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John White's New Fangled Workbench

sunrisejack's picture

Dear New Fangled Workbench builders,

I wrote in about this about a year ago.  The problem i have with the NFW is that workpieces ride up when clamped in the well of this bench.  I am using the half inch pipe and pony clamps per the plan I received.  Apparently there are two plan versions of this bench, the other using a 3/4 inch pipe.  I have tried a few solutions, including those suggested by others having the same problem.  Change to 3/4 inch pipe despite original plan of John White's;  dont tighten the workpiece as much; adjust the maple vice pieces; pull up on the pipes; redo the pipe holes to take out any slack etc.   

I still have the 1/2 inch pipes.   It appears to me that the problem is primarily related to the pony clamps.  mine have about a 3/4 inch reach.  The Pony clamp pushes the maple piece up against the workpiece.  This causes the workpiece to ride up.  So I am thinking that the problem may finally be solved if someone can specifically describe the reach of the Pony clamp being used on the 1/2 inch pipe.  If only a 3/4 inch pipe Pony clam works I will switch to that. 

I wish someone at Fine Woodworking would ask John White the answer to this.  The plans were rated for beginners, but i have had a few carpenters at Fine Woodworking address this already and they have problems too.  Thank you.  Jack








swenson's picture

Did you ever try capturing (post #169855, reply #1 of 14)

Did you ever try capturing the clamp heads between slightly protruding screw heads in the wooden jaws as shown in the front vise?  That seems to work.  The worst problem comes from trying to clamp very thin pieces high up near the tops of the wooden jaws.

mike.mckinney's picture

I built one many years ago (post #169855, reply #2 of 14)

I built one many years ago with 3/4" pipe clamps for no other reason than I simply liked the crank handle better than the T-handle. As for the ride up are talking about the tail stock or the side clamps? I might have couple of thoughts to counter the natural spreading action of the clamp.

swenson's picture

I think he is talking about (post #169855, reply #3 of 14)

I think he is talking about the tail clamps across the well.  It's a common problem with this bench.  I also used 3/4 pipe clamps and use this bench every day.

mike.mckinney's picture

Yeah I thought is a (post #169855, reply #4 of 14)

Yeah I thought is a common problems with pipe clamps in general...after all Jorgensen has to design this to the broadest scope of pipe. So, combating the problem; means counteracting the issue. I like simplicity and I use common a run-of-the-mill shim when I encounter this problem. On my bench I also use the plastic clamp pads. Because the clamps are sand cast I like the pads simply keep from marring the wood but they also act as a non-skid pad. One last benefit to the pads then I'll stop. Since we are using the clamps in a dymanic situation (cutting, planing, etc) they protect my tools. I still tear up over the plane iron I had to replace after nicking the top of unprotected clamp area. OUCH! Steel on steel I still get the finger nails on chalk board goose bumbs thinking about it.

sunrisejack's picture

new fangled workbench (post #169855, reply #13 of 14)

Hi Mike,


I'm not sure if my last post went out.   To answer your question I am talking about the tail vice.  When I tighten the Pony vice the face rides up a little.  in turn it pushes up the maple jaw, which pushes up the work piece.   I gave up on this bench and want to see if there is anything else to try.


Thanks,  Jack

JohnPCarsten's picture

Pony Clamps (post #169855, reply #5 of 14)

Sunrise Jack-

Pony makes a 3/4" long reach pipe clamp that has ears that are about 6" long and can reach just about wherever you need. They are available in just about any online tool supplier- albeit at a higher price than the standard 3/4" pipe clamps.


This should solve your problem.

pwtj's picture

Fix for Pipe Clamps riding up (post #169855, reply #6 of 14)

I realize this post is a couple months old, but I just built this workbench and had the same problem with the clamps. Specifically, the tail vise clamps came out of 90 degrees when under pressure, causing the piece to ride up.  The reason for this, I think, is two-fold: 1) the piece being clamped is above the clamp threads and not in line with them, and 2) the ring-guide that rides along the pipe just below the clamp face has a much larger diameter than the pipe, which allows the clamp to angle as pressure is exerted.

I was able to fix the problem as follows, and still use 1/2 inch pipe: 1) pull the clamps almost all the way up to the right end support. This way the right end support stops the ring-guide from angling the piece up;  the support actually pushes the guide the other direction and puts downward pressure on the clamp face.  2) This will only work if you put pins and washers into the other end of the pipes to keep the pipe from moving under pressure. The pins and washers are exactly as is described for the face clamps.

This fix took about 5 minutes and solved the problem for me!


sunrisejack's picture

new fangled work bench (post #169855, reply #14 of 14)

Dear pwtj:

Thank you for your response.  I've taken a long break from this problem.  It sounds like you understand exactly the problem I am talking about.  However, could you explain what you mean by "1) pull the clamps almost all the way up to the right end support."  What clamps are you referring to?  What is the "right end support"?   "2) This will only work if you put pins and washers into the other end of the pipes to keep the pipe from moving under pressure..."    When you say "other end of the pipes", where exactly do you mean?   The pins and washers idea sounds very good.  I just need help with the location.


Thank you.  Your ideas sound like THE solution.  Just a little more help for a beginner please.



maztec's picture

NFWB - I Bars? (post #169855, reply #7 of 14)

What would be the problem with replacing the pipe clamps and bars with I Bar clamps and bars?  Wouldn't this reduce the rideup some?  I'm building my NFWB now, and looking at this problem am thinking of how to solve it.  One option for the long bars would be to replace them with I Bars, which theoretically would reduce the slippage.  I cannot see a reason, other than cost, not to do it.  And cost is a bit moot, as there is a local hardware store with a sale on the I Bars with Clamps which puts them at $2 more than buying pipes and clamps.  I am doing a 6' bench, and the bars are of that length.



swenson's picture

Check the height of the jaws, (post #169855, reply #8 of 14)

Check the height of the jaws, they might not fit under the center pannels.

maztec's picture

These are the same (post #169855, reply #9 of 14)

These are the same type:

But I see what you are saying, I think.  However, I thought the jaws always poked just a bit over the pannels anyway?  That was what allowed them to clamp on?   The MDF panel is 3/4" thick, so as long as I drill the slot for the I-Bar at the right point, so that it is at 3/4" all the way across, I should be fine for laying the MDF panels on?  Or are you saying you can turn the current pipe around, so it drops below the surface, and you wouldn't be able to do that with an I Bar?

swenson's picture

You are right. (post #169855, reply #10 of 14)

You are right, I wasn't thinking.  I have a second set of jaws stashed at the far end of the bench.  They are turned sideways and when I have something extra long to clamp I turn them up and the others down.  That way I don't have to move the clamps up the pipe to the far end.  I have captured the wood jaw on the crank side and glued sandpaper on the other jaw and find that it takes very little jaw pressure to keep a workpiece clamped.  It's the pressure that makes the two jaws buckle in the middle.  It seems to me that your idea of changing to bar clamps could work very well.  I'm not sure how the side clamps would fit or if you would use pipe clamps across and under the bar clamps for the front vise set up.

maztec's picture

No, you were thinking, just (post #169855, reply #11 of 14)

No, you were thinking, just you have a slightly different setup - which I like the idea of.  Good idea to glue on sandpaper.

I would think the side clamps would fit in better, as the I-Bar is not as large as the pipes (I think).  I would still use pipe clamps for the front vise, while using bar clamps for the end vise.  I don't see an advantage to using the bar clamps for the front vise, because (a) cutting the slot is going to be a pain, (b) the shorter lengths don't bow as much, and (c) at that length the pipe clamp is significantly cheaper than the bar clamp.

I am actually putting two sets of end vises on, as I have a nice end vise from Rockler, which will go on the opposite side and end from the bar vise, so when working on the long, flat, immutable hard surface (i.e., for banging around), I can use that vise instead of the one under the MDF panels (which I worry will bounce a bit if chiseling/etc).


sunrisejack's picture

new fangled workbench (post #169855, reply #12 of 14)

Hi,  To answer your question, I am talking about the tail vice.  The 1/2 inch Pony clamps angle up a little when tightened.  Consequently, the tail vice jaw rides up too.  Then the tail vice jaw pushes the work piece up.  The work piece is then insecure or actually pops up out of the jaws.