Woodworking bench kits,Wood Kiln For Sale Uk,Thickness Planer Lowes - Try Out

This bench features a sturdy top and a trestle base is rigid enough to resist any racking forces. I’ve struggled-by with a poor bench for some time, the vices just aren’t big enough, the steel screw thread squeaks and wobbles and the tool well is constantly full of junk… so why oh why have I put up with it for so long, I guess the answer is partly habit and not knowing enough about what else is out there to replace it. Back to Tom Fidgen’s own bench and that lovely book of his, I read his story of how through chance he ended up with two benches, both from the same supplier and manufacturer, I looked closer at the work he was producing on it, the way he would consider adding an extra dog hole here and there to better serve the holding and positioning of his work on the bench or in the vice.
I started to look at books on the subject of the history of benches, and spoke with friends who have arrived at similar conclusions, that to some degree “the bench is the shop”. Well I would certainly go and look at as many out there as possible, and by that I mean look hard and research on the internet and get a feel for the makes and scale of benches available. Work wise, that’s entirely up to you, but whatever you’ll produce on it, the bench should at least be solid and large enough to cope with it. Like I say, my own small and lightweight bench isn’t, and the only way I can stop some of its movement is to bolt it down with brackets to the shop floor.
The thicknesses of bench tops can be deceptive, don’t be fooled by the apron that runs around the edge of the bench-top, in fact these are usually way deeper than the actual heart of the bench-top itself, and to be honest this heart is what matters. I’d say that a good bench worth paying decent money for should have a top that’s no thinner than 2.5inches or approx’ 60mm deep and ideally thicker still. The bench thickness may have to be thinner in certain sections close to fixing plates and runners for the screw thread mechanisms and dog blocks to be housed, but scrutinise these fixings too and make sure that all the mechanics of the kit associated with the smooth running of the vice threads appear sensibly ‘up to the job’, remember that moving parts are far more likely to let you down than static ones, so again, buy the best that money can afford.
Remember that a bench is a tool to hold wood steady while working on its edges or faces, that might sound a little obvious but the number of times I’ve seen woodworkers, including myself, struggling to hold down pieces with ease is disturbing, in fact this should never be the case, a good bench should certainly have covered all the basic options for helping you to clamp your work.
A wagon vice will have a sliding dog block together with its corresponding dog hole, the two together allow for flexible clamping positions down the length of the top surface of the bench. Add another row of dog holes to the far surface of the bench and you’ve got an amazingly efficient way of extending this surface support system. Whether you opt for a standard face vice or some style of deeper leg vice, you’ll at some point almost certainly need some other form of clamping further down the side of the bench, this comes in the form of bench fasts either fastened through the end bench leg, or with even greater flexibility through a sliding board jack.
If you want a really secure stop on the bench surface then consider a much larger dog block, these can be set permanently anywhere along the run of dog holes, but ideally look for a bench that has it set towards the face vice end and then you have the rest of the length of the bench top to lay pieces up against it. Benches purchased from most manufacturers and stockists dictate what vices you end up with, as most are supplied with “what you see is what you get” therefore there can be little or no other choice available at the initial buying of your bench.

Things vary to some degree in this area and you’ll just have to ask… On the other hand try to seek out an independent bench maker, one who’s prepared to offer lots of choice!
Remember that almost every piece of wood that you’ll place on the bench will need at some point I’m sure to be held in safe hands… this is the vices job.
Finally there has been a trend in more recent times to mix engineering wheel style handles to bench vices as a modern replacement to the more traditional pole handles, this is entirely a choice for the individual and purists may find them incongruous with the mix of aesthetic styles, seen by many as a clash, however they do have some merits if its “your bag”, they’re pretty easy to grab and spin, so long as the screw thread runs smoothly then they’re fine. I thought at this point I’d take the time to sing the praises of the independent bench-maker and there must be quite a number out there I’m sure, but rather than thinking always of walking into a bigger trade outlet, try seeking out a good joiner who’ll make one individually just for you, bespoke, right down to the style of pole handles. So although completely subjective, I believe that Richard Maguire from Lincolnshire in England makes the best hand made benches for sale on the market today, certainly in the United Kingdom, if not the World!
He’s researched the history of bench making and includes his take on the classic Roubo and Dominy styles these are within an awesome range of serious heavyweight benches, all hand made with a great choice of vices too including a twin screw faced option.
He personally guarantees everything and that’s how confident he is that his benches will perform. He uses a choice of Ash or Steamed Beech to construct them, some of the bench tops are 3 inches of solid wood, others 4 inches, while his thickest is a hefty 6 inches and at those sort of dimensions your bench won’t budge a jot!
If you go for any benches of this nature then you’re not only investing in quality for your own shop, but you’re helping to keep the Craftsmen’s skills alive and well. While visiting this years wood show in north London on the 14th March I was very pleased to see the figure of Rob Cosman blowing fine wood shavings high into the air from a Stanley Plane, but what took my eye more was the bench he was working on, yes The Richard Maguire Signature bench.
Many of the passers by were reading up on the details of the bench on a display board, a few wood fans were over from Sweden and I asked them what they thought.
I did consider making my own bench and this would no doubt have been a different kind of investment, one that was time heavy in the wood shop, this for me was the deciding factor, I just couldn’t afford the time, but you’ll have to juggle with this dilemma yourself. What you do get if you choose to purchase is the knowledge that the bench makers specific niche skills and experience has gone into every consideration, this for me was a guarantee well worth paying a premium for, basically it’s peace of mind territory. I’m sure that if your making your own quest you’ll settle for what ultimately feels right for yourself, but my conclusion is that the bench is far too important an investment to go wrong, after all it’s highly likely to represent the single most costly outlay in the hand tool wood shop. While my own decision was a Maguire bench, there are other benches out there with great merit, including the Lie Nielsen or Sjoberg range.
Whatever you choose to purchase or indeed if you end up spending time making your own bench, just remember this,  “The Bench is the Shop”.

You must plan and work everything else around it, other items come and go in the shop but the bench remains a constant and must in my own opinion be perfect for everything that you do and therefore flexible and yet simple enough to achieve those tasks. Get it too thin and the bench runs a significant risk of racking or twisting out of shape through changing atmospheric conditions.
For me the more the merrier and as long as the bench top is thick enough to take all these holes then it wont effect it’s performance.
Not all benches have them, and there are other ways of doing a similar job with all manner of different separate clamps, but to have a length of sliding wood bored with numerous holes to clamp through is by far the simplest and surely again the most flexible.
The block itself can then be deep enough to be brought up above the bench surface when required to hold some particularly high work pieces. So if you’re happy with the bench and the vices on it then that’s terrific, but if you love the bench but the vice is not for you, then always ask to see if they’re able to offer any options. I was very fortunate that I spent a little quality time with Richard looking over a small selection of his hand made benches, and what can I say, all the appropriate boxes were ticked, nice thick solid lengths of wood, beautifully crafted and jointed together, every single thing appeared right, the design, balance and sheer strength of these beasts just jumps out at you.
He told me that one of the benches under scrutiny was tested by leaving it outside in all weather conditions, for quite some time, before bringing it back into the shop to once more acclimatise, all this just to see how it might cope with such extreme stresses. No wonder that he’s proud to place and fix a small brass plaque on every bench with the Richard Maguire name. I know personally how incredibly proud Richard is of every bench he makes and he should do with the hours he puts of himself into each one.
Generally they remarked on the solid thickness of it’s bench top, the smooth action of the leg vice and how useful the double row of dog holes would be for bracing work across and down the length of the surface. Your vices and fixings are best ordered first so that positions and bench thickness can be planned around them. My overriding want is that a bench should be as flexible as it can possibly be without it looking cluttered. You could indeed purchase a lower cost bench but have a higher quality vice and screw thread fitted later, again the choice is yours and if budget allows!

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