It has been a while since I have been able to contribute much to Lumberjocks as life has been very hectic over the past few months. Anyway I have just embarked on my next project…building my own bench finally! I have been tossing ideas around for more then a year now. I have seen several examples of beautiful benches from many of you (Gary Sharp, Damian, John Ormsby and several others). I think I have read Lon Schleining’s The Workbench three times cover to cover and have changed my mind on what type of bench I wanted to build no less then 10 times. Finally, I have managed to come up with a design that I am happy with and that I think will give me a great foundation to build future projects on. A few considerations I had to deal with for my bench:
Size Limitation: 30”x60”x 34 3/4” High. Space is limited in my shop. The bench also needs to double as my outfeed table for my Table Saw so that dictates the hgt of the bench. I will have to route out miter slots for my cross cut sled. Not being very tall this hgt works out perfectly for me.
Storage: Being a organized person I need to have storage under my bench. This is where I will store all of my hand tools. keeping them within arms reach. I plan is to utilize a different drawer construction techniques for each of the 4 drawers. The central storage itself will act as the cross bracing for the bench. I will add future storage to the outside of the slab legs as needed. I can easily add this by attaching to the slab leg a french cleat and hanging the unit.
Budget and Aesthetics: I wanted something that was unique and would serve as an example of the type of work I do both in quality and in the style. I wanted to blend both modern and traditional elements. Budget dictated a few details on this bench. I decided to buy the laminated maple top for two reasons. The cost of the raw material exceeded what I paid for the top and once you factor in the time to mill, glue, and flatten the top it was a no brainer. I will be putting a 4” solid maple apron around the top which I will mill and dovetail myself. The legs were another place where I decided to save a lot of money. They will be a laminated slab construction consisting of 5 layers of 3/4’ particle board that will be skinned in Maple veneer. The front edge will be solid maple so that I am able to drill for bench dog holes up the side. These legs will definitely have the mass required to keep the bench in place. Anyway here is the design. The second picture show the future storage I will build at a later date. The form is very reminiscent of my winebar when the outboard storage is added. This will definately be the focal point of my shop. I plan to blog the process.