Popular Woodworking 2007-06 № 162, страница 32

Popular Woodworking 2007-06 № 162, страница 32

Most benches are easy to set up to work on the faces of boards or assemblies. In this example, a door is clamped between dogs. You can even work simpler and plane against a planing stop.

with a door that is 3/4" x 15" x 38". And then try a board that is 3/4" x 12" x 6'.

How you accomplish each of these three functions is up to you and your taste and budget. To work on the faces of boards, you can use a planing stop, a grippy sanding pad, a tail vise with dogs, clamps or hold-downs.

To work on the ends of boards, you can choose a shoulder vise (especially for dovetailing), a metal quick-release vise, a leg vise or a twin-screw vise. And you can use all of these in conjunction with a clamp across your bench. The vise holds one corner of the work; the clamp holds the other corner.

Working the long edges of boards is tricky with most benches. In fact, most benches make it difficult to work the edges of long boards, doors or face frames. There are a couple ways to solve this. Older benches had the front edge of the benchtop flush with the front of the legs and stretchers so you could clamp your frames and long boards to the legs. And the older benches also would have a sliding deadman (sometimes called a board jack). It would slide back and forth and had an adjustable peg to support the work from below. Another old form of bench, an English design, had a wide front apron that came down from the top that was bored with holes for a peg to support long work.

■ Rule No. 7: Make Your Bench Friendly to Clamps

Your bench is a three-dimensional clamping surface. Anything that interferes with clamping work to your benchtop (aprons, a drawer bank, doors, supports etc.) can make some operations a challenge.

We had a phase at Popular Wood-

Popular Woodworking

Working on the ends of boards - especially wide boards - can be a challenge for face vises. Adding a clamp to the setup stabilizes the work for sawing or whatever.

working where we tried to design a cupholder into every project. It started innocently with a deck chair. Who doesn't want a cool beverage at hand? Then there was the dartboard. What goes better with darts than beer? I think we came to our senses when designing a series of cupholders into a Gustav Stickley Morris chair reproduction. Do you really need a Big Gulp-sized hole in your Morris chair? I didn't think so.

The point of this story is to illustrate a trend in workbench design that I

Here's another historical bench that shows some difficulties. The drawers will interfere with clamping things down to the bench. With no dogs or tail vise, this bench could be frustrating to work on.

This primitive bench still allows you to work on long edges of boards. The crochet (or hook) grips the board. Holdfasts and a scrap support from below. Simple and brilliant.

personally find troubling. It's a knee-jerk reaction to a common American complaint: We don't think we have enough space in our shops to store our tools and accessories. And how do we solve this problem with our workbenches? By designing them like kitchen cabinets with a countertop work surface.

This design approach gives us lots of drawers below the benchtop, which is great for storing the things you reach for every day. It also can make your bench a pain in the hiney to use for many common operations, such as clamping things to your bench.

Filling up the space below the benchtop also prohibits you from using any type of holdfast or holddown that I'm aware of.

If you build drawers below the top, how will you clamp objects to the benchtop to work with them? Typically, the banks of drawers below the bench-top prohibit a typical F-style clamp from sneaking in there and lending a hand with the setup. So you can't use a typical clamp to affix a router template to the bench. There are ways around these problems (a tail vise comes to mind) but the tail vise can be a challenge to install, set and use.

You can try to cheat (as I have) and install the drawer bank so there is a substantial space underneath the benchtop for holdfasts and clamps. Or you can give your bench a large overhang to allow clamping (as some Shaker-style workbenches did) but then you have to start engineering a way to hold long boards and assemblies on edge.

■ Rule No. 8: There are Good Rules for Placing the Vises on Your Bench

Place your vises so they work with your tools. Vises confuse many work

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