Workbench Build #2: Glue up

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Blog entry by SPalm posted 05-27-2008 04:28 AM 3086 reads 4 times favorited 15 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 1: Stock prep and Completed Towers Part 2 of Workbench Build series Part 3: Vises Installed »

I found some more time to work on the bench. I glued up the base stretchers. I used the draw pin mortise technique where the dowel pin holes through the mortises were slightly forward of the holes through the mortises. When I tapped the dowels through, they pulled the stretchers tight against the posts. One of the nicest things about this is no clamps while the glue is drying.

I was working alone on the top, so I was unable to do the “glue up three and send a batch through the planer technique”. I just kept gluing one 4×4 to the next, waiting a half hour, and continuing. The only way to smooth it at the end was with a hand plane. It went way better than expected, probably because the plane arrived pre-sharpened.

I was just playing around with the face boards and clicked a pic. That is maple for the front and walnut for the end cap. I believe they will be trimmed to about 5 inches in width.

Making a mess using a router for the tongue for the end cap. Clamped a straight edge and routed from the top, flipped it over and repeated for the bottom side.

The new top after some clean up.

Take care,

-- -- I'm no rocket surgeon

15 comments so far

View dalec's profile


613 posts in 2976 days

#1 posted 05-27-2008 04:34 AM

A very sturdy and attractive work bench.

How did you attach the top to the cross piece at the two ends of the table?


View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27251 posts in 2909 days

#2 posted 05-27-2008 04:39 AM

This is one hefty looking bench. But it is looking pretty good so far.

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

View Woodhacker's profile


1139 posts in 2811 days

#3 posted 05-27-2008 05:03 AM

You’re making good progress Steve. I had to go back and look at Part 1.

It looks great. Seeing all these great benches on this site makes me want to try one.

-- Martin, Kansas

View mikeH's profile


98 posts in 3379 days

#4 posted 05-27-2008 05:06 AM

Beautiful top, i really like the wood. so planning the top was not to hard to do, i am planning on making one some day and leveling the top was one of my concerns

-- mjhaines

View Karson's profile


34994 posts in 3488 days

#5 posted 05-27-2008 05:18 AM

Good looking Steve. It starting to look like a bench now.

-- 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 Betsy's profile


3140 posts in 2983 days

#6 posted 05-27-2008 05:20 AM

Looks great Steve. I’m interested to know the offset on the draw bore. On a small project I’m working on I’m using a 1/16th” but something this large, what would you use?

-- Like a bad penny, I keep coming back!

View Todd A. Clippinger's profile

Todd A. Clippinger

8810 posts in 3187 days

#7 posted 05-27-2008 05:45 AM

I gotta say that is a nice looking bench you’re building!

-- Todd A. Clippinger, Montana,

View bobdurnell's profile


306 posts in 2984 days

#8 posted 05-27-2008 07:09 AM

Nice bench, I couldn’t help noticing but is your top vertical grain douglas fir? If so, I used it once on my bench. Was a lovely top, come to think of it my bench base is vg douglas fir also. Made it when I was 14 years old to young to drive so my mother drove me to the lumber yard and I picked out the wood I wanted. Got the wood home and my dad was furious about the choice of lumber. He was a wholesale softwood salesman and he knew the cost of vg douglas fir. I guess I knew good wood when I saw it. Can’t wait to see the end cap completed.

-- bobdurnell, Santa Ana California.

View Beginningwoodworker's profile


13347 posts in 2760 days

#9 posted 05-27-2008 12:50 PM

very nice looking bench Steve.

View SPalm's profile


5185 posts in 2969 days

#10 posted 05-27-2008 12:58 PM

Thanks people. This thing is a bit more work than I anticipated. I thought I would just bang it together. I guess the size of it has me a bit intimidated.

I plan to lag bolt the top to the base, so I can remove it later if needed. It is just sitting on it right now.

It was fun to plane, but anytime you have that much vertical grain, it makes it a lot easier.

I used 1/8 inch offset for the draw pins. They were a bit of tapping to get them in. Also the softwood compresses a lot more than a hardwood would. (Woodchuck would?)

It is Douglas Fir bought at Home Depot. Straight, pretty, and cheap (but really soft and it does splinter a bit).


-- -- I'm no rocket surgeon

View TomK 's profile


504 posts in 2962 days

#11 posted 05-27-2008 02:29 PM

Looking very attractive and solid, Steve. I used draw-bored tenons on my base too. Pounding them in was a rewarding feeling, like something from another era.

-- If you think healthcare is expensive now, wait until it's free! PJ O'Rourke

View jcees's profile


987 posts in 2886 days

#12 posted 05-27-2008 06:51 PM

Great progress, bravo!


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

View GaryK's profile


10262 posts in 3076 days

#13 posted 05-27-2008 10:55 PM

Great looking job so far! The is going to be one beefy bench.

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

View MichaelW's profile


30 posts in 2835 days

#14 posted 05-29-2008 07:11 AM

Looks great Steve, I am considering this same type of joinery for my stretchers out of Doug Fir, I was thinking 1/32 for the dimension to pull the joint together, but it sound like from your experience you are suggesting 1/8 worked pretty well with this wood?

-- Michael, Seattle, WA

View SPalm's profile


5185 posts in 2969 days

#15 posted 05-29-2008 02:16 PM

Hey Michael, it worked for me. It is pretty soft wood. I would suggest doing a prototype or two. I used a drill press to do all the holes, but even then they tended to wander a bit, with some splintering and all. I don’t know if I could hold that kind of tolerance with this wood. I am hoping that DF will be OK for the top, I have crushed it a couple of times with clamps. But what the heck, it’s a workbench, and maybe it is better to have a softer top so it will absorb the dings rather than a future work piece. Just go for it.

-- -- I'm no rocket surgeon

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