English Workbench build

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Petey83

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Hi all,

I am planning to build an English style workbench as per the plans and videos from the "The English Woodworker". Have to say the videos are really engaging and worth the small outlay given the quality of the content - if i had one criticism its he does not cover the materials selection and build variations upfront.

Anyway I have priced up the timber with several suppliers (softwood) but some of them only carry the rough sawn timber with the "eased edges" so assume I will need to plane down and square off first?

Second question is what vice do folk recommend on this type of bench? I have seen the one on the plans obviously but he no longer sells these. I am primarily wanting some sort of face vice.
 

Phil Pascoe

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It's difficult to beat a Record 52 1/2 or even 53. You CAN build a bench from CLS - but it'll make a lot of work for you not only because of having to plane stuff square but because it is difficult to mark around accurately. It also tends to be excrement. If you get it cheap enough to sway the balance, fine - but I wouldn't go near it for a bench.
 

Petey83

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cheers - no it snot really cheap enough if its going to take a lot of extra work - I do save on delivery costs as Selco and Travis Perkins deliver free of charge compared to the 4 local timber merchants I called.

i will look into the record vice - assume vintage will be better compared to the modern made ones.
 

AJB Temple

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If you want this bench to last a long time, it might be worth looking at a much more durable timber for the top. You are putting quite a lot of time in to make it and the density and mass of a hardwood top might be a good investment. Whatever vices you choose, I would get one with a quick release.
 

thetyreman

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agree that it's very hard to beat the old uk made record vices, I used an eclipse 9 inch vice, which is just a record 52 1/2 ripoff.

I'd recommend spending more on PAR timber, it's just far less work, and worth the extra cost, in my case it really didn't cost a lot more so it was worth it. And softwood like redwood pine is absolutely fine, hardwood keeps its shape better, but it's going to get messed up anyway, something to bear in mind.
 

MrTeroo

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I would go and choose your own rather than having it delivered.

That way you can pick the straightest ones.
 

MarkDennehy

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You technically can beat a record 53....


...with a record 53a :D
Seriously, lovely vices, exceptionally good at vicing. The wooden vices and leg vices work or they wouldn't have survived since the roman empire but the cast iron face vices are just so much easier to fit. Cut a hole in the apron, lag-bolt the vice (through a space if you need it) to the underside of the bench and add one jaw face to the outside jaw (the inside jaw being inside the apron) and you have the vice done and dusted in an hour or so. I use one in mine (which is also an english workbench design, albeit with a change here and there where I thought it was too easy and simple to build) and it's just brilliant.
 

raze599

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For my workbench I used eased edge 2x3's that I found very cheap. The wood for the whole bench cost me £37.50 with one or two whole 2x3's to spare. If I hadn't found that deal I probably would have gone for square edge 2x4's. It doesnt look all that substantial when you see it but it is more than adequate. My bench is 8ft x 2ft and 37 inches high and is of the Paul Sellers design.

In terms of squaring all the material, it is not necessary. I went ahead and glued up everything with the eased edges. Once that is glued up as a single panel, you can flatten to your hearts content. The top face of the top I of course made flat and true but the bottom I left with some of the eased edge sticking out in order to maintain some of the thickness. It would have got far too thin if I planed both sides flat. Likewise with the aprons - I didnt flatten them all the way, they still have ridges at the glue lines. The bench is perfectly fine. Heavy, stable, exactly what you need from a bench.

For a vice, I have a Record 52 1/2 as a face vice and a cheap Axminster 6" one as a tail vice which I retrofitted a dogging system to. A small complaint though, I seem to have some alternate form of the Record, it has some solid bracing behind the rear jaw which required extra slots to be cut in the apron. It took a little while but once it was fitted it has been a joy to use.

One of the best bits of advice I can give is to check out Gumtree for cheap wood. It is often much cheaper. Mine for instance was £1.25 per 2.4m length of 2x3. You might find a deal such as that with a bit of shopping around.
 

Petey83

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I can go and select the wood but need to have it delivered - only have the other half's car and whilst we've got far more in the back of the convertible Saab 93 than i imagine the designers ever intended I don't think this amount pf timber will fit :D

The design of the bench I aim to make is made in a way that the top can be replaced in future so I will likely stick with softwood for now and maybe upgrade to beech or something in future as money allows. The plan is to make a start on it after the easter weekend as i have the week off work so gives me time to find a nice old record somewhere
 

DigitalM

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Sorry to unearth this, but my problem is a bit similar to the OP ... so rather than start another thread I thought I'd continue here, and also ask him how it went?!

I've got a couple of projects on hold for various reasons, so I'm also looking at the same English Workbench plan as my current one is ... well, terribad.

My particular issue is finding a good place for redwood or southern yellow pine for a workbench, in the Gloucestershire area. I've tried Nicks Timber, who have been great in the past, but I'd like to make sure I get stuff at a competative price and get a few more options.

Any recommendations for other woods to consider? In my research I saw Douglas Fir mentioned, but I can seem to find this pre-seasoned anywhere, only wet.
 

Khuz360

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Hi, not from your area however a site called Timber Click might be useful as they are all over the country and they stock PAR Redwood, not sure what it is going to be like down your way but price wise they are pretty good in my area. Might also be worth considering a hardwood if getting a softwood isn't viable or picking up recycled timber albeit it would require much more work.
 

DigitalM

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I went to Nick's Timber in the end and bought some joinery grade redwood. It's acclimatizing in the workshop currently, waiting for the moment I have a few days to spare. Will check out your link though, many thanks :)
 

donie

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What did you use for a vice? Would you consider a vice screw such as axminster do?
 

DigitalM

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They look truly awesome, but I'm trying to make everything I can do myself. Half the fun for me is learning the skills.
 

Copes

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I'm almost finished with my workbench build which has taken forever, but i guess i can chip in with maybe another option not considered.

I bought all of my wood from the oxford wood recycling centre, for my top i managed to find some really nice old 10"x2" roofing beams which i ripped in half to 5x2" and a bunch of other 2x4 for the rest of the structure and 4x4s for the legs.

Of course there's the odd nick here and there and the odd screw hole although some careful selection of the top, there's no holes or issues in the top and its old wood and you're helping out the enviroment a bit. All in all it was about £50 and i picked it up myself but i do believe they deliver.

I started with hand planing/squaring everything which i'm just not cut out for! so it was all put to the side but now i've recently got a P/T i'm almost finished it. i'll pop up some pictures when i do.

I'd second or third, the record vice. I picked up an old battered 53 from ebay for again i think £40? but with a bit of magic green slime and some new rustoleum dark blue paint it's looking good as new(almost)

Hah so my long waffle was basically to say check out your local reclemation/recycling centre for old timber if you don't mind a bit more work.
 

DigitalM

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Wood recycling centre! I'm jealous. Will make some enquiries locally to see if we have anything similar.

My build keeps getting postponed due to other jobs in the workshop. I've got to do it before the end of summer. I'm using the excuse that the wood is acclimatising in the workshop. That'll do for the moment.
 
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