Saturday 8 March 2014

My New workbench begins

Well we all have loads of books about woodwork
(Well the sort of people who read this blog do I guess)
So what I thought I would do is get the best of the best,
By this I mean the best design elements of workbenches
From my favourite, or most respected makers.
These books above have some great workbench related ideas in them,
got to condense the info in this world, too much..

So here is my list of needs, wants, observations and specifications:

1. I hate planing workstops flat - been doing this for years what a bore...
So the top must be flat and stay flat. (ish)
So based on Robert Inghams idea of using 30mm MDF for his bench top,
I will use 2 pieces of 25mm MDF for a 50mm MDF top.
I will sit this on a solid 40mm Beech top giving me a 90mm thick
and very heavy but stable worktop, I hope...
2. I have never found tail vices useful - had one for years and having used
a traditional cabinet makers bench with end vice and
dog holes I have come to the conclusion it is not for me.
Not now anyway, so...
My bench needs the option of adding an end vice and dog holes later if needed,
but not now as I have the luxury of having more than 1 bench to work on.
4. What is it with the Roubo worksbench?!?!
This French craftsman Andre in the 1700's has a strangle hold lately on the type
of bench everyone is using, he has some top name advocates,
but for me it is the cost - I cannot afford to buy or make one!
Boy do they look nice, I love there simplicity, stability and proportions 
and yes I just answered my own question,
but for me I just want to fulfil my wish list, cheaply!
I am sure I will make another workbench one day anyway...
I would love to live with one, making with it for a month or so
to see what the fuss is about but that is not going to happen.
Anyway I digress back to my list
5. My new workbench must be HEAVY, stable, tall, and thin.
6. I need to make it by adapting an Emir workbench I have already.
7. I want a reinforced centre section - I always thought this was a failing of the
 traditional woodwork bench, strong on the sides but use a mallet in the middle
is never a good idea, something I always teach,
(I am a secondary school design and technology teacher)
is that you must work over the leg area.
It certainly helps keeps the volume down when you have
25 students working in a room!
8. I want an apron at the front with a sliding deadman OR some way of
supporting long timber lengths when planning as this will really be a
planing bench - or elaborate Japanese planing beam! (sorry joker to self)
9. I need a large quick release vice with a big wood jaw on it, flush with top.
10. Finally I want full length planning stops on right and left hand sides of the bench.
Again this is inspired by Robert Inghams bench.
Note I already have adapted my other workbench following ideas
gained from David Charlesworth and have 2 vices mounted in line -
which is so logical I am surprised I have not seen more makers do it.
I also want to keep the option for adapting this bench later,
I do like that Veritas twin screw thread end vice - I could keep one of the
sheets of 25mm MDF clean and drill 3/4 holes in the other
so I can alternate the tops perhaps?

1 comment:

  1. I would suggest looking at David Barron's bench as it ticks almost all of your boxes. I'll be building one as soon as the weather warms up a bit.