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Optional front and End vise UPGRADE has a simple on-off cam lever to engage or disengage the Acme-threaded screw, allowing it to apply up to 400 lb of force in either clamping or spreading applications.
The removable Tool Well (included) is secured with 3 hand screws for quick removal and install. The second article is about using the Festool Domino in Furniture Making appears in FWW issue 242.
Eddie Haske has something I particularly like in bench design: he's used a different base on it. Popular Woodworking has a very good deal that includes Chris Schwarz' Workbench and Workbench Design Books, plus 3 workbench plan CDs and a great poster in a bundle. A traditional leg vises excel at clamping longer work horizontally (especially when used with a board jack) and they have a very generous working depth from the bench top to the screw, typically around 10 inches.
The great UK workbench maker has launched a new website dedicated to those interested in purchasing one of his exceptional custom workbenches and wooden bench screws in the United States. Just so you don't think that I only think about workbenches I do actually build furniture regularly.
It's not often that someone comes up with a new engineering approach to vises, but Len Hovarter has done just that. Len is an engineer and woodworker who's created a twin screw vise that uses a clutch mechanism rather then screws and a rack to keep both handles aligned. Englands's great workbench maker has made available a video of his latest workbench, The Artisan put through all its paces. David Randall had a workbench design problem that a lot of woodworkers have: Very little workspace.
The complete episode of Roy's construction of his French, Roubo-style bench is available in full from The Woodright's Shop. It's always hard to find good woodscrews of the size and quality needed for building a traditional style workbench like a Roubo or Holtzappfel twin screw bench.
James Krenov, a legendary woodworker, author, and founder of the College of the Redwoods Fine Furniture Program, died at 89. With so much going on maybe you'd like to keep up to date with new workbenches being created. Considering that the well-tested designs we're using for contemporary benches are 3-400 years old, it's not often something comes up that's really new in the world of serious workbenches. I've been doing a massive update of the site before the redesign and have added many, many excellent new plans both for sale and for free.
For those woodworkers that really like to work with hand tools, Mike Flaim's new bench is a real treat. Earlier this year I wrote about a portable workbench top that went up for sale in an Australian auction. I am determined to build one this year after I get a few other projects cleared off the books. The bad news was that the original benchtop was in Australia, plus there were only two photos and a few measurements. Jonas was happy to take some detailed photos and measurements for me, which I am including below.
The workbench looks exactly like the one from Australia, except that this one is missing the clamps for holding it onto a table.
The dog holes look like they have been sawed out to the correct depth, and then chiseled out, then the side board of the slot has been glued on, making them dog holes. The front corner joints of the workbench are tenoned and reinforced using a peg (also beech).
Chris is a contributing editor to Popular Woodworking Magazine and the publisher at Lost Art Press. Are there signs on the faces of the wagon vise jaws to suggest it was used to hold work as well as carry a bench dog?
I am not anywhere the bench right now (I am working on an offshore vesssel in Nigerian waters at the moment). But as far as I rememeber, there are no signs that the wagon vise was used for workholding beyond the dogs. So my guess it could be that the bench was homemade, perhaps as some kind of educational project.
I have thought about making a copy myself, and make some sort of attachment, so it could be mounted on a toolchest.
I’ve been thinking about folding legs, but I like your thought about the toolchest too.
Everything was going swimmingly till I decided to chop a few mortises during her favorite show. I seem to remember watching Roy Underhill do this as well (in the traditional way, sawing first and then chiseling to clear the dado) on his mini-Roubo with the sliding dovetails. Christopher Schwarz has helped many of us solve some pretty frustrating problems over the years. This is the Workshop Workbenches and Work Tables category of information.This Do-it-yourself projects category features a collection of DIY free woodworking plans to build many types of workbenches and worktables from woodworking related web sites. Easy Workbench This workbench is built from common lumberyard supplies, and requires just a drill and a circular saw. European Style Workbench This is a link to a Google 3D SketchUp drawing for a European-style workbench. Flip Top Workbench Cart Build this space-saving flip-top workbench cart using these free step-by-step plans. Fold Up Workbench This is a link to a Google 3D SketchUp drawing for a fold up workbench with the back section being pegboard where you can hang your tools.
Folding Workbench This is a link to a Google 3D SketchUp drawing for a folding workbench for places where space is at a premium. Four Bay Workbench This is a link to a Google 3D SketchUp drawing for an eight foot long workbench that can fit four of the roll-away carts underneath it. General Purpose Workbench This is a link to a Google 3D SketchUp drawing for an easy-to-build workbench.
Heavy Duty Workbench Build this two-shelf heavy duty workbench with this great tutorial.
Instant Workbench This suitcase-size box unfolds into a work surface and a square foot of hardware storage.
Large Workbench This is a link to a Google 3D SketchUp drawing for a large workbench made from hardwood and plywood with a full 4 X 8 work surface.
Lathe Bench This is a link to a Google 3D SketchUp drawing for a floor standing wooden lathe bench.
Miter Saw Bench This is a link to a Google 3D SketchUp drawing for a miter saw workbench.
TwitterContact us if you want us to link to your free woodworking plans or if you want to advertise on this web site. See how to build this massive, maple workbench from start to finish in our six-part video workshop. This bench features a sturdy top and a trestle base is rigid enough to resist any racking forces. I’ve been corresponding with Tom Fidgen over a number of months since his book fell into my hands at Blackwells bookshop in Oxford, England, back in December 2009. This might seem totally unrelated to woodwork, cabinet making or any level of craftsmanship that involves wood, but in this day and age not all of us can make a living from just one interest or discipline, indeed the reasons why we find ourselves drawn to the desire to work with wood are many.
My own quest it seems over these past six months was to ask myself what do I want from a workbench? I move between general carpentry, constructing built in situ’ cabinets, wardrobes or bookcases and the finer more considered world of the wood shop, this second discipline is still relatively new to me, where small to medium scale projects will be my aim in the coming years. Well for me it’s a quest that continues to this day and whether you manage to produce wonderful work on a nailed together series of odd ply sheets fixed roughly to some old decorators trestle table or whether you were perhaps lucky enough to inherit your grandfathers cabinet makers workbench, one thing should remain constant and that is the pursuit of excellence through hard work mixed with pure enjoyment.
I’ve struggled-by with a poor bench for some time, the vices just aren’t big enough, the steel screw thread squeaks and wobbles and the tool well is constantly full of junk… so why oh why have I put up with it for so long, I guess the answer is partly habit and not knowing enough about what else is out there to replace it. Back to Tom Fidgen’s own bench and that lovely book of his, I read his story of how through chance he ended up with two benches, both from the same supplier and manufacturer, I looked closer at the work he was producing on it, the way he would consider adding an extra dog hole here and there to better serve the holding and positioning of his work on the bench or in the vice. I started to look at books on the subject of the history of benches, and spoke with friends who have arrived at similar conclusions, that to some degree “the bench is the shop”. Well I would certainly go and look at as many out there as possible, and by that I mean look hard and research on the internet and get a feel for the makes and scale of benches available.
At this point you’ll probably realise like I did that there isn’t actually a vast selection that’s equal to this want, and what there is varies hugely in terms of quality.
Work wise, that’s entirely up to you, but whatever you’ll produce on it, the bench should at least be solid and large enough to cope with it.
Like I say, my own small and lightweight bench isn’t, and the only way I can stop some of its movement is to bolt it down with brackets to the shop floor. The thicknesses of bench tops can be deceptive, don’t be fooled by the apron that runs around the edge of the bench-top, in fact these are usually way deeper than the actual heart of the bench-top itself, and to be honest this heart is what matters.
I’d say that a good bench worth paying decent money for should have a top that’s no thinner than 2.5inches or approx’ 60mm deep and ideally thicker still.
The bench thickness may have to be thinner in certain sections close to fixing plates and runners for the screw thread mechanisms and dog blocks to be housed, but scrutinise these fixings too and make sure that all the mechanics of the kit associated with the smooth running of the vice threads appear sensibly ‘up to the job’, remember that moving parts are far more likely to let you down than static ones, so again, buy the best that money can afford.
Remember that a bench is a tool to hold wood steady while working on its edges or faces, that might sound a little obvious but the number of times I’ve seen woodworkers, including myself, struggling to hold down pieces with ease is disturbing, in fact this should never be the case, a good bench should certainly have covered all the basic options for helping you to clamp your work. A wagon vice will have a sliding dog block together with its corresponding dog hole, the two together allow for flexible clamping positions down the length of the top surface of the bench. Add another row of dog holes to the far surface of the bench and you’ve got an amazingly efficient way of extending this surface support system.
Whether you opt for a standard face vice or some style of deeper leg vice, you’ll at some point almost certainly need some other form of clamping further down the side of the bench, this comes in the form of bench fasts either fastened through the end bench leg, or with even greater flexibility through a sliding board jack. If you want a really secure stop on the bench surface then consider a much larger dog block, these can be set permanently anywhere along the run of dog holes, but ideally look for a bench that has it set towards the face vice end and then you have the rest of the length of the bench top to lay pieces up against it.
Benches purchased from most manufacturers and stockists dictate what vices you end up with, as most are supplied with “what you see is what you get” therefore there can be little or no other choice available at the initial buying of your bench. Things vary to some degree in this area and you’ll just have to ask… On the other hand try to seek out an independent bench maker, one who’s prepared to offer lots of choice! Remember that almost every piece of wood that you’ll place on the bench will need at some point I’m sure to be held in safe hands… this is the vices job. The screw threads are crucial to the vices smooth running and good ones will ensure that little or no chattering occurs as the vice handle is turned, the speed of vice operation too is down to the way in which the screw thread is milled from the steel.
If you’re after a beautiful and traditional vice with a wooden screw thread then the same thing will apply, if you get a really good quality one that’s be turned by a skilled craftsman then these can be magical to use, the performance for speed is often quicker than many steel threads as long as logic dictates that the diameter of the thread is made much bigger, therefore each turn takes the vice in or out that much quicker… Science eh! Finally there has been a trend in more recent times to mix engineering wheel style handles to bench vices as a modern replacement to the more traditional pole handles, this is entirely a choice for the individual and purists may find them incongruous with the mix of aesthetic styles, seen by many as a clash, however they do have some merits if its “your bag”, they’re pretty easy to grab and spin, so long as the screw thread runs smoothly then they’re fine. I thought at this point I’d take the time to sing the praises of the independent bench-maker and there must be quite a number out there I’m sure, but rather than thinking always of walking into a bigger trade outlet, try seeking out a good joiner who’ll make one individually just for you, bespoke, right down to the style of pole handles. So although completely subjective, I believe that Richard Maguire from Lincolnshire in England makes the best hand made benches for sale on the market today, certainly in the United Kingdom, if not the World! Richard prototypes everything first within a varied range, he then makes further tweaks before the final designs are settled on. He’s researched the history of bench making and includes his take on the classic Roubo and Dominy styles these are within an awesome range of serious heavyweight benches, all hand made with a great choice of vices too including a twin screw faced option. He personally guarantees everything and that’s how confident he is that his benches will perform.
He uses a choice of Ash or Steamed Beech to construct them, some of the bench tops are 3 inches of solid wood, others 4 inches, while his thickest is a hefty 6 inches and at those sort of dimensions your bench won’t budge a jot! If you go for any benches of this nature then you’re not only investing in quality for your own shop, but you’re helping to keep the Craftsmen’s skills alive and well. While visiting this years wood show in north London on the 14th March I was very pleased to see the figure of Rob Cosman blowing fine wood shavings high into the air from a Stanley Plane, but what took my eye more was the bench he was working on, yes The Richard Maguire Signature bench.
Many of the passers by were reading up on the details of the bench on a display board, a few wood fans were over from Sweden and I asked them what they thought. The ergonomics of design is something the Swedish are famous for, so who am I to disagree… All of them took a leaflet!
This is of course another option, and if you choose to take this path then just make sure you appreciate all the factors mentioned previously. I did consider making my own bench and this would no doubt have been a different kind of investment, one that was time heavy in the wood shop, this for me was the deciding factor, I just couldn’t afford the time, but you’ll have to juggle with this dilemma yourself. What you do get if you choose to purchase is the knowledge that the bench makers specific niche skills and experience has gone into every consideration, this for me was a guarantee well worth paying a premium for, basically it’s peace of mind territory. I’m sure that if your making your own quest you’ll settle for what ultimately feels right for yourself, but my conclusion is that the bench is far too important an investment to go wrong, after all it’s highly likely to represent the single most costly outlay in the hand tool wood shop. While my own decision was a Maguire bench, there are other benches out there with great merit, including the Lie Nielsen or Sjoberg range.
Whatever you choose to purchase or indeed if you end up spending time making your own bench, just remember this, “The Bench is the Shop”. Members of 1% for the Planet contribute 1% of annual sales directly to nonprofit environmental organizations.
Since it was first launched in 1999 we've now served over 10 million pages to many millions of visitors. I've bought all these books and plans as they came out and can tell you personally that they are indeed excellent.
The lower fulcrum arm allows the vise to generate high clamping forces; unfortunately you must insert a peg into a series of holes in the fulcrum arm to adjust the vise to various workpiece thicknesses. It's very much the same information as his UK website but dedicated to the American market and shows the costs involved in having a workbench shipped over the the States. And, when it's written by Chris Schwarz, one of the most passionate fans of workbenches, it's certainly worth a serious look. Not only does he make some of the finest bench vises made anywhere, he has now added a workbench plan to his collection. Made out of super dense steamed English Beech, featuring massive legs and 4" thick tops and traditional construction, these benches are incredible. So, I've been working for a while to create a collection of the best 3D CAD ready SkechUp free workbench models I can find. He combines details from Roubo benches from Christoper Schwarz and Roy Underhill with several interesting ideas of his own.
The Tucker Vise, made and sold by Lee Valley is no longer being made.If you're up to it send them an email and let them know that you'd like to see them continue to make it.
In many ways you can think of this as a very well designed new take on the Black & Decker Workmate. Tom Caspar, editor of both Woodwork Magazine and American Woodworker is the author of the wonderful Workbench in a Weekend article and plan mentioned on this site. It was an ingenious solution to a problem that many woodworkers face: How do I do woodworking while watching television in the house?
That way if anyone else would like to take a crack at this project before me, they should have enough to go on. It came into my father’s possession about 50 years ago, during a clean-out of the basement in the house where his parents lived. It is used solely for decoration purposes at their house (hence the eye hooks for hanging). So if you are having difficulties finding a tap and die, I would just go for something in the neighbourhood. He broke up more sibling fights than mom and dad, and could clear the coffee table with on swish of the tail. The only comfort is that in my beliefs, all Newfies go to heaven where they lie on a nice cold floor awaiting for us to come and scratch them behind the ear.
He broke up more sibling fights than mom and dad, and could clear the coffee table with one swish of the tail. The woodworkers construction information found on these sites range in quantity and quality.
You will need the SketchUp software to download this drawing and its freely available online. The whole thing folds flat in seconds and will stack away neatly in the corner of the workshop.
I get many questions and letters from readers every month about this topic and got to know Steven Melhuish over these past few months through his correspondence. In the spring and summer months I plan, plant and maintain gardens for a whole host of interesting people in the far north villages of the Cotswolds just west of Oxford. We all choose our own quests through circumstance, meandering at times to a place where one day something grabs hold of us, a realisation perhaps that you want something more than what you currently have, to improve ourselves and the work we produce.
You must plan and work everything else around it, other items come and go in the shop but the bench remains a constant and must in my own opinion be perfect for everything that you do and therefore flexible and yet simple enough to achieve those tasks. Once you’ve gathered together this visual and written dimensional information try and see if you can find a supplier that has an outlet that actually stocks one or a few of your favourites. Get it too thin and the bench runs a significant risk of racking or twisting out of shape through changing atmospheric conditions.
For me the more the merrier and as long as the bench top is thick enough to take all these holes then it wont effect it’s performance. Too few holes in line with this end vice might limit the length of wood you can clamp in this method, meaning manual clamping with some other form of surface clamp which isn’t ideal as they often get in the way when using larger planes on full face work. Just cut a narrow straight baton of wood the same sort of thickness as any inserted dogs and the correct length and you can bridge over between the two rows of dog holes. Not all benches have them, and there are other ways of doing a similar job with all manner of different separate clamps, but to have a length of sliding wood bored with numerous holes to clamp through is by far the simplest and surely again the most flexible.
The block itself can then be deep enough to be brought up above the bench surface when required to hold some particularly high work pieces.
So if you’re happy with the bench and the vices on it then that’s terrific, but if you love the bench but the vice is not for you, then always ask to see if they’re able to offer any options. Tiny movements and adjustments can be made with them too, so like I say they have their place and time will tell whether they become a long term fixture or not, but for now they’re usually only fitted as a custom extra! The joy is that it’s been made just for you by one person, not cheap, not quick, but when did that matter when it comes to the potential of a life times’ use and an ongoing heirloom?
I was very fortunate that I spent a little quality time with Richard looking over a small selection of his hand made benches, and what can I say, all the appropriate boxes were ticked, nice thick solid lengths of wood, beautifully crafted and jointed together, every single thing appeared right, the design, balance and sheer strength of these beasts just jumps out at you. He told me that one of the benches under scrutiny was tested by leaving it outside in all weather conditions, for quite some time, before bringing it back into the shop to once more acclimatise, all this just to see how it might cope with such extreme stresses. No wonder that he’s proud to place and fix a small brass plaque on every bench with the Richard Maguire name. I know personally how incredibly proud Richard is of every bench he makes and he should do with the hours he puts of himself into each one. Generally they remarked on the solid thickness of it’s bench top, the smooth action of the leg vice and how useful the double row of dog holes would be for bracing work across and down the length of the surface.
Your vices and fixings are best ordered first so that positions and bench thickness can be planned around them. The 1% for the Planet network brings together like-minded leaders who share a belief that business can be a vital catayst for positive environmental change. From the photos, indeed the castings don't look all that great, but the review is pretty positive and so, I'm curious. Though the site recently has had less frequent updates then I'd like the reason is that some major changes are going on in the background. He's created another outstanding inexpensive workbench that can be easily built by a beginner. Because of its small size, ease of installation and low cost, there may be some very interesting applications for this unique vise. Yes, it does work out to be fairly expensive but, as I mentioned these are exceptional benches.
Using a combination of sliding plates and cams, this unit is not only a quick release design but can also be retrofitted on to an existing bench.
In process he not only built a solid bench out 2-by material but also created a very unique vise arrangement that combines a tail vise and a shoulder vise on one end.
His Cabinet Maker's style bench has a nice cabinet below, an imbedded Tucker Vise and even an adjustable cup holder. If you don't have room for multiple benches the solution is to build an adjustable height workbench. Based upon a modern split Roubo style bench it features his terrific leg and tail vises plus several other unique features.
Jameel at Benchcrafted who already offers wonderful wagon tail vise hardware has now created new leg vise that's really exceptional. There's various accessories and inserts for routers, jig saws, sanders, tail vises, storage, etc. He has given permission for us to make the article and free workbench plan available for downloading. Or demonstrate the craft at a school or club that provides only with a rickety card table to work on. There are a lot of old holes from nails on the bottom of the workbench, so maybe it was nailed to some sort of stand once? If this rings a bell with you then you’ll perhaps be somewhere on your own journey to some new horizon, whether it’s perfecting the techniques of sharpening your tools or buying that dreamt about plane. Lets face it all wood moves at some point, so the trick is to reduce this to an absolute minimum.
My overriding want is that a bench should be as flexible as it can possibly be without it looking cluttered. A completely new website has been under constuction over the last few months with many major improvements and dozens of new features and additions.
Considering how difficult it can be to mount a tail vise even on a new bench this is quite an accomplishment.
But, if there is one of us who actually should join a 12 step program, it's Chris Schwartz of Woodworking Magazine.
I know of only three available designs, one involves using a dedicated and expensive metal base. A great bench for handwork and it's built with readily available materials so it's not expensive to make. But both Frank Klaus and Tag Frid descibe cutting dados in the edge of the workbench and then gluing on a cover strip. Not all drawings have the measurements displayed but you can use the measurement tool in SketchUp to easily and accurately determine the dimensions of each lumber part.
It’s been a pleasure to read about his experiences meandering through the path ways of workbench design, the pros and the cons as well as his meetings with others through out the journey. So again, the less holes you have the more chance you run of struggling, make life easy eh! You could indeed purchase a lower cost bench but have a higher quality vice and screw thread fitted later, again the choice is yours and if budget allows! These two disciplines are melded together within a craftsman who daren’t ever send anything out from his shop until he has personally gone over every inch by hand.
It's been a great jig and I encourage every woodworker that uses a shaper or router table to consider building one. It's a completely new design and will incorporate many, many new features including reader forums designed for sharing our workbench experiences and ideas, the ability for readers to upload their favorite benches and tons of new plans and links to useful things. It's hard to explain here, but, his website has all the information and a video so you can see how it works. If you really want to learn about this outstanding furniture a new book by David Mathias just came out called Greene & Greene Furniture. Charlie Kocourek has come up with a remarkable new design that incorporates some very clever ideas and torsion box construction. This is a terrific bench and was not only my own first bench and woodworking project, but also helped instigate my career as a fulltime furniture make. Most drawings do not have instructions, its assumed you can build it based on the completed drawing provided. Make sure you check out the latest American Woodworker Magazine (#156) to get the bench plans.
It's a great book written by one of the most knowledgeable experts on their beautiful furniture designs. The plans are most impressive at 28 pages and are incredibly detailed and a complete hardware package is available. It is filled with lots of information and great photos and for any woodworker it is sure to be great book to have around to learn about this great style and for inspiration for what to build on top of your workbenches.
You can get more information and order one on the VIKA website or if there's a Costco nearby you can pick one up at a considerable discount. The second you'll build the Domino jig featured in FWW issue 242 and learn tricks on using the Domino for furniture making. The final class for the year is a two day class and you'll build one of my favorite pieces: The Blacker Entry Mirror. MapleThere is an option to upgrade the standard vise to Veritas® Quick-Release Front and End Vice. Ships in 1 large Boxes on a Pallet.In Addition, you save on sales tax in most States as required by law.
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