More workbench design/ideas

Taking a small break from actual construction, my brain can use a workout in thinking about final design and tools for the workbench. Random thoughts below.

I’m planning on using 3/4″ dog holes for the top and legs, but I hadn’t considered what I’d be using in them. I think I’ve decided on forged holdfasts from Gramercy Tools. I was considering making them myself or having a local blacksmith do them, but the price is pretty cheap just to go ahead and order them when the time comes. They look fantastic, and at $32 for a pair plus shipping, I can get three pair for just over $100 and that should be what I need. One on each leg, and four available on the top should suffice. You can see them at the Tools for Working Wood link below.

Gramercy Holdfasts

In that vein, I’m wondering if I need to incorporate a little rack or auxiliary dog holes for them to reside in. I can’t find anything that shows something like that online. Since my bench will have to double as an assembly table, they can’t just stay on the top. I suppose I’ll have enough dog holes in the legs where they could go. Yes, I’ll stick to that unless something else comes up.

I’m considering adding a shelf to the top of the stretchers, it would give me a space to potentially set those holdfasts along with other things. I am concerned though that it will be a crap and dust collection area. I’m leaning toward it, but that also brings about this thought – out of what, and do I need to plan for that now? I think the best thing to do would be just to build it as is, then take a sheet of 3/4″ plywood, cut to fit, and just simply place it on top of the stretchers. Should be strong enough, and won’t move if cut properly.

It occurs to me that I may have made my first potential mistake with the bench – making the leg tenons too narrow. My shoulder cuts made it rather small, and I wonder if the introduction of the dowels will hurt the integrity. I suppose we shall see.

I am still planning on using the Veritas Twin Screw vise for the front of the bench, but it will be an “add on.” While I could easily pick one up on Wednesday, I don’t think it’s necessary to get one now and it would be more responsible to wait until finances are just a little bit better. Perhaps some birthday money could help with that cause. I will be sure to check it out at Highland on Wednesday, though. Get a good idea of how it works.

I need to put a chamfer on the bottom of the legs, to prevent any blowout while moving it. I have a few tools at my disposal to accomplish this: table saw, router, router table and planes. I think I will use my block plane and make it as even as possible. Like I need another reason to use that wonderful tool, right?

The dog holes will have the smallest roundover I can possibly put on them. I’ll do this with my laminate router and a 1/4″ shank bit. Dead-simple and quick work when the time comes.

What finish to use on this beast? I’m heavily leaning toward boiled linseed oil. I don’t think I want a slippery surface, so I will skip mixing in a wax.

Oak dowels – don’t particularly want to splurge $50 on a dowel plate, so I may employ alternatives. But that $50 would be well spent over the course of my woodworking hobby career…


Hope you enjoyed my randomness today.

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