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  1. #1
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    Default A Traditional European Workbench

    heres a work bench i made i sure like the shoulder vise for dove tailing a long pice.... it will go to the floor then theres the tall vise that works real well this is not a real good photo, but for a great all around bench you cant beet a Traditional European workbench...it has stops in 2 places and the bench dogs or very handy.. just my thought..
    Gary Smith...

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  3. #2
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    It is a beautiful bench sir. I like it a lot.
    Visit my website at www.myWoodwork.com.au

  4. #3
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    Now that's just showing off! ) Seriously nice bench. I'm in the middle of building a European one myself. It won't be anywhere near as nice, but it's a solid, flat work surface... far better than the chipboard ikea table I have now. )

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    That is the sort of bench I want to build for myself. You have set the standard, Gary, beautiful job!
    I've been in Frank Wiesner's workshop many times, and that is the traditional sort of bench he works at. Very versatile unit.

    Cheers,
    Andy Mac
    Change is inevitable, growth is optional.

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    Very nice, thank you for sharing. How long did it take you to build?

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    Beautiful bench.
    Bob

    "If a man is after money, he's money mad; if he keeps it, he's a capitalist; if he spends it, he's a playboy; if he doesn't get it, he's a never-do-well; if he doesn't try to get it, he lacks ambition. If he gets it without working for it; he's a parasite; and if he accumulates it after a life time of hard work, people call him a fool who never got anything out of life."
    - Vic Oliver

  8. #7
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    It's funny... I finished mine and can't stop looking at yours! ) At least now I have a bench to use to build a better bench!

  9. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Andy Mac View Post
    That is the sort of bench I want to build for myself. You have set the standard, Gary, beautiful job!
    I've been in Frank Wiesner's workshop many times, and that is the traditional sort of bench he works at. Very versatile unit.

    Cheers,
    Andy, so wonderful to accidentally stumble on your comment.

    Only a few months ago I worked at Frank's bench for a couple of weeks, and what a pleasure and honor it was. It is based on the Tage Frid design, but lengthened to 2100mm and made completely of Satinay (a timber that grows only on Fraser Island).

    2A8424F0-F183-4077-BAC2-E6174F5C4BAF.jpgIMG_4253.jpg


    Kindest Regards,
    Siggy

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    ...AND I thought I had found all of the European/continental/Scandinavian/Klausz/Frid bench threads on here!
    Thanks for that Siggykc
    And thanks for posting your excellent pictures, which I enjoyed zooming in and having a good look.
    Nice to see a wee bit of variation, doesn't look like there's a notch cut out for the tail vice, which seems more sensible to me, especially if wanting to beef up the top a bit.
    Haven't got that far yet though, but I imagine is a non issue.

    Have you some more pictures of the bench, I'd love to see some other details,
    like under that tail vice, looks like it is well used!,
    Thickness of the top beyond bench dog section, and if the core for the shoulder vice matched.

    Regarding the latter,
    I've heard of the benefits of both a thin core section, but not well explained TBH, but not worth discounting.
    vs a full thickness one which Cosman has mentioned is much handier for clamping to, which is quite simple if one has ever needed to clamp something to a drill table or other webbed casting, a PITA.
    One could make a magnetic block the same for that.

    Pity there are no more pictures of the OP's bench, doesn't seem like oven1944 has been active since 2016.
    Lovely contrast in the timbers, I hope he's just changed his username.

    Thanks
    Tom

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom trees View Post
    ...AND I thought I had found all of the European/continental/Scandinavian/Klausz/Frid bench threads on here!
    Thanks for that Siggykc
    And thanks for posting your excellent pictures, which I enjoyed zooming in and having a good look.
    Nice to see a wee bit of variation, doesn't look like there's a notch cut out for the tail vice, which seems more sensible to me, especially if wanting to beef up the top a bit.
    Haven't got that far yet though, but I imagine is a non issue.

    Have you some more pictures of the bench, I'd love to see some other details,
    like under that tail vice, looks like it is well used!,
    Thickness of the top beyond bench dog section, and if the core for the shoulder vice matched.

    Regarding the latter,
    I've heard of the benefits of both a thin core section, but not well explained TBH, but not worth discounting.
    vs a full thickness one which Cosman has mentioned is much handier for clamping to, which is quite simple if one has ever needed to clamp something to a drill table or other webbed casting, a PITA.
    One could make a magnetic block the same for that.

    Pity there are no more pictures of the OP's bench, doesn't seem like oven1944 has been active since 2016.
    Lovely contrast in the timbers, I hope he's just changed his username.

    Thanks
    Tom

    Hey Tom,
    Frank's is 95% the "Tage Frid" design. My father uses a bench exactly that of the "Klausz" variation. It's funny how in the English world we think those two gents are the designers of the bench, but actually there are so so many variations as each Joiner would build his own bench and tweak details according to what he thought was best/strongest.
    Cosman makes a nice bench too, but a lot depends on the timber you can get.

    I discussed this with Frank. The legs on his bench are 75x45, not because its optimized, but because 2 inch stock is what he got, and ripping it lengthwise gave him 2 legs at 75mm wide.
    His top is only 45mm thick. His front face is 100mm thick (where the dog holes are) and his end caps are 100x70mm. Everything is from the 2 inch boards he had of Satinay.
    He said "If i had 3 inch stock, I'd have made everything 3 inch as it would have saved my saw and planer blades".
    I asked for his thoughts on ultra beefy Roubo benches, and he saw absolutely no benefit. When I asked if a workbench should be ultra heavy for planing, he would say "you should learn to sharpen your hand planes better, because when set right and sharp they should slice through your work, not jarr and rock your bench".
    His thoughts on 45mm as sufficiently thick top, I must agree with. We are so lucky to have such robust Aussie timbers that anything more really isnt necessary. He did stress properly jointing edges by hand, never off a machine to ensure that all glue joints are as tight as possible and that the fibers are clearly sheared off and not burnished by a machine cutter as can be the case most of the time, for maximum strength.

    He is 88 and built that bench well over 40 years ago and it has been used to bits (That's an understatement). As he is a small guy he doesnt use sash clamps, instead opting to clamp joints in the workbench using fast setting glues. I chopped mortises on it, and I would agree that 45mm of Aussie hardwoods like Vic Ash or even Blackbutt or Spotty is very very strong.
    I don't think going thicker like Cosman did is necessary for making it easier to clamp to. Again, Rob Cosman probably received ample timber and thought heck I've got the timber to make it thick, I'll make it thick. Both my dad's bench which is Euro Beech and Frank's bench have dog hole strips that are thicker than the top themselves. Neither used thicker than 50mm, and combined they have over 110 years of full time woodworking experience at the highest level (I remember my dad just shaking his head disappointed when i opted to make a 115mm thick Roubo top. He called it clumsy....and after moving it a dozen times I've realized its like using a $200 bottle of wine to make a Bolognese sauce. I remember asked me a few months after I'd finished it how it was, and I said "yeah its heavy and unnecessary" and he just winked and said "Told you so").

    I am building a workbench currently (I literally started just this week, gluing the top), and I am using a 45mm thick top, from Yellow Stringybark. It is ample. The other thing to note is that using a wood screw takes up quite a bit of space. So you physically cannot really go thicker than about 46 or 47mm.
    If you use metal screws, I would estimate you could easily accommodate a 70 or 80mm thick top.

    I was in David Boucher's workshops, and one of the blokes there a while back built an "Ulmia" style bench with the Frank Klausz take on the tail vise. As he used metal hardware, when i crawled under it, I noted the top was perhaps 60-70mm thick. To go beyond that is also highly impractical should you want to move the bench on your own....unless you're built like Chris Hemsworth.

    This is a photo of the underside of Frank's bench. It is the Tage Frid design, with a few minor tweaks. Because it is screwed together, you can take parts of it out that wear, such as the runners. Klausz would glue these in. The endblock that houses the garter can actually be shorter by about 100mm or so as the runner is attached further forward, but this is left at the full length for aesthetics.
    IMG_4036 (1).jpg

  12. #11
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    Thanks for posting again Siggykc
    I agree with what your saying, but not many folks would know what I'd be talking about if I said I was making a Hyvelbšnk or HÝvelbenk bench but with some beefing up.

    Just to clarify Cosman has mentioned that he prefers the thick core of the shoulder vice section for clamping, as it is problematic for clamping on his original continental bench.

    I can't say I disagree with Frank, as I've been using a very dense composite material that's little over an inch thick
    and it is handy for some things like getting back up from sighting a board, and plenty of space for clamping.

    My other Scandi bench in the making, has different take on the base for strength, to suit a 4" top throughout, quite eager to get working at it again.
    Only used it once for piening a lateral adjuster on a frog that I had removed a long time ago for lapping, (silly schoolboy fettling antics)
    and was pleased that my sledgehammer (my anvil) stayed nice and stable, it was a bit of a hairy moment hammering that old frog.

    I can't wait to do some noise testing at some time, just to see.
    I noted on Jay bates channel, his video softwood vs hardwood workbench reckons his 3"(I think) hickory bench is a lot louder, compared to a near identical build southern yellow pine bench he has made.

    I don't see a really heavy bench as a bad thing whatsoever, as retractable casters (one foot) just makes sense, especially if going for something simple like one beefed up Carl Holmgren design of some sort.
    Maybe I'm not enough of a purist I suppose.

    Is the new bench going to be one of these?

    Tom

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom trees View Post
    Thanks for posting again Siggykc
    I agree with what your saying, but not many folks would know what I'd be talking about if I said I was making a Hyvelbšnk or HÝvelbenk bench but with some beefing up.

    Just to clarify Cosman has mentioned that he prefers the thick core of the shoulder vice section for clamping, as it is problematic for clamping on his original continental bench.

    I can't say I disagree with Frank, as I've been using a very dense composite material that's little over an inch thick
    and it is handy for some things like getting back up from sighting a board, and plenty of space for clamping.

    My other Scandi bench in the making, has different take on the base for strength, to suit a 4" top throughout, quite eager to get working at it again.
    Only used it once for piening a lateral adjuster on a frog that I had removed a long time ago for lapping, (silly schoolboy fettling antics)
    and was pleased that my sledgehammer (my anvil) stayed nice and stable, it was a bit of a hairy moment hammering that old frog.

    I can't wait to do some noise testing at some time, just to see.
    I noted on Jay bates channel, his video softwood vs hardwood workbench reckons his 3"(I think) hickory bench is a lot louder, compared to a near identical build southern yellow pine bench he has made.

    I don't see a really heavy bench as a bad thing whatsoever, as retractable casters (one foot) just makes sense, especially if going for something simple like one beefed up Carl Holmgren design of some sort.
    Maybe I'm not enough of a purist I suppose.

    Is the new bench going to be one of these?

    Tom
    HAHA yes Tom you're right, unless we had some Danes or Swedes here who would know exactly to the finest detail what those words mean!
    Oh, I'm with you now regarding the Cosman bench thickness, sorry I think I totally misunderstood - my fault! What you're saying makes 100% sense.

    Oh Frank is extremely pragmatic. He stands 100% by the attitude of using what you have to the absolute maximum. So if you can only get decking boards, then he thinks that heck, make the most of them.
    As he used to mill his own timber for furniture (that is an absolutely amazing story in itself), with mates from the forestry dept felling trees for him in the 1970s and 1980s, I think that is how he got so much Satinay at the time (its a timber that would be far too valuable to use for a workbench today!).
    He suggests anyone should use KD Tassie Oak from the big green store because of its availability, ease of gluing, stability and slight color that lends well to a nice bright work surface.

    Have you got any photos of your workbench? I would love to see them! It seems that the Roubo is the current vogue (Yep i too got on that bandwagon!) so it would be a refreshing change to see some of these Scandi benches.

    It makes sense what this Jay bloke is saying. I mean, Hickory is definitely harder than Hard Maple, perhaps comparable to Blackbutt or maybe even Spotted Gum, and so it would not dampen vibration (which translates to noise) as well as a softer wood. I know in Europe the traditionalists help to combat this issue, but constructing the top from Beech (for its hardwood benefits) and then resting it upon a stout pine set of legs and stretchers which then act to dampen the vibration between the top and the ground. With my experience as an engineer, that makes absolute sense! I would also say a softer wood would perhaps also give more grip than a harder wood as it can deform a little better to the ground - say if you're working on a rough concrete floor.
    I had actually wondered why more folks dont make softwood "soles/shoes" for their lovely benches that have Jarrah or similarly hard timber legs. Even a little contact cement on the bottom with some thick bridle leather "soles" stuck to them. We even have some nice rubber that can be obtained in small quantities to cut, glue and use as soles for grip.

    Another remedy too, as the Scandi benches have a spacer between the leg assembly and the top, is if the top and legs are of hardwood, to make this spacer out of a soft wood like Oregon. It would behave to help reduce the amount of vibration to the legs. Go one step further and put some rubber between the spacer and the top, the spacer and the legs or both of them - just a thought as I havnt actually experimented with that.

    Yes, the bench that I literally just started on will be a Scandi. I've sourced some White Mahogany which is nice and straight in grain, light in color and very hard and stable to use for the top. My end blocks are Jarrah and the legs are of a mix of Spotted Gum; a reclaimed beam thats perhaps over 100 years old, and some Spotty from a tree that came down in a storm here in Vic about 4 years ago.
    As you know, the Scandi in a full Klausz or Tage Frid style build is quite an undertaking, and I've got a few adjustments that I've made in the joinery and vise design so, gosh I'm a long long way away from having a finished bench!
    To add to the complication, the Scandi doesnt really have plans, its such a customizable bench, and part of the tweaks was recalculating and rejigging things to accomodate the large wooden screws that I'm using. I spent a few weeks working with Frank on a batch of his stools and some bookbinding gear. One afternoon, we decided to do a few vise screws.

    It's a slight tangent, but his stools are something out of this world. We would drag out 5 inch slabs of Sally Wattle and other timbers he cut decades ago and make the stools all from it...absolutely first class select timbers seasoned by the master himself.....and he sells them for next to nothing. I can attest to the sheer amount of work that goes into each.....

  14. #13
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    Frank sounds like a man after me own heart, I basically only work with reclaimed iroko.
    Bar construction pine, its the most frequently found species in skips here in Eire, as many are switching to newer windows and
    doors.
    Its a good African timber and not considered cheap either, I don't mind laminating it all together, though some may turn their noses up at it
    for many reasons.
    Might be a bit dark for a workbench, but nicer than the black composite lab benchtop I have now, LOL

    I have stocks of iroko to get through, so can free up some space, utilising the materials is half the battle.
    I try and not waste this stuff as I see it as more precious than some do, and willing to take the time going through it all.

    I may well consider finding domestics some day, but in a damp workshop and house would be a problem using anything that
    could be eaten by the furniture beetle.
    Currently working on getting my large bandsaw sorted as its a core machine for many of my tasks, originally bought to procure "free wood"
    but turns out skips are more common than felled hardwood trees around here

    The iroko is toxic enough to have given me a bit of a reaction before, so mainly hand tools are used after machinery.

    Sorry I have no good pictures of the bench, as I had a heap of stuff to do, getting that 4" top safely onto a base, and finally off the stack of narrow timbers put a lot of honey do's on the long finger.
    Also had to deal with the logistics of having another bench, and haven't been doing anything but essential metalwork projects since.

    Don't think my bench will see anything done to it for a good while, as there's stacks of timber on top, and a stack of things on the 'to do' list again.
    Eager to get back at it, if I can get organised enough this year, likely be winter by the time that comes round, and its often easier just doing metalwork rather than faffing about with bringing timbers indoors from the cold.
    Not many projects left that are that necessary, unless some unforeseen machine related thing happens,
    that has always been a theme in my workshop.

    Rubber pads or whatever might well be a good idea, I'll be making a retractable caster system for this bench also,
    should I need to, they won't get torn off by dragging the bench around.

    I hope you make a WIP of your bench, as there's few of them on the ground.
    Mostly due to the space lost of the fifth leg, often said, but the dogs seem to like it.

    I have to say I was quite comfortable with my other bench being closer, with my tools and sharpening station right behind me.
    Things may get more practical when its mobile, but outta the question for me ATM in a narrow workshop.

    SAM_3989.JPGSAM_3985.JPGSAM_4748.jpg

    There's a thread here, but its waaay down the list.

    Tom

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom trees View Post
    Frank sounds like a man after me own heart, I basically only work with reclaimed iroko.
    Bar construction pine, its the most frequently found species in skips here in Eire, as many are switching to newer windows and
    doors.
    Its a good African timber and not considered cheap either, I don't mind laminating it all together, though some may turn their noses up at it
    for many reasons.
    Might be a bit dark for a workbench, but nicer than the black composite lab benchtop I have now, LOL

    I have stocks of iroko to get through, so can free up some space, utilising the materials is half the battle.
    I try and not waste this stuff as I see it as more precious than some do, and willing to take the time going through it all.

    I may well consider finding domestics some day, but in a damp workshop and house would be a problem using anything that
    could be eaten by the furniture beetle.
    Currently working on getting my large bandsaw sorted as its a core machine for many of my tasks, originally bought to procure "free wood"
    but turns out skips are more common than felled hardwood trees around here

    The iroko is toxic enough to have given me a bit of a reaction before, so mainly hand tools are used after machinery.

    Sorry I have no good pictures of the bench, as I had a heap of stuff to do, getting that 4" top safely onto a base, and finally off the stack of narrow timbers put a lot of honey do's on the long finger.
    Also had to deal with the logistics of having another bench, and haven't been doing anything but essential metalwork projects since.

    Don't think my bench will see anything done to it for a good while, as there's stacks of timber on top, and a stack of things on the 'to do' list again.
    Eager to get back at it, if I can get organised enough this year, likely be winter by the time that comes round, and its often easier just doing metalwork rather than faffing about with bringing timbers indoors from the cold.
    Not many projects left that are that necessary, unless some unforeseen machine related thing happens,
    that has always been a theme in my workshop.

    Rubber pads or whatever might well be a good idea, I'll be making a retractable caster system for this bench also,
    should I need to, they won't get torn off by dragging the bench around.

    I hope you make a WIP of your bench, as there's few of them on the ground.
    Mostly due to the space lost of the fifth leg, often said, but the dogs seem to like it.

    I have to say I was quite comfortable with my other bench being closer, with my tools and sharpening station right behind me.
    Things may get more practical when its mobile, but outta the question for me ATM in a narrow workshop.

    SAM_3989.JPGSAM_3985.JPGSAM_4748.jpg

    There's a thread here, but its waaay down the list.

    Tom

    Wow, Tom that is wonderful!

    I had no idea you were in Ireland, and am building it from an African native timber....that is very exotic! I would say such a benchtop at 100mm thick is up there with the Stonehenge in not going anywhere fast! (Unless you manage to put castors on those monoliths!). Your doubled up stretchers will really ensure the whole structure is rigid.

    Yes you're right. Not many of these benches are being built/used anymore due to the 5th leg and shoulder vise screw being proud when something is clamped in there. I didnt find it an issue, but for most it is the bane of their existance, which I fully understand. I also think of all the benches, because no one does plans on it, and because when using the traditional method of construction it is the most difficult bench to build, especially the tail vise. As most people are using power tools too now, I guess a lot of the features of the Scandi bench can perhaps be considered as superfluous and not much more of a benefit than a Nicholson or Roubo. It's really horses for courses aye!


    Kindest regards,
    Siggy

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    Yes it should be heavy enough, I wasn't sure I would like the fifth leg either, so made it the same thickness throughout
    in-case I preferred the other side for planing door stiles or frames, which makes up a good deal of the stock I encounter.
    I reckon I will make the back rail a tiny bit thicker than the 1" Klausz plans, and might incorporate a bit of metal if need be.
    Might make some use of all the hinges I have and make some sort of hinged tool well bottom, not sure yet.

    I might chop another hole or two to make some sort of planing stop, I didn't opt for the one in the plans.
    Hopefully most of the dogs will be interchangable, all just thoughts yet really.

    I reckon if a fifth leg is in the way for their work, then likely a four leg bench gets a bit large sometimes too.
    A good excuse for making it mobile.

    What is appealing to me about the bench, (yes. I fully admit I just got sucked into it, and realised after much 'analysis' I couldn't make a nicer bench design) even if it's might not quite be as pretty as some of those,
    it will still have the fundamental shoulder vice area which likely lends itself to be able to get at both sides of the work.
    I dream to build some acoustic geetr's at some stage, so it can be the fancy bench for that craic.

    Going back to the base again, (don't mind me ranting about mobile bases and the likes, no need respond to the madman, but for some reason I feel the want to make this bench mobile aswell more than anything, and the design of the unknown is the most alluring.


    Hopefully I can make something a bit nicer than this, not saying that it doesn't work well, but not for this bench.
    In a more recent thread called a wheely good workbench solution.
    SAM_4108.JPG

    (more talk on wheel kits for benches below)
    I've got a nice big plate of metal recently that was stowed away at the folks, so worth going shopping for some suitable stock.
    There would be some clearance issues for the lever with this, and if sorted would eliminate the only two things that I find in anyway annoying, which is the lever trapping your foot slightly/tight fit to press the pedal,
    or in some spots of the shed, the pedal fouling against the upper strecher.
    If this happens, it needs dragging in one direction to swing the casters around, and a light bench may need the weight to fully keep those levers from lifting it. (I only had heavy tubing on hand)

    If the strecher wasn't there and you wanted to take out your knees with the pedal,
    the casters would swing around on their own, (I think?) enabling one to have a lighter bench.
    This would in turn lower the pedal.
    Not thought much more into it since, best to make the bench and work out the ergonomics after.

    This is made more problematic the higher the bench lifts, and if was lowered a few mm, then the pedal would sit nicely.
    For a Scandi bench with ski's though, it'd need to be this height off the ground.

    There must be a solution that would make it a nice job.
    I'm not afraid of trying, and starting over, tend to do a lot of that.

    All the best
    Tom

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