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quixoticgeek

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I'm looking to build a new work bench. I don't currently have a work bench, or any work holding hardware, which means that I am starting from a completely clean slate.

What do people recommend as work holding on work benches? Do you have T track and associated clamps? Has anyone tried the microjig matchfit dovetail clamps? What other options are versatile and durable?

Thanks

j
 
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I have a vice on my main bench, which also has a few dog holes and some wonder pups. Which I use for mostly hand tool work.

I also have another bench that has an MFT top, so lots of holes for using other types of clamps. Which I use for power tool work.

I also have a metal working vice that goes in my wood working vice.

Works for me.

I'd avoid T-track, as it often gets full of dust and dirt, unless you have good dust extraction.
 

MikeG.

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Vice, planing stop, bench hooks. That's plenty enough to start with. Later, you might add a holdfast.

T tracks? Microjigs? God knows how I've managed 40 years of furniture making without them.
 

That would work

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Floodgates open! I am sure many people on here will agree with this.... you do not need to spend a lot (very little in fact) on bench porn.
Hold fasts hold downs, sash cramps held in a vice, a split bench top with a lengthways stop, there are so so many ways to do it effectively for no money. Ive got a bench holdfast clamp but I wouldn't pay money for anything else.
Here's some ideas...
I like the way he has made the bench stop here...
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eqWbgkl_ryM
Edit: and the old favorite of blocks screwed to the bench top with folding wedges!
 
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MikeG.":1h4dvgs2 said:
Vice, planing stop, bench hooks. That's plenty enough to start with. Later, you might add a holdfast.

T tracks? Microjigs? God knows how I've managed 40 years of furniture making without them.
To be fair, the micro jig clamps are very cool.

It's ridiculous how expensive they are though, so I haven't bought any yet.
 

MikeG.

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That would work":1d3rorlg said:
Floodgates open! .......!
Indeed. By the time a dozen people have answered every single method of holding work to a bench that has ever been used in the history of man will have been mentioned.
 

quixoticgeek

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MikeG.":t1hvtdvx said:
T tracks? Microjigs? God knows how I've managed 40 years of furniture making without them.
Power tools? High tech tool steels? Our great grandfathers generations didn't have those, so there's clearly no need for us to have them and you should sell them all!

Just because you haven't used them, doesn't mean that they don't have utility for others and the way other people work. To deride them purely because they are new seems rather suboptimal.

transatlantic":t1hvtdvx said:
I have a vice on my main bench, which also has a few dog holes and some wonder pups. Which I use for mostly hand tool work.
OOh, wonder pups look rather shiny, assuming I've found the right thing ( https://www.axminster.co.uk/veritas-wonder-pup-202393)

I'd avoid T-track, as it often gets full of dust and dirt, unless you have good dust extraction.
That's a good point I hadn't considered.

transatlantic":t1hvtdvx said:
To be fair, the micro jig clamps are very cool.

It's ridiculous how expensive they are though, so I haven't bought any yet.
That was my thinking, I liked the fact they seem very versatile, and you can make up a new jig or rest or guide or what ever just with a simple router bit.

AndyT":t1hvtdvx said:
TLDR: You can manage without a vice but it's best to have one.
Oh a vice is a given. I really should have mentioned that in my original post. They are ridiculously cheap in the grand scheme of things and incredibly versatile. To not have one seems a bit like not owning a hammer, sure you can get away with it, but you're just making life harder for the sake of it.

ED65":t1hvtdvx said:
Many previous threads on this topic! It would be well worth going through a few of them.
Edit: I see I was too slow! So here's another couple:
Holdfasts types and uses!
Bench Top with clamps/pegs?
I got me some reading to do! Thanks!

J
 

MikeG.

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quixoticgeek":1tnp9g9j said:
MikeG.":1tnp9g9j said:
T tracks? Microjigs? God knows how I've managed 40 years of furniture making without them.
Power tools? High tech tool steels? Our great grandfathers generations didn't have those, so there's clearly no need for us to have them and you should sell them all!

Just because you haven't used them, doesn't mean that they don't have utility for others and the way other people work. To deride them purely because they are new seems rather suboptimal............
You are comparing apples with pears. Of course that is what you intended to do to emphasise your point, but it is unfair to the argument I made. A newcomer to woodworking, without a bench, asked a question. I said "start with these", as a way of getting someone started with the basics, but also as a way of warning them about falling for the latest expensive and unnecessary bling. As is the way of so much in woodworking there are umpteen organisations out to get as much money as possible from those that don't know what they need, mainly by persuading people that they need stuff that they don't actually need. You can feel utterly free to spend your money as you see fit, but back off when others advise newcomers to not bother wasting theirs. I wasn't deriding them because they were new......I was suggesting they were unnecessary because they're actually unnecessary.
 

Nelsun

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I think what you plan to make and what you have to make it with will impact what you need. Processing sheet goods presents different problems compared to toy making ;)

Going with traditional hand tools would likely warrant more traditional bench styles and holding hardware. Power tools present newer challenges (e.g. more secure holding and doing things in a single pass rather than working on an area and repositioning to work on the next) so newer work holding methods come in to play.

Space also has an impact e.g. ripping long lengths of things in confined spaces Vs having plenty of space for the full spread of all the wondrous machinery that exists today. That also brings budget firmly in to focus!

TL;DR: what do you want to do on your bench?
 

quixoticgeek

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MikeG.":3hwgwzvr said:
quixoticgeek":3hwgwzvr said:
You are comparing apples with pears. Of course that is what you intended to do to emphasise your point, but it is unfair to the argument I made. A newcomer to woodworking, without a bench, asked a question. I said "start with these", as a way of getting someone started with the basics, but also as a way of warning them about falling for the latest expensive and unnecessary bling. As is the way of so much in woodworking there are umpteen organisations out to get as much money as possible from those that don't know what they need, mainly by persuading people that they need stuff that they don't actually need. You can feel utterly free to spend your money as you see fit, but back off when others advise newcomers to not bother wasting theirs. I wasn't deriding them because they were new......I was suggesting they were unnecessary because they're actually unnecessary.
That's not what you communicated. The tone of your message is one suggesting that there is no place for such things as you have not needed them in your 40 years of wood working, and because you haven't used them, noone should use them. The tone of your post is just not helpful.

If what you meant to say was:

"Over the last 40 years I have found that I get the most benefit from my vice, paired with planning stops and bench hooks. A holdfast can also be a valuable edition. Things like t-tracks and microjig clamps are nice, but are not essential, and you can do an awful lot with just the tools I suggest above. As a beginner you may find that it is useful to start with simple stuff. Good luck and happy building!"

Notice how it conveys all the points you wanted to make, but does so in such a way to not make the person asking feel like a fool for daring to seek information from others?

J
 

quixoticgeek

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Nelsun":2lyfvcj1 said:
I think what you plan to make and what you have to make it with will impact what you need. Processing sheet goods presents different problems compared to toy making ;)

Going with traditional hand tools would likely warrant more traditional bench styles and holding hardware. Power tools present newer challenges (e.g. more secure holding and doing things in a single pass rather than working on an area and repositioning to work on the next) so newer work holding methods come in to play.

Space also has an impact e.g. ripping long lengths of things in confined spaces Vs having plenty of space for the full spread of all the wondrous machinery that exists today. That also brings budget firmly in to focus!

TL;DR: what do you want to do on your bench?
Good question. I don't have a big space, and any materials will have to be transported by me on my bike. If I'm using sheet material like plywood, I will get the wood yard to cut it down to final size. In terms of power tools I have a battery drill, and that's it. I had to leave all my tools behind when I moved, so I am starting from scratch. I'm not going to be making any epic projects, just small stuff. If anything I make is bigger than 500mm on any one dimension, I'd be surprised.

One of my first projects in my new work space will be to make a small box that doesn't use any glue/nails/screws to hold it together, as a friend has challenged me to try it. I'm not a total novice, but it will be a jump up in skills required. It will be a learning exercise and I probably won't get it right first time, but that doesn't matter as long as the process is fun.

Right now my shopping list is some bench dogs, some of those wonder pup things linked up thread, and I rather like the look of these - https://www.axminster.co.uk/veritas-sur ... s-ax655576. I might also look at something that works as a low profile planing stop. For anything else I can improvise.

J
 

Nelsun

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Well that's good then. If you have a vice in mind them I'd maybe hold off those wonder pup/dog things as, with shorter lengths, you likely won't need them. Your challenge sounds like a great idea; always best to push your comfort zone with each new project.

A no-nails box sounds like a dovetail project. A vice, good marking knife, combination square, stiff backed saw and a few small chisels (and some YouTube) would see you right. Keep a swear box handy too.

Oh, and as for t-track as a holding method, its only really any use for very light holding duties. IMO the track can only be held with small screws (and glue if you want to go the extra mile) and doesn't stay put with any great clamping pressure. It's great on a pillar drill table for keeping things still but that's about it.
 

MikeG.

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quixoticgeek":3o9cocj5 said:
........If what you meant to say was:

"Over the last 40 years I have found that I get the most benefit from my vice, paired with planning stops and bench hooks. A holdfast can also be a valuable edition. Things like t-tracks and microjig clamps are nice, but are not essential, and you can do an awful lot with just the tools I suggest above. As a beginner you may find that it is useful to start with simple stuff. Good luck and happy building!"

Notice how it conveys all the points you wanted to make, but does so in such a way to not make the person asking feel like a fool for daring to seek information from others?

J
You're seriously not going to be re-writing all my posts here for me, are you. I'm a big boy now, and don't need English lessons or creative writing lessons from anyone. Focus your efforts elsewhere, because you are wasting your time with me.
 

quixoticgeek

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MikeG.":1j6q3t9n said:
You're seriously not going to be re-writing all my posts here for me, are you. I'm a big boy now, and don't need English lessons or creative writing lessons from anyone. Focus your efforts elsewhere, because you are wasting your time with me.
Nope, wasn't planning on it, life's too short. Happy making.

J
 

quixoticgeek

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Nelsun":fhvlug4b said:
Well that's good then. If you have a vice in mind them I'd maybe hold off those wonder pup/dog things as, with shorter lengths, you likely won't need them. Your challenge sounds like a great idea; always best to push your comfort zone with each new project.
You make a good point, maybe I'll hold off on the wonder pup things until I've proven to myself that I need them.

A no-nails box sounds like a dovetail project. A vice, good marking knife, combination square, stiff backed saw and a few small chisels (and some YouTube) would see you right. Keep a swear box handy too.
yeah. I need to have a think about the design, but before I can do that, I need to cycle over to the wood yard and see what I can get. There's a shortage of thin material available that isn't plywood, it seems the assumption is everyone owns their own planer/thicknesser... which is a pain.

Oh, and as for t-track as a holding method, its only really any use for very light holding duties. IMO the track can only be held with small screws (and glue if you want to go the extra mile) and doesn't stay put with any great clamping pressure. It's great on a pillar drill table for keeping things still but that's about it.
That's really useful to know. Hadn't thought about that. I'm guessing the microjig equivalent is then only as strong as the material you cut the dove tail into?

J
 

That would work

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Thing really is for me that all this work hold thing EVOLVES as you work on different things over time. The notion that you must suddenly equip yourself with every know holding method known (and actually spend money doing it) overnight is a bit of a waste of time. Holding work should be left as the "mother of invention".
 
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