Work Bench "blogject"

  • Advertise with us
Blog entry by Daren Nelson posted 05-01-2008 01:01 AM 3981 reads 4 times favorited 21 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I have not really been woodworking all that long. I have actually owned a sawmill longer than I have been making any finished wood projects, long story. I have debated making a proper bench for some time. My old/first bench was a row of kitchen cabinets I took out on a remodel I did as a contractor with a solid plank on top. Everyone has different needs, I tried to design mine to fit the work I do. If I need to I can easily make modifications, as is I am calling it “done for now”.

I started with 1”x3” white oak I laminated (glued/screwed/plugged) for 3” square base/legs.

I tied them together with a couple shelves. I wanted open shelves to not collect so much dust.

I picked out some 1/4 sawn hackberry 2” thick for the top.

Jointed it and put an ash skirt around it.

Then it was time to add some dog holes. I had some ideas for things that would help me. I like the idea of a bench hook…but it seemed like I would always be bumping into it. So I made one that was movable/removable. 2 actually, one goes in the dog holes on the vice. I made a little adjustable board jack to hold up the middle, seems to work pretty good and its a handy place to keep my extra dogs that I turned from osage.

A closer look at the movable/removable hooks.

I have some lighting issues in my little shop. I took a piece of 1X ash and just turned one end to fit in any dog hole. I can clamp a light (or 2) to the pole for task lighting.

It should work for me. $15 vice (new) from a guy I know, a double handful of screws, some glue and wood other people were going to burn (urban logger, all this wood was headed for the landfill)

21 comments so far

View teenagewoodworker's profile


2727 posts in 3766 days

#1 posted 05-01-2008 01:17 AM

wow great job. that looks like a nice and sturdy bench that will be serving you for years to come. great job.

View Russel's profile


2199 posts in 3937 days

#2 posted 05-01-2008 01:23 AM

Nice bench. Even more, I love the look of the Hack Berry top. I’ve never heard of Hack Berry before, but what you’ve got there is gorgeous.

-- Working at Woodworking

View Dorje's profile


1763 posts in 3995 days

#3 posted 05-01-2008 01:27 AM

That looks like a good way to do it! What’s the height on it?

I like your “blogject” format!

-- Dorje (pronounced "door-jay"), Seattle, WA

View Ad Marketing Guy - Bill's profile

Ad Marketing Guy - Bill

314 posts in 3796 days

#4 posted 05-01-2008 01:30 AM

GREAT bench, with a wonderful choice of woods. I like what you did creating your own MT joints-
You also posted an excellent step by step guide. Thanks for posting- good luck with the bench.

-- Bill - - Ad-Marketing Guy, Ramsey NJ

View Daren Nelson's profile

Daren Nelson

767 posts in 3904 days

#5 posted 05-01-2008 02:02 AM

Dorje, it is 34” (30” wide X 72” long). I am 6’3” and for hand planing I can put more down pressure. But at that height I can still pull a chair up next to it and work on small stuff.

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27250 posts in 3820 days

#6 posted 05-01-2008 02:25 AM


You have built a gorgeous bench. The top is beautiful. I have never seen hackberry that large before. Here if they get around 12 to 18 inches in diameter that is an old tree.

Well done. You should get years of service from this bench.

Thanks for the post.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View GaryK's profile


10262 posts in 3986 days

#7 posted 05-01-2008 02:50 AM

Great looking bench! Also some great accessories!

-- Gary - Never pass up the opportunity to make a mistake look like you planned it that way - Tyler, TX

View Douglas Bordner's profile

Douglas Bordner

4024 posts in 4062 days

#8 posted 05-01-2008 03:04 AM

That’s a beaut, Daren. I’ll wager no one on Planet Earth has one like that with a Hackberry top. Smart move on the fashioned mortises too.

My bench was on of the first things I made when I resumed woodworking as an adult and bugle-headed screws were the height of fine woodworking for me at the time. Someday I hope to make a bench as nice as yours.

-- "Bordnerizing" perfectly good lumber for over a decade.

View jcees's profile


1058 posts in 3797 days

#9 posted 05-01-2008 03:25 AM

Fan-damn-tastic bench. Or should I say, that’s bencherific, baby! Great execution, gives me ideas for mods to mine. Thanks for the pics.


-- When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world. -- John Muir

View Dadoo's profile


1789 posts in 3989 days

#10 posted 05-01-2008 08:55 AM

Wow that’s real sharp looking. Love the attachments as well. Great project Daren!

-- Bob Vila would be so proud of you!

View John Gray's profile

John Gray

2370 posts in 3884 days

#11 posted 05-01-2008 05:11 PM

Beautiful job!!! I favourited it.

-- Only the Shadow knows....................

View SteveKorz's profile


2134 posts in 3712 days

#12 posted 05-02-2008 01:59 AM

Daren, I’m always impressed. That’s a fine lookin’ bench, man!! I really like your choice of woods, very nice.

-- As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another. (Proverbs 27:17) †

View OldSteve's profile


1 post in 3674 days

#13 posted 05-03-2008 03:35 AM

That is a sensational bench. I especially like the movable bench hook! I gotta make me one—maybe two: one right-handed and one left-handed.


View Karson's profile


35120 posts in 4399 days

#14 posted 05-04-2008 06:08 PM

Daren: I expected a great looking bench. I see you picture with those nice big boards and I figured you had some wood stashed away. The hackberry wood is great looking. Is it very dense and hard?

Nice looking, Great job.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Southern Delaware soon moving to Virginia †

View Daren Nelson's profile

Daren Nelson

767 posts in 3904 days

#15 posted 05-04-2008 07:35 PM

” I figured you had some wood stashed away.” I have a small stash I guess you could say Karson.

”The hackberry wood is great looking. Is it very dense and hard?” There is some method to my madness here. It is medium density/hardness hardwood. I know you know wood from reading some of your posts, so from the little picture I’m sure you can see that bright yellow stack of osage. In the picture there is also black locust, honeylocust, hard maple, ash, just to name a few…all of those for example are harder than hackberry. It was a choice on my part to make the base out of a good hard wood (white oak) and the top something a little softer than those other species I rattled off. Dings/dents/scratches/spills… are inevitable I reckoned with a card scraper I could fix them pretty quick on hackberry. Same years from now too when I may have to do some resurfacing/flattening, the hackberry should be easy to do that to. So the short answer, no it is not the hardest wood I could have built it from, but I did it for some reasons be they right or wrong. (and one I did not mention, even though hackberry is pretty it has a low market value here at my sawmill…so yea, I am cheap too. But that was down the list a ways on why I used it)

showing 1 through 15 of 21 comments

Have your say...

You must be signed in to post the comments.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics