behind legs tenoned into the top. The only reason I can understand would be for historical accuracy. Keep in mind Mr. Schwarz is a hand tool woodworker who's focus is to preserve historical methods. I remember watching a video of him laboriously hand sawing out tenons and dovetails in a 5x5 leg, in the backround was a bandsaw. I'm not taking away from his work, just saying if a bandsaw was available in 1650 you can be they would have used it!

I would suggest you consider building the base of 2 trestles. Coupled by stretchers it will be just as sturdy and orders of magnitude easier to build. It can be easily disassembled if needed.

On both these benches I used through bolts (like bed bolts) into the stretchers which are housed in shallow tenons. Through tenons and wedges could also have been used.

Just something to consider.

Window Wood Table Tradesman Carpenter


Wood Table Outdoor bench Picnic table Floor
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,540 Posts
i've been waiting a couple days for someone to post up a picture of 'Anarchist's Workbench'
i finally googled it and i don't get it.
it looks very heavy, like back breaking heavy to even slide it across the floor
i can see a need if you were going to use a bfh on top of it, but i imaging it will on be tap tap tap on chisels
a properly made 2x thick top on saw horses will handle pretty much anything you throw at or on it

 

·
where's my table saw?
Joined
·
30,364 Posts
Yah, but then it wouldn't be an Anarchist's workbench. That's the "bragging rights" part of the project.
To your solution, even a solid core door and a 3/4" particle board screwed down will make a "good enough" work surface, BUT you can't put a vise on it and start edge planing it because it will slide off the horse closest to you. If it falls off the horse, it won't get itself back on to ride again.... just sayin'
 
  • Like
Reactions: Tool Agnostic

·
Registered
Joined
·
780 Posts
Discussion Starter · #25 ·
I know everyone has opinions on benches, and I appreciate that, but I have also found that if you try to take everyone's ideas from their use case and combine them into a "one bench that combines all the features", then you usually wind up with something awkward and compromised...so I'm going to stay relatively close to the design in the book (except taller because I'm 6'7", and with a tool tray because dropping bench planes sucks.)

I also didn't realize there were bragging rights associated with building a cheap bench from construction grade yellow pine...I consider the Scandinavian style benches and houndstooth dovetails more of a fancy/bragging rights bench, but maybe there's something I wasn't aware of (?)

I am not putting through tenons on the top. Just tenons formed through laminations of the leg, and some 2.5" x 5" mortises that I will mostly drill out and just chisel square. The author recommends against using lag bolts on the SYP, so I will heed that advise. The joints don't scare me. I've done them a ton although never quite this large.

I don't know...I kinda figured this would be the easy route towards building a noice bench. My shop is so small I've not wanted to upgrade my tiny bench until I got more space and I'm tired of the wobbling and fighting on the current bench. It weights over 100lbs.

I finally got a little extra room so I'm putting my bench in its own area, and I can go bigger and heavier like I've always wanted!
 

·
mike44
retired carpenter and farmer
Joined
·
407 Posts
The draw bores are off center, so the hole of the tenon is 1/16" closer to the shoulder. It deform the peg enough that it curves inside the joint and also deform the holes. I could use standard pegs to fit them, but I worry it wouldn't prevent wobble.

Breaking down the bench is really a tertiary concern of mine. I will not modify my plans to make it easier to move in 15 or 20 years. If I am ever successful enough to buy a mansion, I can afford good movers.
Draw peg construction is an excellent way to go. Where I live this construction was also used to fasten studs to timbers on homes built before 1900. A typical house was built with 6x or 8x square or rectangular beams. Studs were 3x, 4x , or 5x logs that had a large tenon at each end . The beams were mortised. Pegs ,usually 2 per stud were offset . The walls were framed on the ground. Took several strong men to raise it.
I shaved a point on the peg so the peg does not splinter the exit hole. Don't worry about wobble. Once the pegs are driven , the joint will tight and stay that way. As I mentionrd before I have built many benches, at least 200 softwood and 7 hardwood benches. Never had to re-do a draw peg joint. Never had to use glue either. I do know some people brush glue on the pegs, a waste of glue in my opinion. Dowels are fine for pegs, smaller pegs can be pointed in a pencil sharpener. 3/8" would be about the largest dowel that would fit in a crank type pencil sharpener. A dozen different ways to put the point on, hatchet, disk sander, draw knife etc.
mike
 

·
where's my table saw?
Joined
·
30,364 Posts
I know everyone has opinions on benches, and I appreciate that, but I have also found that if you try to take everyone's ideas from their use case and combine them into a "one bench that combines all the features", then you usually wind up with something awkward and compromised...

I also didn't realize there were bragging rights associated with building a cheap bench from construction grade yellow pine...I consider the Scandinavian style benches and houndstooth dovetails more of a fancy/bragging rights bench, but maybe there's something I wasn't aware of (?)
No, you are correct.
I made that statement in my post above, assuming that no one would get any bragging rights from throwing together a top on some saw horses. Even a laminated 2X top wouldn't qualify in my opinion because there's essentially no hand work involved in making that top except for flattening it.
Instead, those bragging rights would come from a making a bench that was painfully and carefully hand crafted with proper mortise and tenons and dovetails and weighs at least 600 lbs. There should be no confusion as to who gets the "bragging rights" !
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
206 Posts
Well, southern yellow pine is one of the denser softwoods, and common joist material in the Midwest and Eastern US.

2x8 ripped in half is still a decent thickness for the top. How many do you have? If you want to make a 6' bench, each one will give you 5" or 5.5" of width on your top. I'm tired of a bench that scoots around the basement floor, so I'm going for heft.
My "workshop" is a 10' x 10' shed, and I have to
move things around a lot, so mine will have locking wheels.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
206 Posts
For Others:

In case you don't know, Christopher Schwarz has authored several books on woodworking workbenches, their history and design. "The Anarchist's Workbench" is a 334 page book containing the culmination of Christopher's research about woodworking workbench design. It is primarily focused on delivering detailed instructions to build your own "Anarchist's Workbench", based on the best features that Christopher has learned, along with the reasons and justifications for those choices.

Christopher Schwarz has generously made "The Anarchist's Workbench" available as a free PDF file download, or you can purchase a printed copy of the book in various forms. The book and PDF file are updated from time to time.

Information about "The Anarchist's Workbench", including how to order a print copy and the link to download the free PDF file:
https://lostartpress.com/products/the-anarchists-workbench

Here is a link to the free PDF file, as a convenience. This link points to the June 2020 version of the book, which is updated from time to time. Check the general web page above, to make sure that Christopher has not released another update since I posted this link:
https://blog.lostartpress.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/AWB_Consumer_June-2020_v5.1-1.pdf
Thanks so much for that link!! 😄
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2 Posts
I went to 2 home depots and 1 Lowes today. I picked up mostly what I need for the workbench.

Picking out the lumber was a decent amount of work and sorting through the boards for nice ones took some time. The plans called for 9x 8' 2x12s, but I didn't find many quality 8' boards. The selection at a few stores was minimal, and I sorted through what was plentiful. I basically substituted 3 16' boards for 6 8' boards. I also got the 10' boards because they were straight and knot free. I only got boards with 5 or more growth rings through the center, no pith, and minimal knots. I also picked straight boards as I could, but we will see as they dry.

My plan is to make the bench slightly narrower than the plans (21') but add a narrow tool tray (5-6").

View attachment 431197

3x 16' 2x12
1x 12' 2x12
4x 10' 2x12
1x 8' 2x12

2x 10' 2x10
1x 12' 2x10
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2 Posts
Good luck! I'm eagerly following this because a workbench is on my list.
:)
I was very fortunately enough to get my hands on a laminated beam 15 foot by 22.5 inches wide made with 2 x 6.75 inches Douglas Fir. Heavy but made legs and this became a great work bench. I cut into 2 work benches one 10' and one 5'. Have used it for nearly 25 years and if I move its going with me, how I don't know but I can't leave it behind.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
780 Posts
Discussion Starter · #33 ·
I brought the workbench wood down into the basement so it can start to acclimate more. The moisture meter I bought reads about the same with this wood as it does with some SYP I've had a long time. I'm not sure I trust it.

After two weeks in the garage, it really didn't warp at all, but it definitely let off some moisture...The smell was super strong that first week.

Wood Rectangle Flooring Road surface Floor
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
780 Posts
Discussion Starter · #34 ·
I made a little time in the shop again today. After getting the jointer knives sharpened and adjusted last night, I reconfigured the shop to allow me to mill the 8' 2x12s for the benchtop.


Most of my time was spent wrangling southern yellow pine and figuring out my cut list for a taller than normal 37-38" bench. (I'm about 6' 6" and my current 34" bench hurts my back. My 40" counter is a little high for handplanes though)


I probably put about 3 hours in today and I didn't get the first bundle glued up, but they are milled and they close up pretty well.


Total time: about 6 hours

Engineering Gas Motor vehicle Machine Composite material

Property Wood Table Interior design Machine tool
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
780 Posts
Discussion Starter · #35 · (Edited)
Ironically I really need a bigger work surface to make this bench...

Wood Table Tradesman Workbench Engineering

Table Wood Tool Floor Building
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
780 Posts
Discussion Starter · #36 ·
Lessons learned...
The bandsaw is perfect for the rip cuts

My 6" jet jointer will tip if I run an 8' long 2x6 through it without adding support.

The boards really didn't warp significantly.

After 2+months the wood still isn't quite equalized with the humidity
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
2,513 Posts
You were lucky the boards didn’t bend you must have some fairly stress free wood there.

Dont get too hung up on moisture content numbers. The wood will equilibrate to whatever the environment is. We shoot for the magic 6%, but it may never get there if you have a shop In FL vs. CO.

My point is I wouldn’t get too hung up on it, steady state is more important then number, and it is acclimating to where it’s going to live, unlike furniture that gets moved into a house. If the numbers are pretty consistent I would just proceed with the build.

Are you planning to use an alignment aid?

How are you going to flatten the top?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
780 Posts
Discussion Starter · #38 ·
I aligned the layers with a couple 18ga brads about 1/4" from the ends. It worked ok. They still slid around a bit. My wife came down to chit chat after I spread glue on the third board. I am pretty sure I broke one of my cabinet masters. Oh well.

I did a dry run before I added glue. I did find one divot so sent it through the planer again. I am hopeful I won't have any gaps in the laminations...we will see.

Wood Naval architecture Urban design Building Floor


The cast iron clamps are great, but I can't stand them up, so my shop is basically is use until I take these clamps off.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
780 Posts
Discussion Starter · #40 ·
Lessons learned
1. Be messy and fast with glue
2. Biscuits help
3. Clamp on saw horses

I got the other bundle glued up. There were not many noticeable gaps in the top.

I used a plastic putty knife to spread the glue. It worked well, but I didn't move fast enough on the second bundle and it started setting before the clamps were in place. Hopefully that won't haunt me. It is hard to spread it with the putty knife without glue going everywhere and valuing over the sides. A roller might have been better, but those are surprisingly expensive. For the third glue up, I decided to just not care and I used more glue than needed, but it went much smoother.

For alignment, the 18ga nails weren't cutting it. I used biscuits 1.5" from the top for the final glue up and they saved time flattening the top.

I also assembled the last glue up on saw horses, and that was the way to go! I tried the floor for the first two, but it was a real pita. Plus I tried laying them flat then rotating them, and that was a terrible idea. Stack them like cards when you glue. Clamp them as they lay, and leave them be!
Wood Brickwork Brick Engineering Roof

Wood Brickwork Brick Composite material Wall


Don't even worry about the squeeze out. It literally pops off when you remove the clamps.
 
21 - 40 of 79 Posts
Top