Help with woodworking table

Discussion in 'Axe, Tomahawk, & Hatchet Forum' started by RIP Dequincy Jynxie, Dec 2, 2020.

  1. RIP Dequincy Jynxie

    RIP Dequincy Jynxie Gold Member Gold Member Basic Member

    673
    Jun 10, 2020
    I'm beginning to start thinking about making myself a workshop in our garage for woodworking

    I want to build a table, out of 2x4s and plywood or something - nothing fancy - maybe 1.5 meters tall, 1 meter wide and 2 meters tall

    something I can drill holes into for dowels to help secure woods I'm carving

    make it possible to use dowels and such to hold the wood

    does anyone have any manuals or references or instructions for building a simple wood carving table

    I'm not trying to build a wooden horse, just a very simple table. something I could build with a hammer and nails/screws and a simple power drill/driver

    appreciate any/all help, as always!!!
     
    EngrSorenson likes this.
  2. Ernest DuBois

    Ernest DuBois

    Mar 2, 2013
    If there's one thing I could say is essential it is weight, make it heavy. A workbench does not need to be very wide either. With a meter in width you will soon clutter the space either by setting items aside or the extra room will be taken over as storage. So make the workbench small - but long - and use the saved area in your garage otherwise for storage . Composite materials are handy for making a platform but are inefficient surfaces where any pounding gets done because they don't absorb such forces but sent them back at you. Here is an example of what I think of as a useful and simple and versatile workbench with the only drawback being the splayed leg configuration which could be minimized if you are able to anchor the bench some way.
    [​IMG]
     
  3. bikerector

    bikerector KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Nov 16, 2016
    I made something like this a long-time ago by basically wood-gluing a bunch of 2x4's or other inexpensive wood, but not garbage, together. 2 for each leg. I ran them along the table top as well so it was 2", or whatever the actual is for 2x4's. I may have used studs which aren't quite 2x4. I think I did 2'x4'. I also did a skirt directly under the table top and one about 1/2 way down so the legs were very stable. I believe I used dowel pins and more glue on the skirt but it may have been countersunk and screwed together. I find the bracing for the legs to be the best part of that design as wiggly legs stink and it's the worst part of many of the store-bought tables.

    I prefer the lumber vs plywood when possible as it last longer and doesn't splinter like plywood can, especially if it starts to delaminate for some reason. I have mixed experiences with plywood but still use it plenty because it's convenient to have sheets instead of gluing everything together. But, the glued table has lasted really well last I checked (still at my mom's house where I made it for the garage there).

    Regarding store-bought tables, I really like the versatility of the folding work benches like the worx pegasus. It's not a replacement for proper heavy workbench but it's nice to have one or two around to popup or take down as needed when projects require some extra space, or you just want to leave the saw dust outside for the day.
     
    RIP Dequincy Jynxie likes this.
  4. EngrSorenson

    EngrSorenson Gold Member Gold Member Basic Member

    Jul 3, 2019
    This is one I made for wood working. It’s a “low Roman workbench” as made popular by Chris Schwartz. It’s about 2 ft tall, 6 feet long, and ~14 inches wide. I do a lot of hand tool work, and this thing serves me very well. You sit on it while using it, so it adds the mass of your body to a fairly light workbench. I used Nine 8 ft Douglas Fir 2x4’s, glued and screwed it together (removing the screws as the glue dried). There’s only two locator dowels in the center to help with keeping the glue-up level. No idea what it weighs, but I can carry it outside by myself. I also made the moxon vice on the far end. Best of luck! Have fun :thumbsup:

    [​IMG]
     
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  5. rwdenney

    rwdenney

    41
    Nov 20, 2020
    I put one together years ago and still use it. The legs are 2x4's at right angles, to make an L-shaped leg, rather than attaching them on the wide sides to make a 4x4. I then ran 2x4s around the outside of the legs at the top and about a foot from the bottom. I laid 2x4's flat on the top to make the bench surface. Most important, I put an angled 1x2 across the back from the top corner on one side down to the bottom corner on the other side. I needed it for overhauling the steering rack in my Audi over 30 years ago, and put it together in one evening. Now, I have a small, variable-speed grinder on one end, a big vise in the middle, and a small vise on the other end. I want to add a bench vise on the side. I put it all together with 1/4" "lag bolts"--wood-screw threads with a hex head--using an impact wrench, and pre-drilling the holes to avoid splitting the wood. Dimensions are 2' by 4', nominally. The important thing is to make it the height you need--high for detailed work on smaller things, low for assembling larger things. The 2x4's that form the top are held down with deck screws. If you drill too many holes in one and want to replace it, easy-peasy.

    I'm planning a new shop, and that's going to need some new benches to help me overcrowd that space, too. I'll use the same approach.

    I would show a picture, but the mess on and around it would embarrass me.

    Rick "every lubricant known to man is absorbed into those wood fibers at this point" Denney
     
  6. Old Axeman

    Old Axeman Basic Member Basic Member

    899
    Jan 10, 2015
    I do not like "quick and dirty" workbenches. Your workbench is the flagship of your work shop. A quailty workbench will help you turn out quality work! A easy, heavy, quality workbench can be made by using LEE VALLEY TOOLS cast iron bench legs (I like the #05K45.01 legs). Then make a solid board top from, at least, 8/4 oak (white oak if possible), rock maple, or other suitable and available hard wood.

    If you must use plywood for the top, use only a 1 1/8" (thickness) 4' X 8', cut down to width. This is used as a heavy duty floor decking plywood. I would then glue down 4/4 ( or 3/4 dressed) hardwood to surface the top.
     
  7. RIP Dequincy Jynxie

    RIP Dequincy Jynxie Gold Member Gold Member Basic Member

    673
    Jun 10, 2020
    thank you much for the replies folks!

    I'll keep you updated on what I end up doing, and you may be assured I'll be asking more questions about this :)
     
    junkenstien likes this.
  8. rwdenney

    rwdenney

    41
    Nov 20, 2020
    Old Axeman makes a good point, but it depends on your uses. If you want the top of the bench to be at what I call "reference" flatness, so you can use it for cabinet-door layups and things of that sort, then what he describes will make your life much easier.

    None of my benches provide that reference flatness, and I find myself using my cabinet saw bed as my known-flat surface for that sort of assembly, which means not being able to use bench dogs or the like. Yes, that's a kludge. But my cabinet saw is the flagship of my tiny, corner-of-the-garage workshop. :)

    Your application is to hold workpieces while carving, so for that you may or may not need reference flatness. But you will need weight so that you don't find yourself moving you workpiece all over the shop.

    Rick "who uses his bench for everything from rebuilding brake master cylinders to sharpening and hafting axes, but not for cabinet or furniture work" Denney
     
  9. I'mSoSharp

    I'mSoSharp

    809
    Mar 8, 2011
    @rwdenney, it's not that difficult to make a wooden table top damn near flat with just a hand plane (the longer the better), lots of tutorials on line for the method, obviously as long as the top has no proud metal fixings. It'll be good enough for cabinet work.
     
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  10. RIP Dequincy Jynxie

    RIP Dequincy Jynxie Gold Member Gold Member Basic Member

    673
    Jun 10, 2020
    the notable take-aways for me so far is

    (1) height, as most of the work I'll be doing will be more detailed. eventually I'll probably construct something even simpler so I can do this sitting on the floor, but who knows.

    I have a table with the right height to use as a reference, so that's checked

    (2) weight, I like the idea of iron legs. because, well, it's iron. and use solid, quality wood for constructing the top

    (3) not going to worry about flatness for now, as long as it's within acceptable limits. eventually I'd like to flatten, which is something to consider, but I first need more or the right tools :)

    (4) make it look nice. I like minimalistic, but maybe I'll practice carving on the actual thing itself, the sides and whatnot

    these were what's jumped out for me thus far

    edit: unfortunately Lee Valley doesn't have the bench legs in stock :( I'll contact them about it
     
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2020
    EngrSorenson likes this.
  11. EngrSorenson

    EngrSorenson Gold Member Gold Member Basic Member

    Jul 3, 2019
    Like everything else in life, perfect work bench is a unicorn. Everything has a trade off! Some folks are really looking for a high, durable table to work on, others desire a 220 lbs (100 kg) joiners bench.

    Personally, I have space limitations (even if my inherited basement wasn’t a mess), and I find it advantageous to have a bench I can get right over top of my work, as well as cut oversized planks. I have a couple “work benches” with iron legs that are anchored to the concrete wall, but I lose the ability to hang my work off the back end of the bench. I also like to use my small bench like a shave horse for using a spoke shave on axe hafts. I use my chest and a square peg in the bench to pin the work in. When it comes to chopping mortises, it’s second to none.

    Even my favorite “low Roman” workbench it is limited. It won’t do everything conveniently, even if there’s a work around. Some day I will build a proper joiner’s bench, I’m sure... but I’ll still find plenty of use for my low bench.
     
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  12. Old Axeman

    Old Axeman Basic Member Basic Member

    899
    Jan 10, 2015
    I should make it clear that while I like the LEE VALLEY cast iron legs, I do not like their #05A0403 cast iron pedestal legs. They have too much flex to suit me. The #05K45.01 is just the right height for my stand up work, which is most of my bench work. When I want to do sit down work I use a stout old screw up adjustable metal stool that I bought at a auction for $10. It looks like a 1930-50's doctor stool. I like a 6'-7' X 30" solid top, with lots of dog holes, for this bench. I also have a heavy, lower kneel on bench. I have other benches etc, but these two do most of my work these days.
     
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2020
  13. EngrSorenson

    EngrSorenson Gold Member Gold Member Basic Member

    Jul 3, 2019
    that's a good review. When you say "too much flex", I imagine any amount of noticeable flex is probably too much for you or anyone else.

    One thing besides what Bernie has added there that I'm been thinking about is that I tend to prefer wood legs, but mostly because I can attach more work-holding capability to them, if I need.
     
  14. Old Axeman

    Old Axeman Basic Member Basic Member

    899
    Jan 10, 2015
    Any movement in the bench bothers me. Even though the pedestal legs are iron, the design lets it flex. Yes, the drawback to the iron legs is that you can not attach anything to them easily. The benefit is the extra weight and the convenient setup.
     
  15. SwedeFP

    SwedeFP

    55
    Oct 17, 2020
    I built one over 10 years ago out of a Lowes free plan. Can't find the exact one, but this is similar and you can beef it up-I did. Also put a big drawer in it and made some places to mount vise with access underto get to mounting bolts.
    https://www.lowes.com/n/how-to/how-to-build-a-workbench
    SwedeFP
     
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  16. quinton

    quinton

    Nov 4, 2006
    I built my bench in the early 80's from 2 lengths of leftover engineered lumber.(LVL) 1.75"x18"x6' Set side by side into a 2x6 frame with 4x4 for legs. It was the first time I ever used or saw LVL beams. I knew exactly what the 6' cutoff's were going to be used for when I cut em off! The old bench has held up well over the years and is still in use.
     
  17. RIP Dequincy Jynxie

    RIP Dequincy Jynxie Gold Member Gold Member Basic Member

    673
    Jun 10, 2020
    SwedeFP, I'll look into that as it seems easily enough why not :)

    OldAxeman, do you have any suggestions for alternatives to the Lee Valley iron legs you mentioned? Even if they were in stock, $500 is a pretty sizable investment

    thanks again everyone!!!
     
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  18. Old Axeman

    Old Axeman Basic Member Basic Member

    899
    Jan 10, 2015
    Look for used cast iron legs. They were used exstensively in industrial shops, school wood shops, etc. Some were recycled, but a lot are still around. Do a google search. Check metal salvage yards, and architectural salvage yards. If you live in the right area, auctions can be good. Come to think of it, contact jblyttle on this web site. He is the heavy metal king.
     
  19. Old Biker

    Old Biker

    819
    Sep 25, 2016
    Do a search for Anarchist workbench by Christopher Schwarz. It's published by Lost Art Press, and you can either buy a printed copy or download a PDF for free. It's a very good book on workbenches. How he built them. What was wrong with them. How he improved the next version.

    For a really simple (and quick) workbench. Go to a home center or builders supply and buy a solid core door. Lay that across a set of saw horses and you have a workbench. For something more permanent build a solid base for it. Or you can hing it to the wall for a workbench that folds down out of the way when not in use.

    O.B.
     
  20. jjmatthew95

    jjmatthew95

    16
    Jan 14, 2021
    Excellent products. In fact, there are a lot of videos on YouTube that explain why I made my workbench based on one of them
     
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2021

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