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Martyn's Bench-top Bench

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Project by mvo1948 posted 02-22-2019 02:54 PM 1000 views 1 time favorited 16 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I finally joined the Lumberjocks community a few weeks ago, and in my hello message I mentioned I was going to make a small bench to sit atop a Black & Decker Workmate in my loft workspace.

I’ve now completed it, and I’m much more pleased with it than I ought to be.

It’s made of reclaimed oak floorboards. As part of the reclamation, the boards had been thicknessed, and milled to a tongue-and-groove profile. The offcuts had been thrown in a skip, and that’s where I rescued them from. Each offcut was between 25 and 27 inches long, 9 inches broad including the tongue, and 7/8 inch thick.

I borrowed a bandsaw and cut away the grooves on some of them and the tongues on the others, and trimmed them to 24 inches in length. Each board was then about 8 inches across. Keeping the grain in mind I ripped two of them to 4 inches, fitted tongues into grooves, and ended up with two planks of 24×12, which I laminated together back to front (i.e. with the joins staggered). I used the other ripped boards to make legs and bracers. The legs have ledges at the feet to allow them to be clamped to the workmate. Everything is screwed together using brass screws (to avoid oak tannin stains) coated in my own beeswax, and the structure is held square with two 8mm threaded stainless steel tie rods. Overall, it measures 2ft x 1ft x 9in high, and add on about 2 3/4 inches for the thickness of the vice chops. It weighs somewhere in the region of 20lb.

I attached an apron about 6 inches across, which forms the fixed chop of the Moxon-type vice. The moveable chop is made of two boards laminated together, about 5 1/2 inches across. I bored the holes for the screw threads using an augur bit, and filed those in the moveable chop to give a bit of lateral movement to discourage racking.

Sourcing the hardware was the hardest part. When I was looking, I could find no source of the right kind of acme screw thread and handwheel here in the UK unless I was prepared to pay close on £200 pounds for an import. I decided I would have to import my own hardware, and I settled on the set from Texas Heritage Woodworks (https://www.txheritage.net/vise-hardware). It’s not pretty, but it does the job in just the way I wanted it to, and – although still expensive, because of shipping, import duty and handling charge – it didn’t cost the earth.

My bench-top bench is rough and ready. The oak boards had a few shakes on the underside, and the grooves were deeper than the tongues: these show on the benchtop ends. But it’s a workbench, not a coffee table, and it’s as solid as a rock. It will do me fine.

-- Martyn





16 comments so far

View Jim Rowe's profile

Jim Rowe

1075 posts in 2615 days


#1 posted 02-22-2019 04:44 PM

Nice bench. Recycled oak floorboards are a good, cheap, source of stable wood. I use them regularly.
Jim

-- It always looks better when it's finished!

View mvo1948's profile

mvo1948

12 posts in 58 days


#2 posted 02-22-2019 04:45 PM

Thanks, Jim!

-- Martyn

View kiefer's profile

kiefer

5652 posts in 2969 days


#3 posted 02-22-2019 05:00 PM

View Jim Rowe's profile

Jim Rowe

1075 posts in 2615 days


#4 posted 02-22-2019 05:45 PM

I’ll be making a mini bench shortly using threaded wood dowels.
Jim

-- It always looks better when it's finished!

View mvo1948's profile

mvo1948

12 posts in 58 days


#5 posted 02-22-2019 06:20 PM

Kiefer wrote:


Here is a source for hardware in the UK
https://www.accu.co.uk/102-threaded-bars#elasticsearch_id_feature_721311=721311_16&id_elasticsearch_category=102&orderby=ranking&orderway=asc

You’re right, Kiefer, and thank you. In fact, Accu were very helpful, and we exchanged a series of emails and quotes. The problem was that they did not supply from stock handwheels that would fit, and lock onto, the right diameter of trapezoidal threaded bar I wanted – which would have been ideal since it would move the machinery back and forth beneath the bench top in the way that Benchcrafted’s vice does. (That would have been the ideal set-up, because there would be no protruding screws from the front of the vice.) They offered to machine keyways into the handwheels and bars to take Woodruff keys, which would have been the answer. But the cost of that would have been way more than the cost of Benchcrafted’s already made-up vice. Even without the keys and keyways, Accu’s hardware worked out about half as much again as Texas Heritage Woodwork’s. In fact, if I was going to build this again, I’d look at using Veritas screws, which are cheaper, available in the UK, and would do a similar job. They were apparently out of stock when I needed them.

-- Martyn

View mvo1948's profile

mvo1948

12 posts in 58 days


#6 posted 02-22-2019 06:23 PM

Jim wrote:


I’ll be making a mini bench shortly using threaded wood dowels.

Are you going to cut the threads yourself? I thought about that, but the cutters are incredibly expensive. But when they work, they’re good. I have a French wine bottle cork puller, made of boxwood, which has a wooden thread. it turns like butter.

-- Martyn

View Jim Rowe's profile

Jim Rowe

1075 posts in 2615 days


#7 posted 02-22-2019 08:42 PM

Martyn
I have a thread cutting tap and die kit that produces excellent results. I use beech dowel that I soak in linseed oil for lubrication. The kit cost about £30 – well worth it!
Jim

-- It always looks better when it's finished!

View Richard's profile

Richard

11228 posts in 3335 days


#8 posted 02-22-2019 09:50 PM

Very Nice Project & Well Done Martyn!

-- Richard (Ontario, CANADA)

View mvo1948's profile

mvo1948

12 posts in 58 days


#9 posted 02-23-2019 07:24 AM



Very Nice Project & Well Done Martyn!

- Richard


Thanks, Richard.

-- Martyn

View LittleBlackDuck's profile

LittleBlackDuck

2274 posts in 1123 days


#10 posted 02-23-2019 10:49 AM

Great intro project m’1948 and welcome to LJ. I’ve been a fan of “bench-top benches” (mini-workbench) for many years (well many if you count on two fingers)... not so much as to save the back but to lift up my work to an acceptable focal length… if the 1948 refers to dob, you probably know what I mean.


Jim wrote:

I’ll be making a mini bench shortly using threaded wood dowels.

Are you going to cut the threads yourself? I thought about that, but the cutters are incredibly expensive.

m’1948 and JR, no idea what you have looked at, however, have you checked out the Beall woodthreader kits? As a kit, they are cheaper than the single threading units (accumulated), better quality and does a fantastic job (beats thread chasing)... downside is you need a router… though I’ve found a trimmer to be better (with micro-adjustment)... and of course the range of threaders you plan to use in the future. I’ve found that the dowels are the challenge, especially if you wan’t to play with exotics.

-- If your first cut is too short... Take the second cut from the longer end... LBD

View kiefer's profile

kiefer

5652 posts in 2969 days


#11 posted 02-23-2019 02:17 PM

Martyn
Here is a inexpensive way to to adapt wheels .
https://www.lumberjocks.com/projects/106087
I have used these for all my vise builds and they work well and cost a fraction of commercial wheels .

-- Kiefer https://www.youtube.com/user/woodkiefer1/videos

View Grumpy's profile

Grumpy

24975 posts in 4153 days


#12 posted 02-24-2019 01:26 AM

Martyn , nice job and congratulations on your ‘Daily Top 3’ award.

-- Grumpy - "Always look on the bright side of life"- Monty Python

View therealSteveN's profile

therealSteveN

2226 posts in 877 days


#13 posted 02-24-2019 06:33 AM

A great help for an aching back, and poor eyesight, but in truth anyone will make better DT cuts getting the work up into a comfort zone. Moxon’s are great by themselves, but with that support deck it’s going to be something you’ll enjoy. That hardware looks great. I imagine those ears are easy to handle.

Nice job, thanks for posting.

-- Think safe, be safe

View mvo1948's profile

mvo1948

12 posts in 58 days


#14 posted 03-15-2019 10:58 AM



Great intro project m 1948 and welcome to LJ. I ve been a fan of “bench-top benches” (mini-workbench) for many years (well many if you count on two fingers)... not so much as to save the back but to lift up my work to an acceptable focal length… if the 1948 refers to dob, you probably know what I mean.

LBD, yes, I certainly do know what you mean! Sorry for the delay in responding – I’ve been away – but I’ve now had a chance to use the benchtop bench gainfully, and it does exaactly those things you describe, and exctly those things for which it was intended.

-- Martyn

View mvo1948's profile

mvo1948

12 posts in 58 days


#15 posted 03-15-2019 11:00 AM



Martyn , nice job and congratulations on your Daily Top 3 award.

- Grumpy


Thanks, Grumpy! I had no idea, btw, that there was a Daily Top 3, nor hat my post was interesting enough to attract an award!

-- Martyn

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