Bench legs design

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lotus49
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Bench legs design

Postby lotus49 » Wed Sep 04, 2019 8:38 pm

I have recently developed an interest in woodworking and have started to amass a collection of tools from various places. Mostly either inherited from my father-in-law or bought at antiques shops and renovated. I have made a few small things and have enjoyed doing so but the only workbench I had until recently was a Black and Decker workmate. It's better than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick but it's too small, too low and critically, far too light.

One of my neighbours was throwing out a proper heavy woodworking bench with two vices (one end vice with dogs and one normal vice at the front left). It's quite small but is very solid and apart from being spattered with paint and the vice screws and runners being slightly rusty (which was easily sorted out) it's in good condition and is just what I need. However, it has no legs. My neighbour had it attached to a wall but I want it to be free standing.

I came here for a bit of advice about making some legs. I imagine that the main requirement for the legs is that they are stable. I don't want it wobbling backwards and forwards while I'm planing and sawing. I attach a picture of the bottom of the bench. As you can see from the picture, there are four holes which look like they are supposed to take dowels for the supporting frame. The one on the top right is lower than that on the top left due to the dog hole and vice. I'm obviously going to have to make a supporting frame rather than buy one so I would appreciate some advice as to how to design it. The main challenges I see are that it will be slightly asymmetrical due to the vice on the right hand side, the left hand vice will prevent me from having support right across the front and it will need to be as solid as I can make it.

Can anyone suggest how best to lay out a frame that will meet my requirements?
IMG_20190904_202304 - Edited.jpg


I also have a question about the bench itself. Can anyone tell me what the metal thing is near the bottom left corner? There is a hole through the bench above it. Is it to put a holdfast in?

promhandicam
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Re: Bench legs design

Postby promhandicam » Wed Sep 04, 2019 10:33 pm

Welcome to the forum. That is a nice looking bench you have picked up. If it were me, I would make two pairs of H frame legs one larger than the other to accommodate the tail vice. I'd then attach 4 x 2's between them on the lower cross bar of the H to prevent racking and then put a piece of ply on to to make a shelf. For the legs, I'd use 3 x 3 or whatever size matches up with the top. you could use dowels to locate the top or just fix the top to the legs with some ply on the back face. Hope this make sense.

lotus49
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Re: Bench legs design

Postby lotus49 » Thu Sep 05, 2019 5:35 pm

Thank you for your response, that's very helpful.

When you say H frame, do you mean with only a single cross member between the legs on each side (which would presumably be near the middle) or two with on quite high up and one low down? Since you refer to the "lower cross bar", I presume you mean two but I wasn't sure as an H only has one.
Would it be worthwhile screwing a large sheet of plywood to the back of the rear legs to give it some extra rigidity?

promhandicam
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Re: Bench legs design

Postby promhandicam » Thu Sep 05, 2019 10:31 pm

A quick google will show you plenty of examples - basically a cross member at the top to attach to the bench and second approx 1/3 up. You could attach a sheet of ply to the back, but some diagonal cross braces between the apron and the legs would do the same job.

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will1983
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Re: Bench legs design

Postby will1983 » Fri Sep 06, 2019 9:58 am

With a bench top of that size you shouldn't need a cross member at the top of the legs, the top itself will do the same job. Just the one about 6" from the floor should be fine.
Check out my Instagram account cheshire_cats_workshop for more stuff I have been working on.
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promhandicam
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Re: Bench legs design

Postby promhandicam » Fri Sep 06, 2019 9:30 pm

will1983 wrote:With a bench top of that size you shouldn't need a cross member at the top of the legs, the top itself will do the same job. Just the one about 6" from the floor should be fine.

Except that having a cross member at the top will make it easier to attach the leg to the top.

lotus49
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Re: Bench legs design

Postby lotus49 » Sun Sep 08, 2019 3:57 pm

Thank you all very much for your help. Now I know what I need to do. I have propped the bench top on some cheap trestles for the time being so I can make the legs. I am looking forward to having somewhere solid and secure to work on.

DUCKMAN
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Re: Bench legs design

Postby DUCKMAN » Mon Sep 09, 2019 7:06 pm

man I love your bench legs i only make paddles.


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