Workshop furniture: any good makers?

westvillagerNovember 30, 2010

Hello: I'm looking to give some shop furniture as a gift for Christmas. Thing is I am clueless about what's good or even reasonable. This is not my area of expertise. Thought I'd also ask on here.

I'd prefer solid wood and made in the US. Timing is more of a concern than price -- so no custom built option I guess -- and there's no space restrictions that would require a folding or portable unit. There isn't a specific hobby. Woodworking, metal crafting, general construction/repair are all possibilities. I've stayed away from Home Depot, Loewes or Sears for now. I saw a rolling cart in Wired magazine's gift guide from a company called Garrett Wade -- and their workbenches look nice too. Just wonder if there's good quality workshop furniture still available in the US.

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I don't think there is a good answer to this question without nailing down your requirements a bit more. If it is for a little bit of everything, then about anything will do.

Some considerations, most of which will depend upon your intended usage, materials, and tools:

- Size : no sense having a 4x8 bench for clock repair, no sense having a 2x2 bench for building tables.

- Height : generally lower heights for hand power and rising height for more and more intricate work

- Work surface : something friendly to your material, you would not want the same surface for fly tying as for rebuilding carburetors or the same for cutting dovetails as for welding

- Access : up against the wall for space conservation or out in the open so you can have access all around

- Portability : fixed location or mobile

- Accessories : what power tools will be used on it, what hold downs (dogs, vices, bench hooks, etc.)

    Bookmark   November 30, 2010 at 10:08PM
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/bow to you, friend. I would never have considered, at least, half of what you mention -- in particular the height, surface type and access issue. He's definitely more of a generalist, so I'll broaden my search to include more versatile options.

    Bookmark   December 1, 2010 at 7:43AM
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Garrett Wade is one of the better companies for mail order business. Most of their stuff is top quality and they have been around for years and stand behind their products.

    Bookmark   December 1, 2010 at 11:38AM
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I got my G-W catalog yesterday. They just happen to be a few miles from me. I like knives maybe as well as the next guy, but I don't think I'll be shelling out over $300 for a nice knife. I tend to loose them too easily, though I might never loose one of those.

If you can find a copy in your library, you might check out the book below for a survey of benches.

Chris Schwarz has two recent books out on the subject, but they tend to be more for hard-core woodworkers that want to build their own bench.

I remember the old workbenches in my Jr. High shop class. Most people think that they are possibly the worst design ever for a workbench. Essentially a sturdy 4' x 4' table with a cheesy vice on opposite corners.

Here is a link that might be useful: Scott Landis' book

    Bookmark   December 1, 2010 at 12:28PM
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Good to hear G. Wade is legit. Appreciate it.

The neighborhood library is actually open tomorrow, so I'll drop by. Could find inspiration.

Thanks both.

    Bookmark   December 1, 2010 at 4:41PM
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Just to close the loop I was able to peruse an older copy of the Landis book. I decided to print out a few options so there's a choice to consider. For Xmas, I bought a Gerstner chest to get the ball rolling.

Again, tx!

    Bookmark   December 7, 2010 at 8:38AM
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