Workbench design questions

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Jacob

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Personally I wouldn't depart far from the simpke trad bench with deep apron, but it seems to be the fashion nowadays, what with people having spotted books with Roubo, Nicholson, benches and others. The Landis book which doesn't even mention the trad bench, nor does Chris Schwarz.
It's design your own bench time, anyhow you like, as complicated as possible!
The apron in a trad bench would be housed to hold the leg - a major contribution to rigidity, which notching the leg to hold the apron would not be.
 
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Adam W.

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Back to the top.

Here's what I'd do if you intend to part it and re-glue it and it doesn't involve any clamps, but makes use of gravity to apply the clamping pressure.

Part it and plane both mating edges flat and square and make sure there's no twist using winding sticks. You can make these yourself or use two pieces of aluminium or steel angle or straight dowel from B&Q, if you have it.

Once it's ready to go place the smaller part on its edge on battens on the ground with the mating edge up and level it up. Do a dry run and place the heavy one ontop of it with the mating surfaces together. You may need a friend for this, as it looks heavy.

Check the face of the bench top is vertical and true it up if it's not, also make sure the whole thing isn't wobbling around.

Once you're happy and the joint is perfect and tight just by gravity alone, take it apart, paint a thin layer of glue on both faces and stack it up again. That should give you a nice joint and you can forget the clamps, as that heavy half looks heavy enough to supply adequate pressure on the joint and you can easily adjust any miss-alignment until the glue grabs.

If you're really worried about clamping pressure, wait until the glue grabs and place a line of bricks on the top edge.

Leave it to dry.
 

Jameshow

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Personally I wouldn't depart far from the simpke trad bench with deep apron, but it seems to be the fashion nowadays, what with people having spotted books with Roubo, Nicholson, benches and others. The Landis book which doesn't even mention the trad bench, nor does Chris Schwarz.
It's design your own bench time, anyhow you like, as complicated as possible!
The apron in a trad bench would be housed to hold the leg - a major contribution to rigidity, which notching the leg to hold the apron would not be.
Jacob can you elaborate between housing and notching??

Cheers James
 

danst96

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This fellow has a very nice workbench design is very well made. Might be worth a watch, its a good balance between 2 great designs.
The only sacrilege is he paints the maple legs *shock horror*

youtube.com/watch?v=Va8tlFpnhRg

It also has the apron on one side only as you described but can be used from either side.
 

Droogs

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a housing is the term used in british carpentry for a dado groove (not a rebate/rabbet) in american. It goes full width of the board whereas a notch is just that
 

Jacob

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Jacob can you elaborate between housing and notching??

Cheers James
Picture in the link. The housing is cut into the back of the apron and the leg fits into it.
"Notching" isn't a woodwork term as such.
If not sure about some simple woodwork terms maybe it's time to look at a book or two!
You can design stuff off the top of your head but there are well established ways and means of doing these things.
 

Jacob

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This fellow has a very nice workbench design is very well made. Might be worth a watch, its a good balance between 2 great designs.
The only sacrilege is he paints the maple legs *shock horror*

youtube.com/watch?v=Va8tlFpnhRg

It also has the apron on one side only as you described but can be used from either side.
To be honest I thought his design was bonkers and he had probably never looked at a workbench before!
 

Swiftedge

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I think I might have seen that video and taken some inspiration from it too. What is actually wrong with it though? It doesn't follow traditional design principles? But it looks like it would be rock solid and functional. I know no need to re-invent something that has worked for centuries, but is is bad in some way? Unncessary parts, likely to fail etc?
 

6x4

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I think I might have seen that video and taken some inspiration from it too. What is actually wrong with it though? It doesn't follow traditional design principles? But it looks like it would be rock solid and functional. I know no need to re-invent something that has worked for centuries, but is is bad in some way? Unncessary parts, likely to fail etc?
At a brief glance he's built something as solid as a Roubo (unless I missed something) and put an apron on the front. It's good he shows a crochet (hook) for planing which will help you if you want to work without a vice at first. That design loses the clamping advantages of a roubo and doesn't exploit the constructional value of dadoes mentioned above.

The other pictures you showed had a split top, that won't work without horizontal rails to support the top. You could certainly do that with 2 complete frames, L & R joined by the bottom stretchers you already have.

You've stated limited experience several times and the trad bench or a version heading towards more of a 'Nicolson' would in my opinion still be a better bet. The tolerances need to get full benefit/rigidity from mortices may not come easily, dados/housings are easier. Also preserve the mass of the legs, build them out to be coplanar with the front if you want, but don't 'notch' the legs to accommodate the apron.

Roubo-style is also the most material intensive/uses more wood if you are on a budget.

I recommend the web searches/keywords from my earlier posts - Paul Sellers & Chris Schwarz. This may not be your lifetime bench but getting a proven design done will get you started, you will learn enormous amounts and you'll have a bench to build the next one on in several years.
 

Jacob

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I think I might have seen that video and taken some inspiration from it too. What is actually wrong with it though? It doesn't follow traditional design principles? But it looks like it would be rock solid and functional. I know no need to re-invent something that has worked for centuries, but is is bad in some way? Unncessary parts, likely to fail etc?
Just seemed very fussy as though he'd never really looked at a typical bench.
The trad bench is beautifully simple; 2 end fames, one front beam, 2 aprons housed on to the legs , any old board for the tool well. It's only one step up from the Japanese planing beam
 

Jacob

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...

I recommend the web searches/keywords from my earlier posts - Paul Sellers & Chris Schwarz. This may not be your lifetime bench but getting a proven design done will get you started, you will learn enormous amounts and you'll have a bench to build the next one on in several years.
Yes to Sellers, not too bothered about Schwarz - he encourages fussiness and over design and doesn't seem to know about the trad bench at all.
 

danst96

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Just seemed very fussy as though he'd never really looked at a typical bench.
The trad bench is beautifully simple; 2 end fames, one front beam, 2 aprons housed on to the legs , any old board for the tool well. It's only one step up from the Japanese planing beam
His point is he wanted to blend the Roubo and Nicholson benches to get the best of both worlds and I figured he did a pretty good job of it as you have a bench with a lot of functions. Maybe a bit fussy yes but I think it gives you some versatility
 

Jameshow

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Picture in the link. The housing is cut into the back of the apron and the leg fits into it.
"Notching" isn't a woodwork term as such.
If not sure about some simple woodwork terms maybe it's time to look at a book or two!
You can design stuff off the top of your head but there are well established ways and means of doing these things.
You mentioned notching so wondered what you were on about housing I'm familiar with.

Many thanks
 

Jacob

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You mentioned notching so wondered what you were on about housing I'm familiar with.

Many thanks
I might have been thinking of the OP's drawing showing an unusual notch in the apron.
 

Swiftedge

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I’ve cut it off now. Amazed that I’d cut 5/7th of the way through and the dodgy line still held together despite all that weight. Reassures me that the rest should remain strong. I probably won’t get a chance to make any more progress until Wednesday around work now.

Are winding sticks still useful for a thin edge like this? I’m fairly pleased with how level it all is. It wasn’t rocking at all when laid on the flat garage floor, I think whatever slight variations there are can be worked out.
 

johnnyb

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just to say I've helped a chap build a Paul sellars bench (still on it but nearing the end)and the deep apron wedged housing provides a remarkably sturdy bench. as has been pointed out at the cost of decent clamping. when I first helped a chap make one I rejected the idea and made it using inch brass bed bolts but I'll eat my words or hat and say its a great method.
 

yetloh

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I’m rethinking doing the through mortices for the top, but if I don’t do it this way how can I insure the bench benefits from the strength of the 3” thick top still?
My bench has the top rails on the end frames flush with the top of the legs. Each rail has a round vertical hole through it near the fron end and than four slotted holes spaced out along it with the last close to the back. Coach bolts (with large washers) pass through these holes and into the underside of the top clamping it to the frame. The slotted holes allow for the top to expandor shrink relative to the long grain rails. By the way, all the mortises are of the through variety and wedged, ensuring great rigidity, which is, of course, vital to a good bench. If your M&T's are less than perfect, wedging them can make a big difference.

Jim
 
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