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I realize the answer is probably in this forum but I cannot read all 2100 replies.

I am about to get started on the construction of my base and need some advice on top to base attachment. I am a bit skeptical about using hardware as a don't want to need another doghole someday and drill into a lag screw. I have read a little about just putting good sized dowels in the tops of the legs with matching holes in the top and just letting it sit on top. My top is 116 lbs by itself right now, I still need to add some ash to the underside yet and two vises so it will get heavier yet.

Any thoughts?
Wood Wood stain Floor Hardwood Flooring
 

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I started off with the $175 workbench plan and incorporated a lot of other things into, turning out to be the $300 workbench.

It will be very similar to this (taken from this blog ) but It is still unbuilt and I am very open to suggestions.
 

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No split top, solid. I may go that way then. I'll modify my base to in that case.

Another question, I will be putting a deadman on this bench and I think that I will go with the triangle runner (^) on the bottom with a corresponding "^"on the bottom of the deadman. This is fine but I can never see in the pictures that people post how the top of the deadman is attached/slides on the bottom side of the bench.
 

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Wow, thanks for all the help guys (Mauricio, joewilliams, ScottyB) And thanks for the compliment Chris, the top took quit awhile for me to mill all of the boards and glue them up in small sections growing to larger sections. A lot of TB III was used in the making. If anyone was wondering I forgot to mention that the top is Ash with Purpleheart accents. The base will be all ash with a little purple flare as well. I can't wait to get a day or two off to really tackle this thing and finish it!

I wish I would've found this forum earlier. I think that I will go with the stub tenons (i.e., 1" dowels) and therefore that will slightly change my base build. The deadman hints and tips are great everyone. Thanks again everyone. If I run across anymore problems I can assure you that I'll come here first.
 

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Mauricio good point. I guess I considered them to do the same thing but they are different. I'd sleep better if I went with the stub tenons instead of the dowels. I am having a homemade sort of twin screw vise on the front face from two lee valley tail vise screws like this one.


I am doing a non traditional placement of a cabinet makers vise on the right end end towards the back. The placement will actually look just like this picture. Most benches have similar vises up to the front face of the bench but I want mine on the back. I am right handed so I like to cut on the right side of the bench (if that makes any sense) I guess I like to have my left hand resting on the actually work piece locked down in a vise.


I will be able to walk 360 around my bench so vises getting in my way aren't a concern as I will always have 2 vise free sides. The vise setup is similar to that of Robert Lang's 21st Century workbench here. I like the large vise on the front. I could just ramble forever on my workbench ideas but I have a few free hours this morning, the bench is calling me….and I also need a haircut.
 

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I like the shorter screw idea of the shoulder vise Chris but then your handle is always at the same spot, it won't move in, only your face will get closer to the bench and you'll always have the handle 7" out or whatever. Unless of course you are going to do a true shoulder vise.

Unless you can take that very end piece off and then somehow attach a the face right behind the handle..

Good point Jim, I will continue to follow this and keep updating with some pictures. I need to run to the sawmill about 30 miles away either tomorrow or Tuesday and pick up some more ash.
 

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Progress

I got my benchtop sanded down with a 48" sander today at a local sawmill ($1/min). Totally worth the $20, it's dead flat, just an amazing machine. I also picked up some more wood today that I had shorted myself. I'm up to about 95 BF. I started working on the base a little today but progress is moving slower than expected. The mortising takes a decent amount of time. I've finished 4 of the 12 mortises (one side). Hopefully I can get an early start tomorrow and maybe finish all of them up before work at 1 tomorrow.

Top after sanding (ended at 2.151" thick)
Wood Gas Composite material Metal Hardwood


Top already in use on "temporary" legs
Table Wood Tool Picture frame Floor


Left side dry fit test (pretty good)
Wood Flooring Floor Gas Hardwood


The two bigger 7/4 boards on the floor are the crossbeams for the front and back. You can see on the front one there is a bit of a live edge left on it (he only charged me according to the narrowest part of the board). I'm undecided on whether or not to feature it as part of the design or try and hide it on the back. If I feature it the live edge will be facing forward with the live edge on the bottom (I need to have the ^ on the top of the board for the sliding deadman so the live edge has to be on the bottom). Any thoughts on this, to feature or hide?
Wood Floor Flooring Gas Hardwood


Thanks in advance
 

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Interesting idea…A leg vise is kind of like a twin screw vise that is vertical, or vise versa (ha). Why hasn't someone tried to do a horizontal leg vise, one could use only one screw and save money, still have the pin parallel beam on one end…hmmm…

Thanks for that picture Jim
 

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Sylvain Thank you for that, I am curious as to the mechanism of it but I could not easily find more information on that particular vise. Very cool though.

Bench Height My current working table/workbench is about 39" high, pretty high. While on my last major mortise of my bench today I was definitely feeling it in my shoulders and elbows (I'm only 25, so I doubt it's arthritis!). I have been putting a lot of force downward with my chisels and a lot of hammering. I grabbed 4" of scraps for me to stand on and it made a world of difference. I wonder now if I've made my bench to high, but then again I remember that I will rarely be making this many mortises that are this big. I also like a good mix of hand and power tools.
 

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I was curious about making some dowels from some purpleheart so I can pin my tenons (and add a little accent). Looked around on here and found this video that was posted on a dowel forum about 3 years ago from LJ Edziu. Here it is. It's a great, cheap and simple idea to make dowels from anything that you have. I just wanted to re-share it with all of you in case someone needs it.
 

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Need advise/help

I was just going to post pictures of this but I figured a video would give you guys a better idea of what's going on. Long story short, vise closing problems. Video is about 4 minutes long.

Thanks for anythings LJ's

While I wait for this video to upload I am thinking that maybe, to avoid the redrilling/screw following old hole problem, I should just remount the plate under the bench (with the female threaded hole) back or forward 3/4" and adjust it appropriately for a better closing…

 

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Everything should be dead square (should) I had the top ran through a thickness sander (both sides) and the block underneath was jointed on two sides and planed on the others. My chop is good and square and it appears that everything is nice and square until the chop and end of the bench mate. I planed and sanded the block while attached to the bench to ensure evenness as well. I need to flip the top over today to install my other vise any how so I think that I will unscrew the plate and tinker with it a bit, if I cannot get it right still I will do what Mauricio and Andy suggested and plane little by little off of each until they mate nicely. Hopefully everything gets nice and square so my dog holes will work well too.

The "twin screw" vise should be easier to do since there are two screws I can partially control how it closes, although I have a huge chop for it (I may regret this later), it is 36" wide 5 1/2" tall and about 3+" thick. I wanted to be able to have at least 24" between the screws so I'm going with 24 1/2", plus the screw width (1 1/8×2 = 2 1/4") now we're at 26 3/4" and I wanted a decent amount on the side of each screw for other things, so about 5" on each side and now I'm roughly at 36"...oofdah. It will take up about half of the front of my bench, but the other side of my bench is totally open. I'm also starting to regret the LV tail vises that I'm using as they seem to have fairly tight threads (as compared to the Grizzly) and there are two of them so it will be slow opening and closing. It has crossed my mind to look for a couple gear to fix to the vises and run a chain between them (like a true twin screw vise)...perhaps later.

Here's the big vise glue up, setting as I type.
Wood Boats and boating--Equipment and supplies Composite material Mast Boat


Also I know my floor is very dirty in that picture, I was doing a lot of planing yesterday, and I do wear a respirator.
 

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update Sylvain You were right, I double checked my end to top and they were off. That explains the gap. As for the side to side being off I think that was the bottom plate, moved it and it's almost perfect. I'll post a video later when it's working properly. The combination of both was just bad news. Thanks everyone!
 

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So now that I am this far, while I wait for the video to upload, I feel victorious and defeated at the same time. I type this from the top of my new workbench…

Watch the video (if you have 3 minutes to spare), I have NO excuse for a deadman and my heart was set on one. The distance from my right screw to the front right leg is less than 24". I have 24" between my screws, why would I need a deadman to support something greater than that, at best I put holes in my right leg to support a piece longer than 24"...regardless…I wanted a sliding deadman (now it would just look dumb and only slide about 8" side to side).

The only other thing that I can think of that would have allowed me to effectively use a deadman is if I moved my twin screw vise to the right side since the top hangs over more on the right side (due to the depth of the cabinet makers vise). HUGE design flaw (draw more!!!!).

The blocks that support my vises are not just screwed in (actually they don't have any screws) they are glued and doweled in with dowels at angles to help with the physics of things (I think) so I cannot just take it off and move it…live and learn I guess. This is my first bench and I imagine that it will work great but right now I am a bit disappointed in myself and I think that I will have one more (insert adjective here, i.e., celebratory, defeat, failure, etc., etc.) beer.


After thought, maybe I could make a "floating" deadman off the right side if I really want one (I do) or perhaps extend the block underneath, between the legs (so that it can run the full length between the legs), I guess that it could still help hold things under the vise that way?....

Thanks for all of your help here on the Workbench Smackdown forum (sounds rough)
 
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