First Workbench Build - Unique design

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Joe1975

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This is my first post. I am new to woodworking and want to learn how to design and build freestanding furniture. Thought the first thing I need is a workbench!
Here is the workbench I designed for use with heavy duty quick release clamps. I did a lot of research and planning. I wanted something relatively portable that could be used outside or inside, and conceived something between a traditional workbench and a sawhorse. I think it is quite unique in terms of design and philosophy. The cutting was was all done with a circular saw and the lap joints were chiselled out. It is solid.
I am on a tight budget and built this from left over construction lumber. It cost me £8 for the carriage bolts. The longer clamps can clamp wood up to 2” thick to the side of the bench. It is proving extremely versatile and there is nothing yet that I haven’t been able to hold and work on.

The shelf is sloped slightly for easy presentation, and security, of tools. The bench is asymmetrical, with one vertical side (normal working side) and the other ‘b’ side has the legs on an angle (see second photo) for stability. The ‘b’ side horizontal beam can be stood on for getting over work. The top edge is planed flush with the vertical legs so pieces can be clamped to the legs. My original idea was to drill holes in the top and the legs for bench dogs but so far haven’t felt the need for them, I just clamp bits of wood to the top to use as holds. The clamps are very powerful.

If anyone would like more details, please let me know. I would love to hear any comments and suggestions for improvements, or ideas for one day building Workbench2.0. Sorry the photos are a little distorted with the wide angle lens. C7FA7BF5-1F66-4F53-AB50-31634C31DB28.jpeg7DC481BE-76B3-4B4F-A59A-E7F193279069.jpeg786648D9-1058-4D56-A66D-22B4D4B25BCE.jpeg

PS does anyone know why this thread appears in ‘what’s new’ but not in ‘new posts’?
 
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Hi Joe and welcome!

It looks good! What are the dimensions? And what operations do you use it for? Is it stable enough to use for hand-planing boards without moving at all for instance? If it's not rock solid (it needs to be for planing or you expend wasted energy with less than optimal results) then you could consider adding a heavy sand bag or two to the lower shelf to weigh it down when in use.

The design reminds me a bit of these two workhorse builds from Jay Bates: "the traditional workhorse" and "the MatchFit workhorse". You mentioned possibly adding dog holes to yours. Alternative workholding or clamping options could include the installation of a vice and/or the use of the MatchFit dovetailed slots with clamps and accessories. But perhaps you don't need them.

What sort of stuff do you make / plan to make? What do you use for assembly as this isn't big enough for large items? Do you have another larger table that is flat for that purpose? If not, perhaps you could clamp a flat peice of thick melamine or similar to your workhorse to increase the surface area when doing larger assemblies? Obviously there's a limit to how much overhang you can have before the thing becomes unstable but it might be an option.
 
PS does anyone know why this thread appears in ‘what’s new’ but not in ‘new posts’?
What's New includes everything. New Posts includes everything that is new to YOU. You won't see your own post because it's not new to you and you won't see posts you have looked at before.
Brian
 
I really like that, there are obvious limitations because of the size, but in comparison to a sawhorse, which has roughly the same footprint, you've made a really useful bit of shop furniture.

Personally I would add dog holes, I think low profile dogs are going to work much better than clamps for planing, routing and sanding as you are given unhindered access to the face(s) of the workpiece

I'd also have a detatchable (clamp on) fence / back wall, I just find that adds a level of stability when holding with one hand and sawing with the other, it would also mean that tools and fixing could be pushed out of the way without falling on the floor.

Lastly I'd make a height matched collapsable sawhorse, and keep a light board top (possibly with a torsion box for stability and strength), that way you'd have the flexability to work on larger items, especially for glue ups and painting
 
What's New includes everything. New Posts includes everything that is new to YOU. You won't see your own post because it's not new to you and you won't see posts you have looked at before.
Brian
Thank you, I understand now.
 
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I really like that, there are obvious limitations because of the size, but in comparison to a sawhorse, which has roughly the same footprint, you've made a really useful bit of shop furniture.

Personally I would add dog holes, I think low profile dogs are going to work much better than clamps for planing, routing and sanding as you are given unhindered access to the face(s) of the workpiece

I'd also have a detatchable (clamp on) fence / back wall, I just find that adds a level of stability when holding with one hand and sawing with the other, it would also mean that tools and fixing could be pushed out of the way without falling on the floor.

Lastly I'd make a height matched collapsable sawhorse, and keep a light board top (possibly with a torsion box for stability and strength), that way you'd have the flexability to work on larger items, especially for glue ups and painting

Thank you for your kind comments and helpful ideas. It’s about 5’ long, full height, and 10” wide on the top surface - so a bit bigger than a standard sawhorse.

I’ll reconsider the bench dogs. At the moment I just clamp pieces of plywood of various thicknesses (depending on what I need) to the top and plane up to them. It provides a wide square edge instead of the small surface area of a dog.
I also worry that the dog holes would get loose because it is softwood.

I have a bench hook and a sliding board, to support the other end of a piece, for when I’m sawing freehand. Having said that, I normally just drop a clamp on it so it is fixed to the top. I use the shelf for tool storage. When I get some sort of workshop setup I will store tools on the wall by the bench.

Definitely going to need a bigger surface for glue ups and assembly. Like the idea of a collapsible companion sawhorse. The plan at the moment is to have a piece of ‘MDF faced ply’ to clamp to the top but this would probably be limited to 5ft x 2ft which isn’t a huge area.

Many thanks
 
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Hi Joe and welcome!

It looks good! What are the dimensions? And what operations do you use it for? Is it stable enough to use for hand-planing boards without moving at all for instance? If it's not rock solid (it needs to be for planing or you expend wasted energy with less than optimal results) then you could consider adding a heavy sand bag or two to the lower shelf to weigh it down when in use.

The design reminds me a bit of these two workhorse builds from Jay Bates: "the traditional workhorse" and "the MatchFit workhorse". You mentioned possibly adding dog holes to yours. Alternative workholding or clamping options could include the installation of a vice and/or the use of the MatchFit dovetailed slots with clamps and accessories. But perhaps you don't need them.

What sort of stuff do you make / plan to make? What do you use for assembly as this isn't big enough for large items? Do you have another larger table that is flat for that purpose? If not, perhaps you could clamp a flat peice of thick melamine or similar to your workhorse to increase the surface area when doing larger assemblies? Obviously there's a limit to how much overhang you can have before the thing becomes unstable but it might be an option.

Thank you. It is about 5ft long, full height, and the top surface is about 10” wide. At the moment I am working on a small coffee table using the wood from an old gate leg table that had been discarded. I like hand tool working, and am starting on small projects, maybe a box next.

It seems sturdy enough for planing. At the moment I only have my grandads old Stanley #4 smoothing plane. No movement in the bench if I plane down the length, best of course to have some bench left in front of the plane travel.
The low parallel beams were designed to take breeze blocks, or to stand on, in case extra stability was needed. So far not required.

I had seen the first of Jay Bates’ workhorses and it looks very good doesn’t it, but it is fancy with lots of vices and hardware. Much more expensive and difficult to build than I was prepared for with a new start in woodworking, and no bench!
Match fit looks potentially useful. I may consider that for a plywood board to use on top.

I will need to clamp/fix a larger board for assemblies and finishing jobs. (Melamine, plywood, mdf) not sure what would be best.
 
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Nice job Joe. That looks really nice.
I had seen the first of Jay Bates’ workhorses and it looks very good doesn’t it, but it is fancy with lots of vices and hardware. Much more expensive and difficult to build than I was prepared for with a new start in woodworking, and no bench!
I made a workhorse based on Jay Bates designs earlier in the year. The top is made from a couple of lengths of scaffold plank glued together. It was a really useful experience (especially in understanding how to get the best out of dog holes), and the workhorse has been really useful.

It also taught me that I can flatten and joint large pieces of wood by hand plane alone. I was considering whether to get a planer/thicknesser, but wondering where I was going to keep it, and how I was going to handle the dust it would generate. This project proved to me that I don't need a p/t at the moment. Maybe further down the line.

My main issue with it is that it isn't as solid as I would hope laterally. Even with the latch (which holds the bottom cross member in place) tightened right up.

IMG_20220227_122731052.jpg


I had a go at making a custom end vice using a cheap screw designed for fruit presses. Again a useful experience. The most obvious mistake I made was not to have it in line with the dog holes. Also the block in the "vice" with the dog hold tends to climb out as pressure is applied.

So a few lessons learnt. I am now in the process of building a larger workbench. I plan to create a project posting on this forum soon.
IMG_20220924_171532169.jpg
 
Nice job Joe. That looks really nice.

I made a workhorse based on Jay Bates designs earlier in the year. The top is made from a couple of lengths of scaffold plank glued together. It was a really useful experience (especially in understanding how to get the best out of dog holes), and the workhorse has been really useful.

It also taught me that I can flatten and joint large pieces of wood by hand plane alone. I was considering whether to get a planer/thicknesser, but wondering where I was going to keep it, and how I was going to handle the dust it would generate. This project proved to me that I don't need a p/t at the moment. Maybe further down the line.

My main issue with it is that it isn't as solid as I would hope laterally. Even with the latch (which holds the bottom cross member in place) tightened right up.

View attachment 145470

I had a go at making a custom end vice using a cheap screw designed for fruit presses. Again a useful experience. The most obvious mistake I made was not to have it in line with the dog holes. Also the block in the "vice" with the dog hold tends to climb out as pressure is applied.

So a few lessons learnt. I am now in the process of building a larger workbench. I plan to create a project posting on this forum
 
Nice job Joe. That looks really nice.

I made a workhorse based on Jay Bates designs earlier in the year. The top is made from a couple of lengths of scaffold plank glued together. It was a really useful experience (especially in understanding how to get the best out of dog holes), and the workhorse has been really useful.

It also taught me that I can flatten and joint large pieces of wood by hand plane alone. I was considering whether to get a planer/thicknesser, but wondering where I was going to keep it, and how I was going to handle the dust it would generate. This project proved to me that I don't need a p/t at the moment. Maybe further down the line.

My main issue with it is that it isn't as solid as I would hope laterally. Even with the latch (which holds the bottom cross member in place) tightened right up.

View attachment 145470

I had a go at making a custom end vice using a cheap screw designed for fruit presses. Again a useful experience. The most obvious mistake I made was not to have it in line with the dog holes. Also the block in the "vice" with the dog hold tends to climb out as pressure is applied.

So a few lessons learnt. I am now in the process of building a larger workbench. I plan to create a project posting on this forum soon.
View attachment 145471
Its amazing how much you learn from doing these projects isn’t it. I think you will really appreciate the flush and vertical legs of the new bench, and it should be much sturdier.
There’s not much on the Jay Bates inspired design to resist racking. A couple of tightly fitted stretches would sort that out, or a diagonal brace.
Look forward to seeing the finished bench.
 
How about a tool tray under the bottom stretches?
Thank you, I think if I was to rebuild it I would raise the stretchers a couple of inches and make sure they were the correct width apart to hold some solid plastic boxes with lids
 

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