Bench Questions

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  • #136075
    Al Livingstone
    Participant

    Hello. I’m going to build a woodworking bench and I’d like to ask for thoughts and opinions please. Are there any advantages/disadvantages to having a 4″ thick top? Also, is there a preferred distance from the end of the bench to the left edge of the vise assuming a right-handed worker?

    I’m thinking of a 36″ wide X ??” long with the main working top 16″ wide with a 12″ well and 8″ wide on the far side. The aprons are included in the measurements.

    Thanks for the help and advise.

    AL .

    #136076
    Wesley
    Participant

    Hi,

    A 4″ thick top will make the bench nice and heavy. The only downside I can think of is that it may take extra work to get the top of your vice to align with the bench top. My Record vice is about 7-8 cm high, for instance.

    I put the vice right next to a leg because of stability.

    Good luck.

    Wesley

    #136104
    Al Livingstone
    Participant

    Thanks Wesley. My thinking on the top thickness is the same as yours. I plan on using the Jorgensen 41012 vise which is supposed to be 3 1/2″ deep. Thinking of 1″ thick faces on the jaws, maybe maple?, and making them 1/2″ to 3/4″ taller than vise top to flush up to bench top. I don’t know for sure but am guessing there won’t be too much strain or loss of strength right at the top of the jaws. Appreciate your comments.

    I’m really excited about this woodworking, especially the way Mr. Sellers teaches everything. Why the heck didn’t somebody tell me about this 40 yrs ago?

    AL .

    #136110
    Matt McGrane
    Participant

    Hi Al. My benchtop is 3 1/8″ thick and I have two vises attached. The vise on the front of the bench (left side, about 8″ from the end) is 3 1/2″ deep, so I had to put a packing under the benchtop to give it more room. My other vise is only 2 1/2″ deep, So I had to cut a recess in the underside of the benchtop to mount it. In both cases I was trying to have the metal faces 1/8″ lower than the benchtop. My plywood faces are flush with the benchtop. So those are considerations with the top thickness.

    Wesley was right about the mass. A four inch top will have plenty of mass and should provide a solid work surface.

    You asked about placement of the front vise. I mentioned that mine is 8″ from the left end, and I like it there for now. But I think only time will tell if it is the best placement. You will just have to try something and see if it work for you. Having the vise close to a leg will add some rigidity and stability when chopping.

    Oh, and one disadvantage of having such a thick top is that I can’t use some of my smaller clamps to hold things to the top (I have no aprons). I have also been trying to find an old clamp-on hand crank grinder and it will not be able to clamp directly to the benchtop.

    Good luck with the build. Have fun with it and show pictures when it’s done.

    Matt, Northern California - Started a blog in 2016: http://tinyshopww.blogspot.com/

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