First Workbench #3: The Base

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Blog entry by NicholasS posted 11-21-2012 08:30 PM 6181 reads 1 time favorited 6 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 2: Finishing the top Part 3 of First Workbench series Part 4: Mortising the top, adding holding accessories, and final glue up »

I built the base out of pine 2×4s. I glued up three boards for the legs. I used a longer board in the middle to create a tenon which saved a lot of time by not having to cut the tenons out by hand.

Next, I chopped out the mortises in the legs for the stretchers using a chisel.

Then I cut the tenons on the stretchers. I used a small backsaw to cut down the cheeks and split the waste out down to the cheeks with a chisel. The process went much faster by chopping out the waste rather than sawing it out.

I then dry fit all the pieces together and, while some of the joints are a little loose, I think it turned out pretty good for the first mortise and tenons I’ve ever done.

6 comments so far

View PurpLev's profile


8536 posts in 3671 days

#1 posted 11-21-2012 09:58 PM

a great start!

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View Dave's profile


11429 posts in 2862 days

#2 posted 11-24-2012 11:26 PM

I love it. Whats next?

-- Superdav "No matter where you go - there you are."

View NicholasS's profile


23 posts in 2377 days

#3 posted 11-25-2012 02:48 AM

Now I am building the Shaker clock from Paul Sellers’ online Masterclasses (

View Mosquito's profile


9350 posts in 2315 days

#4 posted 11-25-2012 02:51 AM

I see you made your tenons similarly to how I’m making mine… the easy way :-)

Looking good so far, keep at it.

-- Mos - Twin Cities, MN - -

View MarkSr's profile


215 posts in 2073 days

#5 posted 11-25-2012 06:58 AM

Hi me again, been following your project, looks good. Just a quick question, and I am asking this for my own bench which I have not started yet, (still working on buildting the shop) but fighting to decide on a final design for my bench. I have noticed you centered your long streachers, instead of keeping the edges flush with the legs. Is there a reason that you centered them? I have found no real answers that explained why the differences, (except if you were working on full doors, or so). I am not criticizing, but I am asking if there was anything that made you decide to center the streachers?

And on the other hand I would ask anyone else is there a reason they decided to bring the streachers out flush with the legs.

Still learning a lot and a lot to learn. Should have used that for my signature sign off. Maybe I will right now.

-- Mark, ”...NEWBEE: On the road to learning a lot; but; a lot more to learn…” ("My Granddad used to tell me, if you didn't learn something new today, it just wasn't worth getting out of bed")

View NicholasS's profile


23 posts in 2377 days

#6 posted 11-25-2012 07:41 PM

I actually never thought about making the stretchers flush with the legs. Most of the benches I have seen in books have the stretchers centered, so thats what I did. I can’t think of many advantages of doing it that way and as long as your legs are flush with the front of your bench top I think that’s all you would really need to be able to hold long boards or even a door. Maybe other people who are more experienced would have a better response to your question, I am quite new to woodworking.

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