Early in January of 2013, I embarked on a wood-working project to provide additional
clamping, drilling, chopping, routing and supporting capability in my small shop.
Although I do have a solid work-table, with a flat surface of about 3 feet by 6 feet,
I have to admit that it is often covered with various tools and odd bits that really should be in a better place.
Looking around the internet for some ideas of workbenches that might suite my needs,
I happened across a very interesting concept developed by a wood-worker from Texas. This seemed
to be just what I was looking for, and that I could adapt to the space I had in my shop.
The following snapshots give you an idea of the workbench that I built.
It appears to be somewhat akin to a giant saw-horse that many carpenters and woodworkers use.
The "truss" section is 2 by 10 hard maple planks, just a little over five feet in length.
Top and bottom internal spacers are 4-1/2 inches long, white ash, mortised and glued into the beams, top and bottom.
The truss is firmly constructed, being held together near both edges by threaded rod, with countersunk
washers and nuts. This permits clamping a work-piece vertically on the side of the beam.
Here is a view, showing the top surface of my homebuilt bench, with a " leg-vise" on the near end.
Clearly visible is the top row of four spacers that can also double as clamping locations.
Below is an end-view of my new bench showing the Roubo style leg vise, but since I didn't have
a table leg in an appropriate place, I had to improvise with some ash and angle metal stock. In order
to keep the jaws of the vise parallel when clamping a work-piece, it is necessary to prevent the bottom end
of the vise from being pushed inwards towards the legs.
The legs of the bench are approximately 3 inches square, built from locally grown white ash.
They are mortised into the sides of the beam, and bolted solidly into place, giving the bench great stability.
If I ever need to move the bench to a new location, it will take just a few minutes to remove the end-vise
and the legs from the truss, to pack it for transporting.
The fixed-jaw of the vise is constructed as a sliding dovetail, and is permanently glued in place.
The dovetails insure the stability of the truss and the strength of the structure.
Notice that the sides of the fixed-jaw extend about 3/4 inch beyond the beams.
These serve as end-stops when side-clamping a board onto the beam.
The truss serves as a very stable work location, at a comfortable working height, for a variety of "portable" tools,
such as this metal-working vise shown here. Mounting platforms can be securely clamped to the top cross-members of the bench.
Here, a board is shown clamped to the side of the truss, with one end pressing against the fixed-jaw.
This is a perfect position for using a hand plane along the edge of the board, for drilling holes
(so long as they are above the truss), or even routing a decorative edge.
Also shown is a "gear clamp" that provides considerable clamping pressure.
The top of the leg, and a supporting "shelf" at the same height provide support for
both short and long boards when clamped to the side of the truss. There are additional mortices along the sides
of the truss, not shown here, to provide a level support for work-pieces.
The moveable jaw easily opens to 12 inches for clamping purposes.
A small sub-jaw, can be clamped to project upwards a small amount to provide end pressure on a long board
that is clamped flat, or against a fixed end stop at the other end of the truss.
Showing one possible method of clamping the far end of a plank.
This photo shows the details of the lower end of the moveable jaw of the vise.
Holes are drilled about every 1/4 inch, for a distance of 12 inches. A metal pin is slipped into one
of the holes, just as the jaw of the vise approaches the correct clamping distance. When the vise
is then snugged up, it provdes very strong clamping force to the work-piece.
At this time, I have not applied any finish to the work bench, and I may not.
As I get to using it, there will certainly be dings, bangs, drilling marks, saw cuts, and so on
that will begin to build "character."