• We invite you to join UKWorkshop.
    Members can turn off viewing Ads!

Yet another workbench design

UKworkshop.co.uk

Help Support UKworkshop.co.uk:

thetyreman

Established Member
Joined
4 Mar 2016
Messages
3,384
Reaction score
566
Location
North West
I ripped out the trim today on my bench that's on the edges of the tool well, much better as it was taking up at least 3/4" of an inch on each side so it feels like I have more space now, I think sellers corrected this by adding a groove and rebate into the edges of the top and apron, that's definitely an improvement, on his version 2 of the bench, mine is the version 1, also beefing up the the battens that hold the top and tool well down is never a bad idea because it's where all the force is, mine has not succumb to racking yet even after 5 years of pretty heavy use.
 

Cabinetman

Established Member
Joined
5 Jan 2017
Messages
2,332
Reaction score
1,211
Location
lincolnshire Wolds
You can't, because it isn't.

Actually, I don't 'need' one, I just much prefer to have one, given a choice. My personal workbench has one, and I wouldn't choose to have it any other way, but I've worked on plenty of benches in workshops that were simply flat surfaces and I've disliked every one.

I suppose there's really no right or wrong in bench preference, i.e., flat or with tool well, and it's down to user preference. Slainte.
Oh heck Richard, I’ve always had a well, not so much for tools as all the other detritus, pencils, bits of card, sundry little bits of wood that come in handy, etc etc. And now I have a hankering for a freestanding split top bench, as aposed to my huge Beech wall mounted one, I just assumed it would be a joy to use, now I’m seriously reconsidering. I’ve always had a couple of large assembly tables which tbh I seem to spend more time at than my bench, so with a non well bench, is it that you are always clearing and cleaning? It’s making me think that only the tools and wood that’s next to be worked on will be on the top? Never tried a flat top so would you mind expanding on the pitfalls pls? Ian
 

Orraloon

Established Member
Joined
18 Oct 2016
Messages
751
Reaction score
237
Location
Blue mountains Australia
I will have to chuck in my tuppence worth that comes from the pursuit of the perfect bench for my style of working. Over the years I have had an old door on 2 trestles. I still use it at times. An old pretty solid office desk with a vice bolted on. Then a Nicholson style with a well and after a few years I found I was too untidy to have a well on a bench. A Nicholson with no well. Now I have a split top with front and tail vice that is a knock down and will fit in the back of the car. They all did the job but each one was easier to work on than the last and they all got modifications done as work dictated. What is todays perfect bench will not always be perfect as work methods change.
I only really had a good understanding of what I required by the time I got to the last one and 8 years of use the only modifications have been some holdown/dog holes. You need to work a while on a bench to see what the next one needs. I would be looking at the first bench as a stepping stone to the next one.
Regards
John
 

Sgian Dubh

Established Member
Joined
12 Oct 2004
Messages
2,504
Reaction score
332
Location
UK
Oh heck Richard, I’ve always had a well, not so much for tools as all the other detritus, pencils, bits of card, sundry little bits of wood that come in handy, etc etc. And now I have a hankering for a freestanding split top bench, as aposed to my huge Beech wall mounted one, I just assumed it would be a joy to use, now I’m seriously reconsidering. I’ve always had a couple of large assembly tables which tbh I seem to spend more time at than my bench, so with a non well bench, is it that you are always clearing and cleaning? It’s making me think that only the tools and wood that’s next to be worked on will be on the top? Never tried a flat top so would you mind expanding on the pitfalls pls? Ian
Similar to yourself, I find the well is a handy place to store a mixture of tools and oddments: chisels, spokeshaves, hammers, marking knives, saws, etc, plus bits of hardware, abrasive papers, shavings, etc, even somewhere to put routers, drills (cordless or otherwise), and so on. All that stuff gets sorted at the end of the day in my case, if the well hasn't already had a bit of a clear out at other points to create a flat space on which to lay a frame, panel, or whatever to work on.

I suppose, for me, the key is that even something that sticks up from the tool well, like a router, for instance is hard to accidentally knock out of the well and onto the floor. Other stuff, such as chisels, hammers, saws, etc, that sit in the well and below the level of the main bench top can't get swept off to the floor.

On the other hand, in places where the bench tops were flat, I've seen quite a number of tools accidentally knocked off as someone slides a piece of work around on the bench to get it into a more convenient position on which to work. I don't think I've ever broken anything expensive of my own that's been knocked on the floor, and perhaps the worst was a chisel that hit concrete and had to be reground and sharpened. But I have seen other woodworking tools get damaged, sometimes beyond repair, e.g., routers, buzz saws, cordless drills, hand planes, etc that didn't survive the journey from the bench top to the concrete floor.

I like a tool well for all the reasons above, but it's also very useful to have a flat assembly area nearby dedicated for glue ups, cabinet assembly, and so on. Given enough space I'd definitely have my workbench with its tool well, plus a couple of large 2440 X 1220 mm assembly type tables, basically a bit of ply or MDF, perhaps reinforced with some bearers on trestles would do. I don't have the luxury of so much space so my little work area can only house the workbench, with its well, ha, ha. Slainte.
 

Phil Pascoe

Established Member
UKW Supporter
Joined
29 Jan 2012
Messages
21,960
Reaction score
2,024
Location
Shaft City, Mid Cornish Desert
Don't forget also that many traditional bench designs were ideal for 1/ when people were smaller and shorter, and 2/ when much larger pieces of timber were worked fairly much entirely by hand. That they were perfect then doesn't necessarily make them perfect now.
 

Cabinetman

Established Member
Joined
5 Jan 2017
Messages
2,332
Reaction score
1,211
Location
lincolnshire Wolds
Similar to yourself, I find the well is a handy place to store a mixture of tools and oddments: chisels, spokeshaves, hammers, marking knives, saws, etc, plus bits of hardware, abrasive papers, shavings, etc, even somewhere to put routers, drills (cordless or otherwise), and so on. All that stuff gets sorted at the end of the day in my case, if the well hasn't already had a bit of a clear out at other points to create a flat space on which to lay a frame, panel, or whatever to work on.

I suppose, for me, the key is that even something that sticks up from the tool well, like a router, for instance is hard to accidentally knock out of the well and onto the floor. Other stuff, such as chisels, hammers, saws, etc, that sit in the well and below the level of the main bench top can't get swept off to the floor.

On the other hand, in places where the bench tops were flat, I've seen quite a number of tools accidentally knocked off as someone slides a piece of work around on the bench to get it into a more convenient position on which to work. I don't think I've ever broken anything expensive of my own that's been knocked on the floor, and perhaps the worst was a chisel that hit concrete and had to be reground and sharpened. But I have seen other woodworking tools get damaged, sometimes beyond repair, e.g., routers, buzz saws, cordless drills, hand planes, etc that didn't survive the journey from the bench top to the concrete floor.

I like a tool well for all the reasons above, but it's also very useful to have a flat assembly area nearby dedicated for glue ups, cabinet assembly, and so on. Given enough space I'd definitely have my workbench with its tool well, plus a couple of large 2440 X 1220 mm assembly type tables, basically a bit of ply or MDF, perhaps reinforced with some bearers on trestles would do. I don't have the luxury of so much space so my little work area can only house the workbench, with its well, ha, ha. Slainte.
Thanks for that Richard, definitely given me something to think about. Ian
 

Val

Established Member
Joined
17 Jan 2021
Messages
36
Reaction score
3
Location
Belfast
Thanks everyone for your input, it has been greatly appreciated. Over the past few days I've been thinking about it and I've made some changes to the original project:
  • all tenons are now through tenons
  • the leg tenons are not drawbored or glued to the top, their only purpose is to keep the top in position
  • the long stretchers tenons are tusk tenons, so the bench can be (relatively) easily disassembled
  • the other tenons (short stretchers between pairs of legs) are drawbored with a single 16mm diameter pin
  • short tenons at the top don't have a notch for the central beam anymore
  • the wagon vice doesn't allow anymore to drop a piece of stock inside it, as the opening is now narrower and hosts the threaded screw
  • I have not used any dovetail joint for the legs as I would like to build this workbench really soon and I would have to spend some time learning how to do them on such scale
1635177439230.png

1635177537851.png

1635177699481.png

1635178647184.png

1635178712975.png

1635178823602.png

What do you think about these changes? is a non-glued and non-drawbored through tenon be enough to keep the halves of the top in place? are the tenons correctly dimensioned (please see pics in the spoiler)? Any other issues I haven't identified?
Thanks everyone for your help!
 

Ttrees

Iroko loco!
Joined
18 Nov 2012
Messages
3,075
Reaction score
312
Location
In me workshop
I think you're worrying about nothing regarding the top needing to be firmly attached via through mortises.

I'd sooner not have end grain on my work surface as it will likely swell and shrink making the work rock about/ that section a useless reference, possibly a pain to clean filings or other metal off.

If you look at most Scandi benches, there is no upper stretcher either and the top just sits onto the trestles with some bullet shaped dowels for alignment.
Not that I'd do that either with your design, as most Scandi benches do have a wide strecher to counter racking,
but just saying you could get away without needing big tenons through your bench top, I don't think tenon depth is as critical here, as would be with the rails and strechers.

You might like the contrast though, and that's you're call.
If you changed you're mind and still concerned, then you could add some anti racking features to the center strip/ planing stop.

You're wedges look a wee bit steep, should you ever want to make something a bit less utilitarian looking, that angle isn't going to help you, I'll stand corrected if someone can suggest something though.
Have a look to see what Cosman done with his wedges, or maybe some infill planes
say from the likes of George Miller, just incase you like a nice bun,
They don't come loose easily by the looks of things, and I guess that might be due to the shallower profile.
Someone made a nice touch on a table, on the previous bake off woodworking show "the chop"
Small beans as they say.

All the best
Tom
 

Jameshow

Established Member
Joined
4 Oct 2020
Messages
1,541
Reaction score
712
Location
Bradford
I think the tusk tenons angles might be a little acute and might work loose when planning?

If shallower you could tap them out if you needed to break down.

Cheers James
 

thetyreman

Established Member
Joined
4 Mar 2016
Messages
3,384
Reaction score
566
Location
North West
it'd be better imo without through mortises on the top, the surface is more likely to stay flat that way, because you will end up flattening it anyway, I have re-planed mine flat at least 4 times since making it.
 

Val

Established Member
Joined
17 Jan 2021
Messages
36
Reaction score
3
Location
Belfast
Thanks everyone for your help! I think your suggestion makes perfectly sense and I've changed the design of the tusk tenon to now have a shallow 5º angle:

1635253973222.png


I've removed the through tenons for the top, as having end grain there was actually one of my concerns and why initially I didn't go for through tenons. I've also added four 12mm diameter dowels on the two top stretchers so that the two halves of the top will have two blind tenons and two dowels to be secured to the frame.

[...]
If you look at most Scandi benches, there is no upper stretcher either and the top just sits onto the trestles with some bullet shaped dowels for alignment.
Not that I'd do that either with your design, as most Scandi benches do have a wide strecher to counter racking,
but just saying you could get away without needing big tenons through your bench top, I don't think tenon depth is as critical here, as would be with the rails and strechers.

You might like the contrast though, and that's you're call.
If you changed you're mind and still concerned, then you could add some anti racking features to the center strip/ planing stop.
[...]
Hi Tom, I've added the top stretchers because I have a split top with a removable central beam/planing stop. However, I'm curious about what kind for anti-racking features the planing stop could have - do you have any examples?
 

Ttrees

Iroko loco!
Joined
18 Nov 2012
Messages
3,075
Reaction score
312
Location
In me workshop
Hello again
Tried looking for the nice carved feature of the wedge on that show "the chop"
but couldn't find it.

5 degrees is what Cosman uses for his, only found that out recently.
It won't come out to easy, as Rob demonstrates with a good crack of a mallet, on either this video with the maple bench, or the other one he made in walnut.
It stayed put.
This is a screenshot showing them, I think it looks a whole lot nicer, and more lending to do any design, be it a bun in the classical form, or some kind of, likely head carving like on the chop
You could even carve the four masters on each of them, but it's up to you who that is :p

You can get away with shorter tenons then, but maybe you have other ideas.
I've left mine long for no real reason, no peg and just held there tight with clamps and offcuts.
Been meaning to finish off my base after it's fully done, but no space yet for bench no2
in the shed, so some engineering needs to done first.
Screenshot-2021-10-26 Workbench Completed with Rob Cosman - YouTube(1).png


Sorry, I don't have any examples just a thought.
I didn't want to copy the scandi base with single strechers, since I would likely have to move it about often, and had pondered about something in the center.
Right or wrong, in the end I decided to just squeeze a pair of strechers into the design to counter any racking, so not even a hint of something for you to look at, sorry.

Cleats might be worth looking into if concerned about that, which could be on both slabs, possibly hindering the design your center strip, but on the other hand, the opposite could be true.
I think something simple like that could be done to counter racking without going through the top.

All the best
Tom
 

Val

Established Member
Joined
17 Jan 2021
Messages
36
Reaction score
3
Location
Belfast
I am getting closer to the day I will start working on the new workbench. What I was now considering is the order in which I will work the various pieces of the workbench and, as usual, I would like to have some feedback from the community!
This is the order I was thinking:
  1. cut the stock to the right size. ripping with the track saw and cutting to length with the mitre saw
  2. laminate the legs
  3. cut the legs tenons
  4. cut the stretchers tenons
  5. cut the legs through mortices using the stretchers' tenons
  6. dry fit the frame and check everything is square
  7. fit for good with glue the through tenons for the short stretchers, and leave the tusk tenons glue-free
  8. laminate the two parts of the top
  9. roughly plane the bottom part of the top flush (I assume I will try my hardest to keep the top part of the tops flush when laminating)
  10. cut the tops' blind mortices using the legs' tenons as a reference
  11. drill the dowel holes in the top stretchers, then dry fit everything and mark the bottom part of the top for the dowel holes
  12. actually fit everything for good (no glue to fit the top)
  13. plane the top part of the tops and the central planing strip/beam flush
  14. make the dog holes with the plunge router and a gig; I will need to check what gig to use, as I have abandoned my idea doing it on the pillar drill with auger bits since I will do it last
  15. start doing some real work on that workbench!
is the order correct? do you think I am missing any step? anything I should look out for?

Thanks everyone
 

thetyreman

Established Member
Joined
4 Mar 2016
Messages
3,384
Reaction score
566
Location
North West
I am getting closer to the day I will start working on the new workbench. What I was now considering is the order in which I will work the various pieces of the workbench and, as usual, I would like to have some feedback from the community!
This is the order I was thinking:
  1. cut the stock to the right size. ripping with the track saw and cutting to length with the mitre saw
  2. laminate the legs
  3. cut the legs tenons
  4. cut the stretchers tenons
  5. cut the legs through mortices using the stretchers' tenons
  6. dry fit the frame and check everything is square
  7. fit for good with glue the through tenons for the short stretchers, and leave the tusk tenons glue-free
  8. laminate the two parts of the top
  9. roughly plane the bottom part of the top flush (I assume I will try my hardest to keep the top part of the tops flush when laminating)
  10. cut the tops' blind mortices using the legs' tenons as a reference
  11. drill the dowel holes in the top stretchers, then dry fit everything and mark the bottom part of the top for the dowel holes
  12. actually fit everything for good (no glue to fit the top)
  13. plane the top part of the tops and the central planing strip/beam flush
  14. make the dog holes with the plunge router and a gig; I will need to check what gig to use, as I have abandoned my idea doing it on the pillar drill with auger bits since I will do it last
  15. start doing some real work on that workbench!
is the order correct? do you think I am missing any step? anything I should look out for?

Thanks everyone
sounds good to me,

I always work from a cutting list and go through methodically dimensioning the timber until it's all done before starting.
 
Top