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Thread: Workbench by Alan Turner

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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Philly, PA
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    126

    Workbench by Alan Turner

    A few months ago Alan said he was looking for someone to help him build two workbenches. I jumped at the chance.

    We built the benches our of birch with olivewood tail vises. The dividers are East Indian Rosewood; the stretchers are a generic South American wood sometimes called Bloodwood. The bottoms of the tool trays are Baltic Birch ply, 12mm.

    The pictures are of my bench which is a little over six feet long. Alan's bench is similar but about a foot longer. The tail vise hardware is from Atlas in Canada. Same people named in the Landis Workbench book. The shoulder vise is a Record. The legs are Tom Noden's Adjust-A-Bench. Rock solid and very handy.

    My "work" was mostly helping with the heavy lifting. Alan did the woodworking - beautifully as usual.

    I learned a lot along the way. Working with Alan as great. I know he hopes to open a WW school in the near future and offer a workbench-making class. If you need a bench, or just want a terrific experience, jump on it.

    I'd be happy to answer any questions if I can.
    Ron - who now has to bring his ww skills up to the level of his bench.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by Ron Kanter; 05-16-2005 at 4:20 PM.

  2. #2
    Ron,
    Thanks for the pictures. I've got to say that olive wood is one of my absolute favorites - very fascinating stuff. Those pieces for the vises are extraordinary.
    Maurice

  3. #3
    Ron,

    That is a great looking bench. You guys did a wonderful job!
    Jeff Sudmeier

    "It's not the quality of the tool being used, it's the skills of the craftsman using the tool that really matter. Unfortunately, I don't have high quality in either"

  4. #4
    That is a great bench....Alan is a great crafstman and it looks as the two of you worked well together....This general style is my favorite... The traditional Tage Frid bench dosen't offer enough surface area for larger work.
    "All great work starts with love .... then it is no longer work"

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Philadelphia, Pa
    Posts
    2,266
    Ron was a student of mine in my evening class on handtools and furniture joinery with handtools. The planks that these two benchs came from were liftable by one guy, but not easy to handle, esp. in my smallish shop. After the glue up, they were not liftable by one guy.
    Ron was a huge help, and a pleasure to work with. The benches came out well, and we will both use them to good advantage.
    Mine is already in the new shop, and is "teacher's bench." In general, the new shop is not yet ready to drive in public as it needs a roof before I can get serious about the teaching studio. Bids are starting to come in. Maybe by this Fall, or slightly after, I will have a post on its opening.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    KC, MO
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    2,038
    Terrific Job guys..........

    Alan, I wish I were closer -- I"d enroll in a minute!!

    Tell me more about the back 2/3 of the surface....Is it "thinner" that the massive front side that house the dogholes.... and banded with thicker stock?

  7. #7
    Beautiful work Ron. I've never seen olive wood used like that. Is it a hard, dense wood?
    Dennis

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    SE PA - Central Bucks County
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    37,627
    That's a beautiful bench, Ron. And yes, Alan does extraordinary work...you couldn't have asked for a better way to observe and learn than to work alongside of him.
    “Never raise your hands to your children, it leaves your groin unprotected.” - Red Buttons

    If you want your spouse to listen and pay strict attention to every word you say -- talk in your sleep...

    Be safety conscious. 80% of people are caused by accidents.

    Equestrian Sports. The most fun you can have with your boots still on...


  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    Black Earth WI
    Posts
    163
    Very nice! That olive wood is just gorgeous!!! When I get to building my hardwood benchtop, I hope to work in some nice accents. Now I may have to track down some olive wood.

    Erin
    For all your days prepare and treat them ever alike. When you are the anvil, bear; When you are the hammer, strike.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Philadelphia, Pa
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    Roy,
    The entire benchtop finished at 2 3/4" thick. I do not care for the thicker front edge as impedes easy clamping. The back rail is attached to the end caps via captured 1/2" bolts, and via the two dividers, which are 1 1/2" (or so) thick Rosewood, which are dovetailed into both the benchtop and the back rail, which makes the back rail pretty structural. By inserting a block the thickness of the depth of the tool tray, one can clamp directly to the tool tray area without fear of collapsing anything.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    New Orleans LA
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    1,335
    No Shells? No Block Front? My Goodness!
    18th century nut --- Carl

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Sterling CT
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    2,457
    hi ron and alan

    wow... really nice bench. I have tried my hand at making them and they are not as easy as one would think. you guys did a really great job.. looks real flat.

    If I lived closer I would take one of alan's classes
    regards
    lou

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    Livermore, CA
    Posts
    831
    Where did y'all get the Atlas tail vise? I did a quick google and came up short of a retailer.....
    Tim


    on the neverending quest for wood.....

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Philadelphia, Pa
    Posts
    2,266
    http://www.atlas-machinery.com/tvh.htm
    is the link. The search on google was "atlas tail vise". I would not use them again. It is a Record lead screw, at 8 TPI, which is way to fine/slow, and it has a metal handle, which I will remove in favor on a shop made one. The guides are heavy, and the milling just OK, but on balance, I would go elsewhere. I am trying to source one now as I need to build ten more benches, for the studio's student benches. More to come as the events develop.
    Alan Turner
    Philadelphia Furniture Workshop

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Philly, PA
    Posts
    126

    Olivewood and old Birch

    Dennis,
    The Olivewood is very dense and hard. Just the few pieces used in the vise added significant weight to the bench. It planes to a very smooth finish and looks soooo good.

    Lou,
    One of the hidden (or not so hidden if you look in the garage) advantages of working with Alan was his wood stash. In addition to the Olivewood that he just happened to have, the Birch for the benches was very old, 12/4. It moved very little after it was milled. Alan's bench required some planing after it was completed; mine required just a little.

    Ron

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