I don’t want to build a workbench

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KevinLycett

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It’s so confusing! So intimidating! So easy to mess up! I like restoring furniture. So disassemble, maybe make a new part, fettle some joints, patch up, reassemble, bit of upholstery. I’ve got a basic set of power tools and enjoy using hand tools. Got a nice bench vice sitting on floor gathering dust. Do I really need the huge cost and mountain of work to build a full-on bench? I’ve been dithering for over a year and need to get off the pot. I’d love to hear your thoughts. *lights blue touch paper*
 

Fitzroy

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My workbench is still a pile of timber I bought in 2015. I initially built two temporary things screwed together from 2x4 and osb which I’ve used ever since. Never found the time to build my bench. Work holding is an improvised pain but I’ve worked out how to do most operations now. I know a proper bench will make me more efficient and my projects more enjoyable, but I just never find the time.

If you can do without and have no desire to build one then don’t. There are a dozen logical reasons why you should but it’s still a choice.
 

clogs

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I started with 2 saw horses and most of a sheet of 3/4 ply.....did me for years...
plus side I could store it away when needed and also chuck it in the van for out of workshop duties.....
proper workbenches take up a lot of room and totaly over rated....
ok if ur workshop is the size of a small factory.....
 

Doug71

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I have been doing joinery for about 35 years now and never had a proper traditional joiners bench.

It depends on what you do and how you work but I find a big flat assembly table in the middle of the room is more suitable for me, I like to be able to walk around what I'm working on, although I am spoilt for space.

For years I just used 8x4 sheets on trestles but a couple of years ago I finally built something more solid with an MFT type top which is great for clamping.

Don't get me wrong, I would love a proper bench and will build one at some point but I just never seem to have the time.
 

Ttrees

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Surely there's something which you could buy on gumtree or facebook marketplace etc which would be more suitable than that rubbish.
Alternatively
Have a look at Ben's sawhorses in the link below, nice chunky trestles like Kris Harbour on youtube has made.

Could sit a heavy door, sleeper, counter top(s) whathaveyou on them, and against a wall or something which won't move, for the lateral force of hand planing.
If you have traditional sawhorses, you could do this either.
Either way a few F clamps would be handy for rigging up something quick
SAM_3803.JPG

Screenshot-2020-10-29 All Replies on Work bench smack down LumberJocks com ~ woodworking commu...png



All the best
Tom
 

Ollie78

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Similar to Doug71 I don't have a traditional joiners bench at the moment. I use an MFT and trestles if I need a larger area.

Mainly this is a space issue as my workshop is not enormous and quite full. So I keep the MFT in the van when not using it.

I have a design in mind where I make a small bench about 800mm Square but from heavy timbers so I can mount a proper vice which is what I miss from having a proper bench, I would make it exactly the height of the MFT so can use that as an extension for longer wood.

The problem with MFT and workmates is you can't really hand plane aggressively as they are not super solid.
Given enough space I would probably build a heavy bench.

Ollie
 

thetyreman

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thanks for the mention tom, yes you could build the sawhorses but I'll warn you it's still pretty time consuming, you can obviously make them to whatever height you want, they'd make a good 'base' for a workbench, but I think it's worth making a seperate bench myself, it might take you a month just a couple of hours a day but you will never regret it. p.s if you have machines then there's no shame in using a thicknesser to speed up the process.
 
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I'm in exactly the same boat, and I'm tight for space.

I've been using two Aldi/Lidl workmates with 18mm ply offcut screwed down. I found that wobbley, so I put some recovered pallet planks down first and put the ply on top of that. I find laying more boards across the lower part of the workmates and putting toolboxes and stuff there really adds to the stability. I have made various plane stops, wedge clamps, etc. etc. to use with it. My huge big Record 52 1/2" vice (picked up for a song at a rural auction!) is sitting in a corner gathering dust until I get around to making a full-on bench.

AOK except for serious planing when I'm doing non-restoration projects, but not much call for serious planing in the furniture repair/restoration side of things. When I need more space, say if I'm working on a larger coffee table, I lay another larger sheet of 12mm ply on top, just temporarily.

What I really need is not a big bench, it's big clamps for gluing up entire pieces of furniture. That's where I'd spend my money. Damn they're expensive.
 

Spectric

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Your workbench does not need to be a work of art, functionality is more important and yes there are some amazing workbenches that are more akin to furniture than a workbench but at the end of the day it is what comes off your workbench that maters. Main decision is whether it needs to be portable, just moveable or fixed as this will determine the approach needed. When I made a fixed bench for general engineering and metalwork some years back I just used 4by4 fence post and scaffold boards along with coach bolts and ended up with a very solid bench. I covered it in a sheet of galvanised steel as I was not touching wood in them days and it served me well. If doing something like that again I would just cover it in MDF providing the material below is rigid.
 

Jones

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On you tube everyone seems to have an amazing beechwood workbench which it would be a real shame to do any actual work on in case you marked it. In reality I expect many people like me get by with something that doesn't wobble which you can make quickly with some 4x2, screws and ply or MDF.
 

RobinBHM

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If you use hand tools, especially hand Planes, you really need a traditional solid bench, to provide solid resistance to the forces.

if you mostly use power tools, then you have more options

having run a joinery shop, I found trestles more flexible than benches.

IMO benches are a horizontal surface that gets used to put stuff on.

If you don’t have the space to keep a bench always clear or you don’t have the natural discipline, I would avoid one
 

Krisskross

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for my band saw, its on a set of office drawers, it works a treat :) - Scroll saw is on another office cabinet thing, both are on wheels so can move them round if need too. My work bench is a piece of ply which stretched the length of 5ft of so with legs, so everything is basic and cheap.
 

fezman

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2 kitchen units fixed to the garage wall for me, Sheet of 25mm ply on top. Been using this for about 3 or 4 years now, just refurbed it all. Beefed up the underside of the ply where the vice is.

bench.JPG


Dropped a bit lucky with the cupboard doors - got 7 in total on a B&Q clearance for £42.
 

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