Workbenches - A Different Take
#11
  
I don't use my traditional workbench as anything except a flat surface for junk to accumulate, with one exception, handplaning.  I have an 8' long, 36 1/2" high, 2' deep "bench" under a large window that is my work space.  The light is better and the height is much easier on my back.  It is made out of a double thickness of MDF.  The right side of it houses my chop saw, the far left end holds my belt/spindle sander.  I doubt Chris Schwarz would recognize it as a bench of any type.  It fits the type of woodworking I now do much better than bending over my traditional bench.  I guess as your woodworking changes your tools need to change too.

I guess it comes down to what is the most comfortable for the type of woodworking you do.  I use a vacuum clamp to hold pieces for hand routing.  I have a Parrot Vise that I clamp to the "bench" for holding carving projects.  I also use a drafting stool on wheels whenever I can to minimize standing on concrete.  Even standing on AirMats hurts after a few hours.  There is no way I could work from the stool at the old bench due to it's lower height.

I still kind of feel like I should build a real traditional bench just so I can say I did it but I probably wouldn't use it any more than my old crappy bench.

I'm pretty sure this kind of approach wouldn't work for everybody but it seems to suit me pretty well.
Mike


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But not today...
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#12
  Re: Workbenches - A Different Take by gMike (I don't use my tradi...)
I've determined I don't need a 900# traditional bench that takes a hoist to move it.
I've had the same style benches for 20 years or more. 2-3 sheets of 3/4 whatever for a top, with 6 legs and a shelf underneath it.
Currently have a 4x8 and a 4x6 bench.
Steve

Missouri






 
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#13
  Re: Workbenches - A Different Take by gMike (I don't use my tradi...)
It don't have to be fancy. The bench I use for welding is made from 2 skids, 4 4x4's and a few 2x4's with a steel plate lying on top and a vise bolted onto a corner. It started out as something I threw together the same height as the table saw when I paneled the shop. Then I needed a welding bench so the legs got lengthened by scabbing on 2x4's to make it welding height.

My boss is a Jewish carpenter. Our DADDY owns the business.
Trying to understand some people is like trying to pick up the clean end of a turd.
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#14
  Re: Workbenches - A Different Take by gMike (I don't use my tradi...)
I would venture to guess that Chris Schwarz wouldn't care what kind of bench is in use so long as you are using and doing.
Don't sweat the petty things and don't pet the sweaty things. -- G. Carlin
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#15
  Re: Workbenches - A Different Take by gMike (I don't use my tradi...)
It's whatever works for YOU.

Thats really all that matters.

Ed
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#16
  Re: Workbenches - A Different Take by gMike (I don't use my tradi...)
One of the nice things about Schwarz is that he tells you why he thinks something, not just what he thinks. For instance in his first workbench book, he starts out by describing questions you need to ask yourself about any bench to evaluate it for your work. (In my opinion, this one-page summary, posted on his blog before publication, was worth the price of the book.) Then he comes up with a set of rules that will allow you to meet those requirements for the way he likes to work. Then he presents in detail two workbench designs, one of which breaks his rules, and he explains how it works well anyway.

There are plenty of knowledgeable people who disagree with Chris Schwarz. They don't have to read him, but they don't have to make it so obvious they haven't either.
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#17
  Re: Workbenches - A Different Take by gMike (I don't use my tradi...)
(02-26-2017, 07:40 PM)Rob Young Wrote: I would venture to guess that Chris Schwarz wouldn't care what kind of bench is in use so long as you are using and doing.

And buying his books Big Grin
Worst thing they can do is cook ya and eat ya

GW
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#18
  Re: Workbenches - A Different Take by gMike (I don't use my tradi...)
(02-26-2017, 09:27 PM)Steve N Wrote: And buying his books Big Grin

Gotta eat... Wink
Don't sweat the petty things and don't pet the sweaty things. -- G. Carlin
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#19
  Re: Workbenches - A Different Take by gMike (I don't use my tradi...)
My "bench" is a bench in name only.  Flat surfaces tend to accumulate stuff in my shop, so what serves as my work surface started out as a small piece of MDF on top of two heavy duty sawhorses I made when I built my house.  My shop is fairly small, so I liked the idea of being able to break the table down and open up the floor space, when needed.  

This was intended as a temporary solution, until I could get a proper work table built and it worked OK for awhile, but I needed a larger surface.  I came across an old wooden desk that had a big heavy wooden top.  I salvaged the top and threw it on top of the same sawhorses, more than doubling my work area.  A couple years ago, I added a layer of 1" MDF for more stability and flattness, topping it with a sacrificial layer of 1/8" tempered MDF, to catch all the paint, glue and finish spills.  I recently added a couple vises to it now and it's grown too heavy to remove by myself, so it has become more or less permanent, by default.  It's still sitting on those 2 sawhorses that I originally built almost 35 years ago and I still swear that someday I'll build a proper base for it, with drawers and storage, but I make this work for me.
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#20
  Re: Workbenches - A Different Take by gMike (I don't use my tradi...)
I generally discourage the use of MDF for workbench tops unless you have them throughly waterproofed.  Inevitably water borne fluids will come in contact, which is catastrophic for MDF.  However, my assembly bench is of MDF and aware of this fact, I scrape, sand and dowse it in BLO 2-3 X/year.

MDF is a great material for flatness and density.  I think 2-3 layers of 3/4" MDF covered with a layer of hardwood ply or masonite hardboard can make an excellent benchop.  A big problem is it does not stand up well if using bench hooks or dog holes (which in all practicality eliminates its use if so desired).
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