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Thread: Store bought workbench

  1. #1

    Store bought workbench

    Id like to build my own Rubou style bench, but I might not get around to it for some time. For those of you who have purchased a bench which brands and types would you recommend and are they sturdy?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
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    Missouri
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    1,549
    If you have a 600 lbs. Rubou I don't think there are many that will be as sturdy. I bought a Noden adjust a bench because I needed the adjustability. It is not as sturdy as my other bench, more or less an English style. It does do what I need it to do. I have never felt that it is a problem for anything that I do from planning from the rough to carving. The adjustability makes a great deal of difference for me. I very seldom work on my other bench anymore as far as woodworking. At present the other bench is providing a space to repair my chainsaw.
    Jim

  3. #3
    Tommy,

    I needed a workbench for a summer residence, until I had time to make a proper one. I bought the 60" 4-drawer Winsor Designs one at Harbor Freight. They are now selling for $150. It was a bit too low for my height so I put it on a simple stand made of 4x4's. It is fairly sturdy, certainly good enough for most work. You can stiffen it easily with crossbraces or by screwing it to the wall. I put a small portable vise on the front. It comes with an end vise that works OK. The drawers have cheap slides but they work OK. Not a great workbench but servicable -- all in all very good value for money. I used it two summers until I moved here permanently and had time to make a proper workbench. (I would not enjoy making a workbench without having a workbench to work on.) Now it is 5 years old and serves as a secondary bench mainly for planing, sanding and sawing.

    You coud go to Habitat and get two base units and a solid core flush door that will serve you well until you make your Roubo. A workbench is a hand tool like any other -- it has to suit you and the work you want to do with it. But I see no practical reason to spend thousands of dollars or hundreds of hours on a workbench. But then, in 20+ years of woodworking I have never had a fancy or expensive workbench so maybe I do not know what I am missing.

    Doug

  4. #4
    I worked on <$200 workbenches for a long time that were screwed to a wall. They were not fundamentally more sturdy once securely attached than my 400 lb Roubo. Was very happy for a long time with the benches I had and am even more happy now

    Best,
    Chris
    "You can observe a lot just by watching."
    --Yogi Berra

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Milton, GA
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    I have a Hoffman & Hammer Compact workbench that I bought, on sale, under similar circumstances. I will be working on it later this AM. If I had it to do again I might buy one of the middle size Hoffman & Hammer benches, without a tool tray. Highland Hardware carries them, which is convenient for me. I am working on a Noden Adjustable, which I will use as a work table, outfeed.....Then I will make my Roubo, specifically for planing and mortising. The noden will provide support for longer pieces on both benches.

    My issue with most of the benches one can buy, is they do not make the vises to suit me. I like quick adjusting vises. Most bench designs, seem to me, to revolve around the vises, or lack of vises. YMMV.
    Last edited by Mike Holbrook; 03-09-2018 at 8:45 AM.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    Jacksonville, FL
    Posts
    859
    I have a cheap workbench similar to the Harbor Freight one but I don't think I bought it there. Its been around for 10 years or so, has two vises and works well. Thinking about getting the Harbor Freight one and beefing it up. Like maybe replacing the particle board pieces with 3/4 plywood and adding some braces.

    In the meantime I picked up some saw horses from Lowes for less than $20 added two 2x4s and a half sheet of 3/4 plywood. Ive got a work area 4'x8' and I don't mind screwing stuff to it to use as braces or stop blocks. I even set up my CSMS on it for cutting. Picked up a mobile miter saw stand from Harbor Freight this week which I will be putting together today or tomorrow.

    Still haven't finished cleaning out the garage to make room for my shop so I improvise.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2017
    Location
    Forest Lake MN
    Posts
    297
    I would think most cheap store bought work benches would not very stable.

    While waiting to do the Robou another option would be to build a quick bench with 2x lumber. My Nicholson was probably about 6 hrs of work over the course of a week and less than $100 in lumber, if I tweaked the technique and used more screws than glue it probably could have been reduced to about 2 hours.

    The bench I build before that was not really hand tool focused so had a plywood top and a little more interior bracing since it didnt have aprons, but probably build in an hour and was more sturdy than a cheap store bought bench would be I think.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Sierra Nevada Mtns (5K feet)
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    247
    I bought (a number of years ago) a Lie-Nielsen large work bench. Don't remember the weight. I had on hand 25 lb sacks of lead shot. I put one on each corner of the leg/stretcher joint. i.e. 100 lbs additional weight. Also I added a plywood base to hold/store parts of work in progress. I love the bench. I have never had any problems of the bench moving when doing hand work. The vices work for me, I have made several holding fixtures that I use when desired (planing stops, Moxon vice, etc.). The bench was pricey, but it was worth it to me. I would rather build furniture than build a bench.

  9. #9
    If you are not in the USA you still have the possibility to buy such a bench.
    http://www.workbenches.se/en/

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2017
    Location
    Forest Lake MN
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    Quote Originally Posted by David Dalzell View Post
    I bought (a number of years ago) a Lie-Nielsen large work bench. Don't remember the weight. I had on hand 25 lb sacks of lead shot. I put one on each corner of the leg/stretcher joint. i.e. 100 lbs additional weight. Also I added a plywood base to hold/store parts of work in progress. I love the bench. I have never had any problems of the bench moving when doing hand work. The vices work for me, I have made several holding fixtures that I use when desired (planing stops, Moxon vice, etc.). The bench was pricey, but it was worth it to me. I would rather build furniture than build a bench.
    I will agree that if you are looking in the $2500-$3000 range for a store bought bench there are great options that I am positive will be very sturdy and just plain awesome. That Lie Nielsen one looks great, bench crafted makes one about the size of the lie nielsen standard one at the same price but with a leg vice instead of shoulder and tail vices. For me they are cost prohibitive but I certainly do see the appeal.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
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    twomiles from the "peak of Ohio
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    The Bench I hsve been using for the past 4 years or so..
    cleaned bench.jpg
    Started out as a Sunday afternoon on the back patio project....from lumber I dumpster dived for..
    SDC15842.jpg
    Have since added the leg vise, a vise on the other end, a crochet on this end. The cabinet and shelf were the last of the upgrades. I added a plywood panel to the back legs a while back, as well. When I had a workmate come to the shop....I used the "bench dogs" from it for my main bench...

    Base unit was..~$10?

  12. #12
    My question about "store bought workbenches" is why? Cost shouldn't be an issue because construction grade DF or SYP lumber for a bench should be less than $100 USD. If you build a simple bench such as Roubo style, slab, four legs and four stretchers, time to build is maybe 20 hours over a week or two. Add a simple metal face vise for less than $100 USD ending up with a total cost of about $200 USD. You will spend that much time and I would guess more money buying and modding a store bought bench to get it to work half as well as one you made.

    Mistake first time bench builders make is making the bench too perfect and too complex, Make it cheap, quickly, and go to work making furniture.

    ken

  13. #13
    Tommy,

    What is your budget? There are plenty of fantastic workbenches for sale out there..... But your budget will probably drive your choice... They run from the solid core door on sawhorses and 3 thicknesses of 3/4" particle board on a home made base to the $99 BORG 2x4 and nails kit to well into the multiple thousands of $$$ for a fantastic hand made Scandanavian unit..

    Shoot - Jim Krenov did most of his work on a purchased Scandanavian workbench..

    Another option is to look at older used workbenches... Plenty of them out there..

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
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    Longview WA
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    My bench is a Sjoberg bought at a Woodcraft store in Dublin, CA for $250. The store closed many years ago. My main addition is 5 gallon bucket full of cement at one end to keep it from moving around when planing.

    This is pretty much the same bench and is now listed $437.60:

    158465.0.jpg

    It is a bit small. My ideal bench would be bigger, heavier and have a tool tray.

    jtk
    "A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty."
    - Sir Winston Churchill (1874-1965)

  15. #15
    I have the same plan to build a Rouo bench. I ended up grabbing a bench off of Craigslist for $100 to hold me over. It looks pretty flimsy but it turned out to be quite sturdy and was a good upgrade over saw horses. If not in a hurry maybe keep an eye on CL for something.

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