Workbench Tool Portability
I am building a 96″ long workbench based on the video series here for new woodworkers (season 2). The bench will double for wood working, ammunition reloading, and whatever other work routine house repair warrants. I would like to be able to add and remove tools (i.e., vise, ammunition reloading press, etc.) as needed. My general idea was to mount the tool (vise) to a wood piece that fits and locks/unlocks from the bench, that is strong and rigid. I am not sure how I can achieve that with my novice skills. Wood inserts that fit into recesses that do not permit rocking are an option but require fitting that is probably beyond my skill level. Thank you. – Phil
You might check out the New-Fangled Workbench by John White. He uses some pre-mounted tools that fit into the top of the bench. I think it's a great idea. If you don't want exactly that, perhaps it will at least spur some ideas.
--Or were you already referring to the New-Fangled Bench in your post -- as being beyond your skill level?
Thanks for your reply. The bench would test my skills I think. My requirements are that some tools mounts closely to the edge, which the New-Fangled bench does not appear to do. One tool (ammunition reloading press) must be mounted at the edge and the torque this tool applies to the flat mounting surface is substantial. The mounting flange is maybe 5" x 5". Also, the New-Fangled bench requires access to the sides of the bench...I will be able to access the front and one side only. Also, I need cabinets below the bench, which does not work well with the design. When reloading ammunition, I can't have holes in the bench (inserts), but could find a way around that.
The ideas I saw include these for mounting tools. These obviously were not intended for any woodworking.
http://www.rifleshootermag.com/ammunition/benchs_022607/index1.html See page 2.
The New-Fangled bench is very novel in design, and I will try to incorporate what I can in what I build while not getting in over my head. It has given me some ideas.
"When reloading ammunition, I can't have holes in the bench (inserts), but could find a way around that."
You can interchange an insert with a tool mounted on it, such as the Redding 2400,with a blank piece of wood. Then you don't have any holes in the bench.
Another idea is to install tee-nuts in from the underside of the bench. Bolt the Redding, or whatever, to a thick piece of plywood. Drill holes in each corner of the plywood then bolt the piece of plywood to the benchtop using the tee-nuts.
There would be holes in your bench if you did it that way, but it's likely they could be as small as 1/4". When not in use, the holes could be plugged with wooden dowels or something like that.
I liek the second bench design better for its ease of assembly. The dovetails he speaks of aren't dovetails at all. They're simply rectangular pieces of plywood overlapping each other to make the space for the tool-mounted insert, or a plain piece of plywood.
I think you can do this project if you take it step by step.
One thing, though, after you're done reloading some rounds, don't hit them on the middle of the flat part in back with a hammer and nail punch. That will make more holes in your bench. Ha ha!
For some things, a little wobble doesn't matter much. For others, however, things need to be rock-solid. Further, to take advantage of various senses, things need to be level and/or square. The bench, for example, should be as dead level as you can get it, and the jaws of the woodworking vise square to the surface of the bench. If those are off, or wobble, you'll have trouble planing a square edge.
Thus, my suggestion would be to rethink your strategy, at least for the time being.
I'm the designer of the
I'm the designer of the New Fangled Workbench and I don't think it would work well for your purposes, since on my bench design only one tool can be clamped down at a time and the torque from pulling down on the handles of reloading equipment would tend to lift the back side of the base the loading tool is mounted on.
I would build a solid top with an evenly spaced grid of holes that would allow you to bolt down several tools at once. Each tool would be mounted on a base panel that would have four holes, one close to each corner. You could recess nuts into the underside of the bench so you wouldn't need access to the underside for attaching. You could make up a few blank panels to cover the holes in any areas that don't have tool bases.
Thank you for your reply.
If I understand your approach, a tool is fastened to a panel (i.e., 3/4" x 6" x 6"). That panel has holes at each corner which match up with holes in the work bench top. Line up the holes, use through bolts and nuts, and it is secure. What I am not sure about is whether the panels rest in recesses in the bench top, or just on top. I think you mean a recess, since a panel without holes can be slid in still providing a flat surface, and no holes. The bolting down would ensure no rocking.
What arrangement can be used to secure the nuts so they won't turn on the underside of the bench.
Phil, considering that the hold-down bolts will be inserted and removed repeatedly, a "threaded insert" may be the best approach:
If you end up with a conventional bench (thick top with dog holes) you could also use traditional hold-downs to keep the tool-mount panels/plates in place:
It may not be fancy, and it may not look cool... but some 5 or 6" C-clamps work about as well as anything.
Mount your individual tools & presses to boards using tee-nuts or threaded inserts, and leave a little extra on the sides for clamping. As long as you leave a bit of over-hang on the bench top (2-3") you should be able to clamp as deep as most c-clamps will go.
I have considered the dovetail/recessed systems shown earlier... I've always worried about them getting a little loose or tight with seasonal sweling/shrinking (less of an issue with manufactured sheet goods, I know) or just getting something (powder kernels) wedged back inside the recess interfering with the fit. Might be worrying about nothing, but I'm silly like that sometimes ;)
From time to time I've wondered how well some recessed t-track and hold downs would work. Perhaps not for a big cast-iron single stage press sizing magnum cases, but for smaller ones used for decapping or other light duty uses, and for holding the case trimmer still... but then I just grab a c-clamp and go on about my business...
The idea of a bench vice which is not bolted to a thick bench top with 4 big bolts does not appeal greatly to me.
Given your requirements could a clamp on vice suit your purposes. See:
It all depends on how much and what type of woodworking you do.
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