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Workbench Improvements - jteneyck - 12-03-2018

I built a Euro style workbench probably 25 years ago, after a design from Frank Klausz in FWW.  I modified the dimensions a little and eliminated the tool tray, but the guts of it are his design.  That design has two stretchers with tenons set in mortises about 1/3 of the way up the end leg assemblies.  I added a shelf on top of it when I built it and stored jigs, short pieces of wood, and various other things on it, none of which got used very often.  


After I got my shop cleaned out fairly well a couple of months ago I moved the bench to a better location and decided I would much rather have a cabinet of drawers under the bench to store frequently used tools in than a shelf.  This is what I came up with:





I reused the stretchers by ripping them down to 3-1/2" W and cut new mortises at the bottom of the leg assemblies.  I added two additional stretchers just below the top.  That created a shallow shelf and maintained the amazing rigidity this bench has always had.  The drawer cabinet is a simple affair, a frame top and bottom with 4 partitions defining the drawer widths.  The cabinet slides into the opening and is secured to the bottom stretchers with a couple of screws.  As you can see, I made a shelf on the left side, rather than a drawer, for easy access to frequently used hand planes.  To maximize the storage for the drawers there are no dividers; the drawers are full width and side hung. 

After the drawer cabinet was done I decided to see if I could incorporate a sliding pegboard to support long pieces in the front vise, like I frequently see on benches where the legs are flush with the edge of the bench top.  But the legs on mine are inset from the front edge of the top by about 4", so I couldn't use a simple, straight pegboard.  What you see is what I came up with.  The pegboard turns 45 deg near the bottom.  I routed a 1/2" wide dado on the bottom stretcher and under the front edge of the bench top.  There is a mating 1/2" tenon on both ends of the pegboard.  It's length is sized so that when the top tenon is fully inserted into the dado under the bench top that the tenon at the bottom will tip into the dado in the lower stretcher.  It is just as easily removed, but stays locked in place as long as the load is straight down.  I cut the 45 deg finger joints on the table saw using a simple sled I made and used epoxy to glue the parts together.  







I used various pieces of scrap cherry and cherry ply for the cabinet and drawers fronts w/o much concern for color consistency, mixed maple and cherry for the drawer boxes, a piece of white oak for the pegboard, and a coat of Danish oil for a little color and protection.  I already appreciate the easy access to those hand planes and having other frequently used tools close at hand in the drawers.  


This was a fun little project.  

John


RE: Workbench Improvements - MarkSingleton - 12-03-2018

Very nice bench. Good idea with the sliding panel.
How thick is the top? Reason I ask is I don't see
any provision for using holdfasts. Or do you not
use them?


RE: Workbench Improvements - barryvabeach - 12-03-2018

Nice work, especially with the peg board.  On mine, I tried a sliding dovetail at the top with a ledger strip on the bottom, but it does not move very smoothly.


RE: Workbench Improvements - jteneyck - 12-03-2018

(12-03-2018, 09:05 PM)MarkSingleton Wrote: Very nice bench. Good idea with the sliding panel.
How thick is the top?   Reason I ask is I don't see
any provision for using holdfasts.  Or do you not
use them?

Thanks. The top is only a scant 2" thick in the maple center section.  I've never used holdfasts being mostly a power tool user, but I've recently been thinking about how to incorporate that feature.  I see there are some alternative approaches but haven't made any decisions.  Anyone have a recommendation considering the 2" thickness of the top?  

John


RE: Workbench Improvements - jteneyck - 12-03-2018

(12-03-2018, 09:42 PM)barryvabeach Wrote: Nice work, especially with the peg board.  On mine, I tried a sliding dovetail at the top with a ledger strip on the bottom, but it does not move very smoothly.

Thanks.  This one slides very smoothly, but I don't think that it really matters much as long as it slides.  Maybe it's nice for bragging rights, but I doubt I'll actually need to move it very often, probably more to access a drawer than for its actual purpose.  

John


RE: Workbench Improvements - Tapper - 12-04-2018

(12-03-2018, 10:44 PM)jteneyck Wrote: Thanks. The top is only a scant 2" thick in the maple center section.  I've never used holdfasts being mostly a power tool user, but I've recently been thinking about how to incorporate that feature.  I see there are some alternative approaches but haven't made any decisions.  Anyone have a recommendation considering the 2" thickness of the top?  

John

Hi John,

I really like the improvements you've made to that bench! I have a bench I built 15-20 years ago based on the European model in Woodsmith #50. It is in need of updating and upgrading. There is a tray on one side that seems to be a "catch-all" rather than serve any real useful purpose (I may remove it and just widen the top).

 I like that storage cabinet and the sliding leg support. What are the dimensions of the top on yours?

Our friends at Lee Valley have this hold down that seems pretty nice. If you don't like this one, just search their site for a multitude of options.

Doug


RE: Workbench Improvements - jteneyck - 12-04-2018

(12-04-2018, 12:42 PM)Tapper Wrote: Hi John,

I really like the improvements you've made to that bench! I have a bench I built 15-20 years ago based on the European model in Woodsmith #50. It is in need of updating and upgrading. There is a tray on one side that seems to be a "catch-all" rather than serve any real useful purpose (I may remove it and just widen the top).

 I like that storage cabinet and the sliding leg support. What are the dimensions of the top on yours?

Our friends at Lee Valley have this hold down that seems pretty nice. If you don't like this one, just search their site for a multitude of options.

Doug

Thanks Doug.  The top on my bench is approx. 27 x 76".  Thanks for the link to the Lee Valley hold down.  They sure do know how take a simple device upscale, in every way.  

John


RE: Workbench Improvements - Handplanesandmore - 12-04-2018

Since you got a cabinet under the bench, there's probably not enough clearance for the use of holdfast or hold-down in the center area.

If you are thinking of using holdfasts outside the center section, Gramercy Tools holdfasts are very affordable, about $40 a pair.

Simon


RE: Workbench Improvements - Tapper - 12-04-2018

(12-04-2018, 06:10 PM)Handplanesandmore Wrote: Since you got a cabinet under the bench, there's probabky not enough clearance for the use of holdfast or hold-down in the center area.

Simon

Good observation; however, with the hold-down I linked they offer a shorter shaft that "might" work. 

Doug


RE: Workbench Improvements - Handplanesandmore - 12-04-2018

(12-04-2018, 06:17 PM)Tapper Wrote: Good observation; however, with the hold-down I linked they offer a shorter shaft that "might" work. 

Doug
Yes, Doug, the shorter post at 5 -1/2" might work, though I can't tell from the photos (2" top + ? spacing/gap):
http://www.leevalley.com/us/wood/page.aspx?p=70930&cat=1,41637
http://www.leevalley.com/us/wood/page.aspx?p=31149&cat=1,41637

This one should work with little doubt, even on the sliding deadman:

http://www.leevalley.com/us/wood/page.aspx?p=57059&cat=1,41637

Simon