Holtzapffel Workbench #1: Just beginnings

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Blog entry by cylis007 posted 01-24-2009 06:40 PM 2432 reads 0 times favorited 12 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of Holtzapffel Workbench series Part 2: Base assembly complete »

I am just getting started in this hobby and have learned a lot from people who have posted their experiences and projects online. In return, I wanted to document my first project which is the Holtzapffel bench. Unfortunately, I started working on the bench before I found the lumberjocks website and did not photo some of the construction in the beginning. I plan to document the project a little more closely. I will also try to point out things that I learn along the way to help new woodworkers save time when building this bench.

It is taking me some time to build this bench because I have had to buy the tools as needed. I am also learning skills and have been practicing before applying them to the bench. I opted to go with the southern yellow pine. I bought the lumber from a big box store close to my house. I had to adjust the dimensions a little since the lumber was already processed. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

This is the face vise chop glued and clamped.

This is the face vise chop glued and clamped up. I can’t believe how heavy this thing is once it was out of the clamps!

Here are the tenons on top of the legs that I cut by hand. I have since tuned up a Rockwell table saw that I will use to cut tenons in the future. I have to admit that I wanted to build this workbench completely by hand, but I did use the table saw to rip the boards. Everything else is hand sawn and planed.

These mortises are courtesy of a mortising chisel that I received as a Christmas gift from my wife. Thank goodness for an understanding wife. Just as long as I leave room for her to park in the garage!

This is the glued up chop for the end vise and a better pictures of the legs. You can see the side stretchers next to the legs. I have since cut the tenons on them and the longs stretchers. More pictures will follow.

-- A life of leisure and a life of laziness are two things. There will be sleeping enough in the grave. ~Benjamin Franklin

12 comments so far

View John Gray's profile

John Gray

2370 posts in 3879 days

#1 posted 01-24-2009 07:36 PM

Nice start!!! Please keep us informed?

-- Only the Shadow knows....................

View TimberMan's profile


113 posts in 3458 days

#2 posted 01-24-2009 08:04 PM

Look’n good. I’ll keep an eye open for your next update.

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27250 posts in 3816 days

#3 posted 01-24-2009 08:11 PM

Construction posts like this are nice to follow. It gives a lot more information than simply looking at a finished project. I will be interested in seeing the next installment.

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

View grovemadman's profile


556 posts in 3766 days

#4 posted 01-24-2009 08:31 PM

It looks like the start of a solid workbench!!

-- --Chuck

View SPalm's profile


5320 posts in 3876 days

#5 posted 01-24-2009 08:53 PM

Sweet, I love bench blogs. Looks like you are off to a fine start.


-- -- I'm no rocket surgeon

View tinnman65's profile


1357 posts in 3408 days

#6 posted 01-24-2009 11:06 PM

Great start, for a first project its a smart choice. Without a good bench you’ll struggle with the next project.Trust me it was a hard lesson for me to learn, I put it off way to long. I look froward to seeing more

-- Paul--- Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep. — Scott Adams

View John in SD's profile

John in SD

140 posts in 3807 days

#7 posted 01-24-2009 11:12 PM

It looks like you are doing a great job…....keep it up

-- Life used to be soooo much simpler!!!!

View motthunter's profile


2141 posts in 3793 days

#8 posted 01-24-2009 11:50 PM

great start.. please keep us posted.

-- making sawdust....

View BarryW's profile


1015 posts in 3900 days

#9 posted 01-25-2009 12:01 AM

I’m following your progress, too…I need to do the same thing soon…

-- /\/\/\ BarryW /\/\/\ Stay so busy you don't have time to die.

View UVA's profile


16 posts in 3403 days

#10 posted 01-25-2009 02:14 AM

I finished the Holtzapel work bench three weeks ago. Mine has a 3” x 24” x 96” hard maple top. It’s a beauty. It’s really heavy and a joy to work on. I made it so the base can be disassembled. I used the Veritas twin screw vise for the face vise and added the sliding dead man from the Roubo bench design. I finished the top with three coats of the bees wax/turpentine/boiled linseed oil mix which provides lots of protection from glue spills and stains. Draw boring the tenons is a nice touch to make the base very solid. Good luck with the bench. It is well worth the time to build it.

View TimberMan's profile


113 posts in 3458 days

#11 posted 01-25-2009 03:17 AM

UVA – If you have some time to post it as a project I would like to see what you built.

View cylis007's profile


56 posts in 3463 days

#12 posted 01-25-2009 06:30 AM

UVA – Your bench sounds really impressive. I would like to see it as well. Also, thanks for the idea regarding finish. I do plan on draw boring all of the joints.

-- A life of leisure and a life of laziness are two things. There will be sleeping enough in the grave. ~Benjamin Franklin

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