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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Location
    Caroline Springs, VIC
    Posts
    1,568

    Default Kuffy's Workbench

    For the past 20 years I have been working with kinda flat horizontal surfaces as work benches. For the most part, that is all that anyone really needs but a nice solid and genuinely flat surface has been on my wish list for quite some time. So the time and opportunity has come and I will be commencing the build next weekend. I have a couple big stacks of terribad Tasmanian Oak. The stack on my bench has been laying outside in the mud at work for the past 10 years. It was the support structure for a old dust extractor tower. It is F17 laminated structural hardwood beams. Technically the glue joints will probably still be OK, but I plan to rip all the joints apart and end up with a bunch of sticks which I will then laminate into my required sizes. A bunch of work I know, but life is work and the only escape is sad.
    IMG_20191117_193319.jpgIMG_20191117_193328.jpg
    The stack of timber above is my longer length stuff which will yield the two laminated bench tops and the longer rails.

    I also have another stack of F17 hardwood offcuts from work. I've already gone through the stack and removed what I could to use on cutting boards, but most of it is loaded with gum vein and grain collapse, checking etc etc. It is 120x35 and 140x35 but I will re-machine it all anyway. It's good stuff to use for the legs which I will laminate as well as anything else I need such a shelf pieces.
    IMG_20191117_193233.jpg

    Given that I've had plenty of time to plan this, I have purchased my vice hardware before building. A HNT Gordon face vice and a HNT Gordon tail vice. They're really great pieces of kit. I'm always surprised and jealous of the level of work that engineering can produce. I "can" do the same level of work with wood, but once I look at it or worse, breath on it, all my good work was for nothing.
    IMG_20191106_171531.jpg

    I have made complete detailed drawings of my bench using Fusion 360 for the first time. The learning curve is steep, even for a bloke like myself, but boy is it a great program! I can draw a bench like this in SketchUp in about 15 minutes, but although complete in every way, it just doesn't have the crispness or the easy changes to basic things like length and height like Fusion does. My Fusion drawings have probably got about 80 hours worth of work/learning in it and I'm sure I haven't been using best practices. If it works, then it works and I'll be happy with that. At least now, I can draw things in Fusion fairly trouble free, and when I hit trouble I know what the hell I did wrong and can fix it..eventually.

    Aussie_Work_Bench_2_2019-Nov-17_06-29-00AM-000_CustomizedView24968705839.jpg 0e97db70-d0af-4f2f-b713-67348f1f668a.jpg Aussie_Work_Bench_2_2019-Nov-17_06-34-18AM-000_CustomizedView5491955692.jpg d8b790e9-e48b-4d24-86cc-e35b61e70901.jpg Aussie_Work_Bench_2_2019-Nov-17_06-31-23AM-000_CustomizedView12368941561.jpg 2b2b93c4-7e79-4973-bd6b-1e5023b33fc5.jpg

    The drawings above (they are drawings...unless you believe I made my bench and shipped it to Death Valley ), are styled with White Ash and Walnut. I'll be using Tasmanian Oak and probably some of my special reserve super sweet figured Redgum to give it a pop of colour and contrast. The White Ash and Walnut does look super nice, but my Tassie Oak is free and free trumps everything.

    I have no intention of adding drawers under the bench. I have plenty of dumping areas in my garage and house that I don't crave or even need extra storage. The shelf will be used to hold my bench tools like chisels, planes, measuring stuff etc (that's the plan, it'll last 5 minutes...). I have splayed the legs out slightly to make the bench less prone to racking along its length. The timber sizes and tenon lengths are enough to overcome this, but how much extra work is a "slightly" angled mortise and tenon really? I've also chosen to use a full apron under the 75mm thick top. The top is self-supporting at this thickness and over this span, but better is better and I'll only be building one.

    The full build will be filmed and put on YouTube for those interested. I'll mostly get this built over Christmas holidays but I want to start next weekend so I have a small chance of having a day off this year. A day at the beach sounds good.

    The only thing I am unsure of is where I will put the bench. I'm gonna build it first and hope it will fit in the space that I think it will. Otherwise I may have a panel saw for sale
    Attached Images Attached Images

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Towradgi
    Posts
    4,534

    Default

    Kuffy, the beach is over rated, sand gets everywhere!
    Pat
    Work is a necessary evil to be avoided. Mark Twain

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Sutherland Shire, Sydney
    Age
    66
    Posts
    1,187

    Default

    Following with interest Kuffy.
    Should be quite a solid bench and your hardware looks first class.

    Alan...

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Not far enough away from Melbourne
    Posts
    3,193

    Default

    Watching with interest.
    Doug3030's Open Shed Day 2019 - Sunday 6 October 2019, Hoppers Crossing
    See here for details:
    https://www.woodworkforums.com/f303/...-2019-a-224305

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Location
    Caroline Springs, VIC
    Posts
    1,568

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Pat View Post
    Kuffy, the beach is over rated, sand gets everywhere!
    That's exactly what keeps me away from the beach when I do have time. If it isn't sand in my jocks, it is salt burn on my arms as they rubbed along the edge of the surfboard...sux so bad.

    Quote Originally Posted by Uncle Al View Post
    hardware looks first class.
    The HNT vices are so nice. I'm so glad I went with the quality option for once.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Auckland New Zealand
    Age
    45
    Posts
    386

    Default

    Working in that marine environment make sure you coat everything in epoxy resin and antifoul the legs
    "All that is necessary for evil to succeed is for good men to do nothing"
    (Edmund Burke 1729-1797)

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    blue mountains
    Posts
    4,072

    Default

    Nothing like a good bench build. I've pulled up a chair.
    Regards
    John

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Location
    Caroline Springs, VIC
    Posts
    1,568

    Default

    So I finally made a start on this bench today. First up I selected the boards that i'll use for the longer front and rear rails as well as the pieces needed to laminate the two top slabs. Many of the timbers have a lot of face checking from sitting out in the sun for a decade. That's OK, because most boards in the top slabs will only have one visible edge. The front and rear rails will have one visible face on the upper rails, and a visible edge and face for the lower rails. So I should be able to end up with a finished bench which doesn't look brand new and rotten. I can always inlay some special reserve super figured timbers to hide any sun checking anyways, it adds a pop of colour and contrast if nothing else.
    IMG_20191208_122554.jpg

    The shorter side rails were the biggest headache of the day. I thought they were short enough that it would be "easy" to find some solids wide enough for what I needed. Well I could only find enough solids for the upper side rails which are not as wide as the lower rails. So I had to laminate sticks to make a board wide enough for the lower side rails. Below is a photo of some 140x35 F17 which will have two piece face laminated together to form the blank for the legs. The piece in the middle will be ripped down the guts to form the two upper side rails which are not as wide as the lower side rails. The two pieces to the right will have the current glue seam ripped apart and then those halves will be ripped again and turned on edge and face laminated to form a wider board which I can then rip again to make the two wider upper rails. Like I said...biggest headache of the day!
    IMG_20191208_122614.jpg IMG_20191208_162408.jpg IMG_20191208_162420.jpg

    Many of the wider longer boards have been ripped down the guts to make it easier to joint and thickness. They needed to be ripped anyways because all of the current glue seams have been eaten away from the sun over the past decade and they are barely holding on at the moment. Everything is docked to a rough length (required length + (2 x snipe) + 30mm). I had plenty of extra length to play with, as seen below by my huge offcuts! I very rarely manage things so poorly that I get such massive offcuts, but this stuff is all rubbish and anything that doesn't make the bench build is headed for the bin anyway.
    IMG_20191208_131617.jpg IMG_20191208_122625.jpg

    All of the timbers in this build is at best 'sub-optimal', but I'll make it work. Most of the pieces selected at random for the legs have a lot of face checking on one face. That worked out well because the checking can go to the inside glue seam never to see the light of day again. The four legs get glued up together using the same set of clamps. It's the best and easiest way I know of laminating legs. I don't even need to fuss around with board alignment because everything is a country mile oversize that they could slip and slide as much as they like and I'll still be able to get my final dimensions from the blanks.
    IMG_20191208_144150.jpg IMG_20191208_144259.jpg IMG_20191208_151659.jpg IMG_20191208_151709.jpg


    So that's the good news. The bad news is that I have overlooked the fact that I need to move the jointer/thicknesser into the exact position that the finished bench will reside when I need to thickness longer boards. I knew the bench would be a tight fit for my current garage layout, but it just got a whole lot tighter! doh!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Albury
    Posts
    1,745

    Default

    Looking good, and heavy! Shame to get glue all over the bars of those nice new Besseys. Should have bought some casing bead.
    Forum members PM me for a discount on all my products - https://www.ebay.com.au/str/aldavsstore

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2015
    Location
    Hobart
    Age
    73
    Posts
    279

    Default

    I'm ordering the popcorns !

    Yvan

  11. #11
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    melb
    Posts
    716

    Default

    Look forward to seeing the finished product! Did you draw the vice in fusion too or were you able to download them from somewhere to add to your drawing?

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Location
    Caroline Springs, VIC
    Posts
    1,568

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by aldav View Post
    Looking good, and heavy! Shame to get glue all over the bars of those nice new Besseys. Should have bought some casing bead.
    My Bessey clamps are about 4 years old. Titebond Original and Titebond II cleans off pretty easily with a soak in the bath. Titebond III needs to be scraped off because even after soaking in the bath overnight, the stuff still sticks.
    SAM_0045.jpg


    Quote Originally Posted by qwertyu View Post
    Look forward to seeing the finished product! Did you draw the vice in fusion too or were you able to download them from somewhere to add to your drawing?
    I drew the HNT front vice in fusion from scratch. I even animated it for giggles but I don't know how to export a video of the animation. It's pretty cool though

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Location
    Caroline Springs, VIC
    Posts
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    Default

    So I spent a good portion of the day milling the timbers required for the two top slabs. Often when I am milling timbers, I am hoping when it comes out the other side of the thicknesser, it will have revealed gorgeous fiddleback or quilted grain. But today I ended up praying that I'll end up with something kind of less split than the rest so I could use that piece for one of the outside laminations in the top glue up.
    IMG_20191214_150046.jpg IMG_20191214_143826.jpg IMG_20191214_144850.jpg

    I milled the boards to thickness at their current random widths, instead of ripping to width before hand. This fills up my dust collector much faster, but it is easier to rip timbers with a terribly dull saw blade which are straight and not as thick as they started. You can see in the pic below that boards to left of the photo are heavily laminated. These boards were originally F17 supalam boards, but the laminations were beginning to fail. I ripped all of the joints apart and reglued everything with Titebond II. Now the joints are nice n tight. I only did this because I don't have enough longer lengths in solid, so I had to make it up.
    IMG_20191214_160847.jpg

    Then I ripped the boards to width +5mm and arranged the boards the way I will glue them up. After spending much of the day looking at this crap, I think it has worn me down and most of it looks kinda OK, but in reality, it all should be burnt! The biggest problem was finding the boards that I can use for the outside lamination as these will be visible from the top and front of the work bench. Most of the other boards just have one visible edge, and even that wasn't an easy task to find a "decent edge". Full of gum vein and splitting and the odd finger joint. I guess it's true with what they say about getting what you pay for
    IMG_20191214_172459.jpg IMG_20191214_172526.jpg IMG_20191214_172541.jpg IMG_20191214_172624.jpg

    I'll probably be able to saw away the splitting in the last photo, but the gum vein will be there to stay. Ah well, nothing but a bit of bog won't cover up.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
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    Caroline Springs, VIC
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    Yesterday evening, I had the thought that after gluing up the two top slabs, they will need to go straight through the thicknesser. My thicknesser is only 12", though I can fit 307mm. But the glue ups as I had them arranged yesterday arvo were at 312mm and 314mm wide. Luckily I caught this before I glued them up because it allowed me to shear 1mm off each of the boards to bring the overall width of both panels to ~305mm. Otherwise I would have needed to rip the glued slabs just so it could go through the thicknesser which is a pita because I wasn't planning, and didn't glue up the slabs nice and neatly and flat, anything but!

    I did get both slabs glued up and I still have clamps left over, 7 to be exact So that answers the age old question of how many clamps do you need? Exactly 7 less than you have

    I glued both slabs up on my craptastic bench, and moved one to the floor to make room for the second.
    IMG_20191215_135245.jpg IMG_20191215_163212.jpg

    I have the maids coming on Wednesday to clean up the mess. They said they will be here if it isn't hot otherwise they will try again on Friday.
    IMG_20191215_163222.jpg

    Oddly enough, my hands have turned orange and I don't know why. They aren't usually orange. I was using Titebond II to glue up and I can't recall ever being covered in the stuff because I usually get covered in either TB Original or TB III. TBII has only ever been used for smaller assembly work where I don't usually get that messy. The rag that I was cleaning up with is loaded with TBIII and original, and now TBII. Maybe there is some kind of reaction between the glues creating a skin staining effect? Has anyone ever had TBII turn there hands orange before?
    IMG_20191215_163332.jpg IMG_20191215_163336.jpg

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Hobart, Tas
    Posts
    524

    Default

    Haha, thatís great with your hands. I canít help with the orange, as Iím struggling with something in my shed turning my hands purple! Itís something to do with my hand tools. I was convinced it was the factory chisel handles, but then on Saturday I didnít use the chisels for more than a couple of minutes, and my hands were still purple. So no help, but it may please you to know youíre not the only one with telly tubby hands.

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