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What is essential in a good woodworking bench?

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  • #403560
    yellaD
    Pro

    I plan on building a Roubo style work bench and I think I will slap a Benchcrafted criss-cross leg vise on one end and (?) on the other end. I would like to say a tail vise but they look difficult to install, a Moxon vise is easier to install but has it’s racking problems. A front vise is probably the easiest to install and is OK but not great at anything. The Veritas inset vise seems appealing and I’ve tested it, it provided plenty of hold for what I was doing but might not suffice for bigger stock. What is your opinion of essential vise or hold fast hardware for a bench?

    #403565
    DesertDeuces
    Pro
    Indio, CA

    I’m so glad you brought this topic up. I’m sorry I can’t provide you any insight, but I’m working on the same exact issue. I want to convert my garage workspace into a proper woodworking area pretty soon, so I’m really looking forward to what others have to say to you about this.

    Good luck!!

    Pat

    #403572
    yellaD
    Pro

    Hey @DesertDeuces, follow my thread on winterizing? about garage workshop, lots of good help there already!

    #403583

    I plan on building a Roubo style work bench and I think I will slap a Benchcrafted criss-cross leg vise on one end and (?) on the other end. I would like to say a tail vise but they look difficult to install, a Moxon vise is easier to install but has it’s racking problems. A front vise is probably the easiest to install and is OK but not great at anything. The Veritas inset vise seems appealing and I’ve tested it, it provided plenty of hold for what I was doing but might not suffice for bigger stock. What is your opinion of essential vise or hold fast hardware for a bench?

    Instead of the cross vise, check out the chain leg vise. Its a cool modern take on the leg

    I see no need for a tail vise, but keep a shoulder vise in the leg position when needed

    An end stop and bench dogs are essential, as are holdfasts. I love my holdfasts. If you’ve never used one, order a couple now and thank me later

    And dont forget to build the sliding deadman – it about doubles your choices in holding

    Make it heavy – then make it heavier. You can always add rockler workbench castors, after all

    Mine is 4 inch thick birch top, two 12 inch slabs, 6ft long. Legs are 6X6 and crossmember are 4×4

    Not finished yet, but Im taking my time and enjoying the process. In the meantime, the top is in service on a couple of workmates

    The leg vise is off the old roubo (made a single slab Shwartz Roubo out of 2X material as a first bench, and decided it was time to do it right., so now its the Guido Henn Split Roubo (best plans ever))

    #403588
    yellaD
    Pro

    @montrealmedic, WOW that sounds so sweet! I was thinking of doing the same as you in that I should do a starter bench out of 2X and use that to make a REAL one. As of right now I have nothing to work on, still trying to make my saw horses to be able to process my slabs. Speaking of which, I have four slabs of black locust. These are rough stock 12/4 X 16″ X 6′ which is unusually big for the species, I am debating using these for the top. Originally I was going to build the entire bench out of this and using two 11″ wide solid slabs as the top, then I switched to maybe only doing the legs and braces out of locust and using Hard Maple for the top. I’ve heard different opinions on whether the top should be many lengths glued up, or one solid (or as few as possible) slab. I will google the Guido Henn, where did u get the plans from?

    #403591
    JimDaddyO
    Pro
    Wawa, ON

    I want to build a Roubo style bench too, but cannot afford the vice hardware. So instead I am thinking dog holes, planing stops, hold fasts (which I have) and battens. Perhaps a crochet and a dead man for edge work, hold fast holes in the legs. Decidedly low tech, but served others way back when for many a decade.

    one of my favourite woodworkers

    http://www.theenglishwoodworker.com/the-holdfast-and-the-batten-video/

    My You Tube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCA5AretE3xPoVDV61AxUdUA

    I don't do a fast job. I don't do a slow job. I do a half fast job.

    #403601

    I would opt for a Twin-screw vise or a bench vise – I have a twin screw on the front of my bench and a tail vise on the end and it works really well – the tail vise is really good at securing work against the dog holes.

    Orange County, CA

    #403603
    yellaD
    Pro

    I am leaning towards keeping it as simple as possible. Just a leg vise + dead man, and hold fasts and stops/dogs. I can save for a tailvise on the next bench I make, and I’d be able to salvage the leg vise still. If it worked for the masters, it good enough for me.

    #403652
    r-ice
    Pro
    Durham region, ON

    I think we talked about this when we were in the krenov plane course but this is one that you should really look at considering. It is very well thought out and it would work for your space needs.

    #403678
    58Chev
    Pro
    Etobicoke, ON

    Instead of the cross vise, check out the chain leg vise. Its a cool modern take on the leg

    I see no need for a tail vise, but keep a shoulder vise in the leg position when needed

    An end stop and bench dogs are essential, as are holdfasts. I love my holdfasts. If you’ve never used one, order a couple now and thank me later

    And dont forget to build the sliding deadman – it about doubles your choices in holding

    Make it heavy – then make it heavier. You can always add rockler workbench castors, after all

    Mine is 4 inch thick birch top, two 12 inch slabs, 6ft long. Legs are 6X6 and crossmember are 4×4

    Not finished yet, but Im taking my time and enjoying the process. In the meantime, the top is in service on a couple of workmates

    The leg vise is off the old roubo (made a single slab Shwartz Roubo out of 2X material as a first bench, and decided it was time to do it right., so now its the Guido Henn Split Roubo (best plans ever))



    @Montreal_Medic
    Eric,
    I’d be very interested in seeing some pictures of your workbench.

    “If you don’t pass on the knowledge you have to others, it Dies with you”
    — Glenn Botting

    #403731

    I plan on building a Roubo style work bench and I think I will slap a Benchcrafted criss-cross leg vise on one end and (?) on the other end. I would like to say a tail vise but they look difficult to install, a Moxon vise is easier to install but has it’s racking problems. A front vise is probably the easiest to install and is OK but not great at anything. The Veritas inset vise seems appealing and I’ve tested it, it provided plenty of hold for what I was doing but might not suffice for bigger stock. What is your opinion of essential vise or hold fast hardware for a bench?

    Instead of the cross vise, check out the chain leg vise. Its a cool modern take on the leg

    I see no need for a tail vise, but keep a shoulder vise in the leg position when needed

    An end stop and bench dogs are essential, as are holdfasts. I love my holdfasts. If you’ve never used one, order a couple now and thank me later

    And dont forget to build the sliding deadman – it about doubles your choices in holding

    Make it heavy – then make it heavier. You can always add rockler workbench castors, after all

    Mine is 4 inch thick birch top, two 12 inch slabs, 6ft long. Legs are 6X6 and crossmember are 4×4

    Not finished yet, but Im taking my time and enjoying the process. In the meantime, the top is in service on a couple of workmates

    The leg vise is off the old roubo (made a single slab Shwartz Roubo out of 2X material as a first bench, and decided it was time to do it right., so now its the Guido Henn Split Roubo (best plans ever))

    The plans I am following are
    http://www.fine-tools.com/roubo-hobelbank.html

    The chain vice is bought from
    http://ancorayachtservice.com/?page_id=196

    I will upload pics of my work in progress in a couple of hours



    @yellad
    I subscribe to the school that a laminated top beats a solid slab, but usually in cost more than anything. 12/4 in one of the harder tight-grained hardwooods should be plenty thick, even if it is thinner than Roubo. A slab is fine, but you will have to flatten it more often, especially if you keep it somewhere subject to weather

    I would save that lovely wood though, and go for maple or birch. Build the top first, then use the top as a workbench to build the rest. Thats where Ive been for the past few months. Legs and crossmembers are done, tenons are cut, but everything stopped while I worked on summer projects.

    Truth be told, if I had made the 2x table in the split top style -and knockdown- I would have replaced one piece at a time instead. I had to get rid of the old one as I didnt have the space to keep it, with the new one taking up more space then it will completed

    #403746

    Pics. Sorry for the mess



    @doobie
    Yup – still upside-down. Again. 🙂

    #403758
    yellaD
    Pro

    Thanks for posting the pics, they’re inspirational. Also love the Guido Henn, it should be amazing when completed! The split top is crucial IMO, I’d rather have two 10″ tops split, rather than one 22″ top. I’m not sure about the chain leg vise, did u do the retro fit? I’m thinking that it would be easier to install the criss cross from the beginning, and be confident that there won’t be racking. Also, can u explain what you mean by keeping the shoulder vise in the leg position? If I’m right handed, the leg vise goes on the front left leg and the tail vise goes rear right corner of top. Do you mean to put the shoulder vise in the rear right leg assembly?

    #403762

    Thanks for posting the pics, they’re inspirational. Also love the Guido Henn, it should be amazing when completed! The split top is crucial IMO, I’d rather have two 10″ tops split, rather than one 22″ top. I’m not sure about the chain leg vise, did u do the retro fit? I’m thinking that it would be easier to install the criss cross from the beginning, and be confident that there won’t be racking. Also, can u explain what you mean by keeping the shoulder vise in the leg position? If I’m right handed, the leg vise goes on the front left leg and the tail vise goes rear right corner of top. Do you mean to put the shoulder vise in the rear right leg assembly?

    I meant in the tail position, sorry.

    For the chain vise, it was a retrofit on the 2x bench (never took pics because it predates me being active on a forum – nobody but me cared) but will be built in to the new one. The chain is just as effective as the crisscross, but I dont have to chop out that massive mortise. I suppose with a router, its not a huge job.

    I limited myself to two slabs under 12 inches. I like the ability to pass a clamp between, and I like to tool holder/plane stop – built to fill the gap. Makes it possible to run each slab through a lunchbox planer.

    #403764
    yellaD
    Pro

    That’s another awesome advantage of the split. Usually under 13″ so you can run it through machine and save countless hrs of flattening top by hand. That’s usually only fun for the first little while, heh. I got the locust at a good price and the dude said that it makes excellent outdoor furniture cuz it has little movement over the seasons. I thought it would be ideal because my bench will kept in the uninsulated garage probably. Unless I get the garage insulated before completing the bench…both projects seem like it takes years for labour and budget. 😉

    #403871
    jzmtl
    Pro
    Montreal, QC

    When I build one, I’d want adjustable height. at 6′ I find a lot of the standard height stuff like kitchen counter too low and need to hunched over to work on them, and back pain comes pretty quickly.

    #403879
    JimDaddyO
    Pro
    Wawa, ON

    Looks like you making it nice and stout. That is awesome. Looking forward to more!

    My You Tube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCA5AretE3xPoVDV61AxUdUA

    I don't do a fast job. I don't do a slow job. I do a half fast job.

    #403885
    smallerstick
    Pro
    North Bay, ON

    I will be making a new one soon (as time and money permit) and will model it on my old carpenter’s bench I owned for 30 years or more. Working surface will be about 15″ wide by 6 or 7 feet long; tail vise on one end and shoulder vise on the other. Bench dogs the whole length and a sliding dead man.
    I replaced the leg vise on the old bench with a shoulder vise and never looked back. It’s a much more useful vise IMO.
    The tool tray at the rear of the bench is important but only needs to be 2 or 3″ deep by 5 or 6″ wide.
    Cost of the tail vise and shoulder vise hardware is modest as long as you don’t want fancy.

    I will likely use maple for the top; it’s available and not costly, and use maple or maybe poplar for the base depending on availability. Poplar is underrated for structural use. It’s stable, cheap, works well, and has adequate strength.

    BE the change you want to see.
    Even if you can’t Be The Pro… Be The Poster you’d want to read.

    #403892
    yellaD
    Pro

    So you have a shoulder vise at the front left, and tail vise at the back right corner?

    #403896

    So you have a shoulder vise at the front left, and tail vise at the back right corner?

    Not sure who that was to, but … Once Im done, I will have a leg vise front left, and a “shoulder vice” in the right tail position

    Deadman front
    Holdfasts
    Moxon vise for higher working and fine work

    I like the bench low so I can put my weight into hand tools. Also, benchtop tools are usually about 18 inches high, so low is good

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