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Thread: Hoffman and Hammer workbenches.....anyone have one???

  1. #1
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    Hoffman and Hammer workbenches.....anyone have one???

    I'm looking for a nice workbench to get me back into woodworking. I do not have any power tools at this time other than a few handheld tools. I'm not sure making a nice bench is an option. Mostly I just want a place to plane and build stuff by hand to work on my skills until I can afford a full shop. I read the FWW article highlighting ready made workbenches and Hoffmand and Hammer benches were best value. Any suggestions on ready made benches?
    Thanks......

  2. #2
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    I've got one

    I have their large one. It is a great bench for the price. I can't speak to the build vs. buy debate. I don't get a lot of shop time as it is so I bought my bench. I got mine at Highland Hardware in Atlanta. It is a heavy sucker. I think you will be pleased if you go that route (at least with the large one - I can't speak to their smaller benches).
    With skill and tool we put our trust and when that won't do then power we must.

  3. #3
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    Looks like a nice bench, but the vise on the front left is not a shoulder vise.

    Pam

  4. #4
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    I am amazed at the cost of benches. I have had mine a few years and it cost about $250. It is a Sjoberg that looks to be about $450 now.

    It is nothing great, but it works. My next project is to add a tool tray to help rid it of clutter. Plan to build a bench of framing 2X4s in the not too distant future.

    jim
    "A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty."
    - Sir Winston Churchill (1874-1965)

  5. #5
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    Pam, if there is one thing I would/could change on this bench that would be it. I wish it had a shoulder vice. There is nothing wrong with the vice on it but the shoulder vice would have put it over the top.

    Quote Originally Posted by Pam Niedermayer View Post
    Looks like a nice bench, but the vise on the front left is not a shoulder vise.

    Pam
    With skill and tool we put our trust and when that won't do then power we must.

  6. #6

    Lie Nielsen also offers premium benches

    http://www.lie-nielsen.com/catalog.php?cat=535

    Pricey, but should be very good quality. I'm partial to the Roubo myself

    I would also check on the thickness and weight of the benches you are interested in. The LN benches mention thickness, but I did not see weight. (might have missed it)
    Last edited by Jim Foster; 12-28-2009 at 9:39 AM.

  7. #7
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    Pricey is an understatement$4000 for a bench!I'm sure they are great but geez that bench costs as much or more than all the other tools in my shop combined.I think I'll stick with my spruce 2x lumber bench.Disclaimer : I have been told that I can be cheap!

  8. #8
    I would definitely recommended making your own SIMPLE bench. It's very inexpensive and not very hard (I'm not talking about a bench with complicated dovetailed shoulder vises and so forth), and the result will be a heavy, sturdy bench that can last the rest of your lifetime. And with the money you save, you can buy some really nice tools to build it with!

  9. #9
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    At a little less than $10 a pound, the Roubo bench at LN looks a little pricey, until you start pricing out the 4 inch top. How much is the shipping?

    Still I do not think you are cheap Stephen. You are frugal.

    With the cost of benches, all my future benches will be home made. Unless of course a winning lottery ticket comes along. Guess you have to buy 'em to win 'em and we haven't been buying.

    jim
    "A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty."
    - Sir Winston Churchill (1874-1965)

  10. If you can spare the time to make one with good materials, that's the best option. If you can spare the time to make one with cheap materials, that's the next best option. If you can't spare the time, buying one is probably your only option, and at that point you're paying someone for their time. $4000 is not unreasonable for a bench made with quality materials, with quality hardware, and under fair labor practices. As you move down the price ladder, you compromise on one or more of those dimensions.

    I try to make everything for my shop. Of course, for a while my hobby was, as a result, more about making stuff for my shop than about making stuff for my house. But you can't really ask for more than an opportunity to try new techniques and learn new skills on a piece you'll be using for years. Even better--if it looks bad, it still works!

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Roderick View Post
    ...I'm not talking about a bench with complicated dovetailed shoulder vises and so forth...
    I can't imagine a vise simpler to make than a shoulder, maybe a simple two-screw long piece of wood, both of which are great for dovetails.

    Pam

  12. #12
    I think you can build a FINE bench cheap and with minimal tools. If it were me, I'd build a very basic bench out of quality 2x4's laminated into 4x4's, half-lapped into a basic frame and then topped with a few layers of 3/4 plywood of mdf. You can bolt on your own vice hardware. Such a bench will give you about 80-90% of the functionality of the Rolls Royce benches at about 10% of the cost.

    You can build this kind of bench with a circular saw and a drill/driver and screws.

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by Shawn Patel View Post
    I think you can build a FINE bench cheap and with minimal tools. If it were me, I'd build a very basic bench out of quality 2x4's laminated into 4x4's, half-lapped into a basic frame and then topped with a few layers of 3/4 plywood of mdf. You can bolt on your own vice hardware. Such a bench will give you about 80-90% of the functionality of the Rolls Royce benches at about 10% of the cost.

    You can build this kind of bench with a circular saw and a drill/driver and screws.
    You are absolutely correct!

    I built my bench with dimensional lumber, 2x4s laminated side-by-side for the top, and 4x4s for the base, joined with through mortise and tenons. I then bought two of the big, iron vises and bolted them on.

    The result is a fantastic bench. The top is so heavy I didn't even have to attach it to the base. Even with the most vigorous hand planing on the toughest materials, simple friction keeps the top from budging.

    To top it off, I've built three cabinets that rest on the bottom frame of the bench, again without being attached. Except for the absence of a shoulder vise, it's really hard for me to imagine a better woodworking bench than the simple bench I built myself.

  14. #14

    LN Benches

    The Roubo is pricey, but they have other benches that are closer in price to benches the original poster mentioned.

    The original poster also mentioned that he does not have any power tools at the moment, so making a bench from scratch could be a significant chore.

    PS: My Roubo is being made out of lumberyard Douglas Fir.

    Quote Originally Posted by Stephen Reid View Post
    Pricey is an understatement$4000 for a bench!I'm sure they are great but geez that bench costs as much or more than all the other tools in my shop combined.I think I'll stick with my spruce 2x lumber bench.Disclaimer : I have been told that I can be cheap!

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shawn Patel View Post
    I think you can build a FINE bench cheap and with minimal tools. If it were me, I'd build a very basic bench out of quality 2x4's laminated into 4x4's, half-lapped into a basic frame and then topped with a few layers of 3/4 plywood of mdf. You can bolt on your own vice hardware. Such a bench will give you about 80-90% of the functionality of the Rolls Royce benches at about 10% of the cost.

    You can build this kind of bench with a circular saw and a drill/driver and screws.
    I think you are right on here. I just bought the Schwarz book and I imagine I could build a simple bench with an MDF or equivalent top and incorporate some of the fixtures he suggests........I do think the LN benches are amazing but I think I would prefer a cheaper option to be able to stock up on nice tools and someday build the bench of my dreams....Roubo style or similar. Thanks

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