Results 1 to 32 of 32

Thread: Workbench advice

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Texas
    Posts
    5,617

    Default Workbench advice

    I’ve ended up with three extra pieces of 18’ 2x6 material (timberstrand). And a fair amount of 2’x8’ 3/4 inch plywood. And lots and lots of misc 2x lumber scraps. And several full sheets of advantech 1 1/8” flooring.

    And I’ve got a 23’ wall in my garage with nothing going on. So I was thinking of a long workbench.

    Primary use will be to stack stuff on, and under. But theoretically, it will hold a chop saw, drill press, etc. And give me a place to build some birdsmouth spars.

    Any advice on height and width? I was thinking about 36” high. For no other reason than that is what my current workbench measures. And I can sit on a barstool and look at stuff I ought to be doing while I drink my coffee. My big tool chest stands at 42” and that seems too high.

    And 2’ wide, because that seems good.

    I’m on the fence with the surface. The advantech is beefy but doesn’t do much for me with the particalboardy look. The plywood will probably require some 2x4 structure to keep it flat and straight.

    The other idea I had was to hinge the bench so it could be dropped out of the way if I needed the space. Seems unlikely but it does take up 2’ in a 23’ space. And maybe a little well to hold the chop saw surface at the bench surface.

    Anyway, I’ve been my whole adult life without a garage, much less a workshop and want to avoid doing this twice. Any thoughts or clever ideas in the way of advance planning would be appreciated.

    Thanks

    Tom

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Deepest Darkest Wales
    Posts
    22,733

    Default Re: Workbench advice

    See Christopher Schwartz "Workbenches: from Design and Theory to Construction and Use"
    I'd much rather lay in my bunk all freakin day lookin at Youtube videos .

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Posts
    9,136

    Default Re: Workbench advice

    I think that hinging might be a waste of time. It'll make for a flimsy top, and, if my experience is typical, a long bench becomes a wide and low shelf for most of it's length, for most of the time. To tip it out of the way a new home must be found for all the topside accumulata, as well as the things that find a home beneath. YMMV.

    Cheers,

    Jim

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2017
    Location
    Indian Land, SC, USA
    Posts
    2,636

    Default Re: Workbench advice

    I agree with Jim on 'not' using hinges on a workbench . My own workbench is built from 2 2 foot by 8 foot pieces of 3/4 " A/C plywood - one 23 -1/4 " and the other 24" glued together with the 'C' faces touching, allowing me to use an 8 foot length of 1 by 6 as the back (it slips into the recess between the top and the wall). The top is set on clearance sale kitchen cabinets from the big-box store, and I gave it a couple costs of satin polyurethane to make it live longer. Every now and again, I clear it off and allow the 'Horizontal Surface Disease' to creep up again

    Rick
    Last edited by hawkeye54; 09-12-2020 at 05:01 PM. Reason: Clarity

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    New Zealand's Far North
    Posts
    9,730

    Default Re: Workbench advice

    Your height and width dimensions seem about right to me, pretty much what mine is. Mine has particle board flooring for the top, to which I gave a couple of coats of polyurethane. The appearance isn't a problem to me as it is much the same as Jim's by being covered in accumulata, which sounds so much better than junk!
    I would rather have doubt than be certain and wrong.
    Richard Feynman.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    Wongawallan Oz
    Posts
    16,047

    Default Re: Workbench advice

    I don’t know what advantech is, a chipboard/particle board? But my preference would be plywood for a long bench top.

    For your dropsaw set it lower in the middle of the bench so that the feed in and out is at the height of the saws table. Maybe set it up so that it can be lowered and a hinged worktop dropped in place to get the full length back for your spar work. My dropsaw isn't on a long bench but is behind my table saw and I have it on a cheap motorbike scissor lift jack/stand so that I can drop it below the bench at any time if I need the extra run-out on the table saw bench.

    Depending on what type of dropsaw you have, 2’ depth on the bench may not allow it to slide back far enough for a full cut.

    My neighbour has built a really nifty rectangular workbench that he can roll out from the wall with all of his heavy tools swinging away under it - router, thicknesses, table saw etc. from plans that he found on the web somewhere. There are hundreds of these that have been down before so it seems more of a case of picking what works for you.

    This one (from a Google search) has the dropsaw folding down out of the way. Probably better than my scissor lift version for the space as it keeps the bench and area below it narrow when it’s out of the way:






    This is similar to what my neighbour did, it’s not a wall mounted bench but might give you some ideas

    http://tcs-knox.com/MyWorkbench.htm

    Larks

    “It’s impossible”, said pride.
    “It’s risky”, said experience.
    “It’s pointless”, said reason.
    “Give it a try”, whispered the heart.

    LPBC Beneficiary

    "Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great!"

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2001
    Location
    Seattle, WA USA
    Posts
    13,015

    Default

    Some years back, Christopher Schwarz and his henchwoman, Megan Fitzpatrick, made a Roubo-style bench from laminated veneer lumber (LVL).

    Dunno how that compares to LSL.

    Plans are free.



    https://www.popularwoodworking.com/w...ch-plans-free/

    Here's her post-mortem, 2 years on:

    https://www.popularwoodworking.com/w...-years-of-use/

    Here's the post-mortem eleven years on

    https://blog.lostartpress.com/2020/0...workbench/amp/

    You would not enjoy Nietzsche, sir. He is fundamentally unsound. — P.G. Wodehouse (Carry On, Jeeves)

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2001
    Location
    Seattle, WA USA
    Posts
    13,015

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by P.I. Stazzer-Newt View Post
    See Christopher Schwartz "Workbenches: from Design and Theory to Construction and Use"

    Great book!
    You would not enjoy Nietzsche, sir. He is fundamentally unsound. — P.G. Wodehouse (Carry On, Jeeves)

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Texas
    Posts
    5,617

    Default Re: Workbench advice

    Those flip tops are nice.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2020
    Location
    Norwich, Norfolk, UK
    Posts
    192

    Default Re: Workbench advice

    An alternative to Larks suggestion, is to have each piece of equipment mounted on a separate trolley, that "plugs into" a U in the long bench. That way you can still have a long bench to support the bit of wood, without other equipments getting in the way. It's what I'm slowly building for myself.
    Just an amateur bodging away..

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Trenton, ME
    Posts
    145

    Default Re: Workbench advice

    If you have enough plywood, you can use a double thickness on your bench top and if you avoid glue, you can potentially flip the plywood should it become too beat up. Tough part is controlling clutter.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jun 2002
    Location
    Vancouver, BC
    Posts
    933

    Default Re: Workbench advice

    I made my bench with two tops. The first lifts off and can be set up on saw horses as a second bench. The remaining top is in two pieces that slide apart so that I can put my planer, mitre saw or other tools in the centre and then move the two parts against the tool and provide in and out support (provided you remember to make the two halves the same height as your mitre saw). The two top halves also have a series of grooves into which I can put small clamps as hold downs anywhere on the bench. Under the bench I have sliding shelves (using heavy duty slides) and this is where my planer, mitre saw and other tools live. So you say, where are the pictures? As soon as I can clear the the accumulated clutter I promise to take some. This was not my design, I found it years ago online and modified it to fit my workshop and tools.
    Last edited by Roy Morford; 09-14-2020 at 09:57 AM. Reason: spelling errors

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    se pa (Bristol PA)
    Posts
    4,621

    Default Re: Workbench advice

    just be aware that kitchen counters at 25" are just right for the "reach" of most people.. beyond that reach.. will be dead space most of the time. Stuff set beyond the reach if not shelves or drawers.. just collects and sits there.. slowly creeping over the working area until you finally have to build a bench that is accessible on all sides!
    Denise, Bristol PA, Oday30, Anchor Yacht Club, On tidal Delaware River. my current project; http://forum.woodenboat.com/showthre...0-Ducker-Resto

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    Bainbridge Island WA
    Posts
    3,590

    Default Re: Workbench advice



    This is the bench I built into my 23' deep former garage now boatshop. There is a door just outside the frame to port that goes into another workshop so the bench isn't quite full-length. Chopsaw is placed so a 16' long piece of timber will fit on the bench. Build the bench stout, you will eventually find yourself walloping something with a big hammer, I doubled up some 3/4" particle board but your Advantech will be great. My preference for the work surface is 1/4" Masonite (tempered hardboard) with lots of countersunk screws holding it down, it is smooth but tough so sliding stuff around won't mess it up. Even if you do manage to mess it up it is easy to replace. When I was running a production scene shop we replaced the Masonite tops of the work tables every couple of years but we were doing a lot of welding on them too.

    And of course, you will need a dry-erase board and lots of pegboard on the wall for it to all come together properly.

    One more thing...This picture was taken right after I pulled all the rafters out and replaced them with collar-ties, vaulting the ceiling from 8' to 11 so it wasn't so cramped feeling, but before I decided to put 3/4" OSB down for a floor. Think about floor now or you'll end up (as I did) cutting around all the legs of your workbench to fit it in later.
    Steve

    If you would have a good boat, be a good guy when you build her - honest, careful, patient, strong.
    H.A. Calahan

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Apr 2015
    Location
    St. Helens, Oregon
    Posts
    2,460

    Default Re: Workbench advice

    Quote Originally Posted by stromborg View Post


    This is the bench I built into my 23' deep former garage now boatshop. There is a door just outside the frame to port that goes into another workshop so the bench isn't quite full-length. Chopsaw is placed so a 16' long piece of timber will fit on the bench. Build the bench stout, you will eventually find yourself walloping something with a big hammer, I doubled up some 3/4" particle board but your Advantech will be great. My preference for the work surface is 1/4" Masonite (tempered hardboard) with lots of countersunk screws holding it down, it is smooth but tough so sliding stuff around won't mess it up. Even if you do manage to mess it up it is easy to replace. When I was running a production scene shop we replaced the Masonite tops of the work tables every couple of years but we were doing a lot of welding on them too.

    And of course, you will need a dry-erase board and lots of pegboard on the wall for it to all come together properly.

    One more thing...This picture was taken right after I pulled all the rafters out and replaced them with collar-ties, vaulting the ceiling from 8' to 11 so it wasn't so cramped feeling, but before I decided to put 3/4" OSB down for a floor. Think about floor now or you'll end up (as I did) cutting around all the legs of your workbench to fit it in later.
    How's that OSB holding up as a floor? I've been thinking about doing the same. I was wondering how often it'd need replacement and if it might be worth cutting around benches to start with so I wouldn't be crawling around trimming around them later.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    Bainbridge Island WA
    Posts
    3,590

    Default Re: Workbench advice

    Better than I expected. Still fine after 3 boats and a bunch of other stuff has been built/dragged around.
    Steve

    If you would have a good boat, be a good guy when you build her - honest, careful, patient, strong.
    H.A. Calahan

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Deepest Darkest Wales
    Posts
    22,733

    Default Re: Workbench advice

    Any serious use of hand tools expected?

    Planes, saws, mortice chisels?????
    I'd much rather lay in my bunk all freakin day lookin at Youtube videos .

  18. #18
    Join Date
    May 2000
    Location
    Conway, MA
    Posts
    5,909

    Default Re: Workbench advice

    P.I.s question (I presume) relates to bench material where some woods are hard on tool edges, maple and beech being pretty good with some soft woods and other smooth grain hardwoods. I like a two sided bench with a gap in the middle allowing clamping from both sides. The best bench I ever had was made up of 3" birch planks that had come from Brookstone shop shelving, each side maybe 10" wide and the whole 20' long. Solid and fully useful.

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    Port Townsend WA
    Posts
    14,462

    Default Re: Workbench advice

    The height of my own shop benches is 35 1/2". This is a height that I became comfortable with afer may years of tinkering with bench hight set by shims and wedges on the floor. I am just over 5'll" after Father time has brought me down from 6'. I find that this is a happy height that allows me to lay into a long plank with my fore plane or side clamp and saw an end off with Japanese pull saw. Also I can clamp and chisel comfortably when the occasion arises. In addition the bench and table saw are set to the same height which allows for long ripping without the hassle of seting up a horse for it. as a result all side benches have their tops set to the same height of thirty five and a half inches so that a standard height is available for work that over hangs and needs wider support from time to time. Side benches have drawer chests for tool storage as does the main center bench as well having tool storage in the center bench is handy and their weight adds to the stability of the bench.
    Jay aka Bird
    Last edited by Jay Greer; 09-14-2020 at 01:55 PM.

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    Port Townsend WA
    Posts
    14,462

    Default Re: Workbench advice

    Note The two slide out writing boards that also can be used for coffee cups and drinks. They are left bare and so are protective for the top that is shellac finished as they don't become damaged from hot or cold drinks. The wood used here is Poplar which is cheap and works well. It has been left bare and has taken on a natural aged look over the years. The drawer knobs were made from black walnut that came from the old stage stop tree in Mariposa CA. The tree died and we had enough wood to furnish two houses and shops. There were square nails in it from old wanted posters as well as a lot of lead bullets that we discovered. The tree was on the property of my friend Mike Hubert who liked living in the gold country where he could follow his passion of wood working in quiet.
    Jay
    Last edited by Jay Greer; 09-21-2020 at 02:06 PM.

  21. #21
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    se pa (Bristol PA)
    Posts
    4,621

    Default

    my bench is still cluttered and this is in a picture after it was just built.

    i finally got rid of the dust collecting tool trays that I put on a while back
    Denise, Bristol PA, Oday30, Anchor Yacht Club, On tidal Delaware River. my current project; http://forum.woodenboat.com/showthre...0-Ducker-Resto

  22. #22
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Deepest Darkest Wales
    Posts
    22,733

    Default Re: Workbench advice

    Quote Originally Posted by Thad View Post
    P.I.s question (I presume) relates to bench material where some woods are hard on tool edges, maple and beech being pretty good with some soft woods and other smooth grain hardwoods. I like a two sided bench with a gap in the middle allowing clamping from both sides. The best bench I ever had was made up of 3" birch planks that had come from Brookstone shop shelving, each side maybe 10" wide and the whole 20' long. Solid and fully useful.
    While being kind to sharp edges matters - I was thinking about the significant saideways loads put on a bench by planing, sawing etc - a heavy well braced bench really really helps.
    I'd much rather lay in my bunk all freakin day lookin at Youtube videos .

  23. #23
    Join Date
    Feb 2001
    Location
    Seattle, WA USA
    Posts
    13,015

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Thad View Post
    P.I.s question (I presume) relates to bench material where some woods are hard on tool edges, maple and beech being pretty good with some soft woods and other smooth grain hardwoods. I like a two sided bench with a gap in the middle allowing clamping from both sides. The best bench I ever had was made up of 3" birch planks that had come from Brookstone shop shelving, each side maybe 10" wide and the whole 20' long. Solid and fully useful.

    Quote Originally Posted by P.I. Stazzer-Newt View Post
    While being kind to sharp edges matters - I was thinking about the significant saideways loads put on a bench by planing, sawing etc - a heavy well braced bench really really helps.

    Agreed. Benches for hand tool work need mass and rigidity. Clamping requirements are also different.

    Sam Maloof was a power tool woodworker who made some nice stuff, though I'm not a fan of that California roundover style.

    This is his workbench. No clamping capabilities at all save the end vise.

    You would not enjoy Nietzsche, sir. He is fundamentally unsound. — P.G. Wodehouse (Carry On, Jeeves)

  24. #24
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Posts
    1,247

    Default Re: Workbench advice

    I'm QUOTE=Stiletto;6273424]Your height and width dimensions seem about right to me, pretty much what mine is. Mine has particle board flooring for the top, to which I gave a couple of coats of polyurethane. The appearance isn't a problem to me as it is much the same as Jim's by being covered in accumulata, which sounds so much better than junk![/QUOTE]

    I cannot recall ever seeing any clutter on Jim's Benches?

  25. #25
    Join Date
    Jan 2000
    Location
    Portland, Maine
    Posts
    20,462

    Default Re: Workbench advice

    I like to have some benches at different heights. Sometimes a taller bench is just right for up close finicky work. And a lower bench is nice for working on larger things. I’ve been thinking of making some 1-2-3 boxes, maybe stitch and glue.

    But first, I’m going to make a Moravian Bench that I’ll be able to take to job sites.


  26. #26
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    Wongawallan Oz
    Posts
    16,047

    Default Re: Workbench advice

    [QUOTE=StevenBauer;6276519]

    But first, I’m going to make a Moravian Bench that I’ll be able to take to job sites.

    Oh I do like that!!!
    Larks

    “It’s impossible”, said pride.
    “It’s risky”, said experience.
    “It’s pointless”, said reason.
    “Give it a try”, whispered the heart.

    LPBC Beneficiary

    "Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great!"

  27. #27
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    Port Townsend WA
    Posts
    14,462

    Default Re: Workbench advice

    I do have a tray built into the back of my bench in order to give storage to my most used tools like squares and rulers. Other items can be quickly taken off if space is needed. The tray shelf on the back has ends that are on a 45deg slant to allow for easy sweeping out of dust and dirt but the slanted portion is square on the outside. Incidentally, this bench was made up from a bench that was donated by a friend and was only the top sans tray, vises or legs. It was just a bolted together fir top. I would never use fir again and would opt for maple as it is less prone to warpage and splintering. I give it a coat of shellac every few years that is applied with a rag.
    Jay

  28. #28
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    Port Townsend WA
    Posts
    14,462

    Default Re: Workbench advice

    The weight of tools stored in the drawers adds to the stability of this bench. In case of need of moving the bench to another location, the top is morticed into the base which makes it more manageable.
    Jay
    Here the sliding support horse is being made. It can be simply lifted from its wooden track when not needed or just slid to one side for drawer access. There is a dovetail vise made of wood on the end that supports the pattern makers vise. The pattern makers vise is a scaled down version of a much larger one and is a God send as it can handle most any shape or angle by being able to be rotated in many directions and can also conform to any irregular angle of stock.

  29. #29
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    Port Townsend WA
    Posts
    14,462

    Default Re: Workbench advice

    Sliding horse for long or door panels. It was made of a bar clamp for height adjustment.
    Jay

  30. #30
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    Port Townsend WA
    Posts
    14,462

    Default Re: Workbench advice

    Here is the way the drawers are set up. Since I do a lot of joinery and carving, I have my chisels stored in the drawers where the are easy to get to. The drawers are made with an inner laminate of Palonia wood which absorbs moisture to cut down on oxidation. Hence the odd dovetail joinery. The shape of the pull knobs allows a reversed grip to allow two fingers to grab and pull easily.

  31. #31
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    Port Townsend WA
    Posts
    14,462

    Default Re: Workbench advice

    This was just for the fun of it. A sloppy dovetail job. Jay

    This bench was built during my rehab from heart surgery. I hope some of the ideas will be of use to some one here.
    It ended up being a bit over done just because of the time I had available and it kept me from being bored.
    Jay

  32. #32
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    Port Townsend WA
    Posts
    14,462

    Default Re: Workbench advice

    Here is a close look at the Shaker style drawer pulls I made up.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •