Workbench design questions

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Swiftedge

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Could I please have some advice on the workbench I am building. I have some planed redwood already bought. Not sure exactly what the wood is, but the most I could afford in my budget.

The top is made of laminated 2x3. I want an apron on one side (just one as apart from structural reasons I couldn't see needing the 2nd side. The legs are two 2x4s glued together.

The idea is for the laminate top to be attached with one of the 2x4 legs running through it. The apron I'm thinking of having attached with kind of a half lap from the other 2x4 running 2/3rds into it, then held down on top by the laminate 2x3s. Any thoughts on this way of doing it? Would the best way to be to chisel it out?

The cross supports from the legs are also 2x4s, which I would like to attach with mortise and tenon joints. I know it would be easier to use half laps for these but would like to practice making it with mortises as I've never made anything before. Similarly trying not to use any bolts or screws, I'd like it to be just joinery (and glue I suppose).

For the tenons the advice I can find is to make them 1/3 of the width of the rail. The planed 2x4 is 44mm, so I would need a 14-15mm chisel. These don't seem to be around in abundance. I have a 13mm one and an 18mm one but reluctant to use and make the tenon or mortice walls too thin. I know I could chisel out wider than the chisel width, but most tutorials seem to be always making them to the width of the chisel. How important is it to get hold of a mortise chisel over another kind? Was looking at this one: Narex Mortice Chisels - 8112 - 14mm

Thanks
 

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TRITON

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One consideration rarely if at all considered when it comes to bench design....

Cup holder ;)

More than once I've spilled my cup of hot java all over the project being worked on.

Irn Bru is worst, imparts an orange stain.
 

Midge

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You may want to consider making the mortise when you glue up the top laminations. Use three sections of timber spaced to the size of mortise you need instead of one. Same goes for the legs. You can create a bare faced tenon with a single shoulder by staggering the two pieces of timber you’re planning to laminate together.
 

Swiftedge

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I suppose it seems crazy going out and purchasing a new chisel just for the extra mm. Seems all the videos demonstrating it have a chisel the same width as the mortise being made so that is what I was looking for.
 

marcros

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I wouldn't buy a new chisel just for the extra mm, I would but a 1/2" or 5/8" pig sticker to cut the mortices with because I much prefer using them to other types. it isnt necessary though.
 

Spectric

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Have a good look on both these forums and online as there are some amazing designs that have taken the basic woodworking bench to another level. You have 20mm dog holes that are good for alignment, microjig clamps and slots for holding down and so many good ideas out there. If I was making one tommorow it would be a modular design that would reduce floor space and incorporate a router plate so as I could save space and not have a stand alone router table. I would use the Incra positioner which would allow me a precise fence for the router but at the same time you could use it instead of parallel guides to locate a track for a plunge saw to give acurate and repeatable cuts.





But mix and match to make something that suits you.
 
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You should follow this video and just change the dimensions to suit you as the majority of the style and techniques you're after are used.



Then for the way you want to attach the legs to the table top check out this video:



Finally, if you don't want to use bolts or screws because you think they are ugly you can just use a forstner bit to countersink the fixings and glue a dowel inside that you flush cut to hide the fixings. Or you could just put a dowel straight through joints.
 

Swiftedge

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I love the look of the ultimate workbench but I’m no where near that point yet, just starting as a hobby. I like watching what everyone is doing with a router table and table saw but can’t justify the expense yet.
The man in shed video is a good one for me thanks, as you say very similar techniques to what I was intending.

If the apron isn’t being held on by the half leg in front, what else could I do to hold it in place if not using bolts?
 
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I'd have your legs going behind the apron rather than into it. Otherwise you weaken it substantially.

Cheers James

Beat me to it.

As regards videos, what you don't usually see is all the faffing about making the 13mm hole fit the 14mm tenon. .. The wonders of video editing.
One thing I do like about Paul Sellers is the number of times he says 'oh, I didn't need / mean /want to do that, but oh well.. "
..
 

Droogs

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It is all well and good all of us saying do this one. However, the videos show 2 very different design philosophies in terms of construction and use. One is designed to be used by a hand tool user and the other by someone with tailed apprentices. The hand tool user has one overriding aim - solidity with regard to wracking. The worst thing in the world is trying to plane or saw on using a wobbly bench. This isn't a problem as machine tools by their operation tend to negate wracking force by having a very fast spinney thing that doesn't give the wood or bench time to move and creates an eaqual and opposite directional force to the way of travel, whereas handtools have a long slow application of lateral force with no negative application and so the bench moves with them unless it is stiff enough to resist. This is why the apron is attached in the way it is and why the roubo style bench has the dovetail and M&T joints it does as well as rails that act as torsion beams.

So you need to decide if you are going to be a predominately hand tool or machine tool woodworker then make the appropriate bench style. Or if space allows one of each.
 

6x4

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Make a 13mm tenon for a 13mm mortice or an 18mm bare faced tenon for the other chisel like Midge said.
Agree with both those points.

Also if I understand you, you are describing butting the apron underneath the top, I think your life and end result will be better with a deeper 2x6 or 2x8 on the front added to the edge of the laminated top. This will help you clamp to the front. A rebate in that apron to help house/align to the rest of the top would be good if you can plane/rout/saw one of those.

A dado in the (inside face of the apron) to house the leg as you describe ( saw the edges, chisel the waste or use a router) will help stop the bench racking, but maybe keep that to 1/3 not 2/3 thickness. This could also be a worthwhile addition to the rear edge.
Cheers
 

Swiftedge

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Agree with both those points.

Also if I understand you, you are describing butting the apron underneath the top, I think your life and end result will be better with a deeper 2x6 or 2x8 on the front added to the edge of the laminated top. This will help you clamp to the front. A rebate in that apron to help house/align to the rest of the top would be good if you can plane/rout/saw one of those.

A dado in the (inside face of the apron) to house the leg as you describe ( saw the edges, chisel the waste or use a router) will help stop the bench racking, but maybe keep that to 1/3 not 2/3 thickness. This could also be a worthwhile addition to the rear edge.
Cheers

Would you mind sketching what you mean? I'm can't picture what you describe.

It is all well and good all of us saying do this one. However, the videos show 2 very different design philosophies in terms of construction and use. One is designed to be used by a hand tool user and the other by someone with tailed apprentices. The hand tool user has one overriding aim - solidity with regard to wracking. The worst thing in the world is trying to plane or saw on using a wobbly bench. This isn't a problem as machine tools by their operation tend to negate wracking force by having a very fast spinney thing that doesn't give the wood or bench time to move and creates an eaqual and opposite directional force to the way of travel, whereas handtools have a long slow application of lateral force with no negative application and so the bench moves with them unless it is stiff enough to resist. This is why the apron is attached in the way it is and why the roubo style bench has the dovetail and M&T joints it does as well as rails that act as torsion beams.

So you need to decide if you are going to be a predominately hand tool or machine tool woodworker then make the appropriate bench style. Or if space allows one of each.

I'd like to use a combination of both. I think I'll be hand planing rather than buying a machine to do that, but many other tasks would use tools or machines. Is it not better to just build it heavy and able to withstand wracking regardless or final function?
 

Jacob

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Could I please have some advice on the workbench I am building. I have some planed redwood already bought. Not sure exactly what the wood is, but the most I could afford in my budget.

The top is made of laminated 2x3. I want an apron on one side (just one as apart from structural reasons I couldn't see needing the 2nd side. The legs are two 2x4s glued together.

The idea is for the laminate top to be attached with one of the 2x4 legs running through it. The apron I'm thinking of having attached with kind of a half lap from the other 2x4 running 2/3rds into it, then held down on top by the laminate 2x3s. Any thoughts on this way of doing it? Would the best way to be to chisel it out?

The cross supports from the legs are also 2x4s, which I would like to attach with mortise and tenon joints. I know it would be easier to use half laps for these but would like to practice making it with mortises as I've never made anything before. Similarly trying not to use any bolts or screws, I'd like it to be just joinery (and glue I suppose).

For the tenons the advice I can find is to make them 1/3 of the width of the rail. The planed 2x4 is 44mm, so I would need a 14-15mm chisel. These don't seem to be around in abundance. I have a 13mm one and an 18mm one but reluctant to use and make the tenon or mortice walls too thin. I know I could chisel out wider than the chisel width, but most tutorials seem to be always making them to the width of the chisel. How important is it to get hold of a mortise chisel over another kind? Was looking at this one: Narex Mortice Chisels - 8112 - 14mm

Thanks
You are not far off the standard trad design, which is perfect in my view!
Legs have top and bottom rails morticed through. No lengthways rail needed if the legs are housed into the apron - much better having a clear floor under.
Top sits on top of the apron and the rails. Your legs through top detail is pointless and problematic.
You don't need a solid full width top - a tool well is really handy and makes life easier. The apron up-stand is planed co planar with the front of bench.
If you want to buy a mortice chisel for the legs I'd go for 5/8".

bench1.jpg
 
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thetyreman

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one thing I'd do if I was making another bench is over engineer the legs, it's important because that's where all the forces go through when hand planing, aim for 100 x 100mm stock or make it out of 4 x 2 stock, it'll likely be 95 x 45 and a bit smaller once planed to size. I went with 38 inches for the height originally but prefer it at 36 inches high because I'm a 98% hand tool user, the higher height was giving me back issues.
 
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Valhalla

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Could I please have some advice on the workbench I am building. I have some planed redwood already bought. Not sure exactly what the wood is, but the most I could afford in my budget.

The top is made of laminated 2x3. I want an apron on one side (just one as apart from structural reasons I couldn't see needing the 2nd side. The legs are two 2x4s glued together.

The idea is for the laminate top to be attached with one of the 2x4 legs running through it. The apron I'm thinking of having attached with kind of a half lap from the other 2x4 running 2/3rds into it, then held down on top by the laminate 2x3s. Any thoughts on this way of doing it? Would the best way to be to chisel it out?

The cross supports from the legs are also 2x4s, which I would like to attach with mortise and tenon joints. I know it would be easier to use half laps for these but would like to practice making it with mortises as I've never made anything before. Similarly trying not to use any bolts or screws, I'd like it to be just joinery (and glue I suppose).

For the tenons the advice I can find is to make them 1/3 of the width of the rail. The planed 2x4 is 44mm, so I would need a 14-15mm chisel. These don't seem to be around in abundance. I have a 13mm one and an 18mm one but reluctant to use and make the tenon or mortice walls too thin. I know I could chisel out wider than the chisel width, but most tutorials seem to be always making them to the width of the chisel. How important is it to get hold of a mortise chisel over another kind? Was looking at this one: Narex Mortice Chisels - 8112 - 14mm

Thanks
You could cut double tenons on your rails so you would have two 6mm shoulders, a gap of 6mm between your tenons and two tenons at 13mm which is 44mm in total. You will also have the added benefit of twice the glueing area which would be stronger than a single tenon.

You could also reduce the shoulder size to 3mm and increase your tenon thickness.....or.....
You could go with a bare-faced tenon on the inside and increase your tenon thickness that way.

Ignore all of that - I think I totally mis-read the post......

With regards to tenon thickness I think it should be 1/3 the thickness of the timber being morticed (the leg in your case), but that may not always be practical if your rails are much thinner than your morticed timber.
 
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