ChetlovesMer

Okay, somebody convince me why I want a split top.

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I've never had a split top in a bench before. Other than hanging a dovetail saw in the split, what else do you use the split for? I'm thinking of building the bench as shown in the plans, but I'm trying to figure out if I'd ever use the split. Up to this point I don't think I've ever said "Gee, I wish this bench was split down the center."

I'd love to hear from somebody who has the split. How often do you use it?

Somebody educate me on the split, please.

Thanks,

Chet

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For me, the primary reason I like the split is for clamping options. There have been numerous times I wanted to clamping something tall to the bench and I would have loved to be able to get a parallel clamp right in the middle of the bench. In my opinion, its a very versatile design. Having a built-in plane stop (using the insert) is a nice bonus too.

The other issues is portability, which isn't going to matter to everyone. But if you ever need to move your bench, its nice to know that the top comes apart in two halves.

I also think the two halves will be easier to construct given the fact that both can fit through just about any planer. Of course this is only an issue when you're building to bench, but its something to keep in mind.

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So other than ease of construction and leveling, additional planing stop and/or temporary tool storage mid bench, the ability to throw a clamp in the middle of the bench and future portability there isn't much point to splitting the top? ;)

I never thought of splitting the top before this, but in retrospect it seems an obvious choice for me.

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Well to be fair, for some, these things just aren't important. I know many folks in the Guild have already emailed me asking about how they can go about making the top one solid piece. But for those who do see a use for it, its a really cool option.

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I have a different split top, not a Roubo, a Bob Lang 21st Century split-top...

I'd never have a non-split top bench again. Along with the previously mentioned clamping, milling, and disassembly plusses, even silly things like laying items face down and having a place for the hardware to go is cool.

If you sometimes want a solid bench, simply make tool trays that fit in the "canyon". The trays can be put in upside down for a full surface, flipped to hold tools, fasteners, or supplies, or removed all together. Make the trays 1/4 or 1/5 of the bench length, and you can mix and match!

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How wide is the split?

Can you fit a parallel jaw clamp in there?

The draft Guild plans show the split at 1 7/8" wide. The original Benchcrafted design was a little narrower, maybe 1/4" less. Marc measured a couple of his clamps and the 1 7/8" should accomodate most common parallel clamps. It would be trivial to make the gap wider also, just make the front and rear slabs a little narrower.

For those that want to eliminate the gap, just make one big top. The only other change would be to the endcap - it would have to run the entire depth of the bench.

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Okay, I measured my new Bessey Revos and they need about 2" to fit the split. However, I have a ton of older Bessey K-bodys which are only 1-1/2" wide. So, I think I'll use Marc's 1-7/8" split and then just make sure to grab an older style Bessey or a Jorgy whenever I want to use one in the split.

Thanks for all the insight. I appreciate everyone's comments and suggestions.

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For me, it was an "ah-ha" moment when I saw the split top. I like the idea of being able to have a planing stop right there and bench tools upright within arms reach. Want a smooth flat surface? Flip the gap stop over and "voila" - miles of open bench top. An the clamping possibilities are much broader when you have the ability to put a clamp in the middle of the bench top. The cherry on top is that the "half tops" can be planed flat with a planer when needed or taken off for relocating the bench. The folks at Benchcrafted have produced a nice set of plans based on a tried-and-true design and with Marc's tweaks, it could be nearly perfect for the hybrid woodworker.

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I've never had a split top in a bench before. Other than hanging a dovetail saw in the split, what else do you use the split for? I'm thinking of building the bench as shown in the plans, but I'm trying to figure out if I'd ever use the split. Up to this point I don't think I've ever said "Gee, I wish this bench was split down the center."

I'd love to hear from somebody who has the split. How often do you use it?

Somebody educate me on the split, please.

Thanks,

Chet

BECAUSE ITS COOOL!!!!!!!!!!!! Just kidding. Lots of reasons including the one you mentioned... Ability to clamp in the middle of the table, having a continuous stop in the middle of the table and also having the tools for the day on the table top with them rolling around or hanging out in a dust chute that you can't find anything in and because ITS COOOOOL!!!

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How wide is the split?

Can you fit a parallel jaw clamp in there?

From the sketch-up plans it looks pretty narrow.

Thanks for the response.

Chet

I am only using the sketch up plan a generic plan for me to tweak. For example my slabs are whatever the wood allowed me, meaning, if a 12/4 board i have milled up to 27/8", that is the thickness I am using and the same goes for my 8/4 and 4/4. I do have a size in mind that I would like to have it end up, but I also paid alot of money for wood and hardware and I am going to get every thousandth of an inch out of my boards. My final dimensions will be somewhere around 29" x 91". Make the split as large as you want and that goes for everthing else on the bench. This is your bench, no one elses, make it to your liking and pleasure. Savy.

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