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The Behemoth (Workbench)

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Baja-king

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IMG_3191.JPG


Part 1: Introduction.

I have been planning to build a new workbench for some time. I have been working on a makeshift assembly table that I made 5 years ago to build my new kitchen. I joined 2 MTF tops from eBay length wise, resting on trestles. This was prior to building my new workshop 2 years ago and I’ve put up with it until now. When I planed the workshop which is 4m square internally, I designed the layout to accommodate a workbench/assembly table/out feed table. As the space is tight I wanted a workbench that facilitated storage of my Festool CTM 26 AC, hand tools in drawers and basically make use of all the space underneath the bench. I set about creating a design that would do the above and have some heft and came up with what I call ‘The Behemoth’ due to its weight (142kg without drawers) rather than size.

Old assembly bench:
IMG_0019.jpg
 
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Baja-king

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Part 2: Gathering Ideas

I wanted to design a bench to accommodate the CTM 26 underneath and be approximately 1800mm x 600mm.

I studied the ‘The Workbench Design Book’ The Art & Philosophy of Building Better Benches by Christopher Schwarz, Chris notes in his book that rule no.1 is ‘Always overbuild your workbench. There is a saying in boatbuilding: If it looks fair, it is fair. For workbenches, here’s my maxim: If it looks stout, then make it doubly so. Everything about a workbench takes punishment that is akin to a kitchen chair in a house of 8-year-old boys.’

I gathered some inspiration from Pinterest and the internet get some idea of what I wanted to build. I came upon Denis’ bench design from Hooked on Wood on YouTube and really liked the 90 degree Top/Front/Side layout with dog holes and T Track grooves on the front apron so included this in my design:


I wanted a split in the top but not really a two piece top as I only wanted 1 vice on the end of the bench. Having 2 pieces makes it easier to put through the planer/thicknesser. The split is there in my case to accommodate clamps as because the top is 85mm thick, you can't feed a clamp through a hole the way you do with an MTF style table that's 18mm thick.

Two piece split top example:
4RuN4.jpg
 
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Baja-king

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Part 3: Initial Design

I use Fusion 360 for final design but I still like to use Sketchup in the initial phase of a project as its super quick to come up with ideas.

Workshop Layout:
1.jpg


First idea with tool tray:
2.jpg


Final Sketchup design before moving to Fusion 360:
3.jpg
 
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Baja-king

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Part 5 : Timber selection

Originally I had planed to construct the bench out of European Beech, similar to Sjöbergs benches but I found Beech to be in very short supply at the timber merchants, I only managed to get a few small planks, certainly not enough to make the whole bench.

European Beech:
beech_5.jpg


I needed to find an alternative timber that was cost effective yet strong enough for the job. The price per m³ for Beech was £875 + Vat, with White Oak coming in at £1500 + vat per m³. Whilst at the timber merchants I noticed some big thick planks of Sapele. I was quoted a price of £1200 + Vat per m³. Although more expensive than the Beech, it was below my budget of £500 inclusive for materials (excluding the vice)

Sapele:
sapele-1.jpg


I proceeded to do some research on Sapele and was pleased to find it was a harder end of the Janka scale

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Baja-king

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Part 6: Preparing the timber

I processed the timber down to manageable sizes on my bandsaw, then laminated pieces together.

IMG_2915.JPG


I had put off building the workbench until my new Hammer A3-31 Planner/Thicknesser had arrived. I thought it would be a good project to test it out and it performed admirably. I only suffered the smallest amount of tear out, someting that Sapele is know for, when taking deep cuts through the thicknesser.

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Baja-king

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Part 7: Top construction

I put the DF700 to good use along with 160mm wood coach screws to hold the top components together.

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Baja-king

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Part 8: Base construction

I wanted to be able to transport the bench in the future if needs be so I decided to glue each side of the bench together with dominos. They would then be held together with cross members that had dominos and pocket hole screws and the top placed with small dominos for location.

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Added dog holes with the LR32 system:
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Machine feet made from ice hockey pucks:
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Base held with clamps before fixing screws:
IMG_3268.JPG


Top in place:
IMG_3270.JPG


Testing that my measurements were correct:
IMG_3280.JPG
 
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Freeflyer

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Nice bench. I'm just making mine. Where did you get the vise? I can't find them anywhere and AX don't have them until at least April.
 

Baja-king

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Nice bench. I'm just making mine. Where did you get the vise? I can't find them anywhere and AX don't have them until at least April.
I actually bought from www.hyvlar.se/en before Brexit but they don't seem stock Sjöbergs any more...

Be aware there are 2 models of this vice:

1) Sjobergs Front Vice For 33110 Bench Top that Axminster sell


2) Sjobergs Elite Vice 33461:

The latter is larger and heavier duty and can be special ordered from Axminster (code: SJO000166) 6-8 weeks delivery
 
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Freeflyer

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I actually bought from www.hyvlar.se/en before Brexit but they don't seem stock Sjöbergs any more...

Be aware there are 2 models of this vice:

1) Sjobergs Front Vice For 33110 Bench Top that Axminster sell


2) Sjobergs Elite Vice 33461:

The latter is larger and heavier duty and can be special ordered from Axminster (code: SJO000166) 6-8 weeks delivery
That's great advice thank you. I wasn't aware of the 2 versions. I'll go ahead and order the better one from Axminster. Cheers!
 

bp122

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I don't know what I'm more jealous of, the workbench or the incra fence on the table saw. Oh wait, I know, I'm actually jealous of how nicely laid out your workshop is, but more importantly how much less cluttered it is than mine.

Mine looks like the cave the three eyed raven hid in game of thrones! It is just as cold too!
 

mindthatwhatouch

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Bloody Beautiful bench.
Now just one question, you don’t fancy coming round and sorting my bomb site, err I mean workshop out, do you?
 

BHwoodworking

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exedingly nice bench.

sapele is one of my favourate woods to work,

i also had to make sure i wasn't on festoolownersgroup when i first saw your shop!
 

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