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The swiss army knife of workbenches

8036 Views 18 Replies 12 Participants Last post by  Joeb41
The new-fangled bench has been called the swiss army knife of workbenches. I built one recently, but I tweaked it a little to suit my desires for it.

It is 8 feet long, 30" wide, and 36" high.

The main differences in mine are the way it is constructed, and the t-track.

I made much beefier legs for it, and have a 2x10 apron along the front. these upgrades give it more strength, weight and stiffness.

The use of an apron for added structure came from Paul Sellers, It gives it the structure a bench needs, along with providing a place for the holes for the front vises, without giving up space below for storage. I also used a wedge technique from Paul Sellers for securing the legs in such a way that it can be taken apart and put back together easily, without sacrificing stiffness.

I also took a cue from Bernie and added t-track.

It is easily the most versatile bench I have ever had.

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i'm confused ... you can't see the pictures? there are 4 pics in the first post ... ? i created an album last night and linked to them there.

let me try again
ok, i edited the first post to re-include the picture, is that better now? here are the others, and the album is here:


You can make inserts for pretty much anything:

There are holes every 6" for one or more front vises. One use for the front vises: a crochet

The t-track comes in handy:

another example insert: a router insert. i have a router table though, so this won't get much use
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LOL if I end up doing the box swap, it will look alot like that!

but no, that is one of the drawers i made for my long bench/storage thing. i am painting the fronts light grey to fit in with the color scheme for the garage.
Michial, I'm happy to answer any and all questions you have ... hopefully my answers will make sense!

Could I ask how you attached the apron (Upside down L attachments on outside of bench) to maintain strength for clamping and holding?

I'm wanting to do pretty much the same thing to my workbench. I built mine 24" x 8', and pretty much within the first couple of times I have used it I found it not to be wide enough. Adding an apron like yours would solve my issues. I am thinking that I could add a 12" apron on both sides making my bench 48" x 8'
There are 2 things holding the front apron in place: I have a 1/4-20 bolt through the apron and the leg which holds it to legs. Since the apron front is a 2x10 douglas fir, this is enough to make it so there no play at all front to back. The front top part of the upside down L is a douglas fir 2x4, which is currently only screwed with 2 1/2" decking screws every 6" to the top edge of the 2x10. For added strength, I can glue it as well, but so far there has been no need to do that.

For the left to right play, I used a technique that Paul Sellers uses on his workbenches: wedges. See the first pic attached ... the walls on either side of the leg are glued and screwed in place. Should it come loose, I can just tap the wedge back in place to tighten things up again. This approach also makes the bench modular and easy to disassemble should I need to transport it.

The back part does not have an apron. The back surface of the bench, another DF 2x10, is supported by the legs. See the 2nd pic attached for details on that.
Also for your T-Tracks, did you work to get them perfectly square with each other so that you could use them as slides as well as for clamping, or are they strictly for clamping?
I did not try to make them perfectly parallel to each other, they were really only intended for clamping. That said, they are centered in the top edges of the well walls, so they *SHOULD* be pretty darn close to parallel anyway.
How did you attach them to maintain strength for clamping without fear of them pulling out from the wood below them?
The t-tracks I use are for 1/4-20 bolts, and have a floor that is raised a little with holes every 6-8" or so, so they can be screwed down. I used 1" #4 screws, and I doubt that they will give. If they do, I can glue it down as well, but so far, there hasn't been a need to do that.


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Wow, I have never seen a bench like that. Nice work. That is slicker than dear guts.

thanks! it's not my design though, except for a few upgrades :)
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