New bench in the works...

MontyJ
227 posts and 10 followers
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and I have a question for our resident shipwright and master of all things wedges.

Paul, I was going to send you a PM but thought this might be a discussion others could benefit from. I am designing a new bench. I saw your wedge powered wagon vices and the V8 leg vice and decided those are what I want in the new bench. I love the ease of use, the quick release, the low cost, and the idea of something so simple and ?unindustrialised? if that makes sense. Getting the same wood you used would be cost prohibitive, and I would like to use locally sourced species. Available to me are:

White Ash
White and Red Oak
Hard Maple
Walnut
Cherry
Hickory

The bench itself will be either white ash or white oak, my question is, for the wedge vice construction, which local wood is better suited? I’m leaning more towards hard maple or hickory for their strength. Also, what did you use to cut the “modified deck beam”?

Where are the band-aids?---Pro Libertate!

Hi Monty.
First of all my bench is CHEAP. It is primarily made of a few sheets of 3/4" plywood. I believe it is as strong as and more rigid than a solid hardwood bench and a way easier and faster to build. The base is hammer veneered with Walnut veneer and the top is trimmed with local Arbutus but the bench is plywood …… that’s the best part.
Any of the woods you mention would sub for my Arbutus (you would call it Madrone) but I would strongly recommend looking at my inter-laid plywood construction.
Have you seen the Sketchup?
https://3dwarehouse.sketchup.com/model.html?id=eac92d1e533271b452d9fc61873164a1

I cut the beam joint on a bandsaw but you could do it with almost anything.

The early bird gets the worm but its the second mouse that gets the cheese.

Is there some kind of communal ESP going on or something? Sheesh, I just finished reading every part of Paul’s bench build blog over on lj because I’m also planning a new bench and was looking for vise options. Then I come over here and see Montys post.

I also watched the video of the vises in operation and showed my wife the dog house. She thought the dogs might get hurt while hammering and planing away. LOL

One quick question about the dog holes. I know that you called your hardwood inserts the luxury option, but is there any real difference between that and just drilling the holes through the plywood? Thanks in advance.

Losing fingers since 1969

One more question. To save a few shekels, can I use cdx or even osb?

Losing fingers since 1969

I wouldn’t use OSB (Old Sh** Board) but cdx may be OK if it is flat. Starting out with something that isn’t pretty flat will make things more difficult. Not impossible, just more difficult. Often the box store birch is fairly cheap and nice and flat. That would be a good choice. The construction is so strong that flat is really the main issue.

The early bird gets the worm but its the second mouse that gets the cheese.

Sorry Brian, I missed your first post. I think the holes may last a little better with smooth hardwood bores but it probably doesn’t make much difference.

BTW, the offer of a marquetry V8 degree logo for anyone who builds the leg vice applies here as well. :-)

The early bird gets the worm but its the second mouse that gets the cheese.

That’s a done deal then! I think I’m also going to make a wagon vise but not a wedge clamp. I think I’ll probably retrofit a pipe clamp into it. That’s how we roll in Wantagh. LOL. But definitely wedge leg vise. :-)

Losing fingers since 1969

Keep me posted.
……. and send me a pic when you get close to finished an I’ll send you a V8 degree logo.

The early bird gets the worm but its the second mouse that gets the cheese.

Thanks for the info Paul. The sketch-up is a big help. I understand your reasoning for using plywood, but I don’t think I could cut it as accurately as would be required. I don’t have a band saw, and a recent music stand build gives me pause to try to use the jig saw for anything that requires accuracy. A solid hardwood top will be easier for me (and with the cost of plywood locally, hardwood is 1/3 the cost).
As to the beam joint, I was afraid you would say band saw. I really need to buy one, but I haven’t found the right one for the right price yet. I think I could make the cuts with a pull saw though.
I’ll be using hard maple for the vices. It has the hardness and durability needed, but without the hassle that comes with working with hickory.
This will be a long, drawn out build. I’ll start with the wagon vices so I’ll have some dimensions to work with when the top goes together.
Who knows, maybe I’ll find a band saw in time to make a plywood top.

Where are the band-aids?---Pro Libertate!

Actually you can build the plywood bench with nothing but a circular saw, a router and a drill. A table saw makes the rip cuts easier but it isn’t necessary. I built a smaller version of this bench for my winter shop in Az. using only those basic tools so it is doable. Here is a build blog on the smaller one and here is a build blog on the bigger one.
I also used a cheap jig saw and band saw for the vices but the bench can be done with very basic tools.
I feel a bit silly re-posting all my existing stuff here but maybe I should with these blogs.
BTW, by my calculation 3/4" plywood at $40/ sheet is about $1.65 per fbm. If you can but decent hardwood for 1/3 of that price you are very lucky indeed.

The early bird gets the worm but its the second mouse that gets the cheese.

Yes, very lucky. Well they ship to N.Y.?

Losing fingers since 1969