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Thread: Saw Bench Design - Mono or Split?

  1. #1
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    Saw Bench Design - Mono or Split?

    After a little downsizing, I've recently been rebuilding my shop to focus more on hand tool related work.

    I'll still break down larger pieces using electric hand saws but for resaw and smaller rip operations, I'll be using a new 26" Lynx 4tpi rip saw.

    What I'm wondering is which type of saw bench design is best suited to ripping operations, mono or split-top, and why?

    I have some extra red oak and beech that I'd like to put to use but don't want to find out after-the-fact that I should have built the other one first.

    Saw Bench.jpg
    Last edited by Mike Ontko; 07-02-2021 at 2:32 PM.

  2. #2
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    Hi Mike,

    It kind of depends on your style of sawing and how long are the pieces you plan on doing by hand.

    My saw bench/table/horse has a bird's mouth and a companion bench/table/horse for an out feed support > https://sawmillcreek.org/showthread.php?167535

    That is from ten years ago. Since then a new bandsaw has been purchased and a couple of knock down out feed horses have been built:

    In Re-Saw Cut.jpg

    Now only small rip cuts are done by hand.

    If you kneel on the saw bench the bird's mouth design works well. If you are more comfortable standing next to the bench and clamping your work the split design may be your best choice.

    jtk
    Last edited by Jim Koepke; 07-02-2021 at 2:41 PM.
    "A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty."
    - Sir Winston Churchill (1874-1965)

  3. #3
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    Thanks, Jim. It looks like you're getting your money's worth out of that bandsaw

    One of my main thoughts with the birds mouth style (what I was calling the mono top) is that I'd need to have two of them, or at least an auxilliary outfeed bench of the same height to handle longer boards. And, since there's a bed project in my future, that might be the way to go. The split-top seems like it offers a little more stability in that you don't have to place your stock right on the edge--the split in the top lets you saw right down the center while both the workpiece and offcut are supported.

  4. #4
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    Hi Mike, I have a split top. I chose that design for stability, but also to be able to rip down the center. Funny thing though, I rarely rip down the center. 99% of the time I rip off the side of the bench. Just seems like more room to kneel on the board that way.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Phil Mueller View Post
    Funny thing though, I rarely rip down the center. 99% of the time I rip off the side of the bench. Just seems like more room to kneel on the board that way.
    Maybe then it's because it looks like it was more of a challenge to build -- impress your fellow woodworkers?

  6. #6
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    Ha!, maybe. It actually was a fun build and a chance to try out some new joinery.

    16923580-CDDC-48C3-91C3-DCF7CBDF145B.jpg

  7. #7
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    the split in the top lets you saw right down the center while both the workpiece and offcut are supported.
    Yes, as long as the work piece isn't much longer than the bench. A longer piece will require out feed support.

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

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Phil Mueller View Post
    Ha!, maybe. It actually was a fun build and a chance to try out some new joinery.

    16923580-CDDC-48C3-91C3-DCF7CBDF145B.jpg
    Okay, now I'm inspired (nice work!).

  9. #9
    I made the split bench as a real hand tool beginner. It was fun. I made the gap big enough for a Quik clamp. That is my preferred hold down. I find though that I rip more often using the bench vise with the piece vertical or cross cut on a bench hook on the bench. I only build small things in the hand tool shop.

  10. #10
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    Thomas makes a good suggestion. If you do a split top, make the split wide enough to accept clamps. I didnít, and ended up widening the split after the fact. I also added some dog holes to accommodate holdfasts.

  11. Quote Originally Posted by Mike Ontko View Post
    What I'm wondering is which type of saw bench design is best suited to ripping operations, mono or split-top, and why?
    Saw Bench.jpg
    I donít find split top workbench useful for sawing but ok for clamping.

  12. #12
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    I like the split top design, particularly for ripping thinner stock as you're able to support both sides of the cut. Saw bench is one of the first shop appliance is I recommend for people interested in the Neander way. Nothing is more used in my shop.7.jpg

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Allen1010 View Post
    I like the split top design, particularly for ripping thinner stock as you're able to support both sides of the cut. Saw bench is one of the first shop appliance is I recommend for people interested in the Neander way. Nothing is more used in my shop.7.jpg
    Mike, your saw bench is a sturdy looking beast! Do you work in post-and-beam on a regular basis?

  14. #14
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    "Sturdy looking" is by design Mike – construction grade Doug Fir 4 x 4's. Personally I prefer saw bench that has some heft to it so it doesn't move around under heavy work. My is probably about 50 pounds – still easy enough to move around quickly but is pretty sturdy when working on it. Consider adding a flip up cleat for crosscutting – mine is super helpful.

    Cheers, Mike

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