Traditional Workbench #1: Design - A Sketchup model

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Blog entry by ChicoWoodnut posted 10-19-2008 03:01 AM 5034 reads 1 time favorited 9 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of Traditional Workbench series Part 2: Updated Sketchup Model »

I have been fiddling around with designing a bench. I created a Sketchup model and I am becoming pretty happy with it. I likely will not start actual work until after the new year so I’ll have a while to perfect the design. I am putting it out for review now and would like feedback from those who have built benches. I have already purchased an end vise from LN.

The End vise in the model was created using the screw component from this Shoulder Vise I got from the 3DWarehouse. I took the screw and created the end vise around it (had to add some threads). I think the Shoulder vise is the same one LN and Woodcraft sell (or a very close approximation). I think it is the one I will use for my bench.

I have not added the Dog Holes yet because I am not sure of their placement. When I solidify the end vise parts I will add them.

So my questions are.

  • I have seen other benches using similar shoulder vises. There doesn’t seem to be very much room between the screw and rods and the top of the bench. Is it advisable to lower the vise so the screw and rods don’t go through the face of the bench to increase the clamping area?
  • I am struggling with the end vise. The hardware is exactly to scale in the model. I am trying to figure out how to get dog holes in it and support them on the back where the dog hole strip meets the vise hardware.

Here are a couple of jpegs of the model. Click them for a full size image.

You can download the model Here. Feel free to use it any way you like. I’ll be putting revisions up as they become available. I welcome feedback particularly about the construction of end vise as it is the part I have the most questions about.

Thanks for looking.

-- Scott - Chico California

9 comments so far

View Topapilot's profile


172 posts in 3809 days

#1 posted 10-19-2008 03:55 AM

Nice work! Have you thought about putting cabinets underneath? Once you have this bench finished, the nightstands will be much easier to complete… Just kidding! I started a night stand a month ago and the leg blanks are still sitting on the bench.

View ChicoWoodnut's profile


904 posts in 3784 days

#2 posted 10-19-2008 03:58 AM


The nightstands are just about done. All the ebony plugs are in. I ordered some brown mahogany aniline dye today (can’t source it anywhere around here) and I cut up boards for the tops. Work and golf have been keeping me busy lately.

Cabinets are in my head too. They shouldn’t be too hard to add. I’ll probably need to move the stretchers though.

-- Scott - Chico California

View TheCaver's profile


288 posts in 3808 days

#3 posted 10-19-2008 04:46 AM

I use the same shoulder vise (German made). I’ll have to download the model, but that must be a thick top based on the low position of the vise. I mounted the screw and rods through holes cut into the top face. My top is 1.75” thick birch and the hardware mounts right to the underside of hte top, which I think is ideal considering how much stress this part endures, plus, you don’t want the vise flexing away from the top. IE, mount the vise as close as possible to the top.


-- Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known. -Carl Sagan

View Joe Lyddon's profile

Joe Lyddon

10056 posts in 4021 days

#4 posted 10-19-2008 05:15 AM

Hi Scott,

Looks like a traditional-type design, etc. ... a good one…

I really like this one… very flexible, etc. Have you seen it?
I thought that was really Super Unique…

Christopher Schwarz, of Pop WW’g has a few good designs on his blog as well…,category,Workbenches.aspx

I like the features where you can clamp things to the Side of the bench where it hits support all the way to the floor

Bob Lang has a good one too…,guid,c5a4e166-31e0-4cd2-8ee6-aba9e8a480d8.aspx

Your Sketchup plan looks nice… Loks like you’re getting to know that program pretty good!
I like it (SKP), but it seems like I always end up chasing my tail!
I’m getting better… I have to always take a LONG rest after a pure frustrating experience BEFORE studying more and getting back into it! :) :)

Thank you for keeping us uptodate.

-- Have Fun! Joe Lyddon - Alta Loma, CA USA - Home: ... My Small Gallery:"

View Bob #2's profile

Bob #2

3809 posts in 3990 days

#5 posted 10-19-2008 01:46 PM

Nice job with Sketchup.
It really forces you to think your way through your construction details.

Scaling an exact fit for components is a nice feature as well.


-- A mind, like a home, is furnished by its owner

View SPalm's profile


5318 posts in 3851 days

#6 posted 10-19-2008 06:43 PM

Looking good. So many decisions.

I like the trestle style of base. It lets you work on the top as a separate piece. And lets you flip the top over when working on the bottom.

I think you should continue the front fascia board all the way to the left. This way you don’t have the endgrain of the left endcap to worry about. It should make a smoother fitting vise as the wood shrinks and grows.

But what do I know?

-- -- I'm no rocket surgeon

View Eric's profile


875 posts in 3753 days

#7 posted 10-20-2008 04:12 AM

Looks great, Scott! I haven’t built a bench yet so don’t have any real constructive criticism here, but I look forward to seeing how yours develops!

-- Eric at

View Rob Drown's profile

Rob Drown

787 posts in 3802 days

#8 posted 10-22-2008 01:31 AM

I’m building a similar bench only left-handed. I’m panning on using a Veritas twin screw for the face vice and a large std vice (not quick acting) for the end vice.

The twin screw will allow over 20” between the screws. The large std metal wood workers vice will be a sturdy clamper and work backward to take things apart.

The top is 2 7/8 by 30 by 96 western maple.

desing is basically a left handed version of

-- The expectations of life depend upon diligence; the mechanic that would perfect his work must first sharpen his tools. Confucius, 经过艰苦的努力的梦想可以成真

View Rob Drown's profile

Rob Drown

787 posts in 3802 days

#9 posted 10-23-2008 11:04 PM

Why did you choose the LN end vise?

-- The expectations of life depend upon diligence; the mechanic that would perfect his work must first sharpen his tools. Confucius, 经过艰苦的努力的梦想可以成真

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