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Advice on a workbench

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mtonsbeek

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I would appreciate some advice from the collective wisdom of the forum for a project I have been mulling over for a long time.
My setup is a little unconventional as I do no have a workshop or even a garage. I mostly keep my stuff in a some outdoor toilets at the back of my garden and work on the patio when it's dry.

My woodworking experience so far is not extensive, I have made 4 oak doors 20 years ago prior for which I made a router table which I wheel out for use. Other than that I built a big shed from scratch which instantly filled up with junk from my children so not available for workshop use.

The workbench needs to be easy and quick to take to pieces yet sturdy enough to use hand tools on if I ever learn to use them properly. After trawling the net and reading the Scott Landis book I think the Will Myers interpretation of the Moravian workbench comes pretty close as it can be knocked down in about a minute. I have the Myers video and it looks quite doable. Apart from that I looked at the Nicholson but it is not that quick to take apart.

So with the idea that it may occasionally get a bit of rain on it if I expect it to be a brief shower, I don't want to obsess too much about the choice of wood but..... am doing it anyway.

I have come across woodshopdirect who seem to have very good customer reviews and will cut and plane accurately to size. This I value as I don't have a planer/thicknesser and am convinced that I will just pineapple up beautiful wood if I try it manually. It also give me a chance to easily get multiple quotes.

Although I don’t like the look of Douglas fir too much for the legs it would probably be a good choice. Or Idigbo, Utile, Iroko, Ash or Beech? The last 3 work out more expensive but may look snazzier.

I would aim to use the router with jigs or on the router table for tenon & mortise joinery. Any advice on bench designs I should be considering or on wood choice would be hugely appreciated. Thanks.
 

Ttrees

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Do you really see yourself knocking together the Moravian bench regularly?
If I was to make a knockdown bench it would have a metal base and utilize some clever folding
system with a flip down top and on wheels so I could wheel it away into the clutter shed.

I don't think a wooden bench design could be made as handy and compact as what you need.
Tom
 

MikeG.

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Beech is traditional (and should be cheaper than the others......find another supplier!), but redwood will be cheapest of all and is fine for the job. I'd build a little store shed first, though, for the kids' stuff, and reclaim your workshop.
 

thetyreman

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I would use redwood pine, ash would make a good bench as well because of the lack of knots and the cheap cost, should be similar or cheaper cost to beech.
 

Lons

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For a while I needed to do much of my work outside on a paved area ( it wasn't posh enough to be a patio :wink: ) and I did 2 things.

* Bought a cheap 3m x 3m gazebo contraption and tethered it down securely.
* Made a simple, solid workbench from softwood using 4x4 for the legs standard construction timber for frame and scaffold boards for the top. I fitted a clamp on vice but just drilled holes in the top for simple hold downs and used clamps mainly.

That stayed outside for 12 months and when not in use I shoved one of those heavy slabs you get from old night storage heaters under each leg to raise it off the paving and covered it with a large barbecue plastic cover. I did a lot of work on that and eventually used the timber for other things.

If I had a shed filled with kids stuff as an option I'd it would have been relocated very quickly though. :)
 

samhay

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Have you seen this knockdown Nicholson-style bench?
https://vimeo.com/104208541

I would use construction grade timber for an outside bench. Won't last forever, but will be lighter and less painful if you happen to leave it out in the rain while having a cup of tea.
 

mtonsbeek

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Ttrees":1gayh6cj said:
Do you really see yourself knocking together the Moravian bench regularly?
If I was to make a knockdown bench it would have a metal base and utilize some clever folding
system with a flip down top and on wheels so I could wheel it away into the clutter shed.

I don't think a wooden bench design could be made as handy and compact as what you need.
Tom
Tom, thanks for your response. The Moravian bench really comes to pieces quickly, I believe Will Myers does it in less than a minute so yes, I don't see that as a huge hurdle. Making something in metal just doesn't appeal. Maybe I am just looking for an excuse for a project but it would need to be wood.
 

mtonsbeek

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MikeG.":1fq934im said:
Beech is traditional (and should be cheaper than the others......find another supplier!), but redwood will be cheapest of all and is fine for the job. I'd build a little store shed first, though, for the kids' stuff, and reclaim your workshop.
Reclaiming the shed will happen at some stage but the kids are in their early stages of careers and relationships so for various reasons we are used as an intermittently available storage depot. I am hopeful it will change but don't want to be too hard on them yet. I will look into redwood as an option. Thanks
 

mtonsbeek

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thetyreman":2kv3hl2n said:
I would use redwood pine, ash would make a good bench as well because of the lack of knots and the cheap cost, should be similar or cheaper cost to beech.
Thanks, I really need to shop around more locally.
 

mtonsbeek

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Lons":2r5y1n3i said:
For a while I needed to do much of my work outside on a paved area ( it wasn't posh enough to be a patio :wink: ) and I did 2 things.

* Bought a cheap 3m x 3m gazebo contraption and tethered it down securely.
* Made a simple, solid workbench from softwood using 4x4 for the legs standard construction timber for frame and scaffold boards for the top. I fitted a clamp on vice but just drilled holes in the top for simple hold downs and used clamps mainly.

That stayed outside for 12 months and when not in use I shoved one of those heavy slabs you get from old night storage heaters under each leg to raise it off the paving and covered it with a large barbecue plastic cover. I did a lot of work on that and eventually used the timber for other things.

If I had a shed filled with kids stuff as an option I'd it would have been relocated very quickly though. :)
Thanks Lons. The gazebo is not a bad idea but at mentioned in one of my other responses I am kind of looking for an excuse for a nice project. It may be a little nicer than scaffolding boards. And yes, I will shift the kids stuff at some stage.
 

mtonsbeek

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samhay":26tdu6i6 said:
Have you seen this knockdown Nicholson-style bench?
https://vimeo.com/104208541

I would use construction grade timber for an outside bench. Won't last forever, but will be lighter and less painful if you happen to leave it out in the rain while having a cup of tea.
Not seen that video on the Nicholson, it's not bad but the Moravian beats it easily in term of ease and speed of knockdown. In terms of a shower over my lovely workbench, I figured maybe Douglas Fir would be a good choice as they have been making seagoing boats out of it for centuries. The odd shower would not be too much of an issue.
 

Lons

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mtonsbeek":2x37djlz said:
I am kind of looking for an excuse for a nice project. It may be a little nicer than scaffolding boards.
It's never difficult to find an excuse and absolutely nothing wrong with that attitude either, enjoy the project. :)
 
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