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Starter benches: Sjoberg, Veritas or BB benches ?

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  • Starter benches: Sjoberg, Veritas or BB benches ?

    I just got started working with handtools, and do not have a bench at home for use, where I intend to play with the hand tools. I did built a bench at my cottage shop, but mostly as a stand for power tools.

    I've already bought the plans for both the Jack-bench and Jameel's Woodcrafted Roubo bench and would love to one day build one - not sure which one.

    However, I need a bench for now, realize that it's hard to build a bench without a bench, and realize it takes me a long time to get things done. So I thought I'd buy a bench to bootstrap the whole process, and then sell it when I finally did build my dream bench.

    I started looking at the Sjoberg and Veritas benches at LV's website, and recall that Busy Bee sold some too. Can anyone offer some opinions on these ? The larger Sjoberg seems to be quite inexpensive, possibly with reason ? I looked at the smaller Sjoberg and it seemed pretty light.

    I've checked Craigslist, etc and could not find many woodworking benches for sale in the Toronto area. Someone was selling a Sjoberg for $550, which seemed like a lot for used.

    thanks ! terry
    Last edited by NuggyBuggy; 07-11-2011, 09:04 AM.
    "I am on a drug. It's called Charlie Sheen"
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  • #2

    Re: Starter benches: Sjoberg, Veritas or BB benches ?

    Re: Starter benches: Sjoberg, Veritas or BB benches ?

    For your purpose I'd suggest making a quick bench from construction grade material. The bench I currently have is rock solid, 24"x96", cost less than $100 to make (±$150 if you include the front vise) and only took me a few hours to put together. I eventually want to make a 'nice' bench from hard maple but that'll have to wait until I have more space.

    AK

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    • #3

      Re: Starter benches: Sjoberg, Veritas or BB benches ?

      Re: Starter benches: Sjoberg, Veritas or BB benches ?

      The Sjoberg bench that Lee Valley is not good for handtool works, unless you can bolt the thing on a concrete floor. The Veritas bench is better. A lot of people seems to like it and it probably have decent resale value.

      If money is not the biggest issue, Lie-Nielsen http://www.lie-nielsen.com/catalog.php?sku=wb-std makes the best commercially available workbench. It is more expensive than most. There is some wait time because it is custom made. It should provide a lifetime of service and more.

      If money is a concern, get an IKEA hardwood kitchen countertop and build the base with construction lumber.

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      • #4

        Re: Starter benches: Sjoberg, Veritas or BB benches ?

        Re: Starter benches: Sjoberg, Veritas or BB benches ?

        I built a very simple yet practical workbench as my first "project". I used the plans and videos from the Start Woodworking (Year 2) section of FWW's website. Follow this link to an oversight on the project http://www.startwoodworking.com/plan...urdy-workbench. While it is not a classic long term bench it has been more than adequate to get me started on the process of setting up my shop. Hopefully some day I will get around to building something more long term but for now this bench is serving me very well.

        Cheers, Dave

        PS I think the cost to do this was around $100 plus the front vise.

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        • #5

          Re: Starter benches: Sjoberg, Veritas or BB benches ?

          Re: Starter benches: Sjoberg, Veritas or BB benches ?

          Terry

          I have no advice to offer on which ready to assemble commercial workbench would be a good buy.

          I believe that only the most miminal expenditure is needed to create a flat, assembly surface and other shopmade workaround using workhorses, etc. have been used as a platform on which to build your own workbench.

          Look at some of the workbench building pictorial threads in the handtools pages of either woodnet.net or sawmillcreek.com to see what others have done or google something along the lines of "building a workbench without a workbench".

          If you feel you need an expansive flat surface on which to build a workbench, I suggest to drop into a Habitat for Humanity Re-Store....... look for an ugly as hell door that is flat (the Re-Stores I dropped into have all been in warehouse type spaces with flat concrete floors to you should get a pretty good idea if the door is dead flat by throwing it onto such a floor and seeing if it lays flat or rocks at all.

          An essential quality of a main workbench, especially one for handtool work, is mass/weight, so it doesn't move.
          When it comes to buying a commercial bench, the cheaper benches (around $500) don't have this mass and the ones that do, like Lee Valley's, cost $1300 (but the price also includes two vises).
          If you are going to buy the latter or a Lie-Nielson, fine, and realize that you likely aren't going to return to idea of building your own ultimate workbench for a decade or more (and sell the plans for the shopmade benches you have already tentatively decided to build - smiley).

          If you do want to build an inexpensive but flat workbench using big box soft wood and with handtools alone as an
          full featured but 'practice' bench, dig up, in the woodworking page of this forum, a title 'building a workbench with spruce" that has the plans for 'Bob and Dave's Good, Fast, and Cheap Bench'; it appeared in March, 2010.

          But if I knew what I ideally wanted in shopmade bench I would go for that now, spending the money on decent wood that is ready to be worked and order the vice components - using any cheap flat surface or any of the shopmade workarounds you can find on the woodworking forums.

          good luck

          michael
          Last edited by michaely; 07-11-2011, 02:15 PM.

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          • #6

            Re: Starter benches: Sjoberg, Veritas or BB benches ?

            Re: Starter benches: Sjoberg, Veritas or BB benches ?

            I purchased the Sjoberg bench from LV. After using it a few months, I find it does have some limitations for things I'm wanting to do but for a basic bench, you get your money's worth. The surface is flat, smooth and easy to see your work on. There is sufficient edge to clamp onto as well. The biggest limitation is it's mass, but I put some boards spanning the stretchers that allows for tool storage to increase the weight. Putting some cabinets in there for proper storage is a more permanent solution and should add a hundred pounds to the bench with tools in it.

            I also find alot of convenience with the two vices that have interchangeable positions at the price. Still, I find even the vices have a limitation that's affecting my work; they don't have much depth for clamping boards.


            That being said, I would have purchased the Veritas bench with the wooden legs if it wasn't for the cost. It's bigger, heavier, it has the tool 'valley' in the middle, vices with more capacity.
            Last edited by Allegrus; 07-11-2011, 01:14 PM.

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            • #7

              Re: Starter benches: Sjoberg, Veritas or BB benches ?

              Re: Starter benches: Sjoberg, Veritas or BB benches ?

              I built my own with some red oak purchased cheap from Kijiji but I can understand why making one from scratch may not be the way you want to go. I will say that although I haven't owned the Lee Valley benches they seem very good. They offer a kit form for $499 (http://www.leevalley.com/en/wood/pag...54&cat=1,41637) that might be good middle ground combined with some legs and a vise.

              If you do want something functional, cheap and simple the homemade bench with 2x4's and MDF are very very usable benches and are easy to make and for the sheet goods it's easy enough to have your big box retailer cut it to size for you. There's a lot of plans for these easy benches out there.

              Another quick, easy, cheap bench not to be over looked is to find a solid door slab cut it to size and mount that on some legs built yourself or perhaps the iron legs from Lee Valley. Add a bolt on vise like this one (http://www.leevalley.com/en/wood/pag...80&cat=1,41659) and you are up and running. I use an old 20+ year old version of that bolt on vise as my main vise without any complaints.

              I will say that seeing the busy bee workbench close up, I wasn't that impressed with it over the Lee Valley benches. But still very usable regardless.

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              • #8

                Re: Starter benches: Sjoberg, Veritas or BB benches ?

                Re: Starter benches: Sjoberg, Veritas or BB benches ?

                Thanks everyone. My first woodworking project (actually, the project that got me interested in woodworking) was this one: http://plansnow.com/wwrkbnch.html.

                It is solid as a rock, but they call it a weekend workbench, and it took be about 6 months of weekends working on it at the cottage to finish it. I'm new to woodworking, slow, and there I have the demands of my children, wife, and guests tearing at my time. I want to also add that my dream bench is probably years away from being built - though I did buy the plans to start studying what I imagine is quite a lot of wisdom in them. Right now I am looking for a platform that will ease my learning the basics of handtool work. I don't have a lot of space in my home basement to work.

                I looked at the larger Sjoberg at LV today. It seemed solid enough, except I pushed against it a little hard and knocked over the belt sander they had displayed on it. Maybe not a good sign.

                I looked at the big Veritas benches. They looked nice, I'm sure they could last me a lifetime. But I misremembered how big they were. I'd have to do some careful measuring to see if it could fit in my space.

                I'm thinking of buying the Veritas. I could use it at home and build my dream bench at my cottage when I get around to it. If I later sold it for a dream bench at home, I might lose several hundred dollars which I would view as a rental fee. But the Veritas is probably good enough for a very long time. I think the Lie-Nielsen is out of my price range. I'm also not very good at waiting patiently for things to arrive. I just wish I could buy one of the Veritas used. I guess the fact that I don't see them available used says something.
                "I am on a drug. It's called Charlie Sheen"

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                • #9

                  Re: Starter benches: Sjoberg, Veritas or BB benches ?

                  Re: Starter benches: Sjoberg, Veritas or BB benches ?

                  Try this bench plan out. I made one myself and and very pleased with it.

                  http://www.finewoodworking.com/getti...season-two.asp
                  (Scroll down and it's the 9th episode)
                  Free plan at http://images.taunton.com/downloads/GSIW_workbench.pdf

                  Easy to build and very doable in a weekend.

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                  • #10

                    Re: Starter benches: Sjoberg, Veritas or BB benches ?

                    Re: Starter benches: Sjoberg, Veritas or BB benches ?

                    Well, I lucked out, I think. I decided I probably shouldn't buy new, and that it would probably take me forever to learn enough to build my dream bench, so I posted a WTB for a bench on Craigslist and was going to do the same here. I did a search here for a few models of bench, and found a Veritas listed for sale. I PM'ed the seller and found it was still available. I thought his asking price was quite reasonable, so I picked it up today. It looks almost new, I had a very interesting chat with a very nice guy and his family, and he threw in 4 each of the Veritas bench dogs and pups, and a hold-down of some sort. I was really happy to have saved some money.

                    As so often seems to happen when you think you're a few bucks ahead, I hauled it home to re-assemble in my basement, and when clearing out a space, found a flood waiting for me. Something wrong with my condensate removal pump, it's leaking water. So whatever money I saved on the bench, I'm probably paying right back out to fix the pump. LOL. I guess I could have bought the bench new and then found the flood.

                    Anyone know a good HVAC guy in the downtown Toronto area ?

                    Thanks, everyone, for your thoughtful replies. I really liked the idea of building my dream bench but decided it was too much for my first project with hand tools.
                    Last edited by NuggyBuggy; 07-12-2011, 02:49 PM.
                    "I am on a drug. It's called Charlie Sheen"

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