My First Workbench Revisited

I’ve still not found peace regarding a work-bench. Though at first I’ll be busy more with wood-framing then wood-working – building a kitchen and a bed are also on my mind. So I am still hunting around for information and ideas on work-benches – and it is these findings that I want to share in this post.

However before I do I’d like to mention saw-horses. These are temporary stands we are sure to need during wood-framing and will probably form the basis for any initialwoodworking I may end up doing – including building a more comfortable workbench. Saw-horses are one of those things that people with experience take for granted – but I can’t. So I did some searching around and found lots of advice and options. As always I kept searching until I found this design which is quick, simple and cheap to build. A simple I-joist from 2×4 sets all the dimensions and angles:

So I figure that my first workbench will be a couple of saw-horses with some 2×4 stretched across them. With that out of the way let’s get back to work-benches.

The most important resource I came  across this time around is this article at the Wood Whisperer. The bottom line is that a work-bench involves a lot of personal choices that reflect how you like to work. A good work-bench is the bench that best supports your work. So at this point in time I have absolutely no idea what a good-bench is for me because I have absolutely no experience working. So I will set aside my work-bench aside and allow myself to grow into it rather then speculate about it wildly.

Having said that here are a few more resources I have come across and would like to note for future reference:

  • A series of 4 pod-casts at Bob Rozaieski Logan Cabinet Shoppe which in addition to demonstrating a work-bench construction process actually explains some of the reasoning and considerations that should go into desinging it. This series was also an eye opener for me because Bob works almost completely with hand tools rather then power tools – which was an excellent lesson for me (though I will be taking the power-tools path). Keep in mind that Bob’s design and method of construction (including creating his own wooden-vice including custom wood-screws) are therefore better suited for hand tools. I’d love to see a similar series by and for a power-tool worker.
  • If you really want to dig into this there a book aptly titles Workbenches which Marc (the Wood Whisperer) recommended.
  • The Wikipedia page for Workbenches helped me figure out what bench-dogs and hold-fasts are (key elements in holding work-pieces down ont a workbench) are.
  • I’ve been looking (I now know) mostly at work-benches by and for wood-workers and this video offered a a much appreciated and simple work-bench – not a great bench but a great reminder that there are simpler options.
  • This video is of a more robust table and an excellent example of using building-blocks as a simple way to get around more complicated joinery.
  • Finally I found these (PDF download) simple and robust looking plansat WoodSmithShop.

That is all for now.

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2 Comments

  1. I am hoping you will reconsider using hand tools. Your experience will be much calmer (as opposed to dusty and noisy), intimate and rewarding. After a while, you might even get around faster using hand tools.
    Keep an eye open, on "Piata", for old woodworkers selling their tools and workbenches for close to nothing.

    I have gathered in the past years quite a lot of resources on woodworking. Let me know if you need anything and I will gladly help if possible (if I have material on what you're looking for).

    Dragos

    PS Have a look at http://www.theunpluggedwoodshop.com/.
    I also love the idea of Silent Woodworking behind the Lie Nielsen tools.

    1. Hello Dragos,

      Thank you for taking the time to comment 🙂

      We have been looking at "Piata" for quite a while and I still have not come across good hand tools. I also haven't yet found a good (offline/physical) store in Cluj for wood-working tools. The big chain stores have some tools but definitely not a big variety and very little quality tools. From onlne shops (Germany & UK) I have the impression that good tools are expensive. Also it eems to me that hand tools require a lot more care and maintenance.

      Overall I can appreciate that there is a calmer even more meditative quality to hand-tools BUT right now wood-working is just one of many (you would not believe how many!) new skills we need to take on. For now we need to focus on practical solutions (to efficiently build reliable and nice cabinets to install a sink or a pleasantly finished and robust wood frame for a bed) before I can even consider indulging in wood-working as a hobby.

      If it's OK with you, I'll drop you an email, I'd be very happy for some tips on wood-working, specifically in Cluj 🙂

      All Things Good
      🙂
      Ronen

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