Bench Top

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Blog entry by HappyHowie posted 01-03-2016 03:56 AM 675 reads 0 times favorited 2 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I have been giving some thought to replacing the bench top on my small workbench. I have been formulating the lumber I will use. i will continue to use construction grade Douglas Fir, but I will not use 2 by 4s like I did when I built it from a Woodsmith plan. I deviated from the plan by making the benchtop longer and placing a vise on the front left side.

Instead of 2 by 4s I will use either 2 by 8s or 2 by 10s and rip them to about 3 inches or as wide as I can get them after milling them flat, square and straight.

The actual dimensions of 2 by 8s and 2 by 10s are 1 1/2” by 7 1/2” and 1 1/2” by 9 1/2’ respectively. After splitting and milling this lumber four square, flat and straight I believe I could maximize their finish sizes to about 1 1/4” wide by 3 1/4” tall. i would make the top a bit longer.

I also want to have the front of the bench-top so it is flush to the front legs of the workbench. I have to give this feature some thought.

My bench-top before I sanded and planed it flat.

My bench-top after sanding it.

I intend not to drill any dog holes. Instead I will make bench-hooks. One I already have that I use for 45 and 90 degree cuts and shooting with a plane. I like Tommy Mac’s large bench hook that he uses for hand planing hardwoods. I will give a link where he shows it, if I can find that video.

This is Tommy's video on the workbench he built in Season 3. Towards the end of the video he shows his benchhook.

I also like the small bench hooks that were demonstrated by Roy Underhill while at Lie-Nielsen’s Toolworks.

-- --- Happy Howie

2 comments so far

View Andre's profile


993 posts in 1230 days

#1 posted 01-03-2016 04:18 AM

Sure makes my plywood hooks look like crap! Another new project?

-- Lifting one end of the plank.

View HappyHowie's profile


275 posts in 1369 days

#2 posted 01-03-2016 05:41 PM

I have been planning a new bench-top out in my head. When I do start it I will dedicate all my efforts to it so I can finish it quickly. I have some more furniture projects promised. I want to get right back to building furniture. So once I completed this blanket chest I may start the new bench-top build. I have gone far enough to estimate the material costs. That means I have a good idea how much lumber I will need for the workbench’s bench-top.

I have promised to build a new study desk to my granddaughter Torrence. She wants this study desk for her bedroom. She is a sophomore in high school this school calendar year. Hopefully, she will want to go on to college. She could put this desk in her dorm room.

I gave “Torr-the-Tornado” some plans to choose from. Of course, she picked the most complicated plan to build. That does not bother me. It will be a good learning experience. That fulfills one of the reasons I am building many different furniture projects: to gain experience.

Torr also picked one of the most expensive hardwoods for the desk, but it will make it beautiful. I am the money man, the deep pockets. The family understands that this grandpa will fund the first build. What they don’t know is I probably would also fund the second or third build too. So what hardwood does she want? Yeah! Walnut. Good furniture grade American black walnut here is about $14.00 a board foot, 4/4 rough sawn. The legs will require 8/4 or maybe 6/4. I will deviate from the plan I presented to her by tapering the two inside edges of the legs instead of spindle turning the legs. My lathe is not large enough for turning long legs.

One design feature I will incorporate into the case or box build is the use of sliding dovetails to hold the case together firmly. I want this build like the others to last many generations in the family. There will be some drawers in this desk. I will make its runners and such all from hardwood. No metal drawer slides on this project. That will also be a much needed learning experience for me.

Since the desk will be made from a dark hardwood, it would probably be the best use of the amber Shellac I have and failed brushing onto my blanket chest project. I will need some scrap walnut to practice on, first.

I am looking forward to working in my woodshop during 2016…

-- --- Happy Howie

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