workbench surface overhang

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  • jon_ramp
    Established Member
    • Feb 2007
    • 120
    • western Chicago burb
    • Craftsman 21829

    workbench surface overhang

    I am going to build my first workbench. I currently have a Skil portable with insufficient mass that moves and wobbles. I have minimal space and plan to make it with a top of only 3.5' or possibly 4' long. All the bench designs I have seen have the top overhanging the base on each end. I plan to have dog holes and use holdfasts so I can't imagine the need to clamp something to the overhang. I will have a vice on one side and a tail vise. Leaving enough space for the holdfasts, I plan to build storage underneath, which should also help increase the mass. Can you think of a reason I wouldn't want to make the base flush with all four corners of the top? Leaving an overhang on each end for a workbench that has a 3.5' long top wouldn't leave much room for storage underneath, and I am concerned that the small footprint may cause some unwanted movement.
  • leehljp
    Just me
    • Dec 2002
    • 8485
    • Tunica, MS
    • BT3000/3100

    #2
    Skil - Jigsaw? "Moves and wobbles": If Jigsaw: One thing I learned and have had several feed backs is accidentally picking up a down cut blade instead of UPcut. It will cause wobble and shaking. But I used to have a heavy Porter Cable that did that with the right blades in it.
    Last edited by leehljp; 12-06-2023, 06:53 AM.
    Hank Lee

    Experience is what you get when you don't get what you wanted!

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  • Nick Keenan
    Established Member
    • Apr 2004
    • 450
    • washington, dc, USA.

    #3
    An overhang is nice if you want to clamp something to the bench.

    Comment

    • twistsol
      Veteran Member
      • Dec 2002
      • 2931
      • Cottage Grove, MN, USA.
      • Ridgid R4512, 2x ShopSmith Mark V 520, 1951 Shopsmith 10ER

      #4
      I have two benches in my shop, one is 24x60 and has no overhang at all, but also doesn't have any dog holes. It is used mostly as a flat surface to hold crap. The second is 24 x 96 and has an 18" overhang on one end where I have a vice mounted. I also think the overhangs are there to reduce the span between the legs. With a mid sized surface as you proposed, I wouldn't bother with an overhang.

      If you are planning on storage underneath and and dog holes on top, make sure you leave a gap under your top surface to clear out sawdust otherwise you'll need to blow it out which makes a mess and if it gets packed in the holes it can be a real pain to clean out. I'd opt for t-tracks embedded in the top instead of dog holes.
      Chr's
      __________
      An ethical man knows the right thing to do.
      A moral man does it.

      Comment

      • capncarl
        Veteran Member
        • Jan 2007
        • 3581
        • Leesburg Georgia USA
        • SawStop CTS

        #5
        Dog holes require quite a thick top, much thicker than most would normally install on a small bench.
        Consider what you are planning on storing under the bench before you build. If you are going to roll a tool cabinet under the bench for tool storage it might affect the size/shape/placement of legs and cross supports.
        The size you describes a heavy duty box, maybe to build a reinforced 3/4” plywood box with a thick top with fixed shelves.

        Comment


        • jon_ramp
          jon_ramp commented
          Editing a comment
          I ordered Gramercy holdfasts a while back. The web website says they need at least a 1.75" thick benchtop. I am using an old solid core door that is exactly 1.75" thick. I plan to make the tool storage from plywood or MDF and build into the bench, which should give it added mass. I do plan to allow for room for the holdfasts.
      • Black walnut
        Administrator
        • Aug 2015
        • 5464
        • BT3K

        #6
        Just because workbenches are generally designed with overhangs should no keep you from making a different style that you believe will suit your needs and space. I have found plenty of uses for overhang on my bench/out-feed table. If it was just a large rectangular box I would not be able to "f"-clamp things to the edge. Mine does multi function duty. Way more than woodworking. It has served as a shot shell reloading bench, although that press was bolted to the top. Would be harder to do if I did not have overhang. I have used it as a butcher table to process a number of hogs. Some things had to be clamped to the edge like my sausage stuffer. If I didn't have t-slots in my sawstation to attach my dovetail jig (Porter-cable half-blind) to then I would need to clamp it to my workbench overhang. One can never really say that they do not have size limitations but seriously the size of my shop, when I set it up for woodworking, I had plenty of room for large sawstation and oversize outfeed work bench. If you are space limited you might think about just a 1" overhang. Most clamping to surface can be accommodated with that.
        Last edited by Black walnut; 12-06-2023, 11:22 PM. Reason: spelling... guess I should type before the third beer, not after. lol
        just another brick in the wall...

        Boycott McAfee. They placed an unresponsive popup on my pc.

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        • dbhost
          Slow and steady
          • Apr 2008
          • 9308
          • League City, Texas
          • Ryobi BT3100

          #7
          You would be absolutely shocked how often you end up clamping things to an overhang. PLUS you will also need an overhang to mount a bench vise, which is also a critically important shop tool. Something I use frequently.
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          Comment


          • jon_ramp
            jon_ramp commented
            Editing a comment
            I had planned to mortise the inside jaw of the vise into the bench top. That way the entire outside edge of the benchtop becomes a clamping surface of the vise. Am I missing something?
        • jon_ramp
          Established Member
          • Feb 2007
          • 120
          • western Chicago burb
          • Craftsman 21829

          #8
          Okay, some of you have convinced me to leave at least an inch or two of overhang on the ends. If I have a built-in set of drawers set low enough to allow for the holdfasts, a top made of a 1.75" solid core door cut to approx. 3.5' long by 23" wide with a base footprint of approx 3' x 23"; am I going to have enough mass/weight so that the bench isn't moving when using hand tools?
          Last edited by jon_ramp; 12-06-2023, 12:11 PM.

          Comment

          • LCHIEN
            Internet Fact Checker
            • Dec 2002
            • 21224
            • Katy, TX, USA.
            • BT3000 vintage 1999

            #9
            Originally posted by jon_ramp
            Okay, some of you have convinced me to leave at least an inch or two of overhang on the ends. If I have a built-in set of drawers set low enough to allow for the holdfasts, a top made of a 1.75" solid core door cut to approx. 3.5' long by 23" wide with a base footprint of approx 3' x 23"; am I going to have enough mass/weight so that the bench isn't moving when using hand tools?
            I would definitely agree that you want to leave at least 2" overhang so you can clamp stuff to the edge of your worktable.
            In my case I left some 3" between the tableworktop and the cabinets mounted between the legs. This allows (1) use of extra long clamps to clamp further under items farther from the edge and (2) also a handy ledge to put some sub assemblies and or tools as I am working.

            Loring in Katy, TX USA
            If your only tool is a hammer, you tend to treat all problems as if they were nails.
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            Comment

            • capncarl
              Veteran Member
              • Jan 2007
              • 3581
              • Leesburg Georgia USA
              • SawStop CTS

              #10
              What kind of wood is the door? Some solid doors are a hardboard material. I don’t know how well that will accommodate holdfasts.

              Comment

              • pagimo6889
                Forum Newbie
                • Jan 2024
                • 5

                #11
                Just make sure your design accounts for the load distribution, and you've got a sturdy build. The overhang is often there for versatility, but if you've got your workflow planned out and it fits your needs, go for it!

                Comment

                • spicano
                  Forum Newbie
                  • Jul 2023
                  • 6
                  • Suburb of Detroit, MI
                  • Craftsman 315.228110

                  #12
                  I am still making up my mind on finale overhangs (bench top is 84" x 32"). Currently, on both the ends, I have 3 1/2" that supports [1] vice, [2] retractable casters with a foot-levering activation system, [3] vertical storage for clamps, roll-paper dispenser, squares, (commonly used items), room for a blast gate [vacuum & cyclone inside bench], and electrical outlet. These end-overhangs are enough that I do not bump into all this stuff as I move around the bench. On the side-overhangs, a small vertical panel with a blast gate & electrical socket. Whatever side-space I have let over underneath I would make a set of drawers for XYZ (currently I have a different chest for all the small hardware). Most is still to be implemented, and currently using this larger overhang top, and then cut off what I do not want after using it for several months.

                  Comment

                  • capncarl
                    Veteran Member
                    • Jan 2007
                    • 3581
                    • Leesburg Georgia USA
                    • SawStop CTS

                    #13
                    A decent overhang is invaluable. If you make the workbench without an overhang , just have the thick rails that make the side of your workbench 3”+ thick, you will have to use really large clamps to fasten down your workpiece / vrs using a smaller, more easier to handle clamp.

                    Comment


                    • LCHIEN
                      LCHIEN commented
                      Editing a comment
                      yeah, you want 3 inches so you can get a clamp on it. But not a foot or 18 inches which starts to behave like a stiff, but slightly bendable diving board.
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