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Workbench Legs Decision!

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bp122

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Hi All

A very happy new year to all of you!

I am contemplating building a set of workbench legs for my workbench (which is just a flimsy old dining table, which is 20cm lower than it needs to be a workbench, but has a good 2" pine top on it!!)

The plan is to build strong 4" (or nearest size) legs for it and other relevant supports and use the table top I have.

The issue is, a friend of mine works in a lumber yard and has agreed to help me source some timber for it. He has some joinery redwood (that is what he calls it) in either 44x94mm or 94x94mm widths.

What would you guys recommend? Should I go for the less labour intensive 94x94 and buy it in lengths I need and get thinner stock for supports or should I join two 44x94 to achieve the same thickness? Am i right in assuming the latter option is a safer bet in terms of warping or deforming?

Or any other suggestion you have?

On another note. The reason I am not going for a big build on the full workbench now is because I have a lot of projects coming up (woodworking and otherwise) to get ready for a baby boy in two months! So I was thinking of using up the existing 2" pine top on the leg assembly and then have an option of building a better top at a later date. Should I do that or just spend the extra time and money and build the top also and build the bench with proper joinery techniques rather than screwing / bolting it?

Thanks :)
 

MikeG.

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Buy the bigger stuff. There should be no issues. Saying that, you probably want some of the ex 4x2 for cross members anyway. Buy 25% more than you need, and store the rest away. Do that each project, and you'll soon have a useful stock of timber. Oh, and a two inch thick top is fine. You don't need thicker than that. The only good reason to build a new one is if it isn't the right size, or is warped.
 

bp122

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MikeG.":13hmtfig said:
Buy the bigger stuff. There should be no issues. Saying that, you probably want some of the ex 4x2 for cross members anyway. Buy 25% more than you need, and store the rest away. Do that each project, and you'll soon have a useful stock of timber. Oh, and a two inch thick top is fine. You don't need thicker than that. The only good reason to build a new one is if it isn't the right size, or is warped.
Thanks for the response, Mike.

The table top is not flat I am not sure of the warp, as I haven't checked it.
at the moment I have screwed a two-18mm-MDF-Sheet-Sandwich(glued) to the pine top to have a workable flat surface.

I am enquiring if there are any large drum sanders nearby where I can get it flattened, failing which I have to either use the old elbow grease to flatten it with a No.7 (largest of my three handplanes)
 

bp122

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MikeG.":34v5pdoo said:
Get your plane out, you lazy sod!! :)
:D :D :D :D :D

After having started a chisel and plane sharpening thread, which is still going on after 22 pages worth of posts, I have learnt a thing or two about sharp tools. So I guess I can skip a week's worth of cardio and get the plane out!!! :wink:
 

bp122

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bp122":w33nnsc4 said:
MikeG.":w33nnsc4 said:
Oh, and a two inch thick top is fine. You don't need thicker than that.

Mike, what is the use of some people on YT building workbench tops which are like 4-6 inches thick? Is it purely for the "look at meeee" factor or in some cases genuinely a high volume of work they undertake and the abuse the workbench has to undergo?
 

MikeG.

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Weight is important in a workbench, but it isn't critical. Bracketing a bench to a wall can make up for a bit of missing weight. Diagonal bracing or a backing board to prevent racking are a bigger issue in my view. Basically a bench needs to stand solidly under whatever loads you throw at it. These include mainly horizontal loads from planing and vertical loads from hitting stuff with hammers and mallets. A heavy bench is less likely to bounce stuff around when doing the latter......but yours will be heavy anyway, even if not quite as heavy as some of the Youtube things you see. Pragmatism is an important quality for people who make things, I reckon, but it can be in short supply on Youtube. Use this forum as a place to counteract the excesses of Youtube.
 

Spence

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If you go for the 4x2 option you can do a lazy sort of half lap joint if you double up the 4x2 into a 4x4. Then just add some glue and a few screws and you have a simple base that if you add some cross members you could fit a shelf on.
 

FatmanG

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bp122":sr67wpo3 said:
bp122":sr67wpo3 said:
MikeG.":sr67wpo3 said:
Oh, and a two inch thick top is fine. You don't need thicker than that.

Mike, what is the use of some people on YT building workbench tops which are like 4-6 inches thick? Is it purely for the "look at meeee" factor or in some cases genuinely a high volume of work they undertake and the abuse the workbench has to undergo?[/quote]

Considering most on YT don't make anything other workshop accessories and jigs it has to be the look at meee factor, crazy thing is Joe public pay for most of it lol Patron lunatics its the new form of begging IMO. BTW I'm building a bench right now and my top is 2" thick I will let you know if it is thick enough.
Glenn
 

Trevanion

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The benches I use day to day are just a sturdy 3x4 frame construct with a 1/2" 8x4 sheet of MDF slapped on top as a work surface, not even fixed down so you can shift the MDF so it's flush with the frame if needed. It works really well and is super solid.

I had a cull of youtube subscriptions a while ago, my feed was being filled with right tat which as Mr.Fatman said, don't actually make anything worthwhile but then have workshops many times larger and better kitted out than most professionals :?
 

AndyT

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Spence":oic3exq9 said:
If you go for the 4x2 option you can do a lazy sort of half lap joint if you double up the 4x2 into a 4x4. Then just add some glue and a few screws and you have a simple base that if you add some cross members you could fit a shelf on.
If you are a beginner, I think this is a good suggestion.

It's also a way round the problem of needing a bench so you can cut joints in big heavy timbers.
 

bp122

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I think I agree with the 2X4 route, as I don't want to be playing around with cutting a mortise on a 4X4 piece with my 50mm travel drill press and very sloppy chisel work! - I would like to keep this to a minimum. This method gets me the two sets of legs with just glue and screws.

Having said that, for the long horizontal supports (stretchers?) - most people I have seen go for a wedged through tenon joint. I would very much like to try it, but do you have an alternative just in case I make a meal of it?
 

AndyT

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Alternatives include:
just plain screws through stretcher into leg,
Bolts through stretcher and leg,
a bit of the thickness of the stretcher cut back where it overlaps the leg to make a shoulder against the leg, plus screws or bolts,
A wide notch at the back of the stretcher with a wedge on one side.

Also, if you are using softwood and bolts, adding star washers will help resist racking.
 

MikeG.

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I wouldn't use star washers, as they actually space the two pieces of wood apart. Structural engineers no longer generally specify them, and I haven't used them since I found I could manually rotate a tie beam some time back in the 80s. I'd stick to old fashioned joinery for the bench, as it's the shoulders which give rigidity to the joints and thus the bench.
 

AndyT

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Ok, thanks Mike. Practical experience wins! Disregard my last suggestion.
 

bp122

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Thanks guys.

Now that I have gotten the selection of stock out of the way, I am still on the wall about what style bench to build - a Roubo or a Nicholson / English bench.

I do not have a thicknesser or a bandsaw. I have a table saw, a small drill press, and three hand planes.
If you could share your experience on your type of bench and what you would like to change, that would be deeply appreciated.

Also, is joinery grade redwood a reasonable choice for this project?
 

AndyT

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bp122":2hjrue8q said:
Thanks guys.
If you could share your experience on your type of bench and what you would like to change, that would be deeply appreciated.

Also, is joinery grade redwood a reasonable choice for this project?

I shared some pictures of my set-up here my-old-cheap-easy-bench-t82290.html

It's no particular style, just what I could fit into the space and make from the materials available.
The only improvement I would like is to have more space around the ends - but that's not possible.

Decent redwood is entirely suitable.
 

Bill Derr

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FatmanG":s2vgl1j9 said:
Considering most on YT don't make anything other workshop accessories and jigs it has to be the look at meee factor, crazy thing is Joe public pay for most of it lol Patron lunatics its the new form of begging IMO.
I'm glad somebody has mentioned the Patreon thing, I agree it's simply a form of begging (imo) I subscribed to a couple of channels that I thought were pretty good, then they both started to push around the Patreon begging bowl and it changed my opinion of them so much I don't bother with them anymore.
 
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