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Thread: Superbench - a massive 6" top wooden bench with a steel base

  1. #1
    craig9's Avatar
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    Lightbulb Superbench - a massive 6" top wooden bench with a steel base

    I hope this workbench counts as a home made tool (I consider a bench an important tool)

    I've only just finished editing part two of this today.

    Part 1 here -

    Part 2 here -


    There are more things for me to do, such as vise, and storage, and some penetrol finish for the base, but here's where I'm up to so far. There will be at least one more video chapter in a few weeks.

    Cheers,
    Craig

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    DIYer (01-27-2021), NortonDommi (02-03-2021), Toolmaker51 (01-30-2021)

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    Supporting Member Toolmaker51's Avatar
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    Good news; excepting recent videos to the contrary, a workbench is dang important. Fair to say, you built it; it's a tool.
    Oddly enough, there aren't so many videos doing food prep on a dirt floor.......
    Ahh heck; Craig9 must have a drone. Notice he dressed [sharpened] wire wheel with a grind wheel dressing stone. Only seen one fellow do that, in Anaheim CA. Haven't used trick myself yet, but did toss same type stone in my wheel kit.
    Sincerely,
    Toolmaker51
    ...we'll learn more by wandering than searching...

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    craig9 (01-30-2021)

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    craig9's Avatar
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    Thanks Toolmaker51,

    No drone here - those camera movements were all handheld.

    I'd not tried sharpening the wire wheel before, but it seems to have been helpful, and I think I'll experiment more with it.

    Cheers,
    Craig

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    Supporting Member Philip Davies's Avatar
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    Craig, before you fix your vice, i recommend that you cover the top with a hardwood which does not splinter easily, eg oak. Don’t know if you have beech there. Flooring laminate would be ideal. With the softwood lumber you have used, you are likely to be forever picking splinters out from beneath your nails, especially if it is for heavy metal or mechanical work. I agree that a good workbench is the first tool that’s needed and I apologise if you are discouraged by my comment

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    Toolmaker51 (02-03-2021)

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    Supporting Member Crusty's Avatar
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    I made my top from strips of ĺ" plywood ripped to 4" width on the table saw and then through bolted upright with all thread in holes drilled on the drill press using a jig to ensure hole alignment. I covered it with a piece of hardboard that drops into a perimeter lip so it's not held with any metal fasteners, and it's cheap and easy to replace when it gets dinged, cut, gouged and soiled with glue and paint.
    If you can't make it precise make it adjustable.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Philip Davies View Post
    Craig, before you fix your vice, i recommend that you cover the top with a hardwood which does not splinter easily, eg oak. Donít know if you have beech there. Flooring laminate would be ideal. With the softwood lumber you have used, you are likely to be forever picking splinters out from beneath your nails, especially if it is for heavy metal or mechanical work. I agree that a good workbench is the first tool thatís needed and I apologise if you are discouraged by my comment
    Thanks Philip - you're absolutely right - if I were going to use this for metal or mechanical work, I'd need to do something like that, but I have a steel topped bench for that kind of thing. This bench is solely for cabinet making and woodwork. I've made it confusing (I realise) by putting a steel base under it. I had the steel in stock for the base, and I realised that there's no dovetail joint like a fillet weld, and I thought I'd try something different.

    The vise I want to fit to the front-left is a flush mounted 9" wide record carpentry style vise (an Australian made clone of a record vise anyway).

    Once the top is in use, if I notice undue wear, it will surely be on the corners first, and it's a small job to let in a 25x25mm piece of hardwood on the front top edge.

    I've been pretty easy on my workbenches in the past, and I'm usually putting a pad down in places where I might chop through a mortise, or saw through something and were otherwise about to dig into the bench top. This is the case whether it's pine or oak or even exotic super-hard flooring, because a handsaw or a chisel will chew any of them up.

    Thanks for your message!

    Cheers,
    Craig
    Last edited by craig9; 02-03-2021 at 02:19 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Crusty View Post
    I made my top from strips of ĺ" plywood ripped to 4" width on the table saw and then through bolted upright with all thread in holes drilled on the drill press using a jig to ensure hole alignment. I covered it with a piece of hardboard that drops into a perimeter lip so it's not held with any metal fasteners, and it's cheap and easy to replace when it gets dinged, cut, gouged and soiled with glue and paint.
    That's a great way to go. And that would make for a very dense and stable top. I don't fancy planing all that plywood edge grain, but if you have access to a wide belt sander and a hydraulic lift cart, it would make short work of it.

    I've got a friend here that also has a hardboard skinned workbench, and he swears by it - and urged me to make the same. When his is all messed up, he'll peel off the surface, and replace it with a new cheap layer, and he has effectively a new bench surface. I had thought of doing the same, but with a 6mm (or as thin as possible) sheet of hardwood plywood.

    There are a lot of ways to get the job done, and most of them are good enough.

    My previous woodwork bench (in another country) was a solid hardwood top, and I didn't find it too difficult to keep it in good condition, even though I was using it every day to earn a crust. So I think if I can be a bit mindful of not driving things into this top, and messing it up, it'll outlast me. If it does become a problem, I can easily re-plane it and add a layer of something later on.

    Thanks Crusty

    Cheers,
    Craig

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    Supporting Member NortonDommi's Avatar
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    Craig9,
    That is a grandkid build! Nicely done.
    Before you mount a vice upon that work surface can I would like to suggest that a vice should be mounted on a pedestal off one end of the bench with enough space to walk around. A table mounted vice is severely restricted in use and unless a substantial mounting plate is fitted on both sides of the bench with spacers I have yet to see one that does not work loose.
    Hardboard on top for a smooth surface as suggested is good and lasts a long time even better is vinyl flooring over a portion for working on engines etc. Soft enough not to mar surfaces, oil proof, stuff doesn't tend to roll around on it and easy to clean.
    All depends on end use though.

  15. #9
    Supporting Member Crusty's Avatar
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    The more precise you are with ripping the strips and drilling the holes the less leveling is required but a handheld power planer came in really handy. It's not a surface plate so 1/16" flatness is adequate for my wooden projects.
    If you can't make it precise make it adjustable.

  16. #10
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    Thanks Norton. This is a woodwork bench, so I'll be having a table mounted flush top woodwork vise.

    Here's a picture of my previous bench to see what it the vise will look like (I already have the same style of vise for this new bench)

    Lychee

    The idea for the bench is a rigid, heavy platform for sawing, planing, and for clamping panels to for joinery, glue ups, sanding and so on.

    I have a separate steel topped bench which is used for anything involving welding, oil, grease, dirt.

    Cheers,
    Craig

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