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Lonsdale73

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As I contemplate yet another bench build, I'm wondering why every single build I've seen on youtube or read about on't web involves building two end frames which are then joined by stretchers? Why not a front and back frame? Is it tradition/habit or is there a genuine structural advantage to doing it the 'common' way?
 

MikeG.

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I guess it depends....

If your bench stands out in the middle of the workshop, with both sides in use, then racking resistance longitudinally and crossways would be equally as important. If your bench is against a wall, as I guess 90%+ are, then, the wall can take the cross loads, and strength against horizontal planing loads is the primary consideration. In the latter case it makes sense to prioritise the strength of the front frame, so your suggestion of building the front and back frames and linking them at the ends makes a lot of sense.

That's the (a) theory. In practise, however, there is little difference either way. They're all just M&Ts into the legs, and it doesn't much matter which ones you make first. I guess it is slightly easier to manhandle completed end frames rather than the much bigger front and back frames, and it may just be that which explains the preference for work order you mentioned. I'll take your word on the latter, though, because there is virtually nothing more tedious than watching yet another Youtuber claim to be making "the ultimate bench" (except of course "the ultimate cross-cut sled"), so I don't.
 

Jacob

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Lonsdale73":tituzs92 said:
As I contemplate yet another bench build, I'm wondering why every single build I've seen on youtube or read about on't web involves building two end frames which are then joined by stretchers? Why not a front and back frame? Is it tradition/habit or is there a genuine structural advantage to doing it the 'common' way?
The end frames are joined by the aprons, which effectively turns the front and the back into frames. You'd still have to join them across the width but it's easier if you do the end frames first - that's the only difference. Lengthways stretchers usually just to support a lower shelf and not such an important part of the structure.
This one shows an optional diagonal brace, which could be a good idea:
 

ED65

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Some of it is tradition. The old benches still in use and any new ones based on such benches are built that way, continuing the convention. There is of course no reason you have to build a bench this way, any more than you must use a solid-wood top any more.

So where did it come from? Two end frames are easier to manoeuvre than front/back frames because they're smaller and lighter; could be as simple as that. You're subsequently going to join these via stretchers of some kind to make a full leg assembly, which could of course be made either way, but something as basic as end frames are lighter could be the starting reason.

It won't be the main reason but another reinforcement of this being 'just the way you do it' is the need for some historical benches to be portable, because of the itinerant nature of the work for some craftsman. This same motivation is the reason for tusk tenons on stretcher rails on many a table or large bench historically.

BTW have you literally seen no benches that don't follow this convention or were you exaggerating for effect?

With the lighter construction of many modern workbenches there are some plans where you start with frames that run the full width of the bench that you then join at the ends. And there are benches that don't have frames at all – individual legs (Roman bench, shave horses, some foldaway designs), other fold-up benches have one frame that swings down and a "box beam" or torsion-box bench may have just a single monolithic structure underneath.
 

Phil Pascoe

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Yes, mine has no apron, so was either two ends joined by the longer members or back and front joined by the shorter ones - I found it easier handling to make the ends first.
 

Lonsdale73

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ED65":3glchpk6 said:
BTW have you literally seen no benches that don't follow this convention or were you exaggerating for effect?
I cannot recall seeing a single bench that hasn't been of the two end frames joined by stretchers variety. For most projects, I start by 'constructing' them in my mind and then sketching them out on paper. In this instance I found I was thinking of a front/back arrangement when it occurred to me that I couldn't recall seeing any made that way. I couldn't think of any logical reason why it couldn't/shouldn't be done that way. I did consider the conventional way maybe easier to handle and that a front/back design could have a bearer right where one's toes would be and it did make me wonder if one would be stronger/sturdier than t'other.
 

ED65

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Have you settled on a bench design already? If you have I don't want to introduce uncertainty because that can be fatal in getting a workbench done, as all too many of us know from experience (homer)
 

Lonsdale73

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No, I haven't. There are so many styles and options that trying to find one that will match my needs for the foreseeable is proving challenging!
 

Jacob

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Lonsdale73":3rjj8wc6 said:
No, I haven't. There are so many styles and options that trying to find one that will match my needs for the foreseeable is proving challenging!
The trad option in my picture above is the favoured universal pattern which was found everywhere in Britain and also is easy to make.
Avoid trendy ones from mags. Also avoid various well known books on "The Work Bench" as they omit the standard design in favour of fancy ones.
 

AndyT

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Jacob - it looks like the Yanks are paying attention!

[youtube]zcq1LQq08lk[/youtube]

(The video "premieres" in a couple of hours, so I reckon you and I might have the power to get it trending by then!)
 
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Check out the post I replied to in projects / first build / workbench.. I don’t believe that if u want to be creative and work with wood u need to follow convention.

While additionally I personally felt I was fooling myself in trying to incorporate every thing u would love to do with the bench straight off so I preferred to start with a basic but flexible design I can build into..

I had learned my lesson in battling with a solid but flexing bench so chose to stick to the basics in building but used the thickest timber n legs I could afford 4x4 legs n scaffolding planks for the frame. Pinned to brickwork allows this to fold away.,

Regardless how it works out in my mind it’s a win win if I fail I just learn more.

Hope u can find the post
Struggling with the tech tryd uploading pics

Regards
Bren

Good luck
 

Lonsdale73

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Jacob":2qnv02l2 said:
[The trad option in my picture above is the favoured universal pattern which was found everywhere in Britain and also is easy to make.
Previously, I built a customised version of the Timothy Wilmotts Multifuction Workbench. Not knowing much better at the time, I used some cheap and nasty elements so I've had to patch it up a few times over the years but it has served me well and continues to do so.

Last year I started on this Frankenstein bench. By the time I'd flattened and squared timber for the legs they were a bit on th short side hence why they're sitting on the cross member rather than have it morticed in to the sides. I fitted an 'apron' to the base to incorporate some Carl Holmgren inspired Retractable Castors. And if that wasn't enough, I tried to incorporate elements of this Power Tool Friendly Bench. Plan was to have my Thicknesser on one fold up platform and the oscillating sander on the other however, curse of the single-car garage limitations, the space available wasn't quite enough to house both so came up with another idea for the thicknesser. At the time I posted a question about bracing it and someone pointed me in the direction of a Nicholson bench. Part of me wanted to incorporate an MFT style top like the one in the Multifunction Workbench but before I could finish it though, the pocket-holed bracing on my (even earlier built) router table finally gave up the ghost so I transferred the top off that onto this new base. For a Frankie it works okay.

The next one doesn't need to be mobile, in fact I don't want it to move at all. I do want something like your illustration I have a space about four and a half feet wide to fit it in. height approx 900mm and depth 600mm-ish. One of the things it will be required to do is support long workpieces to be cut on my mitre saw. At present, I have a Jay Bates inspired mitre station which has served me well however as my shop eveolves I find I need a solid work surface much more than I need so many drawers! I do want to retain some form of track and stop in order to make repeatable cuts. I've seen benches with the track embedded in the work top itself - and I tried incorporating on top of the apron in the 'Nicolson' bench (more for holding work down) but found it very quickly clogged up with dust and shavings! - so I'm thinking I could fit one on the apron face OR Something that clips in place on the bench top when needed and can be removed when not needed. I still like the idea of having dog holes but know I don't want to use MDF for the final worktop. I'm torn between gluing up planks and assembling the top in two or three sections or gluing two or three sheets of plywood and edging it with hardwood. I will want a shelf to hold a pair of T-Stak cases, my attempt at a benchtop Moxon vice and my mitre trimmer. But then I'd also like to incorporate at least one, possibly two shallow drawers to house some regularly used measuring and marking out tools and - if that wasn't enough - some form of sliding deadman to support workpieces while they're being secured with clamps in the apron-mounted t-track.
 

nabs

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I like it too - a good design and nice and straightforward to make, also nice to see him showing it being done with (mainly) hand tools and without the use of another bench. He could have made it even more "trad" by using nails instead of screws :)
 

ED65

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Lonsdale73":33zg8o6e said:
No, I haven't. There are so many styles and options that trying to find one that will match my needs for the foreseeable is proving challenging!
Right so then, let me set the cat amongst the pigeons and suggest you check out two benches designed by Tom Caspar. The first is his torsion-box bench, the second is his "box beam" bench, even simpler and cheaper to build exactly as described.

Torsion-box workbench:
https://www.popularwoodworking.com/proj ... workbench/

The page on the Pop Woodworking site for the box-beam bench is missing all its pictures for some reason so I'll just link directly to the PDF of the original article and the video on YouTube with Tom demonstrating it, showing it's much sturdier than it may look, and the (great) later mods to the design:
http://media2.fwpublications.com.s3.ama ... mBench.pdf
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n4Z886Wb9l4

Have to say, I love this bench.

But both have so much to recommend them. I would just like to see an updated version of the first that ditches the threaded rods, which needlessly add to the cost (particularly outside of the US it seems). It's easy enough for some users to redesign it on their own but lots of people would benefit from a simpler and cheaper version of this excellent bench design; and while they're at it do round dog holes which are better all round (see what I did there?) than square ones :)
 

Jacob

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Strewth! Bench mania!
A normal bench is basically a table but with a heavy timber at the front edge to work on, with one or two add-ons like a vice and a planing stop. A well is more or less essential and with a heavy timber at the front you get one automatically
What's being described above are very different objects, design exercises, complicated machines, steam punk fantasies!
I blame the books and the mags - normal benches just don't get a mention, they are just so boringly unfashionable!
The "Nicholson" gets mentioned and in some ways closer to normal than most, but shouldn't be slavishly followed - it merely got spotted in an old book and caught on amongst bench enthusiasts.
 

Phil Pascoe

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A "normal bench" is what you want a normal bench to be. Best thing I did was build mine without an apron or a well. It has only to suit me, not anyone else. :D
 

Jacob

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OK, Standard bench then. As used for generations in schools, colleges, workplaces everywhere. Like the one I posted above but often double sided with two beams and vices instead of just one.
Benches get adapted for particular purposes but then add-ons get taken up as essential details. A "sliding deadman" is one such - no doubt somebody found it a useful for a particular repetitive task but then it got noticed by bench enthusiasts and now they all want one!
 

Lonsdale73

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Jacob":k66p9sgf said:
OK, Standard bench then. As used for generations in schools, colleges, workplaces everywhere. Like the one I posted above but often double sided with two beams and vices instead of just one.
Benches get adapted for particular purposes but then add-ons get taken up as essential details. A "sliding deadman" is one such - no doubt somebody found it a useful for a particular repetitive task but then it got noticed by bench enthusiasts and now they all want one!
Was a wee while ago now but yes, I recall the workbenches from school being similar to the design you showed with two wide pieces either side of a tool well, deep aprons and a vice on the left hand of each long side of the bench - that may have been an adaptation to allow two pupils to work at the same bench. They also had cupboards underneath which might have been another classroom adaptation to store schoolbags etc but certainly not tools as they had designated places in secure cupboards and woe betide anyone who didn't return them to their rightful place.
 

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