Harbor Freight wood work bench with drawers

Construction and repair of Classical Guitar and related instruments
Marshall Dixon
Posts: 548
Joined: Fri May 15, 2015 5:06 pm
Location: SW Oregon

Re: Harbor Freight wood work bench with drawers

Post by Marshall Dixon » Sun Dec 31, 2017 5:35 am

Gordon Guttmann wrote:
Sat Dec 30, 2017 3:36 am
Consider that you will use this bench for years to come. I feel that obtaining the finest bench will make your hobby an even more point of pride in your work. I'm sure you've purchased many needless items at a fraction of the cost of a great bench. I have a special edition Ulmia bench with a large veneer drawer and top quality shoulder and tail vices. It weighs about 400 lbs. As you use a fine bench, you will begin to understand it and it's capabilities. With nice dogs you can join tops or backs and many other uses will evolve. My thinking is, don't go cheap because you will get cheap. It's very comforting to have a bench that does not move. Sometimes on Youtube I see someone planing wood and the bench is shaking and rolling, it gives me a laugh.
I couldn't agree more with what you've said here. Your bench is the primary tool that everything works with. Years ago I was cutting dovetails on a flimsey Black and Decker Workmate which needed to be held down when doing just about anything. After the near amputation of my thumb healed up enough, I built a heavy bench with used lumber. I gave it away though when I moved 3000 miles.

The late Tage Frid, who wrote for Fine Woodworking magazine, published plans for a Scandinavian style workbench in one of the issues. I used that as a basis for my present bench, and using 2X4's glued up as a butcher block made it 2 feet wide by 6 feet long. The weight is still marginal. I clamp it at a right angle to an 2 by 11 foot bench that my dad made.
SteveL123 wrote:
Sat Dec 30, 2017 4:38 pm
From Youtube reviews, I've learned the HF bench is not all solid wood. The top is not full 2" thick but 5/8" thick with 2" sides. There's also some particle boards used here and there. Is there a good cover material to apply over the particle boards (keep moisture out) to prolong its life?
You are not going to like this "feature." Every time you go to clamp something to this bench it will be a hassle. Don't buy this bench. This is not a serious workbench.

With a tight budget I'd look at buying a sheet of 4' by 8' subflooring, which is 1 1/4' thick, and a good piece of 3/4" plywood for the outside surfaces. My local building supply will cut these in half lengthwise. Laminate them and you have a 4" thick bench 8 feet long. Cut to desired length. You could put some solid wood for molding around the edges. Use selected 4X4's and make trellis legs. Mortise and tendon joinery with the top pieces bolted to the top from underneath. Connect one to the other near the floor and with diagonal brace accross the back. You can add drawers or a shelf or two between the legs. Add a vise later if you feel the need. You WILL need help moving it.
benches.jpg
The bench in the back is the one my dad made. The top for the one in the foreground I made with $10 worth of good second hand 2X4's. Local contractors may have an idea of how to get some good used stuff. People resell it. Notice the vise I have mounted on a 2X10 hanging on the wall. I have two 5/8" threaded inserts mounted in one bench and the vise can be bolted down easily or clamped anywhere.
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Keith
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Location: Land of Daniel Boone

Re: Harbor Freight wood work bench with drawers

Post by Keith » Mon Jan 01, 2018 11:37 am

Always a problem for the part-time craftsperson--how much to invest in something that is used for hobbies and not a livelihood. I think the bench would be good for a part-time hobbyist as long as it attached to floor (L brackets) or, if that is not possible, then anchored down with weights or moved to a corner when you plane wood. A layer of stiff foam (e.g., ethafoam) with prevent the bench from denting the wall.
be true to the one you love but have many flings with different guitars

guitarras en la espiritu de la:
Marcelo Barbero
Jose Ramirez III

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Michael.N.
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Location: UK

Re: Harbor Freight wood work bench with drawers

Post by Michael.N. » Mon Jan 01, 2018 12:00 pm

I don't see why it isn't good enough for pro use. If it's a bit wobbly then screw a plywood back to it.
Historicalguitars.

Marshall Dixon
Posts: 548
Joined: Fri May 15, 2015 5:06 pm
Location: SW Oregon

Re: Harbor Freight wood work bench with drawers

Post by Marshall Dixon » Mon Jan 01, 2018 9:39 pm

Michael.N. wrote:
Mon Jan 01, 2018 12:00 pm
I don't see why it isn't good enough for pro use. If it's a bit wobbly then screw a plywood back to it.
I'm sure you're right. The plywood attached to the back will be necessary. Maybe adding weight and attaching it to the wall, and bolting to the floor, too. But once you start down that path, you can invest more than you would if you did it all yourself.

I’m sure there are plenty of pros out there that make guitars on benches made of MDF. I learned from one. If you have a planer and a drum sander it works out a lot better. But I consider the bench as a foundation for the tools we work with. I do a lot of hand planing and make other things besides guitars. The bench I made is attached to a base that was a hospital gurney (I got it free!) rated to hold 600 pounds. It has a hydraulic lift that goes from 20” to 40” in height. It probably weighs 200 pounds. It is still a little wobbly and needs stabilization.

I went to a luthier convention and listened to a pro talk about spray finishing. He recommended the Harbor Freight finishing spray gun because it cost only $20, so when it stopped functioning you could just throw it away and buy another one. I took that advice and bought one. The spray pattern was uneven (which I didn’t realize) and I just couldn’t get it to work. I took it to a neighbor who was a pro auto body finisher who looked at the brand and said “I can make this work because I’m a pro, but you’ll have trouble with it.” He discovered that the needle valve was slightly bent and pulled off to the side (which side changed every time you cleaned and reassembled the gun) and fixed it for me. This was after I had applied and removed $45 worth of lacquer, plus the frustration and time involved. I bought a good gun and now enjoy spraying a finish.

And I’ll reiterate; when homes are remodeled or buildings torn down the first step is demolition and there is a market for this lumber. I’ve even been offered lumber in exchange for it’s removal.
SteveL123 wrote:
Fri Dec 29, 2017 7:34 pm
A plank or door on temp legs works for a "bench" to put things on but not much good for planing or chisel work, which requires a heavy bench or something bolted down to the floor. Is a 105 lb bench enough weight not bolted down? Looks like with the 20% off coupon, I should be able to get it for $100 + tax.

"Don't go out and buy tools based on what you think you might need or based on what specialist stores suggest you should get. "

I agree! I like to make my own tools when feasible / practical.
Image
bench1.jpg

Compared to making a guitar, making a workbench is a walk in the park. You can do it.
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