How narrow a workbench?
  Re: RE: How narrow a workbench? by adamcherubini (I like a narrow benc...)
(07-06-2018, 02:32 PM)adamcherubini Wrote: I feel strongly about benches I guess because I felt led astray in my younger days by guys who built benches that primarily were used to sell books, magazine articles, or hold their coffee cups. In a neander shop, the bench is chiefly a stock prep tool first, a joinery platform second.  So it should be at a minimum, as long as your stock (8' if you buy 8' boards) and wider than the widest board you work on.  I toss my boards on my bench and look over them. I may plane them a little to see what's going on.  Then I do layout, edge planing, cross cutting, all without moving the lumber too much. I feel like edge planing is a super important and EASY operation that many benches neglect. Once you can do that well, then I'd add vises for joinery.  Stock prep first, joinery second.

What I found was, in a real unplugged shop, the size of lumber on my bench was typically bigger than in shops with table saws and stuff.  Guys with table saws do their stock prep away from their benches (typically at the table saw) then show up at the bench with little pieces and their coffee cup for assembly/joinery work. That's a VERY different bench.

This !

Thanks Adam!

  Re: How narrow a workbench? by overland (I've got a workbench...)
Thanks for all the generous thoughts and for sparing me any mockery at what are less than ideal conditions for woodworking. I narrowed the bench to 16" over the weekend, and I think it will be okay. I deliberately made the base extra heavy some years ago, so the bench will be heavy enough for planing, chisel work, etc.  Clearly Adam is right that length is more important than width--another shortcoming of my 5' bench. But it will do, I think. I also saw while cutting it down that there's one little option that I hadn't thought of. If I clamp a heavy board to our backyard picnic table it might work for cutting stock or other work of preparation or even joinery.  I realized this because I lay the bench top on the table--it weighs 100 pounds or so-and used it as a surface to modify the base. It worked pretty well--at least in July!
  Re: RE: How narrow a workbench? by overland (Thanks for all the g...)
--another shortcoming of my 5' bench. !

For the record, one Sjöbergs Cabinetmaker's Workbench you can buy these day is only 53" long, and mine is only 7" longer than yours which I have used to build countless projects, including those using mainly hand tools. My previous bench was a little shorter, but did not have any impact on my work.

Your 5' bench can take care of all common furniture & chair projects.

Here Paul Sellers talks about the bench he used:

  Re: How narrow a workbench? by overland (I've got a workbench...)
I hope it works out for you. I've got a 32" deep bench, and while it's overkill (and stuff tends to accumulate along the far edge), I often plane down wide glue-ups on it. I'm not sure how I'd plane a 24"-wide panel on a 16"-wide bench. As long as it was in the center of the room, I could probably do it. Up against the wall, I wouldn't go narrower than 24".

I think my main issue with a super-narrow bench would be overall weight and stability. A light bench is likely to scoot around the room while you plane/saw at it. You can add weight to a bench in all kinds of ways, which you may find yourself needing to do with such a small bench.
Steve S.
Tradition cannot be inherited, and if you want it you must obtain it by great labour.
- T. S. Eliot

Tutorials and Build-Alongs at The Literary Workshop
  Re: How narrow a workbench? by overland (I've got a workbench...)
(07-12-2018, 02:39 PM)Bibliophile 13 Wrote: ...You can add weight to a bench in all kinds of ways...

In the space above the cabinet (which itself contains a heavy store of fasteners) of my small bench I have placed a 60 lb lead pig, the end of which you can see adjacent to each leg. This does wonders to stabilize it.

Wood is good. 
  Re: How narrow a workbench? by overland (I've got a workbench...)
To plane a 24"wide board on a 16" bench is simple: Flush one edge of the board with the bench and plane the first 12" to 14" width of the board. Then move the board so its other edge is now flush with the bench on the opposite side so the unplanned half of the board is now supported for planning.


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