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.


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:

-- 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!


reymundo42 said...

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 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.