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First Workbench (WIP)

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Nick

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Hi all, first off its my first post so apologies if i break any rules.

The mrs wants some nice outdoor furniture, and i like to make things so thought i'd try my hand at woodworking. Then quickly realised that in order to build things i'd need some sort of workbench!

Due to space constraints (rented house, no garage and no power in shed), i had to be realistic about how big this could be. Followed a guide i found online, made some mistakes (and definitely learned from them along the way!!)

Overall i'm pretty happy with it, it's rock solid and doesn't wobble or move at all.

Just needs the frame staining, a protective finish on the plywood top and the bottom shelf cutting once it stops raining.

If anyone has tips/advice i'd welcome that as this was my first proper build (birdhouses over the years dont count :p )

(Will update this thread once i've finished it)


Cheers!
 

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Bm101

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Looks solid. Nice work Nick. Two suggestions that might aid it's longevity living outside from one beginner to another.
I'd sit the feet in a pot of whatever preservative you're using after a spell of hot weather so they really soak it up. Sitting on the floor, endgrain down they will be the most vulnerable and act like straws. If you can get a bit of Ply, OSB etc and some cheap roofing felt I'd lash together an oversize cover/lid for it. I'd screw a few battens to the bottom of the lid so air can circulate between the bench top and cover, this circulation is fairly vital.
I'd also drill 4 holes in the lid on the corners and let through 4 small lengths of rope with some form of hook on the bottom and a knot at the top so you can get the hooks on the bearers in the wind but it's easy to kick off and use. Untreated felted OSB that I used to smash a new roof on the kids play shed has lasted 6+ years and still going strong in not much more protected situation. No windows, door always left open by the kids etc.
There's better but more expensive products but these would be fine and last a good few years easily. Covering the top but letting air circulate will make a massive difference in the life of your outdoor bench.
Nice one Nick. Cool Bench. 8)
Regards
Chris
 

custard

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Nothing wrong with that Nick, looks like you're now up and running as a woodworker!

Incidentally, good advice from Bm101, worth reading his post again.
 

Nick

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Wow thanks all for your kind words!

@Chris, thanks very much for the advice there, luckily this will live in the shed primarily, and will be brought into the garden on occasion when its nice because who doesnt like working out in the sun? That said, i was actually wondering how best to protect the feet on the legs, so i will definitely do as you suggested and let them soak in something to harden them a bit, i also intend to chamfer the bottom edges of the feet to prevent them tearing out when it gets moved around.

I'm also tempted to build the 'lid' type system that you described, as i could still attach a rail or a few small hooks on the underside and use this as a rack to store tools temporarily as im working maybe? And then close it down once finished to add that bit more protection as you said.

Turns out i really enjoy working with my hands, and it gets me away from a keyboard (day job) for a while.

Thanks again all :)
 

scooby

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good advice from bm101.

If you're going to be moving it often it might be an idea to sort out a caster arrangement. If/when you add a vice, under surface tool storage, etc its going to get heavy and it'd be a shame to wreck the bottom of the legs or rack the frame from dragging it about.
You can buy casters that operate on a sort of cam and are raised/lowered with foot tabs. They might be out of your budget though. As an alternative, you could arrange some type of hinged board connected to the short leg bracers and fit normal casters to that.
Just a thought :D
 

Nick

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I was considering castors, the original design I followed used them, and they'd offer a few additional benefits for me (I've a glass back anyway and the extra height/ease of movement would be a plus).

Don't mind spending some extra to make moving it that bit easier, any recommendations at all? Or are they more of a generic thing and I can just pick up the sturdiest ones I can find somewhere? Timber cost was around the £100 mark from local timber yard (there's a few metres of the treated timber left plus 4x2' of the ply), so what's an extra few quid to not make my back any worse :mrgreen:
 

OliT

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Nick, I'm in a similar place but haven't started on my workbench yet. Have you got a link to the plans you followed that you could share?

Oli
 

Bm101

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Nick":5ei1palp said:
I was considering castors, the original design I followed used them, and they'd offer a few additional benefits for me (I've a glass back anyway and the extra height/ease of movement would be a plus).

Don't mind spending some extra to make moving it that bit easier, any recommendations at all? Or are they more of a generic thing and I can just pick up the sturdiest ones I can find somewhere? Timber cost was around the £100 mark from local timber yard (there's a few metres of the treated timber left plus 4x2' of the ply), so what's an extra few quid to not make my back any worse :mrgreen:
Again. I'd stress I'm just a beginner.
I wouldn't put castors on yet.
I'd hang tight till you know a little more what work you want to do. If you are working with hand tools you want a solid base.
Just my 2 pence worth.
Good luck.
:D
Chris
 

Nick

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OliT":1pi3ohrj said:
Nick, I'm in a similar place but haven't started on my workbench yet. Have you got a link to the plans you followed that you could share?

Oli
I followed the plans from here, Oli. If you get stuck anywhere ill try to help, one beginner to another :D

https://www.construct101.com/simple-workbench-plans/

@Chris, will bear that in mind then for a potential future upgrade. Appreciate all the advice!

Cheers


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OliT

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Thanks Nick.

Whats the general feeling on the best value top for a workbench? Plywood vs moisture resistant MDF?
 

Bm101

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I'm just a beginner myself Nick, not trying to pretend to know much so careful who you listen to on the internet! :wink: If you are planning on mainly using power tools a rock solid bench is not so vital.
To clarify, if you think you will be planing by hand a lot it transfers a lot of lateral energy into the bench. The bench looks solid as a rock so shouldn't rack at all. It also looks like it has enough mass that it won't move easily when you plane. Hence the fear of castors. However I reckon Scooby is a bang on with the advice as always. Solution might be as simple as 2 planks the width of your bench with 4 castors attached in the corners. Makeshift, storable dollies. If it was me and I was after moving a big bench like that regularly, I'd use the above but i might attach a central axis via some swivel type of bolt fixing. Get it easily mobile and you are halfway there. If it's too heavy to move easily it will never move at all after a while. You just won't bother. At least, I wouldn't.
There's lots of people on here making good stuff in tiny spaces. You have to get creative with storage and be disciplined about how you work and plan. (The opposite of my approach!)
Cheers
Chris
 

scooby

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Nick, the 'expensive' option are these https://www.axminster.co.uk/axminster-w ... ors-507151
Ive never used them but in one of Paul Sellers bench builds, he fitted these. Not sure if he purchased from axminster. They only lift the bench a small amount so if you are moving over uneven ground, flags, etc you might be better rigging up your own solution as BM101 described (good advice btw).

Bm101 has some good points on working in a small space. I work in a tiny outbuilding (think its 7'x7") and it really teaches how to be efficient. I have a small 'Nicholson style' bench , thicknesser on a rolling cart, dust collector and tool chest. Everything else (cramps, glue, finishes, etc) goes on wall shelves. It gets messy pretty quick but takes no time to tidy.

If I'm working on a large project, I have the option to machine and assemble outside or use my dads 2 car garage (that he uses for a workshop). I do 99% of my work (apart from thicknessing and some routing) by hand so the small area is fine.
 

Nick

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Oli, i don't really have much experience working with MDF as of yet, however i find the doubled up plywood to be more than sufficient, i sanded down the edges and rounded everything off today, so it's great to work on. Someone with more materials knowledge might be able to better help with this one!

Chris, appreciate the insight on the mobility stuff, you and Scooby have really got me thinking how to best utilise the space. I'm using a few power tools at the moment, however I did watch the Paul Sellers bench builds (and many other of his videos, i love his work) and am going to try my hand (pun unintended :p) at using hand tools for the next project.

Scooby, thanks for the link, very much appreciate that. I will have a think about making this space work and update on how i go about it. I suppose if i try one method and it doesnt work I can always simply try another one!


Did a little more on the bench today, sanded everything down and applied a coat of Danish Oil to the benchtop. Also installed the bottom shelf, the Mrs wants to stain the frame for me (she loves doing crafts etc so thats right up her street and I said she's welcome to do so).

Attached a couple of pics of todays (minor) upgrades.



Cheers!
 

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scooby

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yeah, it looks good Nick. A good thing about your bench is it'll be easy to add a vice when you start hand tool work. I've got a wide apron bench so it involved a bit of cutting to fit the vice, you should be able to just bolt one on.

Re: work surface. If you're concerned about the top getting messed up you could always add a sacrificial sheet ontop of the surface. Flip it and then bin it when/if it gets wrecked.

My bench is only 4' long and 21" wide and its a bit of a frankenstein. Its mainly copied off Paul Sellers (leg frames, wedged aprons, etc) but I've put panels in the leg frames, fitted a back panel and a lower shelf.
The surface is copied from Paul Chapman's, I dont think he posts here anymore but you can find pics of his bench. Basically 3 layers of 3/4" mdf with a timber lipping.
I did a one piece lip and left it 1/4" above the surface so I can put a 1/4" mdf sacrifical board on.

Not sure its needed as its barely got any marks on, I just didnt want to go to the faff of glueing mdf layers together anytime soon. But I can remove the whole top if needed.
Good thing about mdf is its flatness and weight, my tiny bench is still pretty heavy so doesnt slide around. Downside is moisture and protecting it from moisture, the first couple of coats of anything just disappear.
 

rafezetter

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Bm101":2amo9xjs said:
Nick":2amo9xjs said:
I was considering castors, the original design I followed used them, and they'd offer a few additional benefits for me (I've a glass back anyway and the extra height/ease of movement would be a plus).

Don't mind spending some extra to make moving it that bit easier, any recommendations at all? Or are they more of a generic thing and I can just pick up the sturdiest ones I can find somewhere? Timber cost was around the £100 mark from local timber yard (there's a few metres of the treated timber left plus 4x2' of the ply), so what's an extra few quid to not make my back any worse :mrgreen:
Again. I'd stress I'm just a beginner.
I wouldn't put castors on yet.
I'd hang tight till you know a little more what work you want to do. If you are working with hand tools you want a solid base.
Just my 2 pence worth.
Good luck.
:D
Chris
There's ways and there's ways....

His bench design lends itself perfectly for this sort of adjustable castor arrangement:

https://www.instructables.com/id/2x4-Wo ... bly-Table/

Scrolls down for Step 7.

I'm doing the same thing for my new workbench build.

Castors I've bought from amazon:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B01 ... UTF8&psc=1
 

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