I did a search on the foruma s well as i am in the process of reading a book on making workbenches by Sam Allen.
I think for my purposes and space a "smaller" Joiner Style Bench is what I need. I will definitely need to be able to move it to a new home within a year so the truss rod construction method looks the way to go.
Veritas has a kit with the two maple slabs (pre-drilled with dogholes and vise holes etc) and hardware but is a little longer than I think I want.
I do have a jointer and newly aquired Dewalt 735 planer so I can go with rough cut to save money. (BTW I just got ordered the mobile stand for $92 with free shipping from Amazon....Heck of a deal as WoodCraft and Rockler etc want $179)
I do want to have;
- Dog Holes
- Tail, Side and leg vices
- Probably a 24" by 60" top dimension....the Veritas kit is 72 3/4" long and it would seem to be a waste to lop off a foot of it as well as wasting the predrilled tail vise holes provided on both ends.
Couple of questions;
1. Truss Rods
- are these just your bassic all thead rods you can buy at Lowes etc or are they tyically rounded steel rods that you thread with a die if not prethreaded?
- I know it will depend on the specific kit and sale price but do these typically save you any money or just time?
- These are by design heavy so shipping ups the costs but I don't own a truck or SUV. When the weather is nice and the trip is short I have been known to stick longer pieces of wood or hardware out the sun roof ;)
4. Anyone seen recent good deals, close outs on kits that woould be suitible?
5. Anyone here from Oklahoma City or Edmond area that knows a good local source for reasonably priced hardwood?
While traditional workbench tops were made from hardwoods, a number of recent benches in magazines, particularly Popular Woodworking and its sister publication, Woodworking, have made benches from either Southern Yellow Pine or Douglas Fir, both fairly hard softwoods. The choice depended upon your geographic location since SYP is more readily available in your neck of the woods, that would be a good choice. If you go this route, your best bet for finding clear stock is generally to go with 8X or wider 2X material and rip it down two 3+ inches wide.
I'm not real fond of running metal rods through something I may later have to drill holes through, but I've recently seen information that might make it a good idea depending on your work methods and type of vise you plan to put onto the front of the bench. If you want a metal front vise and you plan on using it with dogs in the vise opposite dogs in the bench to really crank down on some stock between the two, then the threaded rods on either side of the vise might be a good idea because if you really lean on the vise handle it is possible to yank the vise with the wood attaching it right out of the bench. A couple things wrong with this: cranking the vise that tight is probably gonna bend the board you're working on, and for handwork I've seldom found it neccesary to clamp a board in that manner on the bench.
Concering the length, if you're gonna be movin it to another place (hopefully with a bit more room) I'd say go for as much as you can. Either way, you're probably gonna find it neccesary to disassemble the top from the base to move it, and regardless, an extra foot or so of length is not gonna make it that much heavier. With that in mind, well keep disassembly in mind when you engineer how the top is attached. The weight of the top is gonna be your friend so anchoring and glueing it to the frame is not a neccesity.
Keep in mind that this, being your first bench, should be kept simple and easily altered as you find out about your own work habits. I think a lot of people go hog wild "tricking out" a bench only to find that many things they included are extraneous and that they could have put money for a lot of their accessories into other things that would be more beneficial. In other words, don't go hog wild buying some super fancy $150 tail vise that you may or may not ever use. I've only ever used my simple end vise as a handy clamping set-up for a panel glueup. Face planing I use a simple planing stop at the left end of my bench and a battan held in place with hold fasts running the length of the piece to block the workpiece near the front edge of the bench. I use a similar set-up for handplaning rabbets on the edge of a board.
I've found my leg vise on the front of the bench to handle every task I've throw at it when coupled with a deadman held by holdfasts to the front skirt to hold up the end of longer pieces.
Like I said, start simple and work from there and design with that in mind and eventually you'll have a bench that works for you and the way you work.
Would the soft yellow pine handle the dogs or would I have to sink a section of hardwood and drill the dog hole into that?
I started looking for some inexpensive sources of Beech and Maple from online lumber suppliers as well as e-bay.
Is there any structural reason one should not mix and match some long laminates of different species?
Say I get some various planks of Maple, Beech and Ash for the top laminates and alternate them. It seems there are some smaller boards of hardwod that are long enough and wild enough could be ripped into two or three strips of laminate for the occasional lowball price and piecemeal a top of several hardwoods.
I would try to do the edge skirts and vise clamps in Maple and laminate the interior with Ash, Beech and Maple strips of similiar widths plane to the appropriate thickness.
Our local Sam's Club has been carrying a basic solid maple work bench with legs for ~ $200. It's a bit long and you'd have to add your accessories, but the price and quality seem good. A guy from work bought one and is really happy with it.
Chris Schwartz of Popular Woodworking and Woodworking magazine fame used Southern Yellow Pine for both the Roubo and his more recent English style workbenches (see his [link:www.woodworking-magazine.com/blog/|Weblog]).
As to mixing different hardwoods, you may have issues of different rates of expansion as the wood absorbs and loses moisture.
While not astetically pleasing, cutting a piece of hardboard (Masonite) for the top of your bench has always been a good method for a top.
You can flip it, or replace it easily, and keep your nice bench rock solid with the replaceable top insert.
Nice bench, BTW. ;)
[link:home.att.net/~paul.edmonds/|Sonny Edmonds ]
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I just saw that bench at my local Sam's Club. I was impressed with it, and it looked flat from what I could tell also. There were some superficial small knots in the wood however FWIW. Probably would only be a problem if you wanted a dog hole at that spot.
I just finished a bench ... I used construction lumber for the top, since it's a first bench and I wasn't sure exactly what I want. I'm fairly pleased with it, though it's easily dented. I ripped 2x10s into three pieces and face glued the resulting pieces.
The legs are douglas fir 4x4 and the leg design is from The Workbench Book. It's very solid and doesn't rack, but I'm already thinking about the next top--I'll probably swap it out for a prefab maple top from Grizzly, or else look for some ash locally that I can glue up. Pardon the crappy phone picture, and good luck.