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By MattRoberts
#1197972
So finally I'm getting round to building my first workbench. I've decided to prototype it first, as I really don't know what sort of workbench I need or what configuration will work for me best. I also want to build one from decent wood in the future, so I'd rather build a prototype from cheap wood before splashing out on something better quality.

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It's essentially a split-top Roubo, using a Record 52 1/2 vice along with a Veritas tail vice. The central strip is a reversible plane stop / tool holder. I'm going to use CLS 38 x 89 for the prototype material, and I've designed the bench to use various 2 and 3 lamination components.

I like to colour code my sketchup models and then strip out the components into a cut list to make things easier.

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I'd be interested to hear any thoughts or suggestions along the way :)
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By MattRoberts
#1198017
dzj wrote:I'd put those bottom grey stretchers somewhere half way up the leg.
Unless of course you are considering cabinets later on.
Exactly that - the bench is quite small, as I have limited space in my single garage. I'm concerned it might not be rock solid, especially the prototype which is built out of relatively light CLS. I'm planning on adding a few drawers in a cabinet underneath the bench to give me some additional storage space and to add some extra weight :)
By dzj
#1198054
Some 5-6 years ago I built a similar small bench, with the idea
to add some drawers/ cabinets at a later date.
Never got round to it. :)
Attachments
smwb.jpg
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By MikeG.
#1198055
If you make it of CLS I suggest that instead of using 4x2s, you buy 8x2s, and rip them lengthways. This will remove the need for much planing away of rounded over edges. Frankly, I really can't see anyone making this twice, and CLS will give you a fine bench, so make it well, and make it once. This is a workstation, not a piece of furniture, so I wouldn't suggest making this out of expensive hardwood.

As so often with modern benches, I'd say that this design doesn't look to have a big enough footprint in relation to it's top, and could do with a back panel, diagonal bracing, or being bolted to the wall to prevent racking.
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By MattRoberts
#1198057
dzj wrote:Some 5-6 years ago I built a similar small bench, with the idea
to add some drawers/ cabinets at a later date.
Never got round to it. :)
Nice bench - but it looks like you're using much better wood than my prototype, presumably more dense :)
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By MattRoberts
#1198059
MikeG. wrote:If you make it of CLS I suggest that instead of using 4x2s, you buy 8x2s, and rip them lengthways. This will remove the need for much planing away of rounded over edges. Frankly, I really can't see anyone making this twice, and CLS will give you a fine bench, so make it well, and make it once. This is a workstation, not a piece of furniture, so I wouldn't suggest making this out of expensive hardwood.

As so often with modern benches, I'd say that this design doesn't look to have a big enough footprint in relation to it's top, and could do with a back panel, diagonal bracing, or being bolted to the wall to prevent racking.
Thanks Mike, but fortunately I'm using a planer thicknesser rather than planing by hand - call me a wimp :D

I've also seen this kind of low grade construction timber warp significantly when it's heavily ripped, so would be concerned about having a bunch of banana boards!

I hear what you're saying regarding not making it twice, but my thought process is this:

- I don't know if the configuration will work for me (never having used a proper workbench)
- I don't know if it will be solid enough to handle vigorous hand planing without moving
- when moving house in the distant future, having a bigger workshop space is top of my list (not sure the wife would agree though!), so this bench will be a test run for a bigger version.

The footprint is a concern for me - I'll have to see how it holds up and add additional bracing if required. The main cross stretchers are tusk tenons, so I'll have the ability to remove them and add additional bracing afterwards if required
By paulrockliffe
#1198067
If you're going to put a cabinet in later, you should do it now and make the cabinet part of the structure. You'll get loads of strength from rebated panels of ply, or MDF, it'll make that stretcher redundant.

If this is a hobby thing then I'd err on the side of making it nice, it's far more satisfying sinking a load of time into something that'll look great every time you're in your workshop. Is there a better hobby than building a great workshop?
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By Sawdust=manglitter
#1198068
I would recomend using a solid 6x2” top and legs (in reality they are 140x38mm sections). My bench is a bit bigger than what you’ve drawn, but this is what i did, and it is properly solid! Weighs plenty and absolutely no racking whatsoever when taking a battering...
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I have decided to ‘skirt’ my bench top in Ash, which is a similarly coloured timber, but more resistant to dings or knocks.

Also, i would recommend orientating the laminations of your legs by 90degrees, so running left to right, which would be more efficient in resisting racking
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By nabs
#1198108
my first bench had a shelf at the same height as your rails and I have to say I regret including it ( I left it off bench v2 as a result). it is often comfortable to stand with one foot under the bench and the rail gets in the way, plus the shelf just gathered clutter and sawdust.

I suppose a cupboard would be better, but if I needed the extra storage I would rather have a separate cupboard on wheels that I could move as needed (it could then be pulled out and used as a separate work surface as required).

obviously this would need a modified design - is there some reason you do not want to include an apron ala the 'Paul Sellers' workbench and similar designs?

PS I agree you do not necessarily have to build again with different timber - my new bench is small (< 6ft), made of softwood and very heavy/rigid - I do not think there would be any advantage to replace with more expensive timber. Besides, having used cheap timber I can - and do - bang in nails etc in to the top to act as ad-hoc work holding devices which is very useful.
By phil.p
#1198114
Matt, if you think you might build a bigger one in the future spend some time and thought on the end frames - if you're pegging the frame together you'll be able to reuse them on a bigger bench - it won't be wider, only longer. If you turn the legs 90 degrees you'd be able to build the through mortices into the lamination and thus save yourself a job.
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By MattRoberts
#1198119
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This is the bench I'm replacing. I knocked it together when I moved in the house 3 years ago and just started woodworking. I had no clue what I was doing, needless to say! It's terrible - it obviously wobbles all over the place due to lack of support, and the top is cupping. The vice is super cheap and super rubbish.

I'm really excited to start a new one, but it's proving tricky to build it using this wobbly bit of rubbish. If only I had a decent workbench to build my new workbench on...
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By MattRoberts
#1198122
paulrockliffe wrote:If this is a hobby thing then I'd err on the side of making it nice, it's far more satisfying sinking a load of time into something that'll look great every time you're in your workshop. Is there a better hobby than building a great workshop?


Just what I was thinking Paul - I'd like to eventually build a bench that I'm proud of and like to look at in the future. It is a hobby after all, so I can afford the time and it won't take the kind of abuse that you trade lot dish out :D
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By MattRoberts
#1198123
Sawdust=manglitter wrote:I would recomend using a solid 6x2” top and legs (in reality they are 140x38mm sections). My bench is a bit bigger than what you’ve drawn, but this is what i did, and it is properly solid! Weighs plenty and absolutely no racking whatsoever when taking a battering...
Image

I have decided to ‘skirt’ my bench top in Ash, which is a similarly coloured timber, but more resistant to dings or knocks.

Also, i would recommend orientating the laminations of your legs by 90degrees, so running left to right, which would be more efficient in resisting racking


That's really nice Sawdust. It's a bit late regarding the leg orientation on the prototype I'm afraid! I'm already part way through. Out of interest, why do you suggest it will help avoid racking? I'd have thought that once laminated, it's effectively a single component and orientation wouldn't matter?