Harbor Freight wood work bench with drawers

Construction and repair of Classical Guitar and related instruments
SteveL123
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Harbor Freight wood work bench with drawers

Post by SteveL123 » Fri Dec 29, 2017 5:34 pm

I bought a classical guitar kit around 30 years ago which has sat untouched so the wood is well seasoned. I am thinking of starting on it and would need to acquire woodworking tools many of which I already have. One item lacking is a suitable workbench. Harbor Freight tools has a 3 day sale in January where I can get this 60" x 20" hardwood workbench item 69054 for $125.

It weighs 105 lbs. Here's the users manual https://manuals.harborfreight.com/manua ... /69054.pdf

What's do you think of it as a work bench to build a classical guitar as a hobbyist? Suitable or a waste of money?

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Steve Ganz
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Re: Harbor Freight wood work bench with drawers

Post by Steve Ganz » Fri Dec 29, 2017 5:50 pm

It's pretty good. I keep one in my kitchen for finishing guitars and doing quick inspections. I can't comment on the clamp because I haven't attached it. The drawers work well enough. I moved it from my car to the house without help and assembled it quickly.
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simonm
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Re: Harbor Freight wood work bench with drawers

Post by simonm » Fri Dec 29, 2017 6:54 pm

The bench looks OK. I have a similar "cheapey" but it has a two vises instead of one and the drawer layout is different.

If you have the space plenty of work surface space is always good. This can be as simply as a wide board/panel of some kind on temporary legs. Or you can put a "sacrificial" board of some kind on top of a regular table. A zyliss vice attached to a stable table/surface of some kind is a perfectly workable solution if you can get the Zyliss reasonably cheap.

I currently have a cheap bench (I will check the link later and see if it looks similar) and too cheap old flat doors on Ikea adjustable height legs as additional work surface. A luxury compared to my previous set-up. A zyliss clamp effectively gives me a bench vise on one of the the "doors".


p.s. regarding tools. 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. If you do that you will have a lot of expensive tools that you will rarely or never use. Buy just the tools you need when you need them.

SteveL123
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Re: Harbor Freight wood work bench with drawers

Post by SteveL123 » 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.

simonm
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Re: Harbor Freight wood work bench with drawers

Post by simonm » Fri Dec 29, 2017 7:41 pm

Agreed. I have often planed stuff sitting on a bench (i.e. wooden bench in the sense of a seat) planing away from my body or sometimes with one knee holding it it place. :-) Another option with light weight stuff is to push it against a wall.

The only trouble with big heavy kit is that you need a forklift to move it and a floor that can take the weight of the forklift. :-)

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Gordon Guttmann
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Re: Harbor Freight wood work bench with drawers

Post by Gordon Guttmann » 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.

montana
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Re: Harbor Freight wood work bench with drawers

Post by montana » Sat Dec 30, 2017 7:12 am

Pretty good bench. Don't know where you live . ...saw an amazing bench on casters at costco . Thought about my luthier when I saw it

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Re: Harbor Freight wood work bench with drawers

Post by HNLim » Sat Dec 30, 2017 7:28 am

Very nice!

Pat Foster
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Re: Harbor Freight wood work bench with drawers

Post by Pat Foster » Sat Dec 30, 2017 3:21 pm

I've seen that bench at Harbor Freight, and it seems like a good deal for the money. Not a great bench, but inexpensive and useable, and probably sufficient if you're only going to build a kit on it. I'd want something more substantial for using planes on, though a builder friend of mine has several of these in his shop. His secret was to bolt them to the wall for stability.

If you think you'll end up building guitars from scratch (bet you can't build just one!), building your own bench could be the way to go. My first one was from 2 x 4s for the legs and top, with a 3/4" plywood work surface, bolted to the wall. It cost me about $80. That served me well for 10 years, until I built a "real" bench with drawers and a maple top, which I love working on.

Good luck and have fun!

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Michael.N.
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Re: Harbor Freight wood work bench with drawers

Post by Michael.N. » Sat Dec 30, 2017 3:39 pm

It should be fine. If you find it a bit wobbly then screwing a thin plywood back on to it will help enormously with the stability.
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SteveL123
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Re: Harbor Freight wood work bench with drawers

Post by SteveL123 » Sat Dec 30, 2017 4:37 pm

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.
Hi Gordon, I see your point and love to have the finest bench available but they come at a cost of between $1500 to $3000. I am not willing to spend that much at this time. $100 for the HF bench will have to do for now. It will be much better than what I currently have as a "bench" which is a cheap old shaky Formica top dining room table made of particle boards, with 4 wobbly metal legs.

SteveL123
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Re: Harbor Freight wood work bench with drawers

Post by SteveL123 » 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?

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Re: Harbor Freight wood work bench with drawers

Post by Pat Foster » Sat Dec 30, 2017 5:53 pm

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?
I don't think you have anything to worry about with moisture damage. If you get enough water on it to damage the particle board while building a guitars, you're doing something wrong. : ) Its lifespan is more likely to be affected by the joints in the frame, like legs and braces, and the drawers. Michael.N.'s suggestion, as well as bolting it to a wall would help there. You just don't want it to wobble, which will eventually make the joints loose.

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Re: Harbor Freight wood work bench with drawers

Post by doug » Sat Dec 30, 2017 7:26 pm

A year or so ago, I bought a pretty nice workbench from Grizzly. It's got a solid 2" thick birch top, a shelf about a third of the way up the legs (...which also acts as a brace), two drawers and a vice on one end. It's sturdy and was easy to assemble.....the box that it came in was very heavy! It was a little more expensive than the one you're talking about at HF, but I think it's probably better built. I've bought a few tools from Grizzly, and they're OK. ...not professional quality, but pretty good. I think their CEO even builds guitars as a hobby.
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montana
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Re: Harbor Freight wood work bench with drawers

Post by montana » Sat Dec 30, 2017 11:16 pm

Easy enough to utube bench building.

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