Gye Greene's Thoughts

Gye Greene's Thoughts (w/ apologies to The Smithereens and their similarly-titled album!)

Friday, August 22, 2014

Workbench modification

One difficulty with English-style workbenches (example at left) is that it's hard to clamp things to the surface, because the front and back edges of the benchtop are obscured by the apron:  the wide, vertically-oriented board the provides structure to the relatively thin benchtop..

This isn't an original observation:  I got it from one of Chris Schwarz's "workbenches" books, and/or one of his blogs.

My suggested work-around to this problem -- although non-traditional! -- would be to cut a series of vertically-oriented rectangles in the apron.  This would allow clamping access.

The top end of the rectangular holes would not be flush with the underside of the surface of the benchtop, but would instead be perhaps a half inch or three-fourths of an inch of remaining material (i.e. running "with the grain") hanging down below the underside of the workbench.  (The specific amount would depend on the configuration of your clamps.).  You would then clamp **through** this access hole, to the underside of the benchtop.

The reasoning -- much like with truss bridges -- is that even when you make holes in a sheet that serves a "stiffening" function, you still retain much of the strength in that direction.

I've tried out this approach on my own workbench -- and it seems to work.

Please see the photo below -- which is a poor but illustrative sketch overlaid on an outdated photo.  Specifically, the little black rectangles across the front of the workbench.

I took this photo when I first put my bench in my workshop.  Since this day, neither the workbench nor the workshop have been this tidy.




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