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When I first built my old sawbench about 2 years ago I thought it was great. But, like many things, after using it for a while I found it to be a little lacking its versatility . So, it is now time for me to build a better sawbench that will meet my work requirements. Before I jump into discussing the new bench let me tell you the issues that I have with the older more classically designed sawbench. It is true that if you look in almost any old book that discusses sawbenches you will find the bench to the left. It is everywhere. So why don't we see changes? I have no idea.
Here are some of the problems that I have come across while using this style sawbench. First, when crosscutting larger stuff, like 10" or greater, it is difficult to balance the wood on such a narrow surface. Though this could be remedied very easily by making the top larger it would only fix one issue. Second, it is next to impossible to rip a board that is 2"-8" in width in one continuous cut, specially if you rip along the side of the bench. One problem is the saw hits the legs that splay out, second the board is to difficult to hold along the edge of the bench because the cut line needs to be outside of the legs so your saw will not hti them, or you have to rip half way through turn the board around and start on the other end to rip through. This isn't such a big deal on larger boards when using two sawbenches, but on more normal stock that is only 1'-4' in length, the use of two sawbenches is not very productive either. Third, because of the splayed legs I cannot put the bench lengthwise against my workbench for supporting work at the bench. Not to mention you can't use a holdfast on this bench and it would also be nice to clamp pieces vertically for some work.
So what am I looking for. Well, I want a bench that I can rip just about any size material on small or large with more than adequate support, either along the edge for large stock or through the middle for smaller stock. Have the ability to place it square up against my bench in any direction. Use holdfasts on the front as well as on the top surface area. And it needs to be bomb proof construction that will last for years. I don't want to have to repair or replace this thing for at least the rest of my life.
So what is my solution to all of these issues and what meets my current requirements?
The split top sawbench
Now, I will be the first to tell you that I didn't come up with this idea, nor do I know who first made one of these, I have seen several pop up over the past couple years and they all look the same. The one thing that I do know is that this bench addresses every issue that I have had with my current bench and I can't wait to get started on building this one. I will go into greater detail on the building of this bench in upcoming posts and on my YouTube and iTunes video podcasts.
If you look to the right you will see that I have spent a little time on Google SketchUp to get the dimensions correct and the look the way I want it. I am making the SketchUp file downloadable for anyone who want to play with it, but it is very basic and could easily be build just off the photos that I have provided. If you don't have SketchUp or haven't used it you can download it for free here Google SketchUp free Download. For my SketchUp model of the sawbench you can get it below by clicking on the file. But, I warn you, it isn't really that detailed, I just use SketchUp for dimensions not for detailed joinery.
This new sawbench will be the next project that I will be doing for my YouTube and iTunes podcasts, so stay tuned. If you are thinking of building one, let me know. If you don't subscribe to either of my YouTube or iTunes podcasts and you would like to, you can find the links at the top of this page. If you have any comments or questions please don't hesitate to ask. Thanks for visiting the site.
"Now get in the shop and have some fun."