Hello, this is my first post here. I have never done woodworking before, but I have a strong desire to learn. I have watched a lot of the wonderful videos made by
Paul and can’t wait to start. Unfortunately though, I don’t have a strong enough table and I don’t feel confident enough to be able to build my own bench following Paul’s tutorial, yet.
I have done some research and have narrowed it down to two German benches that seem quite strong, well built, and have a well (a feature that I find very useful). Unfortunately neither of them has an apron, so I am slightly concerned about long term stability, but hopefully they will last long enough for me to get good enough to decide to build my own 🙂
Here are the two benches I have selected:
Ulmia #2: http://www.ulmia.de/English/Ulmia_Schreinerhobelbank_Modell-2-4.htm#Schreinerhobelbank%20Modell%202
I was wondering if any of you uses either one of these benches, or if you have any recommendations. If you haven’t self-built your own bench, which bench do you use and why did you select it?
I have searched through the forum and couldn’t find a similar question asked, at least not in the first 20+ pages of the forum, so I hope the question is ok to be asked.
Any advice would be much appreciated.
I would have no problem with either of the benches you are interested in. If you buy one you can get going with making projects.
If you want to eventually build your own bench, then one bit of advise I would give is: Buy a bench you know you will be able to sell. Imagine in a few years that you want to make your own bench. What will you do with the one you bought? If you have the space, then two benches would be great. Or you could sell it and use the money to make your dream bench. Better still, make your dream bench while you have the ECE/Ulmia and then sell it.
The apron on the English bench, like Paul’s, gives excellent rigidity. The lower stretchers on the benches in your links provide rigidity too. You tighten the legs together with bolts on the ends of the stretchers. This style has proven to work for lots of people in the world.
Lots of people on this message board have made their own bench. Whether out of necessity, lack of cash, or just the desire to make their own. I made my own bench, but that was after I read every book and message board in existence. If you can get a bench and start making things, I’d suggest you do that.
@jude: “that was after I read every book and message board in existence” – this sentence made me smile 🙂 I totally agree with what you said, better to start getting my hands “dirty” as soon as possible. If the time comes where I feel the confidence to build something as big and heavy as a workbench, I will do so. Trying now seems like it would be like setting myself for failure and, therefore, would jeopardize this whole adventure by starting with a bad experience.
I will go with the ECE, which seems more affordable, and seems to have everything I can possibly need for now.
Thanks for your opinion!
I wanted to offer an opinion that may be on here somewhere but I’m not able to find it.
First of all building the workbench was the greatest thing I have done. I love it and it is extremely useful. I consider mine as valuable as any tool I own.
That being said… I do woodworking in a outside storage building. When I built it (before I ever considered woodworking) I wanted an area to work on things. So I simply made a counter top that spans the width of the building and made it 24in deep. It was nothing but 2 x 4 studs off the wall with a 2×6 spanning the width. I put a piece of 3/4 in plywood as a top. After building the building most of this top became cluttered with junk so when I decided to start woodworking I cleared off about 4 ft of workspace. Basically I had a 2ft by 4 ft workspace. I made a homemade moxen vice, used clamps and even resorted to attaching pieces of scrap wood to the counter top to act as a stop to plane against.
I know this sounds primitive and it was. It’s nothing like working on my workbench but it allowed me to toy around and develope skills i needed and within 3 months I built entire workbench under those circumstances.
The only reason I say this is because you could accomplish this makeshift workbench for probably less than 50 us dollars. And it would give you a great start in your journey.
Just wanted to offer this perspective because you shouldn’t feel like you absolutely have to have a workbench to accomplish anything. You can develope the skills necessary to build the bench with any number of setups. This is what worked for me.
For me… failure has become one of the most powerful ways I have improved my woodworking skills. I personally dove right into making a workbench. The great thing about projects like workbenches and toolboxes is that they don’t have to be perfect, yet they provide you with the experience necessary to tackle the projects you want to complete in the future. I would say go for it and don’t be afraid of failing, but rather be willing to embrace any failures as an opportunity to learn. Just my personal experience and two cents.
I also vote for building your own bench, following Paul’s videos. Confidence comes with practice.
By the time you will finish, your knowledge would have improved a lot.
And you will have a bench to work on and I think some money left to buy some nice tools.
I’m part-way through building the bench Mr. Sellers shows us how to build. I started on a harvest table (antique, home-made and rickety) and two plastic folding saw horses that I acquired second-hand so long ago that I don’t recall where or when. Now I’m using the first two laminations as a workbench atop the sawbucks (as the photo above demonstrates).
My plane is borrowed (I had to recondition it). Most of my clamps are borrowed from another source. Used up my decent reclaimed 2×4’s and am now purchasing new ones to complete the build. Trying different glues as I go. And have learned a ton about running a plane.
Cannot wait to get the vise mounted and stop fiddling with clamps here there and everywhere each time I need to reposition the work. Cannot wait to have that bench done and begin making all the other things I’ve started, drawn, dreamed up, want, and think I can sell.
My point is (got carried away with myself there) that it takes VERY little in the way of tools and fixtures to make this bench. It becomes part of the working area as you build it. But do be prepared to spend days planing and getting a good workout and creating bushels upon bushels of shavings.
Caveat: Don’t start the “Sellers” bench without the ability to sharpen your chisel and plane iron-or a strong desire to learn such. As I already had them, I only use DMT Coarse and Fine then “strop” with 2500-grit abrasive. SHARP tools are a must and resharpening the plane will be a regular event.
Build what you can, brace it up and make it beefy. Once I understood the wedge interface of this bench, I knew I was on the RIGHT path. I intend to incorporate that feature into other knock-down designs.
And that was my first post. Hola.
I have to call my bank to get international charges approved, then I’ll be “member” proper.
Just one bit of advice: I too read every article & book on building your own bench. There are a lot of good designs out there (though none I like as well as Paul’s), but don’t fall prey to the advice that some give about making your bench no taller than the point where your thumb connects to your hand. I did this and suffered many back aches until I redid the legs making the bench height 38″. It’s much easier to cut the legs off later than it is to try and come up with a stable method for making your bench taller. Best of luck & enjoy!
[quote quote=129453]Just one bit of advice: I too read every article & book on building your own bench. There are a lot of good designs out there (though none I like as well as Paul’s), but don’t fall prey to the advice that some give about making your bench no taller than the point where your thumb connects to your hand. I did this and suffered many back aches until I redid the legs making the bench height 38″. It’s much easier to cut the legs off later than it is to try and come up with a stable method for making your bench taller. Best of luck & enjoy!
I agree with Greg… one of my many failures was following the advice of making my bench height level with my wrist. I wish I would have made it taller.
Thanks all for sharing your experiences and giving me your advice.
I gave every experience much consideration, both those shared here and those some of your sent via private messages. In the end, as much as I would have liked being able to build my own bench, I decided to postpone this project to later years and, for the time being, to go for the Emmerich one. It is not too expensive — the wood and vices alone to build my own bench would have probably costed more than I am payin this bench — and it is something reliable enough to start tackling small projects to hone my skills.
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