Workbench

Discussion in 'Armory - Q&A' started by K O'N, Jan 29, 2016.

  1. K O'N

    K O'N Podium

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    (crossposted to r/fencing on reddit, no need to answer in both places)

    I've had a crappy plywood-topped workbench at my club for ten years now. It was built by the theater guy who originally taught the fencing classes, and it looks like it. 2x4 legs, 1/4" plywood top, big gaps everywhere. It's better than nothing, but still pretty bad.

    So I have some weekend days free and I'm going to build a new (stand up) bench. I'm planning to buy a pre-glued 1" thick laminated hardwood top from Lowes, make some decent legs, maybe put some drawers underneath. It would be nice to have two work stations, so I think 6' long is good. That would let me put a vise on either end. I have the tools and I build boats for fun, so the construction details aren't a problem, I'm just looking for design elements I may not have thought of.

    What else should I be thinking about? What features? A lip all the way around? Little routed in dish shaped indentations to put screws and tip parts in? I was thinking about an embedded magnet spot that would hold on to parts, that might be cool.

    Any ideas, experiences, warnings?

    Thanks!
     
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  2. neevel

    neevel Armorer

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    Having a lip would cause issues with clamping things to the top. I've often found it useful to clamp a pony vise to a workbench as an extra vise on an as-needed basis, or to clamp down a blade along the edge of the worktop when I need to clean the groove with a Dremel.

    A shelf underneath is a useful thing- it lets you keep things like reels waiting to be worked on off the floor.

    Really good lighting is very helpful. If there aren't already, having one or two florescent light fixtures right above the bench, along with a clamp-on work light that can be repositioned as needed is something to add to your plans.
     
  3. jkormann

    jkormann Podium

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    - Pegboard on the side (legs) and behind is useful to hold tools and keep things handy.
    - Rather than a lip, how about routing a small groove to catch rolling items.
    - A single piece of thin plywood, not 2x4s, to create a smooth surface.
    - Not sure how you have the nearby electrics.
     
  4. Zebra

    Zebra Podium

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    I like the magnet idea, and I second the call for plenty of light, including light that will shine on the floor where springs and screws will inevitably get lost. If you want to get radical, run a baseboard all the way down to the floor so nothing will be able to bounce or roll under the bench.
     
  5. dcchew

    dcchew Podium

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    Check the Harbor Freight website for their wooden 4-drawer workbench. It costs about $160. Add a couple of vises, an overhead light, etc. and you'll have nice start to a club armory.

    I like the Harbor Freight magneticparts holders for keep small parts in one place. $3 each.
     
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  6. K O'N

    K O'N Podium

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    Ah, see. That's exactly the sort of thing I was hoping would pop out of this. Thanks! I just found a 20% off coupon for HF and ordered it. $146 including shipping and tax. Great, exactly what I wanted, good price, excellent. I'll glue up the clamp dog holes and make some other mods, but this should be an excellent upgrade with very little effort.

    Thanks again!
     
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  7. brtech

    brtech Podium

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  8. VorpalCat

    VorpalCat Podium

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    I picked up a tall dining table at a scratch-and-dent/overstock store for $80. It was the perfect work height, cheaper than building one from scratch, nice and sturdy. Attached a small vise to one corner, hung pegboard on the wall behind it, hey presto. If I find myself in that situation again, I'll put a groove around the edge as mentioned above - great idea.
     
  9. K O'N

    K O'N Podium

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    That's about what I figured. I'll glue the joints, glue the dogs in and plane them flat since I don't need to clamp big hunks of wood on it and I don't want holes in the top when I'm working. Router the groove around the edge and sink some magnets in the top. Maybe put a brace across the back. It backs up to some steel poles, so I may clamp it to the poles to make it unmovable.
     
  10. twisterfencing

    twisterfencing Podium

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    Here you go Kevin,

    I use this very one at one of my stations at my shop, click here
    Here is another one I have in the shop as well, click here
    Attach a vise and a light to it and either one is ready to work!
    Just follow the instructions! They answer all the questions.
    Gary
     
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2016
  11. foibles

    foibles Podium

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    Fwiw
    IMG_0962_up.jpg
    image.jpeg

    Harbor freight also carries magnet bars which are handy.
    image.jpeg
     
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2016
  12. jkormann

    jkormann Podium

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    @foibles, why do you have a vise set into the middle of the bench? Curious what the advantage is.

    And one of the pics is upside down.
     
  13. DHCJr

    DHCJr Armorer

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    I don't know why foibles has it in the middle, but here are some advantages. If you have 2 working there, they both have access to it. Second for me, I like to be able to see the wire to make sure I am not damaging it when I balance the blade. Left-handed blades I clamp to the right and Right-handed to the left. Also, it I am cleaning out a blade working in the middle, I have room on both sides.
     
  14. K O'N

    K O'N Podium

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    Well, if he drops a part there it lands on the bench, not the floor.

    He's showing how well the magnet bowls work.
     
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  15. foibles

    foibles Podium

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    The thumbnail is upside down, but shows correctly when clicked... on my screen at least. No idea why it did that. Iphone thing. I'll see if I can fix it.

    I put the small vise in the middle so I can have a railing around the edge of the table. Also, when working on a tip I can hold the blade in place horizontally over the worktable with a metallic dish or cloth beneath to capture dropped screws, tips and springs.

    and... well... it's just more comfortable than a vise on the side of the table. I can rest my elbows on the tabletop to maintain a steady screwdriver, or dremel tool or whatever.

    I have a big vise off to the far right corner, not shown.
     
  16. Privateer

    Privateer Podium

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    I tried to think of the most harmless thing. Something I loved from my childhood. Something that could never ever possibly destroy us. Mr. Stay Puft!
     
  17. K O'N

    K O'N Podium

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    Follow-up: Got the bench in, put it together, it's fine. Very nice quality for that much money. Here's a picture of the new and old benches together:

    http://i.imgur.com/2Jbytih.jpg

    The old bench was standing height. I was going to raise the new one some, but people seem to like sitting at a rolling chair and working on stuff. I don't know that I do. We'll see. It's easy enough to raise it by adding a few thicknesses of 2x4 under the legs if I need to.

    One of the roller things on the drawers came apart, but I found all the little ball bearings and got it back together and working. So, overall, very good! Excellent value for the money.
     
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  18. dcchew

    dcchew Podium

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    A couple of suggestions. I have a work bench with a limited amount of work space. Instead of permanently mounting a bench grinder to the table top, I made a wooden bracket for the grinder out of scrap 2" x 6" and 2" x 4". This allows me to clamp the grinder to the vise whenever I need it.

    Good lighting is always a good thing to have. However, a lighted magnifying lamp is great for us old geezers with failing eye sight. Something like this.

    http://www.amazon.com/Eclipse-902-1...id=1457366464&sr=8-3&keywords=workbench+light
     
  19. K O'N

    K O'N Podium

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    I use one of those magnifying lights, it''s great. Although honestly it's less necessary now that I use the NEPS, they're pretty manageable without it.

    I don't have a bench grinder at the club, I find I don't need it much there. I have a cordless dremel and various cutting/grinding wheels. That's enough for me. I do think I might use a bench mounted wire wheel on bell guards if I had one, but I haven't bothered yet.
     

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