I’m planning to build my own workbench – finally!
And I’m really looking forward to the process of doing so! I have just bought my wood-stock, but BEFORE making my first cuts ‘n shavings, I would have some questions.
a) Over-all Measurements.
As far as I see in all reports and youtube-movies, Paul applies his bench-top measurements according to the stock he uses for his laminations of tops and aprons. It seems he adjusts the width of the wellboard to the gap between the laminated tops by ripping the board to width. I too plan to laminate my wellboard to fit, but I would like to do so without having to rip the entire length of the wellboard (would be a pitty to waste wood because of this). I would like to plan/calculate the total width of my bench to the stock I have at hand and I don’t care too much if the total bench will be 5 or so centimetres wider or narrower. But I definitely want the wellboard fitting snug! In an ideal world and with careful planning, I would like to be able to glue the wellboard and have all dimensions in such a way that it only takes some shavings to get the wellboard fit just nicely.
Of course, I cannot know how much I will be shaving the laminated tops to get them true, square and without twist (I guess it may vary from a couple of millimetres to mabe over a centimetre overall). So I guess that it would be better to start dimensioning the H-frames AFTER the tops have been shaved and finished? How does one plan the dimensions for any projects in general? Is it common practise to perform real woodworking projects with taking dimensions ‘on the fly’ to make sure everything fits perfectly to the shapes that result from planing or do you build strictly to technical drawings and specifications and make everything fit perfectly to given measurements?
b) My Wood dimensions.
I could get cheap but nice wood with different sizes to the sizes of Paul’s project. My pieces are 60 cm x 100 cm (2.4 Inch x 4 Inch). Now.. If I laminate my benchtops with the pieces in vertical ‘upright’ position, I would a get a REALLY ‘beefy’ bench. I could also imagine to use the pieces in horizontal ‘lying’ position, still sturdy but I’m not sure if this might cause other problems? To my observation, these kind of laminations are ‘always’ made with the laminating pieces glued along their bigger faces (vertically). Is this true? Why? Should I consider to do just so?
I wouldn’t mind a heavy bench and the wood is available, just want to make sure I make the right decisions.
Thanks and cheers,
a: You shouldn’t be afraid of having to rip the wellboard. You can always use the cutoff for something else later. As far as designing the bench is concerned, you can design it all up front or do it “on-the-fly”, but be prepared for some challenges. I like to make the best use of the wood I buy, but I also have to get used to the idea that there will be some waste.
b: The point of gluing together boards vertically is to get a more massive benchtop. The heavy top will result in a more stable surface. The mass will be better for chopping mortises or doing other operations that require pounding on the bench. A thinner top will still work, but as long as you are making your bench, make it a heavy, sturdy one.
Hi Mat, thanks! (Also Vangelis in the background, thanks!)
I wished I could edit my first post; the dimensions are in millimeters of course! (60 mm x 100 mm)..
I will continue to post my challenges, learnings and progress in this thread as I go; I expect to be ready to start in a week or two. I will see about the wellboard, the tops will be laminated to 100 mm thickness.
The thicker top will hold bench hooks much better in fact 2.4 may not hold the hook at all its a bit thin, in time you will be glad you went thick I have always been told 3 inc.is minamim, as a rule of thum.
I am building a new bench now it is short six foot. 28 inc wide and 3.5 thick, the legs are 3×5 and the rails are 2×5 the skirt is 2×10.and inset 3/4 in to the legs to stop racking. I am adding a Frame under it to hold tool trays that will also fit in a center well, the trays will be 8×12, this will add a lot of weight to it and hold most of my tools under it freeing up a lot of room in the shop.My last bench lasted over 40 years and would still be going if a twister had not finished it off
Good luck with your bench, remember this is one time heavy is good
a) i don’t know about you, but when I started on my bench I was still very much a beginner. Planing long boards nice and flat proved to be quite difficult. Getting the H-frames nice and square also didn’t go exactly according to plan. In my opinion starting with the H-frames and leaving the well board last is the least risky way of doing it. I had to compensate quite a bit to make the well board fit snugly. No way would that have worked out for me if I had planned it nice and square at the start.
And hey, even Paul does it this way so perhaps more experienced woodworkers also face some of these issues.
b) I read somewhere on Paul’s blog that your top should be a minimum of 7cm thick. Mine is 8 and I’m sure 10 would work just as well. The only challenge you might face with a 10cm thick top is installing the vice, but there are solutions for that as well.
I have mentioned in several posts on these forums already: I have started (and now completed) my own workbench. My bench is inspired on the showcase by Paul and I love it.
I’m not a professional woodworker, but rather an amateur like many in this community. All my life I have been working with wood (scars from childhood prove how I learned-by-doing) and recently I have ‘bitten the bullet’ to rent a workshop here in Vienna. My initial intention was to renovate the shop for motorcycle customisation and maintenance. During the initial year of renovating the shop, I was yet again building with wood and while the official regulations for motorcycle mechanics pretty soon showcased that I would not be able to pursue that avenue, the alternative offered itself to me and I feel now that woodworking is the real deal. During my last visit back home (in Holland), I collected what was left of my father’s handtools and some pieces of oak that have been stored for decades and I recently also found an acquaintance who had lumber of local exotics (cherry, walnut and some beautiful plum-veneer) which he cannot work anymore due to age- and illness.
Slowly but gradually, everything seems moving forward nicely. I have now started negotiations with my current (and supportive) employer to reduce the scope of my full-time job in order to make more time available for my woodworking endeavours. All the while, I’m sketching all the ideas from my head and barely find enough time to transfer all thoughts onto paper. The output indicates however that I will be furniture maker of some sorts. Of course, at age 50, I cannot make up for the past but I will acquire skills and experience as I ‘feel my way into’ woodworking.
I too feel passionate about sharing my experiences and endeavours and results with the public, especially with a younger generation. For the purpose of which I have created my own blog: https://woodworker.life/ where I will try to share-, show- and respond to anybody who is interested in this passion.
- This reply was modified 7 years, 2 months ago by Igor Kerstges.
Looks good, you will like the work bench ( Paul’s style ) I am so glad i built this one. And if I bugger it up or spill something on it no biggie, I will build another one as it is very in-expensive to build, save the good wood for furniture. I am going to add a tray to the back side like Paul’s and a drawer on the end also. I just screwed a piece of plywood on the end between the aprons to house my diamondstones and strops like paul did. I also built a clamp rack on the other end to house my cheap HF modified clamps, and a small saw/chisel rack on the front which I will remove once I add the back shelf.
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