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Work bench smack down

516381 Views 18429 Replies 422 Participants Last post by  Admin
After a comment on my bench about a bench off, I thought its a great idea. There all the threads about planes, braces, powertools of your dreams, etc. How about it on benches.
Pic of your bench or one you are going to buy or build and Why its best. The topic should provide some info for the woodworking getting ready to build or buy as well as give us a place to gloat.
Plus even though I'm not building another bench, I still love looking at others.

I haven't been on in a while but I just seen a pm when i got on today. It appears the tag "smackdown" is being added to the benches shown here, so you can click here and see em all.
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I shall post my ugly as sin rock solid bench.

Table Furniture Wood Wood stain Flooring

Wood Flooring Wood stain Floor Plank

As far as a dream bench. A solid Roubo style with no tool well would fit the bill quite well. Anything that weighs 400+ should be fine.


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Smitty. Your bench is one of my favorites here on Lj's to drool over. The story behind the thing is great too.
This just makes me want my Roubo. Good lord, my bench is ugly, the pragmatist in me loves that my bench is ugly as hell and I can put nails in the top to hold a workpeice if I feel the need…..the jeweler is being driven a bit mad by the gaps in the top.

I would prefer Smitty's shaping of the legvise as opposed to Schwarz since it would seem to be able to grip large peices better for edge jointing since you gould have better contact with the jaw.

Need to build a crochett…just for fun.

lj61673, that is an amazing looking bench, a few dents from use will just make it more magnificent. Enjoy.
I had a question today. How the heck to you set a wagon vise into a solid slab top? I think this is one area where the only thing I could think up was a router to cut the track out.

Any thoughts on how a galoot would get this done?
Sounds like I am going to be sucking dust when I build mine. But I guess I need to track down a slab first.
That might be wise. The grain can trap all sorts of crap that can scuff up your work (especially so if you do any reclamation lumber). I am not sure the best way to fill the pores though because I have never done it.
I think they are pretty in a Spartan sense of the word….I see you got three two I understand, what would you use the 3rd one for?

I love mine.
Either….Round are easier to retrofit and better compatible with other accesories.

However I think the square ones hold a bit better long term and are easier to make.

Final answer. I use both….you can never have too many either.

Follow up question: Where do you poke holes in your bench?
What littile things about your bench bug you….and why haven't you fixed them yet? Going through a massive teardown redo on my bench right now. I posted this on HOYD but it would better fit here:

In a fit of annoyance. I tore apart my workbench this weekend all the little issues with it have started to add up. I started fixing them. Face vise now grips work like it should have in the first place. The handle is now secured with countersunk Phillips heads rather than the evil square heads that I could never tighten quickly because I always had to find the tool. Also I put shock absorption into the handle of the face vise handle by placing rubber rings in between the end caps and the metal t-handle…thank you Lie Nielsen for that idea. I also cut the end of my workbench off (square this time), and recessed my end vise. I reworked my shelf nailing it to the bottom of the stretchers as opposed to sitting on top (looks better and gives more room for hold fasts and clamps on both the top and the stretcher). While I had the thing upside down I took the time to rout a groove for an eventual sliding deadman. I now need to:

Recut a second jaw for my end vise
Drill a secondary set of doc holes.
Build and instal sliding deadman on the lower track I have yet to build.
Drill a set of dog holes for my face vise.
Install a planing stop on the end of my bench
Attach two walls to the shelves I installed to make sure nothing ends up on the floor that I don't want to.

My question….which I realize should be posted in the workbench smack-down forum is this: have you ever had one minor irritation turn into a several part project on you…what made you snap? For me it was my face vise slipping while trying to joint and edge.

I forgot, I also will be reshaping my face vise just to make it a tad prettier.
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You of course win, Andy.
Wood Flooring Floor Hardwood Lumber

About 80 percent done with modifications
Wood Table Workbench Hardwood Flooring


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I was able to use a plow plane last night without a sticking board…joygasm.
Al. My next bench will have a wagon vise…but only if I have a shaving horse as well. I like using the end vise while standing for shaping long parts with a spokshave or a drawknife. If you have a wagon you lose this feature. However you gain a ton of workpeice support an nice feature on thin and narros peices.

Sawgasm…spliting the line with a 4 1/2 tpi saw on a gorgeous peice of beech.
The reason it's nice is because there is nothing but air next to your workpeice. If you try the opperation at your face vise the benchtop often interferes with the handles of the tool. Again if you have a shavehorse this is a moot point.

I would not need much prodding either, my problem is coming up with a decent space to put it. Workbench, toolchest, sharpening station, sawbenches…it starts to add up. I keep drawing out my shop in hopes that I figure out a way to get a springpole lathe and a shavehorse in there, but the math just has not worked yet.

Al…get a drawknife. Ripping a 1/4 off a wide board with one is VERY satisfying, faster than a scrub or a saw any day.
Or trap the jig inbetween your benchtop and a holdfast.
I do it Andy's way. It makes afor tighter looking joints…especiailly when you add it a drawbore. Compression is a beautiful thing.

But the jig is still cool.
Smitty 2" is what I drilled my new set at…wonderful.

I yhave another dog hole related question….how the hell do you operate dogs in a Nicholsen type bench? Does the skirt get in the way or am I just overthinking this?
I am so glad you went with mildly contrasting woods. Sublty goes such a long way to making a lasting Peice of…well anything really.

Can't wait to see you build the base.
Mauricio. Thanks for the link. My wife has convinced me to start offering classes as part of the B&B. As a result I have had portible benches on the brain. This is a great one.

But I still like the idea of a knockdown Nicholson.
Yes Mauricio. My wife and I run a bed and breakfast. I'll send you a link if you remind me.

The Morovian is awesome…but a bit time consuming for what I plan on doing. I have always wanted to try out a Nicholson bench but don't really have the space. I plan on making it a dedicated outdoor (under a roof on the north side of my house) bench tha I can use to do the classes outside.

I have not seen a knockdown version either….let me know if you do. I am somewhat confounded how to attach the top to the splayed legs, I have a few ideas but none that I like just yet.
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