Workbench Build #1: First sniff of glue

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Blog entry by Mark Kornell posted 03-26-2014 04:03 AM 3178 reads 13 times favorited 11 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of Workbench Build series Part 2: More design tweaking, and some cherry sawdust »

I’ve been planning a workbench build for two years, maybe a bit longer. Started by reading everything I could, followed by some quality SketchUp time. Had a design, changed it. Tweaked it again. Threw the design out and started over. More tweaking followed. And so on…

Settled on a Roubo variant, and ordered Benchcrafted hardware. A year and a half ago.

Complete re-design once again. Did a couple tweaks to that and ordered the lumber. Should be well-acclimated to my shop by now.

Threw out the design and started over. Again. Getting pretty good at SketchUp.

And tweaked the design a couple more times. Fairly small tweaks, as far as these things go.

In typical Roubo fashion, the bench will be massive. The more mass the better. To that end, I picked the densest wood I could easily and affordably obtain for the base – Jatoba. Legs will be 5 1/2” x 5 1/2” x 29 1/2” and weigh 30 lbs each. Add in stretchers and bottom shelf and the base will weigh over 200 lbs.

The top will be a laminated slab of cherry. 4” thick by 26” deep and 7’ long. That will weigh about 200 lbs on its own. Why cherry? I got a truckload at a good price, plus it looks good.

Add in the hardware, a chop and a deadman and the bench will be over 450 lbs, maybe close to 500. I’ve got a cabinet planned for the interior space of the bench, should add another 100 lbs by the time it is loaded up with tools. Massive is good.

I had to commit to building the bench at some point, and today was as good a time as any. Still in a cast (left wrist) and still don’t have the dust collection hooked up in the new shop. So the top will have to wait a week or two. In the meantime, I can start on the legs.

Here’s the lumber for the 4 legs:

Each board is destined to become one leg, so start by cutting them into 33” lengths using my fancy miter saw station:

Getting there…

Two of the boards were just under 6” wide, but the other two were 8”. After cutting to length, I ripped them to width. Normally I keep a Freud combo blade on the saw, but this wood calls for something better suited to the task:

I’ve had it for over a year, still in its plastic wrap. I do like that Freud combo blade :-)

And quickly, there are 4 stacks of leg pieces and 1 stack of cut-offs. I’ll be keeping the cut-offs for something or other…

I still had some time, so I decided to glue up one leg. After jointing and planing, the first stack comes in at 5 3/4”.

Glue-up got a little exciting near the end when I emptied the glue jug. Had just enough to do the job. Was worried about the glue setting up before I had time to wait for it to drip from the jug.

Pretty even squeeze-out = good glue-up!

Coming out of clamps in the morning. Hoping to get 2 more done tomorrow.

-- Mark Kornell, Kornell Wood Design

11 comments so far

View BigRedKnothead's profile


8519 posts in 2031 days

#1 posted 03-26-2014 04:20 AM

Sweet. I could have used a little more planning on mine. I just jumped right in.

I’ll be watching this one for shizzle.

-- "At the end of the day, try and make it beautiful....because the world is full of ugly." Konrad Sauer

View widdle's profile


2069 posts in 3048 days

#2 posted 03-26-2014 04:26 AM

good lookin sticks right there..

View theoldfart's profile


9760 posts in 2500 days

#3 posted 03-26-2014 10:43 AM

And I thought mine was going to be heavy. Sounds like it’s going to be a real looker.

-- "With every tool obtained, there is another that is needed" DonW ( Kevin )

View CL810's profile


3801 posts in 3037 days

#4 posted 03-26-2014 12:36 PM

Nothing I enjoy more than a bench build. This one looks pretty juicy with all the right parts.

-- "The only limits to our realization of tomorrow will be our doubts of today." - FDR

View JayT's profile


5701 posts in 2260 days

#5 posted 03-26-2014 12:57 PM

That’s going to be a massive beast, Mark. Don’t mess up the other wrist trying to muscle it around.

-- In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock. Thomas Jefferson

View AnthonyReed's profile


9793 posts in 2489 days

#6 posted 03-26-2014 01:43 PM


-- ~Tony

View LJackson's profile


295 posts in 1643 days

#7 posted 03-26-2014 03:46 PM

Ah, well. Another massive amount of good wood being used to build…a bench. Sorry, I just can’t justify using beautiful wood to build workshop pieces. I went to the Home Cheapo and bought a bunch of 2×4s for my bench. 49.5 cents per board foot. If you got a better deal on the cherry, well then I take most of it back. And where did you get such a deal on the cherry?!

I’m sure it’ll look beautiful, though.

View tyvekboy's profile


1774 posts in 3062 days

#8 posted 03-26-2014 03:48 PM

I know the agony you went thru designing your workbench. I spent about a month designing the one I posted. After you finish it, youʻre probably going to need to build a tool cabinet to compliment it.

-- Tyvekboy -- Marietta, GA ………….. one can never be too organized

View BTimmons's profile


2303 posts in 2534 days

#9 posted 03-26-2014 05:42 PM

Very cool. Another beautiful bench to look forward to seeing. If it’s anything like the planes you made that you posted in this thread, (And why aren’t those separate projects on your profile? They’re beautiful and you should show them off!) I’m sure it’ll be a looker.

-- Brian Timmons -

View Mark Kornell's profile

Mark Kornell

1169 posts in 2580 days

#10 posted 03-27-2014 03:51 AM

Brian, thank you for reminding me. I had that on the to-do list and somehow it kept getting pushed down in priority until I forgot. :-)

Jay – I’m not planning on moving it once it is in place. My kids will have to figure out what to do with it in 40 years when they put me in a home.

LJackson – you can’t justify it; I can. It is a good point for discussion, though, and I’m going to pose it in the Workbench Smackdown thread (

-- Mark Kornell, Kornell Wood Design

View john2005's profile


1768 posts in 2227 days

#11 posted 03-29-2014 04:10 AM

Gonna look sweet. I’m along for the ride.

-- In theory there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice there is.

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