Author Topic: Hybrid Woodworking and Workbenches  (Read 4406 times)

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Offline Dan Clark

  • Posts: 545
    • talkFestool
Hybrid Woodworking and Workbenches
« on: January 27, 2015, 11:50 PM »
Are you a "Hybrid Woodworker"?   What kind of workbench do you use in your workshop?  I.e. when you're NOT working onsite

Some background...

For the past few months, I've been pondering what to do about my "workshop" and "workbenches" (note quotes).   My workshop is small (about six feet in front of our parked cars), and my workbenches are a worktable against the garage wall and my MFT/2.  I know I need something different, but what?   

Since I'm retiring in a few months, I will be replacing all of the doors and molding in my house, building furniture and cabinets, and maybe some other projects.   All within the constraints of the available space.

Then there is the question of tools - power or hand? I've never felt comfortable being pigeon-holed.  I use whatever tool works best.   Why pull out the TS55 for a short cut when it's easier and faster to whip out a Japanese pull saw?  Why use a table saw to cut plywood when a TS55 is faster, easier, more accurate, and safer?   So...

I think my category is "Hybrid Woodworking".  That's what Marc Spagnuolo ("The Wood Whisperer") calls it.   He wrote a book with the "Hybrid Woodworking" that covers his viewpoints on blending the use of power and hand tools.  Interestingly, Festool power tools prominently appear in the pics along with big iron (table saws, band saws, planers, etc) on one end and hand tools (planes, chisels, scrapers, etc.) on the other end.   

What category do you fall in?  Do you blend Festools, big iron, and lots of hand tools in your workshop?  Lean towards one category?  Are you a hybrid wood worker?

What workbench/worktable do you use to best leverage your "hybrid woodworking" in your workshop?   We know that the MFT is extremely good onsite and is a flexible tool (yes, it's a tool) in the shop.  OTOH, it's not that great for heavy hand tool work.   A nice heavy Roubo workbench is great for heavy hand tool work, but it doesn't seem to leverage power tools as well, especially Festools.   

There are a lot of "super-MFTs" out there.  I've seen a bunch of them.  What's not obvious is how they are used.  That's what I'm trying to figure out.   Do folks use them as a somewhat better MFT?  What is out there that would better fit hybrid woodworking?   With the exception of portability, what would give you all the benefits of an MFT with some of the benefits of a heavier traditional workbench?   

What do you think?



Offline #Tee

  • Posts: 786
Re: Hybrid Woodworking and Workbenches
« Reply #1 on: January 28, 2015, 12:50 AM »
subd, i want to see what everyone is using as well. i dont think im a woodworker and more of a diyer. i own a few festool which made my life alot simpler and neater. by trade im a benz tech and IT support but my hobbies are collecting useful tools i can get my hands on to be productive on home maintenance and diy projects. I have a background in tig welding and automotive paint refinishing so my next project maybe involving a metal table for welding and a concrete table as a station for my drill press and grinder  [tongue]. hopefully others can post what theyre using and for what application. [smile]
When youre feeling depressed just treat yourself to a systainer even if its a mini systainer its ok.

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Offline Reiska

  • Posts: 1160
  • Hackers build things, Crackers break them.
Re: Hybrid Woodworking and Workbenches
« Reply #2 on: January 28, 2015, 08:35 AM »
I'm planning on building some kind of variation of the joiners bench that Shannon Rogers has a video on at the Reneisance Woodworker for my hybrid handtool needs.

Its basically a small higher bench with a Benchcrafted Moxon vice on the front made sturdily to stay put when doing light planing operations and be at a good height for the more intricate chisel & sawing work that I end up doing after the machinery tasks have been completed on my MFT.

At least that's the theory.

Got my Moxon hardware in a cardboard box in the library and just waiting for the spring to be able to build something again. 
The sky's the limit in my workshop, literally. [big grin]

Offline Tinker

  • Posts: 3626
Re: Hybrid Woodworking and Workbenches
« Reply #3 on: January 28, 2015, 09:37 AM »
Before I retired from mason biz, my bench was anything that held the wood high enough off the ground that the saw blade did not hit ground.  My best bench in those days was a couple of saw horses and a plank or two. 

When i moved inside and startd making things not related to masonry construction, i had a RAS and circular saw.  Still used horses and plank for anything that required elevation and stability.

From there, I acquired a couple of Workmates.  Those were very stable and even usable for outside work.  I was still doing some projects with sheet metal (I had done a lot of my own flashing if not to big and i had time) Those WorkMates were great for wood work, even heavy hand planing.  I used them as a sheetmeatla break when I needed to crimp a fold.  I like the WM as a sheet metal break better than the hand tools i used for the same purpose.

finally retired the RAS when I bought a table saw.  Still had not setup a shop with enough space for a large bench, so rigged up an extension on the side of my table saw that extended out a bout 2 feet beyond the saw tables it could be used as a very narrow and stable workbench for light hand work.  It was stable enough for light planing and sanding, but not for heavy planing.  I could probably have made it stabe hough for heavy hand planing, but i was afraid of breaking the edge of the cast iron top.

I found the New Fangled Work Bench in Fine Woodworking and built that.  I shortened it down to 6 feet in length and that was one solid and handy workbench.  I could do a lot of damage to any sized piece of wood i could get down into my shop. 

AND, then, a short time later, I saw this funny looking swiss cheese style workbench with a strange looking circular saw with a skate board under it >>> I looked that over and here I am a regular reader of the FOG.  My wallet is a whole lot lighter but i have found a whole new world of woodworking projects that I can now build without having to design new methods hat can only be used one and then a new jig type bench for the next project.

I am still searching for JUST THE RIGHT BENCH, but even tho i have some great ideas from searching the FOG as well as youtube, but not quite there.

Ooops!  Gotta go plow another driveway. 
Wayne H. Tinker

Offline rvieceli

  • Posts: 784
Re: Hybrid Woodworking and Workbenches
« Reply #4 on: January 31, 2015, 09:42 AM »
I don't know if you have seen this but Allan Little over at askwoodman has a build sequence on his youtube channel of a Roubo style bench. Here's a link to the intro video that has a demo of the finished bench.

It's heavy duty and doesn't take up a bunch of space and seems very versatile.

Offline Tinker

  • Posts: 3626
Re: Hybrid Woodworking and Workbenches
« Reply #5 on: January 31, 2015, 12:03 PM »
I have watched all 3400 of that demo.  He does a great job.
I like the bench as an idea, but don't think it would workout for me.
It should be one very solid bench and for some work about as stable as any.
for me, I like something with a little more top working area.
Wayne H. Tinker

Offline charley1968

  • Posts: 491
Re: Hybrid Woodworking and Workbenches
« Reply #6 on: January 31, 2015, 12:46 PM »
I'd say 90% handheld powertools and 10% handtools does describe my tool-use well.
I use handtools mainly with bigger dimensions of lumber.
Thus i've no real 'need' of a super-stable workbench, the MFT suits me fine and rarely leaves something to be desired.
« Last Edit: January 31, 2015, 12:53 PM by charley1968 »
Just for today..

Offline tjskinny

  • Posts: 73
Re: Hybrid Woodworking and Workbenches
« Reply #7 on: January 31, 2015, 01:17 PM »
I consider myself a "Hybrid wood worker / DYI'er" and I use the MFT.  My workshop is small, 10 feet  X 12 feet and recently just added another 5 feet X 9 feet bump out.  Prior to the bump out  I have had to cut any sheet or long boards outside so being able to move the MFT has worked out very well, but as you mentioned when it comes to hand planing the MFT could do better.  I've had thoughts of attaching to the wall as others have done on the forum, but if you don't plan to move the bench I think something like this would be ideal.

It was discussed in this thread;

Just modify the size to fit your space, but the idea of festool work flow and bench sturdiness really appeal to me.
« Last Edit: January 31, 2015, 01:22 PM by tjskinny »

Offline PA floor guy

  • Posts: 290
Re: Hybrid Woodworking and Workbenches
« Reply #8 on: January 31, 2015, 01:37 PM »
I think mark spagnoulo says it best.  The perfect craftsman can use any tool.  I am obsesessed with owning and using every festool tool, however, I 1000% love using hand tools.  There is something about using hand tools that keeps me interested in woodworking.   I talk often over at sawmill creek, there is a section there called neatherthal haven.  It's all hand tools.  Those guys will not use a power tool, I'm space in between the 2 worlds.  I love grabbing a router plane to clean up a dado, grabbing a razor sharp chisel to make that previous cut just perfect. 
   As far as workbenches.  I made my own, a roubo style, with my own festool flare hrown into it.  I have 4 benches, including an mft which I really enjoy using off site.  So basically my thoughts are that, while I love using festool tools, I equally like the old school methods, I believe the perfect craftsman can make gold from crap.