Workbench – further design

It seems I may be setting myself up to start this project sooner than I expected. I’m itching to get started, and aside from some minor cleanup and budget considerations, there’s no reason not to go ahead and make plans to get started.

First of all, I’ve decided to revert back to my original plans and build a Holtzapffel bench. The twin screw vise on the face can be added at a later date once funds allow. Since this will better serve me in the long run, even if I need a longer bench, I’ll already have the hardware and can easily switch. It’s probably easier to do this than to try and plan for a shoulder vise either now or later. The bench will be 6’x2′ nominally. It will stick out a little further at the vises. The base will be 4′ wide, giving me the widest and soundest base possible. The legs will be set in about a foot on either side. I say about, because the placement of the end vice might force me to move it towards the left an inch or two. Not expecting it to, but I’m planning for that possibility.

The plan is still to use 2×12 boards for the entire structure. I believe it’s best to build the base first, then start on the top. To start at all, I need to lay out some dimensions. The bench will be about 34″ from the floor, or at least I will plan it that way. It’s easier to take off than to add back on. I plan to make all boards 1.25″ x 3.5″. This will make the top 3.5″ thick and should give enough waste to get three good sections out of each full board. I may have to revise this down to 3″ for simplicity and for material sake, but 3.5″ is the plan. This would make the legs a total height of 32.5″ tall taking into account the tenon. The shoulders would come up to a height of 30.5″ tall. A 2″ tenon should suffice.

So, legs: 32.5″ tall, 3.5″ wide, needing a total of three sections for each leg. Four boards of 32.5″ x 3.5″, eight boards of 30.5″ x 3.5″. Since the legs will be flush with the front and back of the top, my short stretchers would be two boards of 20.5″ x 3.5″, and two boards of 16.5″ x 3.5″ (keeping with a universal 2″ tenon length). Since I plan a base of overall 4′ in width (including the legs), the front and rear stretchers are going to be comprised of two boards of 45″ x 3.5″ and two boards of 41″ x 3.5″

Total amount of material needed for the base: 2 boards of 2x12x12′ at a cost of about $35. Exceedingly reasonable. If I found clear enough boards in 10′ length, I could save almost seven dollars. Not enough to sway me, but I’m going to look for the best boards I can, period.

For the top, it would take four 16′ boards with is about $92. Or seven 8′ boards at $71. Obviously I’d like to save money and buy less unwieldy boards, but I want the best I can find regardless of length or price. A $30 difference across the span of the project isn’t going to be enough to dissuade me from going with the longer boards, which tend to be better. It’s a shame they don’t carry 14′ boards though, I could do it in four, but the 12′ boards aren’t going to give me what I need. It’s either 14’+ or 8-10′.

Obviously I’ll be updating this post when I check out boards at HD, which will be in the morning. It’s possible they have 14′ boards, but they aren’t listed on the website.

For those of you curious as to what a Holtzapffel looks like, here is a Google Image search. I don’t want to rip off anyone’s photos.

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