I thought my first wood working bench was great.A heavy c channel metal frame with a recycled maple floor top with a guick release 7 in vice on the side.It is about 40in by 54in and can hold a hemi no problem. I waxed the top till it was nice and resistant to whatever was dripped on it. Only problem is I was thinking like a gear head not a wood worked.Work piece would slide and no decent clamping on the sides. I figured if I wanted to get somewhat serious about this woodworking thing I needed a real bench not a table with a vice. I read the books and with so many choices I chose a Roubo split top from Benchcrafted it would let me use it for both power and hand tools. I just finished it a week ago and it is nice not to have to chase my work across the bench. I couldn’t find a clear answer for a top coat for the bench I chose to leave the soft maple nude. So I guess I have a bench tbat has a lack of modesty.
We follow many traditional standards because they impart the work ethic of doing things right, emphasizing quality, attention to detail, considering impact and longevity, and working to high standards for lasting work. Our instructors are experienced craftspeople who recognize the value of passing on their skill set to the next generation of woodworkers. We strive to invite you into our community by connecting you with others who have a passion for craftsmanship.
In class, each student will build a detailed hall table that is complete with mortise and tenon joinery, biscuit, dowel, and floating joint construction. The student project is presented with a variety of design options and formats as to meet the experience and comfort level of each student. Depending on their experience and comfort level, students are encouraged to make a simplified version of the hall table or tackle a more sophisticated and complicated version of the same project. Your only limitation is the amount of material you receive in your lumber pack (~24 board feet).
I made my version of a Roubo bench over 20 years ago. According to the latest bench rules it is too tall, too wide, has too many vises (I use both sides of my bench and that might be a no no, not sure ), and has far too many holes. Did I mention that I have a double row of dog holes with a user made dual row wagon vise? I had no idea they were called a wagon vise back then. Being a tool maker and tinkerer at heart I just made a vise that I thought at the time was an original idea for the main side. Couple of dowels in a piece of wood straddling the two rows and I have a bench stop, or a different variation gives me a 3 point clamping system. If that isn’t bad enough it also has drawers on the bottom to store seldom used tools and supplies. Maybe if it had taken me a few weeks to drill all those holes and mount a few vises I would only have one vise and 8 holes too. I dunno
Every single person in the class was a novice when they walked in. We all made mistakes at some point, yet none of us really ever felt bad about these hiccups. Inevitably, Bob turned these mistakes into problem-solving opportunities where we could explore new ideas. So what if one morning I skipped coffee and accidentally spent 10 minutes drilling random-ass, pointless domino mortises in the middle of my bench legs? 4 dominos, some sawdust and glue, a little bit of sawing and sanding-- I've got four new inlays on my legs and nobody's the wiser. Not only do I now know how to roll with the punches when building something, but I've got a bench that's uniquely mine AND I don't feel like an idiot. And that last part is a serious feat.
2. Did I mention the rain here? How is your shed built? Are flooring and walls sealed to prevent water blowing and leaking in? When we get our summer thunderstorms the winds can whip up the rain pretty good and I even have to make sure garage door is closed sometimes. The shed??? Yea. it gets wet inside no matter how much caulk I use on floor gaps. Mine is on slab and shed not really designed to be waterproof. That being said, even if I got floor sealed it still lets some water in where walls meet roof. Not lots but makes for extreme humidity (or dew point if you prefer) levels.
If you remember, when drilling the MDF I finished the holes from the other side using a Forstner bit. It made for a clean hole, but the positioning wasn't as precise as I really wanted. So for this, I decided to clamp a length of scrap MDF to the back side, and to drill straight through. My Forstner bits were too short, so I bought an extender. And then I found that the spade bits I was using gave a cleaner exit hole. Whooda thunk?
The decision to be made with respect to the end vise is whether the support plate should be mounted to on the inside or on the outside of the stretcher. Mounting the plate on the inside of the stretcher reduces the reach of the vise - it can't open as far, because the support plate is back from the edge by a couple of inches. But mounting the plate on the outside of the stretcher means that we need to add some support structure for the inner jaw of the vise, which the legs would have provided if we'd mounted the plate on the inside.
Permanent or Portable? This is a distinction that decides much about your bench choice: Is it to remain stationary or must it fold, roll, or otherwise make itself scarce between jobs? Large, heavy benches are more stable and, in general, more adaptable to different jobs (sometimes several at once). But the bigger the bench, the more hassle involved with stowing it.