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WIP - My First Workbench

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morfa

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Ok, so I've cut the tenons on the left of each of the crossmembers. Being a bit wimpy, but I'm going to get them fitted and then I'll put them under the bench and cut them to size based on the size of the bench and not rely on my awful measuring. The tenons are pretty awful, but I've never done them before. My inability to be accurate in two planes is causing issues. They're normally ok horizontally, but vertically, they tend to go inwards. The aprons and worktop are planed fairly flat. Filled in the small cracks on the worktop (which will probably end up on the bottom, but there we go).

I started on the first mortice. Taking me ages to do it. Worked on it for about an hour and I'm still not finished. Hopefully the others will go quicker. I think I'll drill some of the rest just to speed things up a bit. But it's a bit annoying as I've got 8 to cut. If it's going to take 8 hours to do all of them, that's a pain. Going to do a couple more this evening and glue the apron and main worktop together. So it's getting to the point, where, it's really just the legs to go and then I'm pretty much done. Hopefully it'll be mostly done by the bank holiday.

Few extra questions:

Fixing the worktop on - I'm planning on using coach screws. I've got some 120mm screws, the cross members are 90mm wide, so that's 30mm in the worktop (which is 100mm thick). Should be enough?

Would it be a good idea to cut a shallow groove (dado?) in the bottom of the worktop, for the leg frames to sit in? Just a cm deep or so.
 

morfa

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As promised, some extra photos. The worktop, apron, a leg and a crossmember. With most of the rest of the bench in the background.

worktopandapron.jpg


First ever attempt at a tenon. Ooops.

tenon1.jpg


Same naff tenon, different angle.

tenon2.jpg


Third one I think. Bit better. Still wonky tho.

tenon3.jpg
 

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morfa

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MickCheese":26d96wnb said:
I don't like a well as unlike you I am not too tidy and my tools seem to disappear under heaps of shavings. I tend to use a small trolley next to the bench to place tools on.

As I have said before a new bench is high on my list so following this with interest.

Mick
The trolley sounds like a neat idea. Might have to nab that one.

As you can probably see, I'm not the best person to be following for advice or anything. I'd imagine this is a good example of what not to do however...
 

morfa

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Drilled a few of the mortices. It speeds things up no end, unsurprisingly. I don't drill the whole thing out, just about 3/4s of the 30mm, enough to take it down to 20-30 mins per mortice. Sadly I've managed to break my father in laws drill (this is the second loaned drill that I've done in now...) mainly cause he buys el cheapo drills from Lidl. Well not break, but it won't hold a charge for long enough to do a decent amount of drilling.
 

morfa

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Think I'm up to 5 mortices now. Only one of them will actually accept the tenon, they all need quite a bit of trimming. But might be done over the weekend with a lot of luck.
 

marcros

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how many more to go? you will gain more confidence with mortices and tenons as you do more. you will dare to go a bit closer to your lines etc.
 

morfa

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marcros":3p97xqjd said:
how many more to go? you will gain more confidence with mortices and tenons as you do more. you will dare to go a bit closer to your lines etc.
Four legs each with two mortices on them. So eight in total and three more to go. As I mentioned, I'd been using a drill to take out the middle, but I've managed to kill it doing that, so I now have to bash the whole thing out. It's a 30mm mortice, through 90mm of wood and I'm using a 25mm bevel edge chisel. It's all working ok, but I'm pretty sure I'm not doing it in the best way. I'm fairly sure that a easier way would be a brace and a 30mm bit, to take it all out exactly.
 

marcros

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if you had a bit more time, i would suggest getting a big pig sticker that you can really belt. but you will have likely done them before it would get to you. however, it would be a tenner well spent if you can wait. a 3/4" or so.

I tried a few methods when i did my bench, and i found that by hand was pretty much as easy as setting up a router, and almost as quick. that was with the aforementioned pig sticker. on the table i am doing, i have used a router, which wasnt as quick as i had expected. plunge down and up, move, plunge down and up, move etc. then plunge and clean the shoulders by moving along the series of overlapping holes. 90mm, or 45mm from each side would possibly need an extended cutter though.

you may find it easier to do the tenons with a router, but do the shoulder cuts with a saw first. if they are all to be the same, you can clamp the rails together.
 

morfa

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All mortices done. Tenon's done as well. Both frames together. One has gone together well and is (fairly) square. The other is giving me no end of troubles. Currently fettling the tenons to try and make it all square(ish). But it's giving me no end of headaches / frustration.

Had really hoped to be putting the worktop on this evening, but I can't see that happening now. Photos later on if you're all lucky.
 

marcros

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What is causing the issue- tenon shoulders?
 

morfa

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Erm, well I had been getting really annoyed with the frames, as when I put them on the workmate, they seemed square(ish), but when standing up, they were wonky and awful. Till I realised that the floor tiles, weren't exactly perfectly flat and that the legs weren't exactly the same length. So I put some newspaper under one leg and suddenly it was all only out by a few mm, not the inch or so that it had been. I've got to cut quite a bit off the legs anyway, so that's not an issue.

It's all pretty rough and ready, most of it's out by a few mm or so in most parts. A couple of joints are quite good, but a couple have 3-4mm gaps. But it's all close enough and I can't really see what I can do to get it all 100%. I reckon it'll go together ok and once it's all done, it should be fine.

woodframe.jpg


This one isn't too bad.

framejoint.jpg


I was trying to chisel off a couple of mm to make it fit in the mortice properly. Well it fits fine now!!! Two taps and the whole chunk just came off. Was very upset.

craptenon.jpg

midwork.jpg
 

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rich.h

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Sorry for the delay but the bench I made is approx:

21" depth
72" Width
36" High ( I can never hack bending down while working for long without pain)

Have to admire you making proper joints for your first bench, I ended up uses screws and glue to just get something solid and working that will last me a good few years before one day delving into a real hardwood bench when my skills are up to it. Though I did cheat somewhat, the entire bench is really just four flat box panel put together, the real trick being the sides and back panel are all held solid with two lengths of 20mm threaded bar and nuts. Had to use stilsons to tighten them properly but since doing so on two occasions it held me using the bench as a step to do a bit of minor roof repair, I work on ladders most of the day and never at work do I feel as stable as I do on this bench.
 

morfa

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rich - thanks for the details. Mine is:

20" deep
60" wide
39" high

However I'll probably take it down to 36", see how I like that and then lower as needed. I can lower it down to 32" or so without too much faff. I'm glad you're impressed by those joints, cause I'm not. But they hold together without glue quite well, so it's not all bad. However it's not cost more than £100 so far, so I'm happy with that. I can see it being replaced quite soon however. But it should do the job for now.
 

morfa

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The frames are gluing up now.

I have cut the grooves in the bottom of the workbench and they seem to be a good idea. The legs settle into the top nicely. Hopefully I'll be able to put it all together over the weekend. It's just screwing it all up now. Then fitting the vice.

Climbing tomorrow night, so won't get to do it then.
 

jetsetwilly

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Nice thread, and I must say it's very refreshing to see somebody posting work that isn't utterly perfect! But you just cost me about 2h as I'd never discovered Paul Sellers before. Now I'm feeling a bit ashamed of my machines, but even more keen to build a proper bench. I dropped on some scrap beech worktop last week, so I think I'm going to use that for the top, just not sure whether to use it single or double thickness - is 80mm of beech overkill? If I use single then I'll have enough to go round the other tops in my single garage, otherwise I'll have to use some old laminate I have lying around (ick). And would it be criminal to put softwood aprons on a beech top? Not sure I can bring myself to 'waste' the beech on aprons...

As for dogs, I reckon 19mm round holes will allow you to use the widest variety of bits and bobs in future.
 

morfa

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jetsetwilly - Thanks for the kind words. I know it all looks naff now, but in a year or two when I'm a lot better, I know I'll be happy I can look back on what I've done and the mistakes I've made. Also if I'm building something 'nice' I'll be more meticulous. This is 'just' a workbench and I need it ASAP for working on.

It's nearly done now and it's looking much better now that it's all together. I've got the worktop and the front apron on. I'll do the other apron soon. Once it's been planed on the top and tidied up a bit, it'll look ok I reckon.

My workbench is 2x4s laminated together so 80mm sounds fine to me. I know that holdfasts don't work so well once the thickness of the top is over 3". My top is about 90mm thick I think. I don't think that's overkill. Now it's all together it's very solid, which is the idea.
 

marcros

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you can always counterbore the holes from the underside to help the holdfasts work in a thick top.
 

morfa

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The end is finally in sight. Really just the vice to install and it's mostly done. So here's a few more photos.

As you can see the worktop is perfectly straight and neat:

worktop.jpg


There is a tool rail at the back. It's not there cause I messed up the measurements. That's on purpose.

toolrail.jpg


It has a custom DNA based makers mark.

mmsmall.jpg


The tenons fit perfectly.

tenon.jpg


The worktop is fitted with quality joinery.

filler-small.jpg


The apron is fitted using top notch joinery and doesn't have any foot prints from where I stood on it.

apron.jpg


I'll take some overall photos once the vice is in.
 

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