Work Bench Build #1: Decisions and Preparations

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For over 15 years now I have been working out of my garage as a workshop without a carpenters vise or a dedicated carpentry space. The shop has produced some amazing projects, including almost every piece of furniture in my house. Countless entertainment centres and book shelves. A couple of complete kitchen cabinet sets. Finally my younger years as a paratrooper have caught up with me and the back is not repairable, so I seem to have a lot of time on my hands. So I have finally decided to try and write a blog and follow along as I attempt to build a carpenters bench for my workshop. The shop is 26′×26′ and was built by me and my children when they were 8 &10. After doing a lot of Internet research I have made a discovery, I am about 5 years behind everyone else building a split top Roubo workbench. But, it’s new to me as I say a lot, so I’m gonna give it a go. Follow along as I make a mess, break stuff, and learn a few things while I keep my hands and mind busy. Any suggestions are greatly welcome, and if you don’t understand anything just ask, I’ll try to explain.
So, why the French bench instead of the English style, or just go buy the scandanivian? Well, I have always wanted to return to working with powerless tools, and try a laminating project. So that’s my first decision. Next was materials. I want it to be heavy…1000lbs if I could, so red oak, and rock maple. I bought about 250bf with enough to do the project based on what I have read. It has been sitting, racked nicely for 5 weeks now. That’s it for the first entry, thanks for reading.

-- CHRIS, Charlottetown PEI Canada. Anytime you can repurpose, reuse, or recycle, everyone wins!

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That is a scratch built mustang over 30 years old now it’s waiting for another skinning. It’s has had numerous crashes and repairs. My shop was exactly the same for the first 10 years I shared it with the wife’s car. At one time we had a complete recording studio setup in the shop, but it and the instruments needed a more controlled humidity environment, so it’s all moved to the basement. We have built over 30 guitars over the years and thousands of instrument repairs of all types.i still have a small amp and guitar there for s&%# and giggles.

-- CHRIS, Charlottetown PEI Canada. Anytime you can repurpose, reuse, or recycle, everyone wins!

Looking forward to your build. ( I also like what appears to be a Mustang hanging on the wall – Did that 100 years ago.) I have 1/2 of a garage, but everything is mobile so once the car is out, I can use it all. I guess your space and what items you generally like to make will dictate your set up. As they’ve said, “Go for it”.

Looking forward to your bench build. The best work bench is the one that we want and the Roubo bench is a good choice. They have a certain aesthetic value that is a little primitive and pretty cool.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway

Thanks Brian. I found the video, but I’m not there yet. At this point I will be staying with a traditional leg vise and crochet. The build looks complicated and I would need to buy all that hardware when I already have the hardware here for the other type.

-- CHRIS, Charlottetown PEI Canada. Anytime you can repurpose, reuse, or recycle, everyone wins!

I thought it was posted here but search turned nothing up. But I did find it on “that other site”. It is definitely worth looking at.

lumberjocks.com/projects/98264

-- Losing fingers since 1969

I love reading about these bench builds. I have several ideas in my head too, mostly stolen from shipwright and keifer. And of course a couple of original ideas too.

If you’re up for a challenge, check out keifer’s amazing “step on to lock” leg vise. I’m definitely giving that one a go. But it’s going to be a while before I can start. :-(

-- Losing fingers since 1969

Thanks for the comments and luck wishes. Ian, I have a plan in my head, and a crude drawing on graph paper, I have always made my own drawings. I have a bit of drafting (old school) skills, and have a large artist portfolio as well. In the last few years tho I have been carving in wood tho.

-- CHRIS, Charlottetown PEI Canada. Anytime you can repurpose, reuse, or recycle, everyone wins!

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