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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Vic
    Posts
    2,449

    Default My Jarrah Workbench

    This workbench project started for me when an Uncle gave me a plan for a dream workbench somewhere around 1988, It was a complex dream workbench and I never got around to doing it , no time , He was moving back to Canada and took the plans with him. that was like a seed that had been put in place though, "One Day a Bench would be nice, a really Nice bench" You Know what I mean ?

    Then somewhere around 1994/95 I went into a workshop to visit a newly made friend Who is a cabinet maker , he had made this incredible Shaker bench and he showed me the Workbench book. the seed that had been planted by my uncle just got a severe watering.

    I needed a good bench with a tail vice and a well.

    some time in 1996 the drawings were done , and over 5 months of after hours work My bench was made.

    In 3 more years it will be 20 years old !

    I had a heap of Jarrah that would be good for the job. and I started sketching ideas influenced by the Book and the Shaker bench on the cover. My ideas started to change the more I drew and I wanted a bench where the tail vice did not stick out over the end of the bench, I needed drawer storage space , and the half column decoration that I had seen on 1840s Aussie Furniture seemed like it would work. The sketches and scale drawings show how the idea evolved.

    Rob
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  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Vic
    Posts
    2,449

    Default

    At the time this was built I did not take many pictures, pre digital for me.
    The last two drawings in the above post were the final ones that I had decided on.
    The main timber used is Jarrah.
    The Redgum threads were cut with a German wood thread cutter.
    Sticks for turning the screws for the two vices are she oak , The figured Redgum one pictured lasted about a week after I started using the bench.
    Queensland Maple for drawer Bottoms and Vic Ash drawer sides.

    This is going to be a quick Bench Build thread
    3 posts in half an hour and it's done !!

    Rob
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  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2007
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    Vic
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    Default

    And here she is all dressed up and pretty, The nice shiny pictures were taken after a good clean up and a polish so I could put them on My web site. Under normal working conditions It is rarely ever that clean

    A lot of cabinet work has been done on the bench , I love the well, I notice quite a few benches without them . At the planning stage I was thinking of not putting it in and I remember discussing What do I need it for ?
    To Keep a mess in was one answer and to be able to clamp jigs and work to the square front of the bench was the other. I did not want to be pulling it off the wall to do this. Carcase sides get dovetails cut this way among other things.

    I work at the bench with a heavy duty table behind me. The table is the remains of the first workbench I made and the top is about 40mm thick Karri This sits on bearers so that the top has a gap underneath of about 50mm . its great for clamping things to. and a good place for dirty work like stripping finish and applying finish.

    One thing that was recommended in the workbench book was the height of a bench , I think wrist height was what it said ? for effective planing . This for me would have been at about 910 mm high. But what about all the other things I do at a bench where I don't want to bend down to do it ? I did the bench at 950mm high and when I need to do a fair bit of hand planing of drawer sides and fronts and backs or what ever , I lay down a plank I made up of 250 wide pine and walk on that.

    Cheers Rob
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  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Melbourne
    Posts
    2,627

    Default

    Wow, what a stunning piece of joinery. That would take pride of place in any workshop. Thanks for sharing
    -Scott

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Location
    Sydney
    Age
    49
    Posts
    8,757

    Default

    That is quite something. I am impressed.
    Visit my website at www.myWoodwork.com.au

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    Australia
    Posts
    189

    Default

    Wow, beautiful work....that vice - awesome!

    ....makes my new planned bench look like an Ikea Flat Pack......actually no, makes it looks like the cardboard box and Ikea Flat pack comes in

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Location
    Thornbury
    Posts
    257

    Default

    Really nice piece of craftsmanship.

    I also like the tool storage backed to the bench - nice and organised.
    Can you imagine what I would do if I could do all I can? -- Sun Tzu

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Burleigh Heads
    Age
    66
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    2,155

    Default

    Beautiful and a testament to it's design and functionality that it still looks so good after decades of use!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Vic
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    Default

    Thanks Gents,

    The tool set up and the way I have used the drawers seems to be an ever evolving idea as well. When I was building it I had ideas of fitted drawers for saws , chisels and all the rest, possibly lined with felt . but if you just keep buying tools like I have been doing, it never happens.I am pretty sure I am near the end of my tool buying though.
    The cabinet to the left has held my infill planes and moulding planes , I'm thinking of changing it all around once more.
    I want to add sort of left and right hand side wings of shelves and drawers as well


    I will see what "work in action" pictures I can find to add.

    Rob

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Location
    Sydney
    Age
    49
    Posts
    8,757

    Default

    I expect all drawers are dovetailed by hand.
    Visit my website at www.myWoodwork.com.au

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    Millmerran,QLD
    Age
    69
    Posts
    7,378

    Default

    Rob

    That's a classic. Not just a workbench but a piece of furniture. I love the way you have integrated a sliding deadman and the under bench drawers.

    The incorporation of the well for tools is always a controversial feature. The school workbenches had that and I still have a workbench with that style although if I ever get to build my new bench it probably won't have a well.

    It is a credit to you and a workhorse workbench to boot.

    Regards
    Paul
    Bushmiller;

    "Power tends to corrupt. Absolute power corrupts, absolutely!"

  12. #12
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Vic
    Posts
    2,449

    Default

    Wongo,
    I cut Dovetails by hand on the drawer side ,pin holes taken out with a fret saw, then the draw side held in place over the end of the drawer front, side dovetails marked out , a saw cut to the line, left and right of each tail position, then the waste removed by router, corners cleaned up by chisel.
    This is what I do with all my work. I think the secret to good neat ones is in how a person holds the side to the front when marking out and I have made a few special jigs for doing this. I did not have them when I was building the bench and the bench dovetails are a little rough in places .

    The drawer knobs are Redgum as well , the bench dogs I have always used wooden ones , a pair lasts a few years , I was going to do metal and have an original pair that come of another old bench in the workshop but they are to long and get in the way of the drawers.

    A picture of the thread after all this time, still going well. there is a slightly larger ding taken out on the other side from a dropped chisel.
    Thanks Rob , " a sliding deadman " I've never heard of tit being called that before.

    Rob
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  13. #13
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Dundowran Beach
    Age
    72
    Posts
    19,917

    Thumbs up

    Awesome is a word I usually avoid, but how else do I describe this beautiful bench???

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Mornington Peninsula
    Posts
    2,382

    Default

    I am so jealous. Very nice (and practical) work.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jul 2000
    Location
    Sydney, NSW, Australia
    Posts
    61

    Default

    what an inspiration - the bench and surrounding setup just seems to have this presence.

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