Workbench Advice

NOTW

Notw
Senior User
I am finally in the process of building a new workbench. I have finished the top and I did it in 2 sections that are 3-3/4" thick x 11" wide x 75" long, heart pine. I did it in two glue-ups so that I would have options by this point, I can either keep the two pieces separate and have the tool holder in the middle or I can glue the two pieces together and have a solid top. I haven't built the base yet so I can still go either way still. My question is for those of you that have a split top do you use the middle tool holder? I can see a lot of benefits of it for tool holding, slightly raised for a planing stop and then removing for more clamping options. But I wanted to find out from others who do have those options how much they actually use it?
 

creasman

Jim
User
I have a split top workbench with removable tool holders. I don't often find the occasion to remove them, and really like having this space to store frequently-used tools. If I didn't have this I'm sure these tools would be cluttering up the bench most of the time. I have about 16" of work space before the split. This seems to be sufficient for all the hand work I do.

As you can see from the picture my tool inserts are raised about 1" above the bench top. I sometimes use them as a back stop for what I'm doing. This is done by having a walnut piece that runs horizontal on each side that rests on the workbench top. The tool dividers run vertically and are the same width (1/2") as the split. These keep the tool holder in place. The remaining split openings (left and right of the tool holder) have an insert that is level with the bench top. I could extend the tool holder in the future if I find a need.
1591026724376.png
 

NOTW

Notw
Senior User
Thank you for the replies, looks like if I have the option, which I do, I should go ahead and add the tool holder
 

eyekode

Salem
Corporate Member
I'm a fan of the split top roubo. I don't "store" tools in the center. But sometimes I will place one there momentarily. I have also used it for clamping and as a planing stop. But drilling some holes for hold downs works for this too.

DSC_4167.sized.jpg
 

NOTW

Notw
Senior User
I'm a fan of the split top roubo. I don't "store" tools in the center. But sometimes I will place one there momentarily. I have also used it for clamping and as a planing stop. But drilling some holes for hold downs works for this too.

View attachment 194189
That is a very nice looking bench, mind if I ask the dimensions of your legs?
 

eyekode

Salem
Corporate Member
That is a very nice looking bench, mind if I ask the dimensions of your legs?
Thanks it has served me well. Built in 2011 and the only thing I would change is to use higher quality wood for the top. It was such a pia to work!

The legs are exactly the size of the scrap I had available :) 5 3/4" x 4" glue ups.

Edit: I dug up my old thread detailing my build: https://ncwoodworker.net/forums/index.php?threads/started-my-workbench.37970/

One other piece of advice: don't scrimp on work holding! My motivation for building my bench was sticking a chisel in my hand due to holding a piece of wood. The hospital bill was much more expensive then my bench/bench hardare/hold downs.
 
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Pop Golden

Pop
Corporate Member
Something escapes me here. Why in the world would you split your bench in half and give up work space? 1st. question. Do you ever use the back side of your bench? I too have a tool tray. Yes it is the collection point for copious amounts of sawdust, but it's on the back of my bench, out of the way. When I built my new bench a couple of years ago. I looked at everything: a variable height system, the roubo bench, built in vacuum etc. The bottom line was storage, vises and good support. Sorry no photos, my good computer were their stored is down at this point.

Pop
 

eyekode

Salem
Corporate Member
Something escapes me here. Why in the world would you split your bench in half and give up work space? 1st. question. Do you ever use the back side of your bench? I too have a tool tray. Yes it is the collection point for copious amounts of sawdust, but it's on the back of my bench, out of the way. When I built my new bench a couple of years ago. I looked at everything: a variable height system, the roubo bench, built in vacuum etc. The bottom line was storage, vises and good support. Sorry no photos, my good computer were their stored is down at this point.

Pop
Pop,
At least on the split roubo design the split does not reduce the available width. My divider can either be flat or proud of the surface. It can be changed by flipping the divider upside down.

Also it does not gather dust because the holes/slots go all the way through.
Salem
 

creasman

Jim
User
There seem to be two separate threads of discussion going on based on how you interpret "tool holder" in the original post.
  1. Some folks are taking this to mean "tool tray".
  2. Others are taking it to mean the narrow split between the two halves of a Roubo-style workbench.
I actually have both in my workbench and I have to agree with Pop. The tool tray is mostly a place to collect shavings (though I do have an electrical outlet installed in this space I find very useful). However, I find the split is very useful as a place to store frequently-used tools.
 

NOTW

Notw
Senior User
I was meaning more the narrow split between the two halves, sorry for the wording confusion.
 

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