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Thread: Questions about Scandinavian Benches, etc.

  1. #16
    Andrew Hunter's setup might be worth consideration, I've clipped this youtube to the bench part
    https://youtu.be/e9HvZ78-TJ0?t=328
    Coupled up with Kris Harbour's saw horses or something else sturdy might be worth looking into.


    If set on a fancy workbench, then I'd favour something like Schwarz's petite roubo, but without the through dovetails interfering with the top,
    so back following along the lines of a floating top like Andrews, Scandi and a whole list of others.
    I'd build a second set of strechers instead of relying on the top though, so it would be able stand on end for doorways less faff for moving.
    There is just about the biggest compilation of various Roubo style benches on a massive old thread titled all replies on workbench smackdown , but you'd be there for a week with a pen and paper, which would be required to refer to.


    Although possibly the nicest home workbench, I think a Scandi bench is about the last thing one would want... due to the third leg mainly.
    It doesn't lend itself well to be in narrow spaces, should it be the case, can't say about inside the house, but think I stumbled across one used as an entertainment centre somewhere, cant be sure if it was though, sure looked pretty.
    And if looking into the smaller size knockdown European benches... I wouldn't be confident about it not racking...
    And mentioned an above post another option would be the Morovian bench..
    Whilst I've seen demos on assembling the Morovian bench, who would be bothered?
    Just saying, as the strechers and top would be the same length, not lending itself to get any shorter.
    Infact the base might be just what you would want, should you have a short vehicle, with a top sticking out the back, if that matters.
    Not to mention a protective structure around the important part, should you be of the Klaus Charlesworth Cosman etc.. persuasion, and use your bench
    as a reference to get more from much it than other designs.

    All the best
    Tom






    Tom
    Last edited by Tom Trees; 10-16-2021 at 5:04 PM.

  2. #17
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    Luke, there are a lot of bench posts here on SMC.

    Harry Strasil Jr. may have left us before you joined but he did demonstrations at county fairs and such. He made a small portable bench. The post on that is at > https://sawmillcreek.org/showthread.php?38637

    It took me a bit of searching finally found it with > bench strasil site:sawmillcreek.org < notice when searching on SMC, remove the > www. < out of the search term for better results.

    The face vise on a Scandinavian bench doesn't work for me. If it isn't catching my hip while walking by, it is keeping me further away from my work than is desired. It also prevents me from using it to saw the end off of a piece of stock out beyond the end of the bench.

    It may be perfect for some work, just not mine.

    It is kind of like a wagon vise, perfect for one job but useless for so many others.

    Of course others likely think the racking of Sjöberg vises is too much for a reasonable person to accept. Being a contrarian, my solution was to devise a way to counter the racking and find useful advantages to the tendency to rack.

    Anti-Rack Spacer Stack.jpg

    This is my main tool for countering vise racking. It also regulates the amount the vise can close when working with thin stock so it doesn't bow when held in the vise. There is also a block used along with this that is 1"X2" for the full extension of the vise. The blades are 1/8, 1/4, 1/2 & 1" thick. The blades are all made so the smaller sizes can fit under them when not used. This is the original design. It has been modified by using a thicker dowel to cover the thin dowel. It has now been in use for about 10 years.

    Also look here for some ideas on work benches > https://sawmillcreek.org/showthread.php?103805

    jtk
    Last edited by Jim Koepke; 10-16-2021 at 6:11 PM.
    "A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty."
    - Sir Winston Churchill (1874-1965)

  3. #18
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    Yes the wracking can be useful at times. I made a dadoe in the face of the vise and a series of spacers. They don’t fall out and work well.
    505316D6-CFFE-47E7-A7B0-36583FDC08C9.jpg
    846AFA0C-0011-4D6C-A5D7-F90D124805D8.jpg
    As for cutting the end off wood I just use two hold downs or raise a couple of dogs and hold the wood against them.
    Last edited by William Fretwell; 10-17-2021 at 9:18 AM.
    ​You can do a lot with very little! You can do a little more with a lot!

  4. #19
    I built my 13 year old grandson a bench for Christmas while back. This is what his step mother did with it. Let it do double duty.

    DSC03281.JPG DSC03320.JPGDSC03321.JPG

    DSC03405.JPG Obviously am fan of the Scandinavian style of bench but I would make the face vise detachable.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Tom

  5. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by Luke Dupont View Post
    Great information here! The room doubles as my office and personal room / space.

    As for the fiberglass + MDF or Plywood base, does that need to be large (ie the same footprint as my bench) or does it only need to be as big as the feet of my bench themselves?

    An additional thing that I found are half sphere rubber pieces that can be glued onto the feet for added isolation, and they also just so happen to be very grippy and keep the bench from moving (I just got some of these and tried on my little Japanese planing board). I think these are great for stopping vibrations from sawing and the like, but maybe not quite enough for chisel work -- at least not chopping straight down. They do seem to make a noticeable difference however! I think this combined with your fiberglass/mdf floor should make for pretty solid sound isolation.

    I have 3 windows in a fairly small room, and one of them is very large, but I don't use it and keep the shutters closed. I think I'll buy some thick curtains, maybe with sound proof liners as well, and also plug up the large unused / shuttered window with cardboard. I've been wanting to do this anyway as my room right on top of the corner of two rather noisy roads.

    I should also soundproof my door a little. There are huge gaps all around it and I'm sure it's hollow -- I can easily hear people in the living room and vise versa. I'll start with just putting some... I don't know what it's called, but foam gap filling tape around the door. It doesn't need to be perfectly quiet, but I do want to reduce the sound so my wife doesn't get annoyed. She's fairly tolerant, but still.

    I have the freedom to decorate my room as I like. Trying to think of what sort of soft things I can put on my wall. Vintage wool blankets? Can't mount anything too heavy as I don't want to drill holes but I'm sure there's something interesting I could do.
    The base only has to be large enough for the legs to sit on. FYI - if you are in the US rigid fiberglass is common for industrial applications (you won't find it at home depot; maybe have to order it). In other countries the substitute material is often referred to as rockwool. Rockwool is the same in terms of temperature insulation and sound absorption, but it is considerably softer and probably would not work well for this application.

    I would certainly try the rubber pucks if you know your downstairs neighbor and they would be willing to bang on your bench while you listen in their apartment. I doubt it would work as well, but it might be enough. We also make drum platforms with tennis balls cut in half (instead of the rigid fiberglass) and attached to the bottom of the plywood and it also works well. But I'm afraid it would be too bouncy for a workbench sabotaging your mortising efforts.

    For windows, if you have the modern style caseless windows, you can a piece of rigid fiberglass 1/8" too long and wide and wedge it in there. Wrap it in some fabric that will look decent from the outside. Long ago when I lived in L.A. and worked out of a large bedroom I did that with two large windows. Very effective. Neighbors never heard a thing even standing at my front door. It's gotta be a TIGHT fit; zero gaps. Of course, while not permanent, it's not something you could reasonably keep taking in and out.

    As for the door. You are correct, NO GAPS. Even just a little 1/2" long by 1/32" wide gap can let through a surprising amount of sound (don't ask me about the frustrations of this when I was installing the insulated door for my vocal booth! Ugh). Interior doors have large gaps at the bottom and in a pinch you can shove a towel in there really tight.

    BTW - if you don't want to damage walls, you can hang surprisingly heavy blankets with enough thumbtacks. Been there, done that before!

  6. #21
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    I'd recommend looking at some of Adrian Preda's videos:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f7vnPPRwjew

  7. #22
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    Obviously am fan of the Scandinavian style of bench but I would make the face vise detachable.
    Tom, are there specific advantages to a Scandinavian style of front vise?

    It is easy to understand if people like it for its design. That is why some folks like a sedan and others like a station wagon.

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

  8. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Koepke View Post
    Tom, are there specific advantages to a Scandinavian style of front vise?
    The main advantage I'm aware of is that the workpiece is not obstructed by vise hardware.

  9. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Matthew Hills View Post
    The main advantage I'm aware of is that the workpiece is not obstructed by vise hardware.
    Thanks Matthew, that could be an advantage for some work. In my case with a bench of only five feet in length, there have been times of holding an eight foot board being necessary.

    One thing that is used all the time is the apron on my bench. Many people say it interferes with clamping. The Sjöberg apron is only a few inches as compared to many twelve inch or deeper aprons. For me it has never interfered with clamping at the front of the bench or to the front of the bench.

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

  10. #25
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    For the record, I'm not actually going to do the Scandinavian style vise.

    I'm looking to make something like this:
    https://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl...AAAAB0AAAAAEAY

    If you search "Sloyd workbench" you'll get a bunch of this style of bench. A lot of them seem to have been built for schools and have folding legs on a hinge. Unfortunately, I calculated and I don't quite have enough room for such a fold up design, but I see no real advantage from legs that can be easily detached.

    My current thought is to make the legs "dry pegged" or mortised into the base, reinforced with a fastener or two, but not glued. Or maybe just fasteners, I don't know -- I'll have to look at the hardware store again to see if there's anything that looks any better than a plain old bolt. I'm not terribly knowledgeable of hardware and hardware connections, so am not sure what is appropriate.

    For reference, there are actually two parts to the way in which the legs mount. There is a board connecting the two legs spanning the top and the bottom, which I will connect via mortise and tenon, but there is another board of the same type that spans the width of the top and raises the leg assembly on each side above the vise hardware. So each leg assembly is not actually attached directly flush to the bottom (as I would have had to cut through holes for the vise screw and guides) but rather raised off of the bottom by a spanning beam. That should theoretically expand my mounting options a bit.

    The stretchers in the middle of the legs will be wide, and I'll have a through tennon capped with a removable wedge (btw, any tips on how to make this? I mean, I can guess it's just a mortise with a wedge, but do you "set it in" by a millimeter or two in order that it "tightens up" against the tennon walls on the other side of the mortise? Or do you just cut it to be flush with the leg?)

    For better or worse, I started building that style of bench, and figure I can just slap more mass on it if it's too light or noisy. Top is glued up (flat gluing boards is really hard as I expected, should have clamped with screws while the glue was wet... but it turned out okay I guess.)

    I like a high bench around 36-38" but I figure I had better stick with 32"-33" due to the narrowness of the base, and the fact that I'll have some combination of rubber / cork / fiberglass underneath the legs. The little rubber half spheres I tested, and they seem to be super grippy, so at least the bench shouldn't move away from me while planing, even if it's light. I'm only worried about the rigidness of the top and if it will act as a soundboard or not. We'lll see.

    Considering gluing a half inch, or 3/4" boards of cork on the underside of the bench to absorb some sound and keep the top from acting as a drum (though the leg assembly, vises, and even dog holes should help to counteract that affect I imagine, so it may not even be an issue).

    As usual I'm just doing this all with construction grade lumber, and am not getting too terribly fancy with it, but am trying to make it look presentable!
    Last edited by Luke Dupont; 10-18-2021 at 11:23 AM.

  11. #26
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    My current thought is to make the legs "dry pegged" or mortised into the base, reinforced with a fastener or two, but not glued.


    For reference, there are actually two parts to the way in which the legs mount. There is a board connecting the two legs spanning the top and the bottom, which I will connect via mortise and tenon,


    The stretchers in the middle of the legs will be wide, and I'll have a through tennon capped with a removable wedge (btw, any tips on how to make this? I mean, I can guess it's just a mortise with a wedge, but do you "set it in" by a millimeter or two in order that it "tightens up" against the tennon walls on the other side of the mortise? Or do you just cut it to be flush with the leg?)
    Luke, some here have mentioned sinking long dowels in to the leg assembly and then boring from the underside of the top. Filing or cutting a bullet shape to the top of the dowel helps to get it aligned into the top. My thought on this is various sets of holes could be drilled in the top to adjust how the top sits for when you might want one of the vises directly above the legs or when you want the front vise to one side of the legs. Use a large dowel, like one inch, with a hole only 1/2-3/4 of the way through the top. This would make for an easy disassembly when desired.

    Search for > tusk tenon < to find various pages like this > https://www.woodworkersjournal.com/h...s-tusk-tenons/

    To help stabilize your bench you might try something that has been working for me the last dozen years:

    Bench Bucket Cement Long Board.jpg

    Funny, this image was eluding me this morning. It was being sought to illustrate my preference for an open ended vise. On the right underside of the bench is a plastic bucket full of 60 pounds of concrete. A corner was cut into the bottom and taped with a 2X3 under it to form the concrete so it could rest on the base of the bench. This has kept my bench from diving at the far end when edge joining long pieces. At first the bucket had a tendency to come off the base board. Shortly after this image was taken a rope was strung around it to be held by the legs and it hasn't moved other than when it has been untied to move the bench.

    Other things to notice, the shallow apron allows for pegs or holdfasts to help support longer pieces. The legs are flush with the front as is the vise. This also helps to support work. Vertical work can be clamped to the leg to provide more holding power when needed.

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

  12. #27
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    Luke, clearly your constraints limit your choices but at the same time add a required simplicity. The small bench you like would be very functional compared to no bench. There are always workarounds for short comings, they just add a little time.
    Do remember that the small commercial bench was subject to the cost efficiencies of ‘mass’ production. You can splurge a little on a small creation! Yes make the stretchers deep for stability. The tenons should be deep also. Wedges are very efficient, adding to the stability, quick to dismantle and tighten up. ‘Hardware’ is simple and less expensive but far inferior for leverage. One challenge for wedges is having a wide enough tenon so the mortice at 1/3 of the tenon allows the wedge to be substantial enough. Try and make the wedge of Hickory or similar tough wood. The mortice is recessed in the leg a little. You only have to match the wedge and mortice angles. Rub chalk on the wedge to find the high spots.

    The stretchers are your stability, wide legs, thick deep stretchers will make all the difference and mean you can have your preferred bench height.
    ​You can do a lot with very little! You can do a little more with a lot!

  13. #28
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    Put rubber feet on it. They can be had from Mc Master Carr. They will do two things;

    1. They will reduce noise transmission to the floor

    2. They will keep your bench from sliding around

    I am currently building a tool cabinet/workbench for apartment woodworking. It will look like a dresser and could be used as such so it will move without being objectionable. It will hold the tools etc while moving so no need to knock down. It will be 44" x 26" x 31" tall, so a little bigger than your plan. It is all Purpleheart with Maple and BB secondary. The top is 1" thick

    For a vise I will use a metalworking vise with optional wooden jaws so it will serve multiple uses. The vise clamps to the top and stores inside so it is not a visual issue in any setting. Here is a picture of it clamped to my usual bench. These wooden jaws were a bit too long and have been shortened

    Machinist's vise 3.jpg

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