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wobblycogs

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Hi everyone,

I'm in the process of designing the layout for my new home workshop which will hopefully be built towards the end of summer. I've got a SketchUp plan of it and I've thrown a few bits in there to see how they fit but the workbench is making me think. The bench I'm using at the moment is built out of firewood so it won't be moving to the new shop and I'll building a new bench. The question is how big should I make the new bench?

The new shop is a decent size and I was considering making the top from a full sheet of ply (2440x1220) - perhaps as a torsion box or just multiple sheets laminated, construction is a future problem. The problem at the moment is I'm concerned that I'm making the bench too large. A quick survey of high end benches to buy at Axi:

LN Studio: 1524x508
LN: 2130x610
Axi Premium: 1910x615
Axi Diamond D2: 1350x605

The bench I have at the moment is small and I hate the limitations of a small bench but I don't want to over compensate. One of the first jobs I'll be doing is building some windows and doors. The doors are a bit under 2000x900mm (80"x36"). The window (frames) are a shorter but wider at about 1500x1275mm.

Looking at the size of the benches for sale I'm thinking 2000x900 would be a generously sized bench that should cover basically all the jobs I'm likely to throw at it. It's not wide enough for the windows but I don't see me making things that wide in a regular basis.

So, what do y'all think? All opinions welcome.
 

MMUK

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How about having an 8' x 2' bench with a fold down extension on the rear? This will give you the option to open it out to a full 8' x 4' for larger projects.
 

wobblycogs

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Perhaps I should put up the plan of the workshop as the layout is practically giving me sleepless nights :). I'm aiming to make other items in the shop (e.g. the router table) the same height as the bench to act as an extension if needed. I'd like the basic bench to be a single piece though.

Ah, here we go the workshop plan is attached. The long green thing is the lathe that got me into woodworking in the first place. The long vertical bench at the bottom right is a sink and general wet area (the small square thing is a tormek). That's sink area is about the only thing that has to stay where it is as that's where the drains will be. The big block bottom left is the mother of all shelving units. I've just noticed the SCMS and the pillar drill are overlapping. The only major thing missing is the router table.
 

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beech1948

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If you lose the door at the top right then move the lathe to occupy the space close to the marked radiator then the bench will fit well into the area around the old lathe position.

Al
 

wobblycogs

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Unfortunately all the doors and windows have to stay as they are. The top right door is to the main house an my primary access point to the shop. The door on the left is needed to access to the front of the house and the one on the right for bringing stuff in and out.

I like the idea of putting the bench where the lathe is though. I'd plonked it in the middle of the room so I'd have access from all sides but that's a strict requirement.
 

Andy RV

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Make the bench 2.4m in length, most of the materials will come in this length so why cut them down? Since you can work from both sides of the bench I wouldn't put off making it quite wide.

I think you need to ask yourself what type of work you will be doing on it? If it's traditional joinery using hand tools and proper wood then a wide bench may not be required, if you do a lot of sheet and power tool work then a wider bench will be of advantage.
 

wobblycogs

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Some very good points Andy. For the next year or two a lot of what I'll be doing is working with sheet goods I suspect but after that I'm hoping to do a bit more traditional joinery.

I'm going to up the length to 2.4m now.

I can't believe I'd forgotten that I'm building a CNC machine, my new "big" shop is starting to look a bit full already.
 

beech1948

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I am also thinking of a biggish bench. 2440x1220.

Initial thoughts were to build a 2440x610 bench in a more trad style with beech top 100mm deep + 2 vices to the front.

Second bench at the same height would be the same size but with a lighter torsion box top for use as an assembly or layout bench when combined with the first one to give 2440x1220. I like the idea of moving a bench surface to where ever I need it.

Al
 

wobblycogs

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That's not a bad idea. I'm not sure I've got space for two benches in that configuration but two at 1220x1220 might work.

I've attached the plan I've got at the moment as it feels fairly good. The items across the top are all on wheels, the idea is that I can wheel the router table in to act as a bench extension if needed. If I'm cutting up long pieces of stock the bench can act as an extension for the SCMS. The CNC will just have to stay out of the way (I've not drawn in the computer yet, yikes). Since the bench can be extended by the router table I'm thinking I might reduce the bench length a bit, say to 1800. An alternative might be to mount the router in the workbench but I'm a bit protective of my router. The radiator has moved to behind the lathe, it's the least worst position I think. It concerns me that I don't really have much in the way of storage in there yet.

I thought designing this would be an enjoyable experience :lol:
 

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custard

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It's not just about the workbench. As well as somewhere to hold the workpiece (the bench), you need somewhere to store the components for the project you're working on, somewhere to place the tools you're currently using, and somewhere to glue up and finish.

The solution employed at many, many commercial workshops is that each craftsman has a decent size bench, roughly 6' x 2', which has a three or four drawer tool chest underneath, and they also have a melamine topped glue up bench about 4'x4' with one or two shelves for components underneath.

In your layout because the bench is away from the walls, tool storage will be even more of an issue. Also using a bench for glue ups isn't ideal, they tend to be too narrow, too high, and difficult to cramp to.

Just my thoughts.
 
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