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is a work bench a hand tool?

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engineer one

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so like all woodworkers, i am doing it backwards, get the tools then decide about the bench.

just got this ex-kitchen worktop, nice bit of beech. so living in a flat,
i don't actually want to make a fixed bench.

question then is what to make the support from. are 2x2's sufficient?
or should they be 2x2 x2?

i only make things smaller than 4ft x4ft x4ft, cause i like to be able to
carry them away afterwards, and i doubt i will use thicker than 4by so
it does not need to be an industrial size.

i thought maybe two end supports plus two in the middle with separate
cupboards in each. so any ideas about sizes?

paul :whistle: :wink:
 

Chris Knight

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2x2's should be OK if you triangulate the structure with some diagonal bracing- i.e., don't just rely on four legs and a lower rail.
 

engineer one

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how about if i make the supports part of a cabinet unit, and use the back to triangulate?

the only question then is how much support should i put around the outside edges of the top. say on a 600 wide piece about 100mm inside all around.
paul :?
 

JFC

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I would put two storage units at the ends with solid backs , place the work top on them and fix 2 150mm x 50mm along the top edges , this will give you a well in the middle for the tools you are using .
 

engineer one

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yes that kind of fits some of my idea. but am not to sure about
wells they seem to me rather like socks in a washing machine, one
always goes missing. or in this case the tools go along with the
shavings. i think it is better to be tidy, and use a moveable tool tray
alongside the bench, and try to remember to replace the tools in the
storage. ( i know we never do, but it is nice to dream! :lol: )

anyway that brings me to the next subject. which is kind of linked.
although i only make small pieces, i still get my wood in lengths
of up to 6ft. i have just got a scrap piece of maple which is about 5ft long.
so before the bench is built i tried planing it on my workmate. now i
really see what you all mean about a solid bench.

but what i really need to understand is how you manage to plane the full length of such a board in one flowing motion without leaving breaks along the surface. i guess what i am asking is how do you take one 5ft long shaving?? surely as you move your weight from one foot to the other,
you break the shaving? ](*,)

i can see doing it on say a 36 in board, but 48 upwards seems more complex, or am i just worrying too much?
must say that having fettled my planes i am getting both decent shavings and a smooth surface to the edge.

next question, when you have a board straight off the saw from the mill,
and you want to start planing, how do you easily determine grain direction, particularly when doing the edges??? Yes i know you should start with the working face, but its nice to remove some of the splinters, and make the face slightly easier to plane too.

paul [-o<
 

Frank D.

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Paul,
You do realize that you're going to get us into trouble by asking all these questions in the same topic? 8-[
As to planing long boards, you shouldn't break a shaving just because you take a step. have you tried it out yet (sorry if that's a dumb question, I know you have some experience but these things aren't always evident)? Keep your thumb down on the nose of the plane over the edge you're jointing and it won't matter whether you slow down, shift weight, or even stop. I have no difficulty stopping entirely (planing) and starting again. The shaving doesn't break, usually. Just don't lift the plane and you'll be OK.
To determine grain direction, just look at the face and you should be able to tell in which direction the grain rises. Sometimes the growth rings don't indicate grain direction, but in that case, if you're planing against the grain (when you get some tearout and feel the board resisting your plane; there's a certain sound that you'll be able to recognize too) you just turn the board around and continue. It won't explode on you so a little tearout if you don't read the grain correctly won't even be noticable when you get the board finished up.
 

engineer one

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sorry frank i know i am being naughty, but tempus fugit, and one
wants to relearn as much as possible.
anyway, i think that planing long boards is an important part
of the thought process for a workbench.

if you are going to plane longer boards, then you need the mass
of a heavy bench to ensure that as you plane and move along
the board, the bench does not move, and you can keep the shavings.
actually i posted this part after trying the maple board on my workbench
as an experiment. since it is 1 1/2 thick, by 6.75 wide and 5feet long,
it seemed a reasonable experiment. what i found was that need to keep weight on the workmate made it difficult to move the weight of the plane
along the board for the full length and keep the shaving constant.

i understand what you have said, and i guess i have to practice on
a more substantial base to learn more of the craft.

"so is it the weight of the top, or the supports that defines the mass of the
workbench?"

paul ](*,) (hammer) :lol:
 

Matt1245

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"so is it the weight of the top, or the supports that defines the mass of the
workbench?"
Both. Also the more planes you can buy to store on the shelves of the bench will add to the mass as well. :lol:

Matt.
 

engineer one

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so basically, anything we do here is an excuse to add another plane
to our collection.

and i thought only alf would do that!!!! :lol:
paul
 

Matt1245

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so basically, anything we do here is an excuse to add another plane
to our collection.

and i thought only alf would do that!!!!
paul
Oh no no no, sorry if i miss led you. Was just saying that anything that is stored on the workbench will add weight to it. Such as planes, chisels, handsaws, planes, spokeshaves, planes..........

:lol:
Matt.
 

bugbear

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if you are going to plane longer boards, then you need the mass
of a heavy bench
Not if you can fix the bench to a floor or wall. In that case rigidity is sufficient.

Japanese planing beams are not super heavy, but are normally anchored to a tree; they don't tend to move...

BugBear
 

Jarviser

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engineer one":1qsgymlx said:
what i found was that need to keep weight on the workmate made it difficult to move the weight of the plane
along the board for the full length and keep the shaving constant.
Paul, sometimes you will only be able to plane a long board on a workmate, or even two workmates in tandem, because the bench is too short. If you clamp a long 3x2 to the workmate top and push it up against a brick wall, it will make the workmate very rigid. Plenty of candlewax in a zigzag on the plane sole should make it easy to move the plane along the length with minimal effort. And its only the finishing strokes that need to be continuous. I have often planed stock almost down to a line in sections with a coarse set smoother (I keep an old but sharp Handyman as a "scrub" plane), then finished with a fore plane and maybe a good smoother. Not textbook, but it can work of you only have a handsaw, and a large board or sheet to rip and true up.
 

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