morganew

5 foot long bench - anyone built one?

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I have a smaller shop (11x22), and with the way I am currently set up, I really can't go much over 5 feet. 6 would require significant re-jiggering of other tools.

Has anyone built a shorter split-top? If so, what changes did you make or problems did you discover? DId you do a new sketch-up that I could pilfer?

Thanks all for any input.

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I might strongly consider significant re-jiggering.  I very often find myself wishing I had a 12 foot bench.  It's the heart of your shop.

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Not really, unless you're a production shop and everything is an automated process on bigger machines.  See Particle Board. :)

 

But for the average hobbyist, regardless of whether or not you rely heavily upon hand or power tools, you still need work-holding abilities and a solid and large space.

 

The only time I would consider a small bench to be acceptable is for people who do smaller craft projects, carving, etc.  If you want to build full-sized furniture, a full sized bench is a big advantage, if not essential.

 

This message brought to you by the resident curmudgeon. :)

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I can see both sides..  Keep it simple and build the biggest bench that your space and budget will allow.

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Not really, unless you're a production shop and everything is an automated process on bigger machines. See Particle Board. :)

But for the average hobbyist, regardless of whether or not you rely heavily upon hand or power tools, you still need work-holding abilities and a solid and large space.

The only time I would consider a small bench to be acceptable is for people who do smaller craft projects, carving, etc. If you want to build full-sized furniture, a full sized bench is a big advantage, if not essential.

This message brought to you by the resident curmudgeon. :)

Work holding? Jawhorse. Solid and large space? Table saw. In a small shop, sometimes you have to pick your battles. I have a traditional bench, but there are times where I feel the space it takes up could be used in better ways.

OP, I think a 5' bench would be plenty adequate for most purposes.

Sent from my HTC One using Tapatalk

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Hey, my bench is only 48" long. Beats the heck out of a chunk of plywood over sawhorses any day of the week. Ever tried to mount a vice on a sawhorse?

Do I wish it was bigger? Sometimes, but that is usually when I am doing assembly work. I handle that by dragging my utility bench and tabesaw along side for more area. I made everything the same height for that reason. Gets me by so far.

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I have a small shop, but I wasn't gonna sacrifice on the size of my bench...I'll cut corners somewhere else since I spend about 90% of my working time at the bench.  But y'all are right...it's a personal decision based only on each individual's particular needs.  For me, I'd be cursing a 5 foot bench at some point during just about every single build. :)

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I agree with Eric on this, you want the biggest bench you can fit in the shop. even on small projects you quickly find yourself trying to find a place to put a tool down so you can grab a different one. With a small bench you spend more time getting tools out and putting them away than you will using them.

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i built a bench more for carving then for standard bench use. it has a end vise and a face vice for carving things.  and a full length of dog holes but it is only about 3ft long.  but its got the weight for hammering on it with a mallet of for when im putting my full weight behind a chisel to cut out a sculpture.  

 

i kept it real simple its been modified a bit since then with a second vice, a sharpening station for my gouges, a dust collection hose for power carving  and a set of drawers underneath for my inlay materials,

th_DSCN0249.jpg

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I agree with Eric on this, you want the biggest bench you can fit in the shop. even on small projects you quickly find yourself trying to find a place to put a tool down so you can grab a different one. With a small bench you spend more time getting tools out and putting them away than you will using them.

 

i am forced to use a small bench and i agree im always struggling to work around the stuff on my bench. 

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My current bench is the sojberg 1450, which is 52" x 19".  My biggest complaints are 1. The clamps are really bad. 2. The top is too thin to use holdfasts (1 3/4") 3. That it's not quite deep enough (24" is good, 19" can be a pain).  I have an assembly table of sorts - a cabinet for my planer that gives me reasonable space with the planer stored.

 

Given how I have my shop laid out, 66" seems like the best I could go for.  If I go for a full eight feet, I won't have room for other tools that live along the wall when not in use.

 

So if I go with a 66" x 24" bench, should I:

 

1.  Pull most of the length out of the overhang? I'm thinking that minimum overhang is related to clamp depth, is there something else I am forgetting?

2.  how much do I shrink the base?  6"?

3.  any other changes to the build I need to consider?

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I built mine 22" wide. If I were to go wider, I think I would shoot for 30" or so, with a split top. I also made the legs flush with the edges of the top on 3 sides, with an overhang on just one end. I don't have a leg vice, but it is easy to clamp any sort of work to the legs so that the edge rises above the top. In fact, the legs are thick enough to use a holdfast.

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While we're at it, I'll give my speech.

 

I have a 60"x20" harbor freight bench, and it sucks! Not big enough(for me now, I have transitioned much hand tool work into my process) The end vise that comes with it is a joke. The top is only 3/4" fj oak scraps. The only thing I like about the bench is the 4 drawers below the top. I do use them, but for future use I will compartment each drawer so that they serve an actual storage purpose rather than clutter to the brim. The day that I can retire it will be a glorious day. I may take it out to the street, light it on fire and monster truck over it.

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Is your current space your "final" space? Is there a chance you'll be moving in the near (2-5 years) future? Or taking over the rest of the garage? 

 

In other words, is there a chance you'll be needing a longer bench soon? If so, then I'd consider building a cheaper version of the bench and plan to relegate it to secondary duty or hand it down to someone later. 

 

I have a 5'x2' bench now. 2x4 base and laminated plywood top and I find the 5' length is a bit limiting. At least the way I work, about 2' on my right side winds up stacked with everything I'm using at the time, leaving me about 3' to work with. Like you, I'm in a very limited space. (13'x16' with only 1 usable wall) I don't have room right now, so I plan to build a 5' (or 5.5') Roubo bench out of construction grade lumber, then when we move in a few years and I have a bigger space, I can build my dream bench.

 

Even if this is your 'final' workspace, I'd suggest building your bench from cheaper materials. That way, if you think you want something bigger, you're not throwing too much away. All of your vise hardware, etc., will transfer to the new bench.

 

If you really want to build the ultimate bench now, then I'd seriously consider reworking your space to force a bigger bench to fit. Even getting it to 6' or 6.5' will make a big difference.

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If the choice is short bench vs no bench, short bench wins. I'm in the same boat and currently have 3 wall benches that I don't use so eventually I'll tear them out and build a 5' -ish stand alone. For me, the size of the bench has nothing to do with how much crap I pile on it but more a matter of discipline to not pile in the first place. I'm quite enamored with this bench and will build something similar.

 

jhTz1lj.png

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So if I go with a 66" x 24" bench, should I:

 

1.  Pull most of the length out of the overhang? I'm thinking that minimum overhang is related to clamp depth, is there something else I am forgetting?

2.  how much do I shrink the base?  6"?

3.  any other changes to the build I need to consider?

 

If you are planning to use the benchcrafted tail vise, you need to keep the overhang that's in the plans on the right side. I'd take length away from the left hand overhang first, but leave about 3" overhang minimum.  Take the rest out of the middle, and shrink the base the same amount.  Call it 12 inches from the left side, and 9 from the middle - if my math and memory about the original dimensions are both correct.

 

If you want to get really fancy, consider making the right side legs offset from each other.  The rear leg can be much further outward than the front leg - since the tail vise is in the front only.  This would help with stability, but require a diagonal lower stretcher.  This was the solution that Jameel at benchcrafted used for the 60" bench he made.

 

Of course, if you're using different tail vise hardware all bets are off.

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Is your current space your "final" space? Is there a chance you'll be moving in the near (2-5 years) future? Or taking over the rest of the garage? 

 

In other words, is there a chance you'll be needing a longer bench soon? If so, then I'd consider building a cheaper version of the bench and plan to relegate it to secondary duty or hand it down to someone later. 

 

I have a 5'x2' bench now. 2x4 base and laminated plywood top and I find the 5' length is a bit limiting. At least the way I work, about 2' on my right side winds up stacked with everything I'm using at the time, leaving me about 3' to work with. Like you, I'm in a very limited space. (13'x16' with only 1 usable wall) I don't have room right now, so I plan to build a 5' (or 5.5') Roubo bench out of construction grade lumber, then when we move in a few years and I have a bigger space, I can build my dream bench.

 

Even if this is your 'final' workspace, I'd suggest building your bench from cheaper materials. That way, if you think you want something bigger, you're not throwing too much away. All of your vise hardware, etc., will transfer to the new bench.

 

If you really want to build the ultimate bench now, then I'd seriously consider reworking your space to force a bigger bench to fit. Even getting it to 6' or 6.5' will make a big difference.

Yes, this space is my "final" space for at least 5 years.  and I nearly all of the garage already.  it's a very small, single car (I can't believe anyone actually fit a car in there).

 

As to Aaron's point, I am thinking of going with the Bench Crafted, which means one side has to have a minimum of 18.5" of overhang.

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One thing to think about if you are going with a non-standard Roubo length.

 

 

Be sure to think ahead about laying out where your dog holes will go.

 

My bench is only 5 inches shorter than "standard". However, it ended up putting one of my square dogs in a big of precarious place.

Note" the final dog hole in the picture is right up against the end-cap on this end. (Of course, normally there isn't an endcap there so my problem was compounded.) Anyway, with a 2 degree angle on the square dog hole it ends up so that the bottom of the material left in the dog strip is wafer thin down on the underside of the bench. After it's all together, it's not really a problem, but if I had to do it again, I'd probably add an inch of material down there to make it easier to when cutting those dog holes. Just some food for thought.

post-2771-0-88125200-1396015851_thumb.jp

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While we're at it, I'll give my speech.

 

I have a 60"x20" harbor freight bench, and it sucks! Not big enough(for me now, I have transitioned much hand tool work into my process) The end vise that comes with it is a joke. The top is only 3/4" fj oak scraps. The only thing I like about the bench is the 4 drawers below the top. I do use them, but for future use I will compartment each drawer so that they serve an actual storage purpose rather than clutter to the brim. The day that I can retire it will be a glorious day. I may take it out to the street, light it on fire and monster truck over it.

Hey dead spud, I have the same HF bench, I hate the damn thing The vise is like gravity, [it sucks] the dog holes are undersize, and the 2 top drawers fill with whatever waste I'm working on. But the good side is, that it's better than 3/4 ply over saw horses... but not by much!   I'd build something larger cause I need longer and wider and dog holes that accept real dogs and hold downs. But I've got 108 sq ft and to many machines, and wood storage....  Sometimes my bench could drive me crazy, if it could get a license!

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Hey dead spud, I have the same HF bench, I hate the damn thing The vise is like gravity, [it sucks] the dog holes are undersize, and the 2 top drawers fill with whatever waste I'm working on. But the good side is, that it's better than 3/4 ply over saw horses... but not by much!   I'd build something larger cause I need longer and wider and dog holes that accept real dogs and hold downs. But I've got 108 sq ft and to many machines, and wood storage....  Sometimes my bench could drive me crazy, if it could get a license!

 

Then you need this bench. 

 

http://www.leevalley.com/US/wood/page.aspx?p=71736&cat=1,41637

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