Recommendations on buying a bench


Shane Jimerfield
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I had just built a nice split top Roubo style bench with a pair of twin turbos that I lost in the fire. I'm thinking, I might at this point buy a bench, as I'd rather focus on making furniture to replace some of what I lost. Other than Benchcrafted and Sjöbergs who else should I be looking at?

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1 hour ago, Shane Jimerfield said:

I had just built a nice split top Roubo style bench with a pair of twin turbos that I lost in the fire. I'm thinking, I might at this point buy a bench, as I'd rather focus on making furniture to replace some of what I lost. Other than Benchcrafted and Sjöbergs who else should I be looking at?

If your looking for a showpiece check out http://www.strazzafurniture.com/workbenches.html

He is quite the craftsmen

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4 hours ago, pkinneb said:

If your looking for a showpiece check out http://www.strazzafurniture.com/workbenches.html

He is quite the craftsmen

Indeed, he is quite the craftsman. I'd probably have to drop my entire insurance settlement to get one of those. I'm not saying it's not worth every penny he charges for one, whatever that may be, but I'm guessing it's not within my budget. I'm also rough on benches, so I'd be afraid to go near one of those things with my tools and bohemian work style.

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Before I had moved to this shop and built my roubo I had a used solid core door on a couple saw horses I used the sh__t out of that old door. If I had built a base for it instead of putting in on saw horses I'm sure I could have mounted a vice on it and it cost me nothing, and after I built my bench I gave it to my next door neighbor and he's still using it. that's at least 35yrs of hard use if you slop paint on it or, get glue on it so what if it bothers you sand it smooth and keep on going till you have time to build your dream bench again. Good luck losing a shop to a fire has got to hurt, I can't imagine starting over but then I'm 68.  

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@Shane Jimerfield, I have seen at least a couple of other companies out there at woodworking shows, but the names don't come to mind.  A quick google came up with this from Highland:

https://www.highlandwoodworking.com/workbenchsale.html

The thing I've always noticed with manufactured benches is that the base structure always looks a little weak and the tops have aprons making them look thicker than they really are.  Looks may be deceiving and the performance might be great, but it'd be nice to try before you buy.  

If you decide to build again, but don't want to go full Rubo, Christopher Schwarz has at least two books on building benches and some place in them discusses simpler designs like the Nicholson.  You might find them in your public library.

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I bought a Sjobergs "Apartment Workbench" (based on the documentation that came with it, I think Sjobergs considers it a "multi-function bench") from Lee Valley about a year ago, to give me something to use while a shop-made bench is in (very slow) progress.  I was pleasantly surprised at how solid it was after I assembled it.  Rack resistance seemed good - but it was newly assembled.  First time I tried to use a plane on some stock in the face vice, the real problem became apparent.  The bench is just way too light - about 80#.  Even a light stroke with the plane made the legs at the opposite end want to jump.

So, I added sides, back (leaving space at the top for clamps), a middle shelf and a bottom shelf of 3/4" ply - no more worries about racking.  Then I added three 60# bags of sand to the bottom shelf, and I have a bench that weighs ~ 300#, with a low center of gravity.  It's not nearly as pretty as it was when I first assembled it, but it works quite well.

My only hesitation in recommending it is that when I bought it last year, I paid a little under $500, delivered.  Right now, Lee Valley is asking $845.

Apartment Workbench

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On 4/18/2021 at 6:08 PM, Shane Jimerfield said:

Indeed, he is quite the craftsman. I'd probably have to drop my entire insurance settlement to get one of those. I'm not saying it's not worth every penny he charges for one, whatever that may be, but I'm guessing it's not within my budget. I'm also rough on benches, so I'd be afraid to go near one of those things with my tools and bohemian work style.

I think I saw on a Fine Woodworking post that those benches are about $5k. Maybe a Matt Cremona kit would speed things along? https://mattcremona.com/product-category/workbench-kits

 

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The more expensive Sjobergs are good. Also Lie-Nielsen are fantastic. Just don't treat it like a piece of furniture it is purely for working on and a bit of stain, glue, drill hole or saw mark is fine.

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8 hours ago, TerryMcK said:

...Just don't treat it like a piece of furniture it is purely for working on and a bit of stain, glue, drill hole or saw mark is fine.

Say what I don't think so :P

LOL with help and support i'll get there

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