Saturday, May 24, 2014

Work Benches

As posted earlier, this last week was a tough one at work, I was in the short rows with no energy for the shop. Work, sleep, eat, and spend a few moments geeking on the web each day, that was pretty much the week.

One of the things I noticed was a number of posts on work bench builds and how folks obsess over their build and most of the time over things that do not make a rat's ass of difference. I will admit to trying different things, different vises, split tops, square dogs, round dogs and so on but I also find with each new build my bench gets simpler.

The vise you use really doesn't make a hill of beans for either face or tail. Go for the easy install and easy to use especially for the tail vise. Battens and holdfasts will do 99% of what a tail vise does, easier and better most of the time. Some day I will build a bench with out a tail vise and I'll bet I will never miss it. A good face vise, should hold, be fast and easy to adjust, and easy to install. Most early UK made metal vises fill those requirements i.e. Record 52 and its clones.

The only really important things about a bench are: Is it heavy enough? Is the joinery strong? And is it Goldilocks, neither too big nor too small?

Make it flat, heavy, and strong, everything else is lipstick on a pig.

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