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Thread: New Hybrid Bench

  1. #1

    New Hybrid Bench

    My shop is in a reorg/flux due to a new tablesaw purchase. One thing that is top priority is a new bench. My shop is small ~14x18 so this bench will need to be multi purpose and act as TS outfeed/workbench and assembly/glue up station. I am also tight on storage (arent we all) so the lower portion needs to have drawers. I have done a lot of surfing around and looking at pictures and here is where I am currently at.


    • Moveable base with leveling feet - height to match TS for outfeed.
    • Maximize storage under ideally with drawers
    • Approx 30-36 x 72
    • At least one bench vise


    My dilemma is whether to go with something more traditional with a fixed top and side/end vises with typical in line std dog holes. Or an MFT style hybrid top. I have looked at also sorts of Paulk videos including things like the MFSLAB. Not sure if this has made things more confusing. I like the MFT idea and do have a track saw but dont do that much work with sheet goods. I do use hand tools so I think I need to have at least one Vise. The Paulk bench top is way too high as that will lose me drawer space underneath. But need to have some gap under otherwise sawdust has nowhere to go. Would like top to be easily replaceable (thinking 3/4 mdf) but sturdy and of course needs a vise so if you go the paulk route mounting is more challenging.

    So thats my current level of confusion. I am sure many of you have been through the same thing and would appreciate hearing your thoughts and what you ended up doing or wish you had.

    Thanks in advance.

    Jon

  2. #2
    Join Date
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    Personally, I'm a big fan of "versatile" work surfaces. My primary bench supports both traditional .75" dogs so I can use hold-fasts and a field of 20mm holes on 96mm centers a la MFT. My guitar bench is the same. So if I were doing a project like yours, especially where that surface needs to fill a lot of roles, I'd poke holes and slots in it.
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Becker View Post
    Personally, I'm a big fan of "versatile" work surfaces. My primary bench supports both traditional .75" dogs so I can use hold-fasts and a field of 20mm holes on 96mm centers a la MFT. My guitar bench is the same. So if I were doing a project like yours, especially where that surface needs to fill a lot of roles, I'd poke holes and slots in it.
    Thanks Jim thats where I am headed. what pattern did you go for to get the 20mm and 3/4" holes? I get the flexibility of covering the whole surface but it seems doubtful that one would use them all and tend to stay with certain rows. I have yet to find any wisdom on how to pick. I guess thats why most folks just drill out the whole top. I have a few hold fasts which I did use occasionally on my old trad bench but the do give the holes a bit of a beating. not too much issue on a maple top but tough on MDF.

  4. #4
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    Please keep in mind that my bench isn't used for table saw outfeed, but here's the design and end result. .75" holes are on the edges and that middle strip. The rest is the 20mm grid at 96mm OC. For "serious assembly", slots for clamps are worthy of consideration.



    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  5. #5
    Join Date
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    I'm not quite so space challenged as you, Jon, but all my benches/assembly tables do double duty as indeed, out feed and storage.

    I make the tops with about a 4" over hang so I can clamp to the bench on at least 3 of the 4 sides. I've found this, for what I do, almost negates the need for a vise, but I still have one on one bench.

    My table saw out feed has a torsion box top that floats on the cabinet, so I can fine tune the height to the table saw. I put this on casters so I can rotate it 90 degrees, when necessary, to provide longer outfeed support. I have a router table in the right end of my table saw and I can use the outfeed table as infeed when necessary.

    Anyway, I'll post a couple of videos to give you some ideas.


  6. #6
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    Here's utilizing some dead space

    Last edited by ChrisA Edwards; 06-11-2021 at 12:58 PM.

  7. #7
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    An my other bench



    This one, if doing it again, I would have made this with a torsion box top, with the top having bench dog holes, but being sacrificial and replaceable.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
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    Waterford, PA
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    I just sold an outfeed table that was quite similar to your wishlist. It was 32 x 60. Initially it had adjustable feet to fine tune the height to my saw, but I found them difficult. I later changed the design to a fixed foot with an adjustable/replaceable top that worked much better. The one 60" side had drawers that opened away from the saw and they held a lot of stuff. The upper two were quite shallow and held TS accessories and my router bits. The lower, deeper ones held power hand tools like belt sander, routers, dremel, plate joiner...
    Outfeed.jpg

    The banding on the top is missing in this photo as I was making new when the photo was taken.

  9. #9
    Nice looking bench there Jim! Purpleheart edges and vise, Nice!

    Now I see what you mean about the mix of 3/4 and 20mm, got me thinking...

  10. #10
    Join Date
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    Being a weekend warrior in his garage, I too am tight on space. I ended up making an outfeed table that serves numerous purposes. The top is 4'x8' and has a double layer of 3/4" plywood, covered with a sheet of hardboard panel. If it gets too beat up, it's very easy to replace it. The base is designed for pull out trays and even doors if desired, I've just never gotten around to installing either. Although mine is not mobile, it could have very easily been. I don't do a whole lot of hand work, so I don't have a need for dog holes, but those too could easily be incorporated.

    As mentioned above, I do have an overhang for clamping purposes, but I did end up installing a vise as well. As the old saying goes, many ways to skin a cat!

    20200712_143336.jpg 20200712_143345.jpg 20210130_161105.jpg
    Last edited by David Lageman; 06-11-2021 at 2:04 PM.
    A wannabe woodworker!

  11. #11
    Thanks so much Chris, this was really helpful. I just got a new sawstop which has changed the whole dynamic of my small space and hence the rebuild of my bench. I like the vertical sliding accessory cabinet and plan to build something similar for the gap at the right between the saw and router extension. Not much room but I intend to try and use every inch. Also love that secret storage behind the outfeed table. I am jealous of all you guys with big shop space although I see that Parkinson's law rules and no matter how much room we have we will it with stuff!

    Thanks again for the video and pics, I appreciate it. BTW do I hear another expat Brit? I am originally a Londoner and have been here in Phoenix since 99!


    Jon


    Quote Originally Posted by ChrisA Edwards View Post
    I'm not quite so space challenged as you, Jon, but all my benches/assembly tables do double duty as indeed, out feed and storage.

    I make the tops with about a 4" over hang so I can clamp to the bench on at least 3 of the 4 sides. I've found this, for what I do, almost negates the need for a vise, but I still have one on one bench.

    My table saw out feed has a torsion box top that floats on the cabinet, so I can fine tune the height to the table saw. I put this on casters so I can rotate it 90 degrees, when necessary, to provide longer outfeed support. I have a router table in the right end of my table saw and I can use the outfeed table as infeed when necessary.

    Anyway, I'll post a couple of videos to give you some ideas.

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by Lisa Starr View Post
    I just sold an outfeed table that was quite similar to your wishlist. It was 32 x 60. Initially it had adjustable feet to fine tune the height to my saw, but I found them difficult. I later changed the design to a fixed foot with an adjustable/replaceable top that worked much better. The one 60" side had drawers that opened away from the saw and they held a lot of stuff. The upper two were quite shallow and held TS accessories and my router bits. The lower, deeper ones held power hand tools like belt sander, routers, dremel, plate joiner...


    The banding on the top is missing in this photo as I was making new when the photo was taken.
    Thanks Lisa, I am currently planning on the adjustable feet approach. What issues did you have and how did you make just the top adjustable?

  13. #13
    Join Date
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jon Kenton View Post
    BTW do I hear another expat Brit? I am originally a Londoner and have been here in Phoenix since 99!


    Jon
    Yes, originally from Lincoln, been here since 1982, became an American in 2011. Still have the accent, although not a Lincolnshire dialect.

  14. #14
    Join Date
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    The outfeed table was difficult to adjust the height mostly due to its weight when the drawers were fully loaded. When I changed it, I built a top and tapped it for large set screws in a grid pattern. The top had an apron that allowed it to move up and down, but not shift off the cabinet below. The grid of screws allowed me to tweak the top to be coplanar with the saw as well as take out any sag that developed.

    I liked it well enough I'm in the process of building a router table with the same leveling feature.

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