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I am completely fed up with my current wobbly too short work table. Plus it is too damn big. I have been reading good reviews of the 60 inch bench from HF and before I go get one this weekend I was wondering about the depth. 20 inches sure does not seem like a lot.

Those of you who have these, do you find yourself wanting a deeper bench?

Forgot to mention my current table is 6'x8' That big a table is not luxury it is a PIA.

Thanks.
 

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I have 2 of those benches. 20" is fine for a work surface. The HF bench is an OK place to put your benchtop drillpress or dovetail machine. However, the HF bench is not really sturdy enough for handplaning, I have found.

You get a usable little vise and 4 drawers in it too, which is nice, considering the cost.

I'm fixing to build shipwright's V8 bench.

-Paul
 

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Like anything else HF sells, much improvement can be attained with a little tweaking or adding some bracing in the case of their workbench. Putting better wheels on a bench grinder for example gets you a tool that is equal to one costing 3x more.
 

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Just to be clear, I think the HF bench is a great value and quite usable for some things. And, I'm sure, as has been pointed out that with bracing, it can easily be made even better. It's a great, quick, starting point.
 

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I have one that I do a lot of handplaning on. Each end has 1/2" plywood boxing the legs in (outside only) and serving as hand plane racks, and the back has a large piece of pegboard stretched between legs. No excessive wobble from it. I find the 20" to be about right for most things. I have other tables/benches used for some assembly, etc. I wouldn't want one over 24".
 

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I believe you can go to the local HD or lowes and buy enough 2 by lumber to build a bench much stronger then the HF junk. They are too light too narrow and poorly built. I have seen that bench and in six months you will be wishing you never seen it. This is only my thoughts on it.
 

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Wood Hardwood Wood stain Plank Plywood


Wood Floor Flooring Wood stain Beam


a 2×6 brace running under the bottom shelf and a view of the leg vise brackets I made.
I have gathered enough maple to build a better bench, this HF one will be nice to help fabricate the new one. The last thing I would do is build a bench out of 2×4s. That is a fairly large piece of Snake wood I am planning on that bench. Also note the brace running along the back side flush with the top about mid way on the legs. Toss a hundred pounds of hand planes on the bottom shelf, and it can be pretty solid work bench.
 

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With a coupon and maybe a sale around $100. One cant buy the material for that…
If you live anywhere near where there are some constructions sites, you generally don't need to buy any material :)

Every weekend I take a drive through the various new residential areas around my house that have a few new homes being built. You can find all sorts of 2x and 4x material (and even larger) in various lengths, plywood, wiring, laminated goods, ducting, tubing, pvc and metal pipe, sheet metal and all sorts of other stuff just sitting there in the dumpster for anyone willing to snag it. It is really amazing at what you can find if you look. Some weekends there won't be squat… other weekends I'll hit a gold mine. After a while, you will have so much lumber that you won't know what to do with it all!

Cheers,
Brad

PS: Pallet wood is also a great source of hardwood, and while you may not want to make furniture for the house out of it, it's great for making stuff for the shop.

PSS: Another alternative is to find vintage metal desks on CL for cheap… built like a tank and make great work benches and tool stands with plenty of storage in the drawers. Last one I got was a vintage Steelcase desk w/return in practically mint condition for $40.
 

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I went from a plywood with legs affair, to the HF "cheap instant bench" as a quick fix to getting some things done. Fiddling around with it, I have a better idea on how I want to build a bench suited to the things I like to do.
By the way, the cast Tee handles on both vises, are from a local planning mill from the 1800s. I also made the acme threaded screws and nuts. The guide bars on the end vise are 1 1/8" chrome plated hydraulic rod. All the metal is from the local scrap yard! Adventures in remote living-next day delivery, no.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Thanks unbob and others. I was able to get with a coupon and a 20% off. I don't think they were supposed to do that though, so I bought two because I had some extra coupons. The wife said she thought one would be good as a little extra counter space in the kitchen. I am sure she will change her mind before too long and I will attach the two together. The one for the shop will be braced up. Looks easy enough. That leg vice is sweet. Did you build it?

As for the 2x idea. This was cheaper. After bracing it will will work fine until I can find some good hardwood. I want to make one right but can't afford it right now.
 

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The leg vise, I copied the original wood "oak in bad condition" and made it from hard maple.
The original screws were double lead acme, making for rapid closing, but at a cost of sensitivity for holding more delicate things. So, I made new screws and nuts single lead at 8 threads per inch, 1 1/16" diameter as per the originals. Using 1 1/8" guide bars on the end vise, the work does not contact the screw when laid across.
The depth of the bench works fine with me. The bench I will build "when I can" will be a couple of feet longer. I just don't need anything more elaborate then that.
When I put the HF bench together, I shortened it a little to match the height of the table saw in front of it, nice to steady long boards I run through the saw.
I will leave the HF bench as is. Making new vises for the new bench.
 

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I bought one a couple years ago when they were on sale.

I consider it an excellent…

...place to stack things you are too lazy to put away properly.
 
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