Quantcast
  • We invite you to join UKWorkshop.
    Members can turn off viewing Ads!

Axminster Medium Duty Bench (BENCH2)

UKworkshop.co.uk

Help Support UKworkshop.co.uk:

Status
Not open for further replies.

Martin

Established Member
Joined
25 Jan 2003
Messages
202
Reaction score
0
Location
Guildford UK
Well, I finally took the plunge and invested in a workbench - the home made thing I had been managing on was never really a proper workbench and after many years of abuse, plus one too many workshop re-organisations, it was starting to show its age. I briefly toyed with the idea of building one, but my track record for finishing projects in a timely manner (or even finishing them at all :oops:) is not good, so a pre-built bench it was to be.

Having researched these forums and looked elsewhere on the web, I was initially looking to buy the biggest Axminster model (BENCH4). However, much as I would have liked it, I simply don't have the space in my workshop. However, the next one down (BENCH2) seemed almost as beefy, and was about the biggest I could get away with. I was also consoled by the fact that the under-carriage of BENCH2 is made up using the same size framing lumber as BENCH4, and at 60kilos seemed to be quite beefy.



The bench arrives flat packed and requires assembly (not too surprising in this day and age). It arrived using normal courier delivery, and I was surprised Axminster didn't charge the £30 extra for delivery of heavy goods. The poor delivery driver (single driver, no tail-lift) was none too impressed and struggled to get the package in (I wasn't in at the time - and my wife couldn't really help him because it was too heavy). Anyway, he apparently managed by rolling it in end on end :shock:. Thankfully it's very well packaged and didn't suffer any damage.



The instructions are typical of flat packed furniture, and whilst not exactly comprehensive, didn't prove difficult to follow. However, the pack was missing four large washers (a quick run to B&Q solved that one) and the only other assembly gripe was that the instructions lead you to putting the top on the wrong way around (perhaps they changed the design or something, but it just wouldn't fit as indicated on the assembly sheet).

The legs come pre-assembled, and are fitted to the shelf/stretcher assembly by bolts and dowels. I decided not to glue the dowels just in case I want to break it down in future, and it doesn't seem any the worse for not gluing.



The top is fixed to the leg/shelf assembly by a single 90mm screw in each leg. This really surprised me and is my second gripe. Surely an extra couple of holes and screws wouldn't go amis, and add that extra bit of stability. That said, it was easily fixed by pre-drilling extra holes, and at this price I guess you can't complain too loudly.



Also included is a small underslung drawer, which is attached using two runners. The drawer was a tad stiff to push in/out, but a quick wipe over the runners with paste wax soon sorted that out.



The bench is more or less 100% beech wood (some elements of the drawer assembly aren't), and is well finished. You get a front and tail vice which are the same size (both 350mm wide - unlike Axminster's description which says 420 and 305 respectively). The vices are the central screw type, with support bars either side...



This brings me to my only major gripe :evil: - the tail vice was clearly out of parallel with the end of the bench (as you can see from the pic below). Just under 3mm out in fact...



Not that I'm an expert or anything, but I kind of expected the vices to run run parallel (the front vice was fine BTW). Is this something you ony get with the rolls-royce of benches? Thankfully it was fairly easily solved by unscrewing the (under bench) assembly that the vice screws into, adding a washer as a shim and re-fitting. Again, perhaps this is the best I can expect given the price (which 'aint bad at £260).

Stability wise the bench seems quite solid - more so than I expected given the few fixings used. The top seems to move slightly if I give it some "welly", but I put this down the rather uneven floor I have in my workshop.

All in all I'm very happy with the bench - it's a vast improvement over what I had before, but it's a shame I came across so many niggles and inaccuracies. As I said earlier, if I had the space I would certainly have gone with the heavier/bigger version, but can't really fault Axminster on this bench at this price.

Further details are at: http://www.axminster.co.uk/product.asp?pf_id=21592&sfile=1&jump=0

Martin.
 

Noel

Moderator
Staff member
Moderator
Joined
7 Aug 2003
Messages
6,541
Reaction score
249
Martin, great review and other than the minor niggles seems good value at £260.

Noel
 

Midnight

Established Member
Joined
11 Oct 2003
Messages
1,805
Reaction score
0
Location
Scotland
I remember a quote from someone in the Landys book.. to the effect that every cabinet maker ends up having had 3 benches; the first being anything that comes to hand, the 2nd's closer to perfect but bothered with unforseen niggles... the third one nails it..!!

Good review Martin.. of course.. you realise that with the bench up and running, excuses for the poor track record just went down by 50%...right..?? :wink:
 

Waka

Established Member
UKW Supporter
Joined
8 Mar 2004
Messages
4,488
Reaction score
3
Location
Weymouth
Martin

Good review and good value for the price. regarding the tail vice is there no way that this can be adjusted on the runners, not sure if this is possible but worth a look.
 

Chris Knight

Established Member
Joined
14 Jan 2004
Messages
6,641
Reaction score
3
Location
SE London - NW Kent
Martin,

Thanks for the review. It seems like a decent bench for the money. Re the tail vice, I reckon that it should not have been out by this much. I had a look at the Axminster benches when I visited Axminster's new place in Sittingbourne and the vices were all OK.

I thought the big bench was a very solid looking thing although of course a lot of that apparent beefiness comes from the extra weight and the thicker front skirt. However, definitely a good buy for someone looking to purchase rather than make a bench.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
Nice review Martin.

I am quite tempted after reding it as my home-made pine effort is showing its age and I have a birthday on the horizon
 

Martin

Established Member
Joined
25 Jan 2003
Messages
202
Reaction score
0
Location
Guildford UK
Thanks for the compliments guys :oops:. I thought it was about time I put something back into this great site/forum.

@Midnight: Yep, I fully expect I'll be buying or building another one at some point - probably if/when I get a bigger workshop. Track record on making things will I hope improve - the wife will I'm sure see to that...

Incidentally - when she first saw the bench, she came out with a corker of a comment which I can't resist not sharing with you. Something along the lines of...

"oh, the wood looks really nice doesn't it....now you will look after it won't you...."

Re: the tail vice, I looked at the assembly in some detail before deciding that a shim was the only way. I couldn't see any way of making adjustments on the vice hardware itself. Anyway, the shim did the trick which is the main thing.

Martin.
 

Martin

Established Member
Joined
25 Jan 2003
Messages
202
Reaction score
0
Location
Guildford UK
Tony":2df4s5uv said:
Nice review Martin.

I am quite tempted after reding it as my home-made pine effort is showing its age and I have a birthday on the horizon
Tony,

Apart from my lousy build track record, the other thing that swung it for me (pre-built vs self-build) was the likely cost of the wood. No doubt I'd have spent at least as much (if not more) money on the raw materials without even considering the time and effort put it.

Martin.
 

Alf

Established Member
Joined
22 Oct 2003
Messages
12,079
Reaction score
0
Location
Up the proverbial creek
Great review, Martin; thanks.

On that tail vice it's going to pay you to make yourself some shims to prevent it racking when you use the bench dog, I reckon. If you get FWW there's a good tip for same in the April issue. If you don't, maybe someone else could attempt to explain it... :roll:

Cheers, Alf

Edit: Productive lunchbreak so hopefully no need to explain it.
 

Ham

Established Member
Joined
17 Nov 2003
Messages
82
Reaction score
0
Location
The South Hams, Devon
I too have just invested in one of these benches and I'm finding it suits my needs quite well. I collected mine from the warehouse (which was very interesting - never seen such a high mountain of toys!) and had to drive home with the package sticking out of the tailgate - very cool 75 miles! I agree about the distructions - they would have you believe that the top should fit on back to front.
Cheers, David
 

dedee

Established Member
Joined
24 Jul 2003
Messages
2,637
Reaction score
1
Location
14860, France
Martin, interesting review - thanks.

The sjoberg that I purchased last year (1530bs I think) also had only one bolt per leg to hold the top on and they were some way forward of centre. I also added an extra pair towards the back of the legs. And the Sloberg was closer to twice the price of yours!

You might want to consider making a back panel attached to the legs, shelf and top to further increase the rigidity of the bench.

Andy
 

Martin

Established Member
Joined
25 Jan 2003
Messages
202
Reaction score
0
Location
Guildford UK
Alf - many thanks for the tip - just as well you posted the extra picture (I don't subscribe to FWW). I assume that the larger/more expensive benches overcome this problem by ensuring that the vice screw is aligned with the bench dog holes...

Dedee - good idea on the back panel. It's been added to my ever growing list of to-do's :wink:

cheers,
Martin
 

Alf

Established Member
Joined
22 Oct 2003
Messages
12,079
Reaction score
0
Location
Up the proverbial creek
Martin":23285ri5 said:
I assume that the larger/more expensive benches overcome this problem by ensuring that the vice screw is aligned with the bench dog holes...
Well mine has a tail vice with one dog, so its not an issue. Dunno about the other varieties, but even if they do, quite often you'll find yourself just using one row of dogs so you get the problem anyway. :(

Cheers, Alf
 

Big John

Established Member
Joined
7 Mar 2003
Messages
67
Reaction score
0
Location
Huddersfield
I have one of these benches and, unless I'm doing something wrong - which is always a distinct possibility, I find the vice to be absolutely useless when holding a piece of wood vertically. There is such a massive differnce in the jaw opening either side of centre that it does not hold a 10 cm wide board securely.
 

woodshavings

Established Member
Joined
20 Mar 2003
Messages
714
Reaction score
0
Location
Alton, Hampshire
John, are you refering to the front or tail vice? Is the difference in jaw opening either side of the centre due to racking when you apply pressure or is it offset before you start to clamp?
 

mudman

Established Member
Joined
11 Feb 2004
Messages
881
Reaction score
0
Location
Trying to stay in one piece in South Wales
Big John":2o0ojxcw said:
I have one of these benches and, unless I'm doing something wrong - which is always a distinct possibility, I find the vice to be absolutely useless when holding a piece of wood vertically. There is such a massive differnce in the jaw opening either side of centre that it does not hold a 10 cm wide board securely.
I've got a mega-cheapy from Rutlands that seems to be a similar design and I had a lot of trouble with racking as well.
My solution was to have a few different sized bits of mdf with a piece at the top to stop it slipping through before tightening the vice. I also made another with a sort of stepped design. Works well.

Alf,

I like the link you posted, I may make one of those, saves all the bits of mdf getting lost.
 

mudman

Established Member
Joined
11 Feb 2004
Messages
881
Reaction score
0
Location
Trying to stay in one piece in South Wales
rsinden":fyi2bzag said:
OK - I'll come clean. What does 'racking' mean? I think I've worked it out but just to be sure..... :oops:
Quite simple really. It's where the next woodworker to ask about Dado blades or Part P is placed on a large piece of wood and has ropes attached to wrists and ankles that are then.... :shock:
 
Status
Not open for further replies.

Latest posts

Top