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MayKitt

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I'm replacing my ageing DIY workbench and I'm looking for designs with an intention to build my own. I've poked around on the internet and been into my local tool shop (always dangerous!) so I've seen a few designs.

The workbench that I want is aimed at woodworking primarily but it will get used for other tasks as well. My current bench has a flat (planked) top but I note that some dedicated woodwork benches have a lower centre section, often of a lighter build, running the length of the bench. They were like this in our school woodwork shop, many year's ago and I seem to recall us using a simple device called a 'bench hook', if I remember rightly, which was used to help hold a workpiece. A lot of the bench plans that I've found recently have a flat top.

Is there an advantage or purpose to the lowered section or has design changed now?

Are there any good 'do and don't' guides to making a workbench, such as what to include and what not to?

Are there any plans that people have used which they could recommend?
 

Bodgers

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MayKitt":2s2tgzlm said:
I'm replacing my ageing DIY workbench and I'm looking for designs with an intention to build my own. I've poked around on the internet and been into my local tool shop (always dangerous!) so I've seen a few designs.

The workbench that I want is aimed at woodworking primarily but it will get used for other tasks as well. My current bench has a flat (planked) top but I note that some dedicated woodwork benches have a lower centre section, often of a lighter build, running the length of the bench. They were like this in our school woodwork shop, many year's ago and I seem to recall us using a simple device called a 'bench hook', if I remember rightly, which was used to help hold a workpiece. A lot of the bench plans that I've found recently have a flat top.

Is there an advantage or purpose to the lowered section or has design changed now?

Are there any good 'do and don't' guides to making a workbench, such as what to include and what not to?

Are there any plans that people have used which they could recommend?
Many books have been written on the subject, and you'll get a wide variety of responses.

By "flat section" do you mean the tool tray?

There is no right and wrong there, it is a preference.

I built a Hayward style bench a while ago (my build thread is in the projects sub forum) and I chose it as it suited what I wanted.

https://r.tapatalk.com/shareLink/topic? ... source=app

Go with a design you like and pick materials to your budget. As long as it is stable, and has some mass and ridgidty to resist racking and flexing you can't do much wrong IMO.
 

Phil Pascoe

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Click on the little looking glass at the top right of the page, click advanced search and have look - there's endless information on bench design there.
 

That would work

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Go for a "Nicholson" style. Make it strong and heavy with proper joinery. Don't bother with a tool well... they become a pointless receptacle for rubbish and reduce working area. Have a flat top which is split with a piece in the gap that lifts out which allows for a G-cramp to go into to hold timber down. Only bother with any holddown/dogs etc etc when you actually need them.
Make it from pine, there's little or nothing to be gained by using hardwood (apart from a lighter wallet). AND finally don't spend more than a few minutes looking on YouTube and for goodness sake ignore anything which has 'ultimate' in the title! Avoid the bench BS.
Keep it simple, strong and level topped. Oh and a big vice.
 

MikeG.

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I agree with most of that (TWW) but I do think I'd personally struggle without a tool well. I'll never know, because I've got one, and this bench will see me out.
 

Chris Knight

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This design has served me well for many years. The regular pattern of 3/4 inch holes in the 4 inch thick bench top is wonderful for securing workpieces in a multitude of ways using stops, holdfasts, folding wedges etc. Storage under the bench is very useful as is the backboard for tools I am using at a particular moment - in a way serving the function of a tool well, except for shavings collection!

The somewhat odd chopped-off RHS of the bench owes it’s design to my original intention of installing a patternmaker’s vice there, which in the event, I did not fit.

The leg vice is extremely powerful and good for holding long boards - as is the moveable deadman. The Moxon vice - a later addition is great for carcase jointing - esp dovetails and multiple M/Ts.

 

That would work

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Really? For a beginner? ?? Get out of here .
Build a joiners bench like tradesmen and craftsmen have used for ages.
 

MikeG.

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I agree with what you are saying, TWW, but not the way you said it. Chris is one of the most gentle and helpful long term posters on this site and deserves a little respect and manners.
 

Bodgers

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That would work":12tdiqcw said:
Really? For a beginner? ?? Get out of here .
Build a joiners bench like tradesmen and craftsmen have used for ages.
It depends.

I was kind of a beginner when I built mine...

It was hardwood.

It had angled geometry.

It had a screw tail vice.

It had a tool tray.

Just build what you want, don't let anyone put you off!
 

That would work

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OK fair enough ... no offence intended whatsoever so apologies if that is how it seemed. But still :lol:
We are practicing a gentle and appreciative craft so so all comments should be taken within that context. However... I'm in the pub atm :lol:
Secretly off course I would rather like a bench like that.
OR if I had the room a second one.
 

MayKitt

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Thanks for all of the responses, links and suggestions. There's some good stuff to look at.

I've started to look at vices that I might fit as well. Any recommendations?
 

DBT85

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MayKitt":2z69xsfm said:
Thanks for all of the responses, links and suggestions. There's some good stuff to look at.

I've started to look at vices that I might fit as well. Any recommendations?
It's a minefield out there with regard to workbenches. And sharpening. And well the list goes on.

Vices (vici? Vicie?) are little different. I got a 52 1/2 Record basically becase Paul Sellers said get one, and it was watching his videos that inspired me to even try building the damned thing in the first place so I figured why not. It's way more than I use at the moment, but it's big and strong and has a quick release so you don't have to wind it all the way in and out like some options I see (particularly a lot of the leg vices I see Americans on youtube put on Roubo style benches).

My build thread for mine is here if you want to look. There are hundreds though.
topic110514.html

I'd never built anything like that before, never chopped a mortice or cut a tenon and did it all by hand. Deeply satisfying when it was all done.

One day I'll actually add the toher bits I've been meaning to add!
 

bowmaster

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It's a minefield out there with regard to workbenches.
Totally agree with DBT85 regarding workbenches. When I started woodworking I bought a Sjoberg bench (and I still have it), but I think it is a bench for the hobbyist/beginner. I have prepped some large boards and table tops on it and when put under stress it's like a see-saw. I personally would look at the cost of buying what you want against buying a load of nice timber - Beech, Douglas Fir, Cherry etc and doing it yourself - I know I haven't practised what I'm preaching, but building my own bench is definitely on my 'to do' list - and it's high up <lol>. Have a look at Richard Maquire's site www.theenglishwoodworker.com - he used to build benches for a living. With regards to configuration - it's what you want to do with your bench. I'm sure you will enjoy the process and you will also improve your woodworking skills to boot.

My choice would definitely be a Roubo style bench without cupboards underneath and no tail vice - but that's mine - oh, and it would be as long as I could possibly make it.

Cheers

Dean
 

John15

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Regarding the need for a tool tray or reduced thickness section the middle, I have a completely flat bench top and provided I keep my tools tidy and put away when not needed my system works well.
The substructure is very simple heavy duty table style design, and of course a vice.
No bells or whistles!

John
 

bp122

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I haven't built a bench yet but have fashioned one out of a dining table.

I have read Chris Schwarz's book on workbenches and one thing on it I would like to mention to you:

When it comes to workbenches, resist innovation. If a particular design (Ruobo / Nicholson etc) exists the way it is, there is a reason behind it and is centuries old.

This is not to say don't build it to your needs, but to say keep it simple and focus on practicality and cost over just the appearance alone.

My personal two cents is to build it so that it is rigid and solid, however you achieve it. Weight is good and quoting Schwarz once again, over-engineering is key.

Reading the book, Ruobo and Nicholson styles are both strong, but Nicholson may be slightly easier to build and could also be built as a knock down version with bolts instead of joinery, if you prefer.

I would get that book of I were you And read it and see which one suits you best and what kind of work you intend on doing. There are plans in it too.

And I agree about the "ultimate" workbench videos on YouTube, mostly they are clickbaits for a compromised design. I mean, who needs 27 T-tracks on a woodworking workbench anyway?
 

Ttrees

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For anyone who truly values differing flavours of bench design...
Here are a few of the best resources I have come across, particularly for hand tools only.

Scott Landis's workbench book which can be found online...
A specific sub-forum of the Australian ww forum "the workbench"
and another if one is not keen on using search tools and wants to seek pictures only,
that massive collection of finished benches on lumberjock$, titled...
"All replies on workbench smack down."

Mostly Roubo designs, but there are others.
That's easily a weeks worth of entertainment , get your pen and paper out for reference as you may get lost in there!
The latter is quite the collection, and not so user friendly.

Beware... you could knock up an English bench in the time you spend just considering the options, not even counting the making of some!
Not for the get her done boyo's

Enjoy
Tom
 
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