Interesting Woodworking Link

Friday, November 16, 2007

Episode #17 - New-Fangled Workbench - Part I



If you have had a chance to glance around my little shop, you may have noticed that I lack one of the most important tools in the woodworker’s arsenal – The Workbench. I have struggled with the decision regarding what type of bench to make. This is not an easy decision making process as there are a number of factors to consider. Ultimately this is a right of passage that all woodworkers eventually traverse. Realizing I most likely would build more than one bench in my lifetime, I finally decided to get to work.

The workbench is basically a huge clamping platform for the woodworker. I did a fair amount of research before deciding to build a variant of The New Fangled Workbench originally built by Fine Woodworking Shop Manager, John White. This bench had immediate appeal because of its amazing clamping flexibility. I also appreciated John’s construction process.

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Fine Woodworking New Fangled Workbench Video

I will be using kiln dried Douglas Fir as a construction material for the majority of the bench because of its strength and low cost. I got 2x material from the local big box supplier. I also got some wonderful 5/4 x 12 vertical grain from a good friend who had bought a large load of waste from a stair manufacturing company.

As I began to write this blog entry, I received an email and phone call from our local Rockler Store for an upcoming hardwood lumber sale. When I loaded up on some wonderful cherry I realized that their 4/4 hard maple would make a great bench top! So a last minute design change, which adds a bit of excitement and strength to the project.
I have plans for some unique modifications to John’s original design to support both machine and hand tool work in my shop. Tag along with me as I build a desperately needed workbench for my shop.

5 comments:

John said...

Very nice - Neil from Furnitology directed me to your write-up - I also plan to produce a John White bench and I'm digging your mods. I've linked you to my modern woodworking blog: modernwoodworking.blogspot.com

-- John

David Pruett said...

John -

Thank you for stopping by! As you can see from comments on my blog, I am a big fan of Neil & Furnitology Productions. I am very pleased he directed you to my bench series. I like the bench a lot. My only concern is it doesn't allow easy flattening over time. I am considering building another bench with a solid top but incorporating the planing beam and my modifications. By the way, I very much enjoy exploring your blog. Excellent work!

David

reymundo42 said...

David,
I'm using your example to make the bench and am confused about the pipe size. The original article calls for 1/2"pipe but the new plans call for 3/4" pipe. What did you use and how did you fit the mdf & two levels of pipe into the 3" SPACE?

David Pruett said...

Reymundo -

Thanks for the comment! The original plans called for 1/2" pipe and Pony Clamps. I used 3/4" pipe and Pony Clamps on my bench. I think either will provide good service.

David

David Pruett said...

Reymundo -

Forgot to comment that I did not use MDF as indicated in the original plan. I had a bunch of nice clear vertical grain doulas fir that I used to construct the top and center well.

David