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Submitted on the old website by tmize

So I’m really wanting to build another workbench this year. Background for those that don’t know I use a lot of hand tools. So it needs to be solid and heavy. I had just about made of my mind an build bench crafted classic roubo know I catch myself looking at the Nicholson style now an can see the benefits of the wide apron. I know I want a leg vise for sure an thick top for pounding an holdfast an 8-9’ long. I don’t wanna do some hybrid I believe these designs have stood the test of time an i not one to reinvent the wheel. 

Follow up posts

1) Maybe @chet will post a picture of his bench that we retrofitted a leg vise on??

In the meantime, here's the video of us doing it..

 

2) I’ve seen his in a few of his shop pic posts lately an that’s kinda what got me thinking about it. It’s a nice bench

3) He's a south paw but, the vise could go on either side..  

It is a nice bench!  With the leg vise and a tail vise, you pretty much get both benches.  If there's a downside, you can't use that entire apron because of the leg vise.  You could drop the apron on both sides for those rare occasions when you needed the entire apron though.

4) Not being to use the whole apron wouldn’t be problem I don’t think. I like it for being able to standing a longer piece up to work on the end grain. I won’t be doing a tail vice on this bench. I have one now on me bench an rarely use it. I use a shop made planing stop or sticking board for nearly everything now. The old bench isn’t going anywhere so if I do happen to need it.

5) Honestly for a second bench, I think the 1 Kev built with his son would work well. I'm sure you could easily modify to get all your work holding needs.

6) That bench is made from 8/4 poplar because at the time I wasn't sure that was the design I wanted, but I needed to start somewhere and didn't want to spend a lot on an experiment. The aprons on both sides and the top are doubled up so they are 3 1/2 thick and my Gramercy hold fasts work real well. I do have a Veritas inset vise on the opposite end from the leg.

I would guess that it is some were around 275+ pounds but every time I have to move it it gets heavier. 🤪

7) Here's that build video..  Total build cost was around 1400 but, could dig up the actual number if you're interested..

It's a really good bench and all set up for the leg vise which would, of course, be an additional cost..

8  So, this showed up in my feed this morning. It's not my style and certainly wouldn't work in my shop but, maybe you can find some use out of the video..

9) Interesting build but not for me

10) So when figuring waste amount for a glue up top is 10-15% still seem about right? I know when I did my current bench seem like I remember sweating a lil bit getting toward the end that I bought enough. But it was also some narley looking white oak so I cut around some bad spots. I have thought about doing a popular base an most likely maple for the top an vice chop

11) Ultimately, that depends on the lumber selection if that's enough..

Absolutely nothing wrong with using poplar in the base!  The kids (blue) bench, that base is all from poplar and I have zero complaints about it!

12) And as mentioned above mine is all poplar. Yea it has some dents in it but I guess that is because it gets used, sometimes for things it wasn't originally designed for.

13) My main work bench. I laminated a bunch of the cheapest pine kiln dried 2 x 4's that money could buy together. Made a frame up from rough sawn fence wood [was even cheaper than the bench top wood]. 

 
Once the bench top dried I router ed the top side and bottom side flat, though probably not parallel with each other. Welded up some brackets and bolted it down to the frame. Presto a nice solid work bench. 
 
00 Work Bench before.JPG01 Work Bench now flat.JPG
 
BEFORE                                 FINISHED
 
I now have an old wood workers vice on the front side and a basic vice on the short side. I also routered some slots along the back about 100mm in and a slot at each end running at 90degrees which I added some T track to. Then drilled some holes big enough to drop some bench dogs into. 
 
02 Work Bench Finished.JPG
Looks like this
 
Now its covered in paint, blobs of glue, saw cuts, dents, drill holes, hammer holes, weld burns, skill saw fark up cuts etc. . . 
 
It ain't not fancy but it does the job. When It gets too rough a give it a bit of love with the belt sander and my big hand plane and start again.
 
Yeeee haaaaa!!!!
 
14) Saw this one in the WTO FB feed this morning..  

Here is a Nicholson-style workbench I recently finished up. Soft maple throughout with Benchcrafted hardware. The design is based heavily upon Ron Brese's design (from Brese Plane). Some of you may be familiar with the high-end hand planes he builds. His bench build with a little more detail is documented here on his blog:  breseplane.blogspot.com/2017/02/new-bench-is-finished-jameel-comes-to.html
While looking for bench designs online some time ago, I came across this design and it actually led me down a path to reconnect me with Ron. He was my soccer coach growing up and I went to school and played on the same team as his sons. I knew he did furniture and finishing work around that time but he moved into custom plane work after I graduated from high school. It has been fun to reconnect, get to see his bench and other projects in person, and talk shop when I go home for Christmas each year.
He eventually convinced me to build this bench versus a Roubo and I'm pretty happy with it. Total time invested is a little less than 80 hours, so it was quicker than most Roubo builds. It is still plenty heavy and I suspect should remain dimensionally stable and flat as well given the stiffness provided by the aprons. And the overall design is self squaring as long as the leg structure is square. Plus it comes apart easily, which is a benefit for my basement shop.
It certainly has been nice to have such convenient work holding as it is already seeing some use.
Image may contain: people sitting, table and indoor

Chris Goodman Bench.jpg
 
15) I like that. Unfortunately the bench build may get pushed back again due to life again
 
16) Shame you weren't closer!  You could be my one week project
 
17 )Yea it’s a shame it would be a fun time
 
 
 
 
 

“If you don’t have time to do it right, when will you have time to do it over?”  John Wooden

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Before I moved out of my 9' by 12' shop into the one my wife had built for me, I spent a lot of time screaming at the $120. chinese bench I bought. And, with good reason, the dog holes were 5/8ths the vise racked worse than anything you could dream up, even with spacers it still racked.  So when I moved into the new shop, I scouted around for some wood that was inexpensive aka: cheap, and I came up with some air dried poplar and pine.  With oak I had in the shop and two vises I bought off Grizzly, this is what I built.  It ain't a Roubo, nor any known bench, but it does what I needed in a bench. and is getting beat to hell proudly. And the damn thing gets heavier weekly.  I made my own stops and drilled the proper hole for my holdfasts. The base is all 4"x 6" pine. The top is 12/4 poplar, with an added 1" board under all the dog holes. On the left end I added later a place to put a roll of butcher paper , so when I do any finishing, I can keep the top somewhat un ruined. [Ha} It's beat to hell, but its a tool and I treat it like a tool, not furniture.  I make furniture on it.  And you can see, It works.

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3 minutes ago, Spanky said:

Coop, that table was new in the first two pics. No lighter’s or cigar’s on the table. 😃

I'll fix that for ya.   Hey Rickey, go down to the "Lumber" section and read what I said about you, maybe you could post a way for the guys to get in touch other than through a PM.

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That is a nice bench Rick.  Kind of a Roubo base and Nicholson top.

“If you don’t have time to do it right, when will you have time to do it over?”  John Wooden

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3 hours ago, Tmize said:

I still haven’t got around to starting the build yet. But Rick your bench is just about what I had sketched up with a leg vise instead of the front vise. 

I bought those vises to use in two different places, even before I thought about building the bench. Then the bench wood was found, and I thought, hell, just use what you have.  It's worked fine so far, though the center of the bench dropped about 3/32nds. I guess there was still some moisture in the poplar.  I don't use it for being sure it's a flat piece, I use the chinese bench that is flat and is now my outfeed table.

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Instead of creating a new topic at this time I figured I would ask my questions here.  If I remember to take pictures maybe I will start a journal.  

A little aspect of design.  I have done a sketch model (crayon drawing may be just as good) up of a split top bench (Like Kev did with his son), the base is going to be 48" X 22".  The top will be 66" long which is about the max I can really dedicate.  I am planning on the top being 4" thick. but may go 3"  So my questions:

1)  Would you center the top evenly, this would create a 9" overhang on both ends of the bench?  Or would you offset so 1 side is 18" over and the other end flush?  My last thought was to have 1 end offset by 15" and the other side would hang over the end 3"  See 3 Photos

2)  I believe I have enough wood on hand to do the legs at either 4" x 3" or 5" x 3", what would most people prefer?

3)  My plan based on the 4" top is to do a 2 inch tenon on each leg into a mortise on the underside of the top. Is this overkill or would 1" suffice?

4)  So if I can do each board for the top at 1 1/2" wide, I will need 12 boards, plus I would need two 1" boards near the gap in the middle to accomplish 22" wide bench.  The gap is planned for 2" at this time.  Would I be better to ditch the 1" boards near the gap and make the gap basically 4"?  

Let me explain the stretchers in the images below.  First I messed up in sketchup and this was my work around.  Second I am either going to mortise the stretchers into the legs and maybe some type of mechanical fastener or do a dovetail (not sure I will have enough material should I F it up).

Fire away with any suggestions. and if I am delusional about my plan just say it!

I forgot - I am going to use my grandfathers vise that I just restored as a front vise.  I am trying to future proof should I ever want to add the Benchcrafted or Hovarter Leg vise and maybe a tail vise down the road.  

 

Centered.jpg

Full Offset.jpg

Partial Offset.jpg

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1 hour ago, Woodenskye (Bryan) said:

1)  Would you center the top evenly, this would create a 9" overhang on both ends of the bench?  Or would you offset so 1 side is 18" over and the other end flush?  My last thought was to have 1 end offset by 15" and the other side would hang over the end 3"  See 3 Photos

I would have an overhang of some sort on both ends.  If you want it off set I would make the short end still capable of taking the full throat depth of my biggest clamp, whether it is an f-style or parallel.  Some day you are going to need to clamp something to the bench and if you don't have an over hang on one end Mr. Murphy is going to make sure you regret not having it.

1 hour ago, Woodenskye (Bryan) said:

I believe I have enough wood on hand to do the legs at either 4" x 3" or 5" x 3", what would most people prefer?

If down the road you do add a leg vise the 5 inch width will come in handy.  With Benchcrafted you have a Dado down the center of your leg for the Criss Cross hardware and part of the dado is 2 1/2 wide.  If you have enough lumber it might be worth making whichever leg you might use in the future for the vise 6 or 7 inches wide.  Which leg depends on whether you are a lefty or righty.

1 hour ago, Woodenskye (Bryan) said:

3)  My plan based on the 4" top is to do a 2 inch tenon on each leg into a mortise on the underside of the top. Is this overkill or would 1" suffice?

1 inch should be fine.  I think that is all Marc had on the Roubo in the guild build.

As far as the gap, it can be a matter of personal preference.  Again for clamping purposes can you get the head of a parallel clamp through it, but on the flip side I don't have a gap in my bench and have never wish I had it.  4 inches is probably big enough for something really nice like a block plane or hand plane to fall through and go all the way to the floor.

All the opinions above are strictly those of the author. 😉

P.S. my bench is the same length as yours if you want a visual of what that would be like.

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“If you don’t have time to do it right, when will you have time to do it over?”  John Wooden

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18 minutes ago, Woodenskye (Bryan) said:

so no need for a picture,

I figured you had seen it I was just referencing how long it was compared to yours. 🙂

“If you don’t have time to do it right, when will you have time to do it over?”  John Wooden

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2 hours ago, Woodenskye (Bryan) said:

Instead of creating a new topic at this time I figured I would ask my questions here.  If I remember to take pictures maybe I will start a journal.  

A little aspect of design.  I have done a sketch model (crayon drawing may be just as good) up of a split top bench (Like Kev did with his son), the base is going to be 48" X 22".  The top will be 66" long which is about the max I can really dedicate.  I am planning on the top being 4" thick. but may go 3"  So my questions:

1)  Would you center the top evenly, this would create a 9" overhang on both ends of the bench?  Or would you offset so 1 side is 18" over and the other end flush?  My last thought was to have 1 end offset by 15" and the other side would hang over the end 3"  See 3 Photos

 

I saw/read your post on my phone at work but, wanted to wait until I got to the hotel to respond where I have an actual keyboard..lol

The end offsets really depend on a few things..

  1. Any end vise that may be in the long term plans.  If you're thinking the BC set up, this requires a little more overhang.  I don't recall the exact measurement off the top of my head but, it's a consideration.  If you go with the Veritas or HNT, then the overhang doesn't matter.  And, you'll want to do some more homework if you want to go with Andy Klein's turbo vise as an end vise which would be pretty cool!
  2. Front or Leg Vise - If you go with a leg vise, you'll want a little overhang on this end to allow some design room for the chop.

So, figuring that stuff out should answer your questions about where to locate the top side to side.

2 hours ago, Woodenskye (Bryan) said:

 

2)  I believe I have enough wood on hand to do the legs at either 4" x 3" or 5" x 3", what would most people prefer?

 

Structurally, either is fine.  I would look at the plans for the leg vise of choice and let that drive your decision.  In the case of the BC hardware, you can download the plans without buying the hardware and it's a lot easier to cut the joinery without the leg attached.  Even if you're not ready to spring for the hardware yet, this would severely pay off down the road.

2 hours ago, Woodenskye (Bryan) said:

 

3)  My plan based on the 4" top is to do a 2 inch tenon on each leg into a mortise on the underside of the top. Is this overkill or would 1" suffice?

 

Reality is that this M&T attachment is ultimately to prevent the top from sliding side to side.  What I typically do is just take the mortise as deep as the router bit that I have on hand for the job and it's always been fine.  I've never had an issue.

2 hours ago, Woodenskye (Bryan) said:

 

4)  So if I can do each board for the top at 1 1/2" wide, I will need 12 boards, plus I would need two 1" boards near the gap in the middle to accomplish 22" wide bench.  The gap is planned for 2" at this time.  Would I be better to ditch the 1" boards near the gap and make the gap basically 4"?  

 

Assuming you're going with 8/4 material, what I did is only mill until they were flat trying to get as much material as possible out of each board.  Doing this usually means you don't need the 1" thin board.  

As for the gap, I would not do a 4" gap.  I noticed recently that Marc changed his insert.  He cut down the middle so that it was a recessed tray rather than a tool holder.  He did leave the ends the standard height to act as a planing stop.  I don't know if this is right for you as I think you use a great deal more hand tools than he does but, thought you might want to go take a look..

2 hours ago, Woodenskye (Bryan) said:

 

Full Offset.jpg

Partial Offset.jpg

It's hard to tell from your drawing but, one of the most important things (IMO) about this bench is that the front of the bench and the base all be flush.  This is what allows you to clamp items to the front of the bench.  Either in a leg vise of clamps.  As for the joinery on these connections, just about anything will work.  I've done them with traditional M&T as well as Domino XV and not had any issues.

Couple thoughts in closing:

  1. Top Thickness - I know earlier you mentioned the possibility of a 3" thick top.  Again, just my opinion but, I would stick with hardwood and as close to 4" as you can if you plan to use hold fasts.  I use them all the time and love them!
  2. Dog Holes - Just something to think about in your design.  Their location depends a bit on the tail vise that you choose but, it's much easier to take care of on an individual board rather than an entire slab!  As for the round vs square debate, as far as I'm concerned, there's no wrong answer.  I'll admit that I do like my square ones a little better than my round ones but, they both work just fine!
  3. Storage - Not sure if you're considering storage?  Of all the ones I've built, I like the storage solution in my kid's bench better than any other's I've done.  Just remember to measure the hold fast depth before deciding the height of your storage solution.
  4. The kid's bench - You may or may not know but, the plans for that bench are over on my website and free for the download.. https://www.kevswoodworks.com/plans-download

Sorry for being long winded, I just wanted to be thorough since you took the time to type out all the info 😉

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14 minutes ago, Jamie said:

I have a silly question for you all, since I don’t have a dedicated bench.  Why do you want the gap in the middle of the top? 

The "gap" works for a few things..

  1. When removed, it becomes a great place to drop clamps in the middle of the bench
  2. When removed, it creates an awesome place for the saw blade when breaking down sheet goods!
  3. Because it's notched to fit the base aprons, when slid to the side, it raises up about 1/2" creating a planing stop
  4. The smaller gap in the very middle is just the right size to store chisels and handsaws.  

Traditionally, the Roubo was designed for hand tool users.  As a mostly power tool person, I still appreciate the flexibility of the bench!

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4 minutes ago, Kev said:

The "gap" works for a few things..

  1. When removed, it becomes a great place to drop clamps in the middle of the bench
  2. When removed, it creates an awesome place for the saw blade when breaking down sheet goods!
  3. Because it's notched to fit the base aprons, when slid to the side, it raises up about 1/2" creating a planing stop
  4. The smaller gap in the very middle is just the right size to store chisels and handsaws.  

Traditionally, the Roubo was designed for hand tool users.  As a mostly power tool person, I still appreciate the flexibility of the bench!


As being a power tool dominate woodworker I could see the usefulness of being able to clamp in the middle of the bench. If you guys would see my collection of planes you would kick me off the forum! Heck I honestly don’t know the last time I used them   Most of them I know I haven’t touched, they are rusted up and doubt they are sharp.  They mostly all came in a box from an auction that I paid $8 for 3-4 planes.  Wish I knew more about them..

Are you ever worried about cutting into your bench if something moves on you?
 

With my adjustable height table having a ton of wiggle in it I’m considering a more dedicated bench. I really like the hold downs I see you guys use. Or is that something that I could incorporate into my bench? 

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1 minute ago, Jamie said:


As being a power tool dominate woodworker I could see the usefulness of being able to clamp in the middle of the bench. If you guys would see my collection of planes you would kick me off the forum! Heck I honestly don’t know the last time I used them   Most of them I know I haven’t touched, they are rusted up and doubt they are sharp.  They mostly all came in a box from an auction that I paid $8 for 3-4 planes.  Wish I knew more about them..

Are you ever worried about cutting into your bench if something moves on you?
 

With my adjustable height table having a ton of wiggle in it I’m considering a more dedicated bench. I really like the hold downs I see you guys use. Or is that something that I could incorporate into my bench? 

Might be time to crank up a new thread so we don't hijack this one..

I always triple check before the cut if my blade is running in that track.  The piece is also aways clamped down so that it can't move.

As for the hold downs, I'm assuming you're referring to the hold fasts?  Depending on the thickness of your top, they could work.  Hold fasts typically work best when the top is around 4 inches..

C'mon up to the shop and we'll toss you a dedicated bench together..  From experience, it can be done in about 4 days...lol

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The hold fasts are what I’m referring to. Never seen them before coming to the forum. My top is 1 1/2 thick, don’t think they would work. 
 

When this lock down is over let’s do it!  

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1 minute ago, Jamie said:

The hold fasts are what I’m referring to. Never seen them before coming to the forum. My top is 1 1/2 thick, don’t think they would work. 
 

When this lock down is over let’s do it!  

I should be home around the first of the month..  I've already had the virus and the beer is cold so, c'mon up..

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7 minutes ago, Kev said:

I should be home around the first of the month..  I've already had the virus and the beer is cold so, c'mon up..

Seriously??!!! Glad you are doing well! 
 

I like cold beer. 

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1 hour ago, Kev said:

I saw/read your post on my phone at work but, wanted to wait until I got to the hotel to respond where I have an actual keyboard..lol

Sorry for being long winded, I just wanted to be thorough since you took the time to type out all the info 😉

Kev, thanks for the response.  I probably won't hit on everything you typed.  1) if I add a tail vise, it will mostly be the LV like you used, not the benchcrafted.  2) the base and the top are flush in the design.  3) the material I have on hand is just under 8/4 so I'm going to shoot for 1 1/2, I know going to 24" would eliminate this.  4) I downloaded the plans and watched the videos again the other night.  5) I think I will adjust the offset from 15 - 3 to 12 - 6.

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2 minutes ago, Woodenskye (Bryan) said:

Kev, thanks for the response.  I probably won't hit on everything you typed.  1) if I add a tail vise, it will mostly be the LV like you used, not the benchcrafted.  2) the base and the top are flush in the design.  3) the material I have on hand is just under 8/4 so I'm going to shoot for 1 1/2, I know going to 24" would eliminate this.  4) I downloaded the plans and watched the videos again the other night.  5) I think I will adjust the offset from 15 - 3 to 12 - 6.

Give that HNT a good look as well for your tail vise.  It's holding power is better than the Veritas but, the insert can be finicky as well..  

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12 hours ago, Jamie said:


As being a power tool dominate woodworker I could see the usefulness of being able to clamp in the middle of the bench. If you guys would see my collection of planes you would kick me off the forum! Heck I honestly don’t know the last time I used them   Most of them I know I haven’t touched, they are rusted up and doubt they are sharp.  They mostly all came in a box from an auction that I paid $8 for 3-4 planes.  Wish I knew more about them..

Are you ever worried about cutting into your bench if something moves on you?
 

With my adjustable height table having a ton of wiggle in it I’m considering a more dedicated bench. I really like the hold downs I see you guys use. Or is that something that I could incorporate into my bench? 

I am a hand plane addict there I admit. Their is a learn curve to them for sure. Key is setting them up correctly for the task you want them to do. They are no different than a power tool. If you ever want to get them out a figure them out let me know I’ll help anyway I can. Just pm me or start a topic on it. 
 

Hold fast will hold in 1.5 worth of material.  Just make sure an rough up the post with some sandpaper first. They make specialty ones that hold all the way to 3/4.  Now if your bench is will shaky/unstable I wouldn’t bother the movement will cause them to loose up. 

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