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Thread: planning out my workbench strategy-- or I'm going bench crazy

  1. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by Brian Holcombe View Post
    When I build another workbench, if I don’t simply replace the top on mine, it will be a long Roubo, length is great for workbenches. You are a new homeowner, you will use the bench for home related projects. Make it long, over 8’ is good. Given the space I would make one at 9’ long without regret.

    I thought your top was solid?

    My length limitation of 7 foot long is due to my car. The longest lumber that can comfortably fit in a Honda Fit is about 7 feet.
    8 feet lumber can fit--but uncomfortably wedges between the front windshield and the back trunk door...even a 2x6 Home depot board made me wary of shattering my windshield.

    I guess that I'll focus on bench 1 using what I for a bedroom bench, I may find an old desk from Craigslist and add a sacrificial top. I use a vise about 2x a year...mainly, I like holdfasts. Occassionally, I'll use a versa vise holdfasted to my blum workbench.

    Oh, and FWIW, if there are any lurkers that don't have space or a workbench, I can recommend a few solutions that've worked for me:
    1. Blum Benchpony- It's rock solid for it's size, quite capable, and well made.
    Only downside is that it's plywood, pipe clamps are a pain, and a QR vise would be much nicer to use.
    Much stiffer than any Sjoberg I've seen.
    2. Plywood with some 2x4 drilled to it as stops laid over a picnic table/brick abutment.
    Only downside is that you can't use hondfasts. Ergonomics might not be great. However, it's rock solid. The structure is pretty much bolted to the ground, and likely over 300 lb in mass. It won't move.

    I haven't bolted anything to walls, but I'll probably get over it.

  2. #17
    In terms of desk, I see something like this:

    I'm tempted to buy the two butcher block desks, double up on the tops, and use the extra set of leg hardware on another project.
    With the desks, I won't feel bad about damaging some midcentury furniture. Also, I can cut it down to size without feeling guilty.

  3. #18
    Nevermind. The butcher block desks are sold.

  4. #19
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Princeton, NJ
    Blog Entries
    Matt, if you're working on a tight budget, just buy and use construction timber, like doug fir. Build a decent bench learn what you like and dont like, build another one later. Construction materials are fine.

    Set it in the place it will stay for a long while, let it acclimatize, then work process it in phases.

    If you can't get the right stuff in your car, have them deliver. Most local places will deliver.
    Bumbling forward into the unknown.

  5. #20
    Join Date
    May 2016
    Northeast PA
    Quote Originally Posted by Matt Lau View Post a truly beautiful workbench. What do you build?

    As for the workbench...I can only hope for something as nice.
    Thanks Matt. I had been planning it in my head and acquiring parts as I came across deals for several years before I finally had the opportunity to build it. I mainly build furniture, cabinets, & such. I really wanted to build it heavy, as I had been working on an overly light Craigslist-found bench with a 2" thick top before building this one. The difference is night and day. Whatever you do, build it stout - you will be happy you did the first time you hand plane a workpiece on it.

    Also, don't let the Honda Fit be your limitation; it's pretty cheap to rent a pickup truck or even a van for an afternoon, and can be well worth it if you come across something that warrants it. If necessary, you could build a plenty solid base using wedged tenons which allows you to knock it down if/when you need to move it. It is not a hard joint to pull off with hand tools, and probably even easier if you expend electrons to get there. I used them for the first time to join the ends of a trestle base on a dining table I completed a year or so ago and was surprised how solid of a joint it made. Here's a close up of the jointIMG_0058.jpg
    ---Trudging the Road of Happy Destiny---

  6. #21

    I don't know if I can say that I'm on a tight budget....
    The first two years of my dental practice, when I wasn't paying myself...yes.
    The last year and future

    I figure that I can discipline, save, buy things periodically, and avoid cutting corners.
    I don't mind spending a bit for a better longterm outcome...but also realize that this is just a hobby for me.
    Rebuilding a bench due to cutting corners on materials would be silly.
    Time is probably the most important thing now.

    Part of this thread is for me to figure out what the bounds of "Makes sense" applies, since I lack common sense.

    Buying Maple, having it shipped, sure! Buying a giant Felder or Hammer jointer/planer--I wish!

    I'll probably need to calculate between the cost of time/materials, vs bragging rights/having the bench *exactly* as I want.

  7. #22
    Join Date
    Mar 2017
    Forest Lake MN
    I really wanted a scandanavian style bench, after a bit of contemplation though I decided I had neither the time, resources, or skill to build what I wanted so I build a nicholson (Mike Siemsen style one) with about 6 hours of time and $100 invested. No vice, although I did build a moxon to sit on top and get some hold fasts. I will eventually build a scandi bench and then likely shorten the nicholson bench a bit and use it more as a dedicated planing bench. For now though I have not found any limitations caused by it that have been a problem. Who knows I many not even want to ever change.

  8. #23
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Longview WA
    a QR vise would be much nicer to use.
    Much stiffer than any Sjoberg I've seen.
    Funny, over the years my appreciation for the simplicity and versatility of the Sjoberg vises has grown.

    At one time a wagon vise seemed like a good choice, until trying to figure out how to hold things across the end of the bench for various operations. Same with a Scandi type tail vise.

    The other feature to my liking is being able to quickly remove either vise for operations where a vise is just in the way.

    One of these not only helps with vise racking, it helps to limit the vise's pressure when working thin pieces:

    1- Anti-Rack Spacer Stack.jpg

    The leaves are 1/8", 1/4", 1/2" & 1" there are also a couple of piece cut to 1" X 2" and a 1/16" spacer to get more sizes.

    Different strokes for different folks.

    Last edited by Jim Koepke; Yesterday at 2:39 PM.
    "A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty."
    - Sir Winston Churchill (1874-1965)

  9. #24
    The problem with asking for specific advise on a bench is that the love or hate we have for various features is directly proportional to the way we use that feature (or angst over the lack of it). Vise racking and the narrow span of the guide rods/screw(s) finally drove me to twin screws at the face and end positions. Never been happier. I do have a little parrot vise that I clamp in the twin screw for odd angled stuff. Enjoy the journey and don't stress out trying to make a lifelong decision based on one bench or vise.'s talks about your car. It's screaming "Wash me, please!"

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