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Thread: Attaching Bench Top To Base

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
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    Kodak, TN
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    Attaching Bench Top To Base

    The bench top is 25"x96"x2.75" and made of laminated ash.

    Now it time to think about how to attached the top to the base.

    The base will have four legs coplanar with the sides of the bench and no apron. That will leave the top of four 3"x4.5" legs to attach to.

    I would like to have the top removable so I really do not want to do a mortise and tenon glue up although that is probably the preferred method.

    So what are your suggestions to attach the top to the base and minimize racking? I'm old, so pictures would be nice

    Thanks for any advise you can share.

    Jim

  2. #2
    My bench top is 3" x 24" x 96", hard maple, Holtzapffel design, Woodworking Magazine, issue #8, slightly modified. I added a top stretcher between each pair of legs and used lag bolts through the top stretchers, two per stretcher to mount it to the top. One hole is oversized to allow for top movement. It works very well and is easily taken apart. I have taken a bunch of photos and will post them later today.

  3. #3
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    Thanks Tom. I'll be looking forward to the pictures.

    I was trying to avoid a top stretcher so that it would not interfere with any clamping. But, maybe that is not valid concern.

    Jim

  4. #4
    The top stretcher is between each pair of legs and does not interfere with clamping. See the pirctures below:
    Attached Images Attached Images

  5. #5
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    Dec 2008
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    Cleveland, Ohio
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    102
    don't scratch it...

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    Shorewood, WI
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    736
    If you look at Chris Schwarz's book on workbenches, the chapter on making them knockdown is missing. But he wrote it and posted it on the lost art press website so you can download it for free.

    I hope it's OK to post the link here:
    http://www.lostartpress.com/product/...17f296377.aspx

    Scroll down below the description to find links to the free chapters.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Colorado Springs
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    2,318
    You can use a drawbore to attach the top. I did this with my workbench.

    Basically, you use a large mortise and tenon with no glue. You just drill a hole through both, twist in a dowel with the end whittled down, then cut off the excess.

    When you want to remove the top, you just drill out the dowels.
    Last edited by Pat Germain; 02-21-2009 at 10:47 PM.
    If the water is 100 feet down, it doesn't matter how many 90 foot wells you dig.

  8. #8
    The top is most likely heavy enough that you aren't worried about it lifting. So what about drilling a hole in the top of each leg and inserting a dowel. Drill corresponding holes in the bottom of the bench and she should sit on top just fine. I would chamfer the top of the dowels a little so that they find the bench top holes easier. The real thing you are eliminating is lateral movement (i.e. when planing) and the dowels should do that no problem.

  9. #9
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    Thanks to all for the input.

    Tom - Is the leg connected to the stretcher with mortise and tenon? With a dowel? Thanks for the pics. And how come the bench is so clean?? Every horizontal surface I have, has something on it.

    Alan - Thanks for the link. Good reading.

    Jim

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
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    Jeff touched on my method I learned from Ian Kirby. Over the last 37 years I have built 24 benches and the last five I used "bullet dowels" as mentioned by Jeff. You should use an end stretcher as mentioned to re-inforce and counter rack.

    But.. you can drill a hole 3/4" or 1" in the center of the four top post. Glue a corresponding dowel in the hole and let it stand proud 3/4"-1". Drill corresponding holes in the bottom of the table. Round the exposed dowel off at the top so it looks like a bullet and slightly sand the sides of the dowel so the dowel glides into the hole.

    Just sit the top down (two of you) onto the dowels and trust me.. gravity will keep it down. That's a lot of weight in that top and if you properly made the base.. it will not rack nor will the top come off until you and a freind decide to lift it off.

    Sarge..

  11. #11
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    Dec 2007
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    Ft. Pierce, FL
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    Jim, attached are several photos of the workbench I just finished. The top to base is mortise and tenon. There is no gluing. The weight of the top is enough to keep it in place.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  12. #12
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    Thanks Tom.

    What vise is that you have on the end of the bench?

    Jim

  13. #13
    The leg is connected to the stretcher with draw bored mortise and tenon joint.

    For this bench, I decided to eliminate the tool tray. The tray was always cluttered with lots of junk. Now I hang everything up above the bench and put the tools back as I work. I spend more time working and less time hunting for tools.

  14. #14
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    Jun 2006
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    Independence, MO, USA.
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    2.75" thick. How far apart are your legs? How far apart are your holes for the benchdogs? I am wondering if you could just use short dowels, and shorter bench dogs in those holes? If the top gets damaged, you just flip it then.

  15. #15
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    Randal,

    I am just in the process of starting the base. I know the legs on one end will be at least 20" in from the edge because of the vise. The other end is yet to be determined.

    Thanks,
    Jim

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