Holtzapffel Workbench #3: Bench top and base come together forever

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Blog entry by cylis007 posted 06-28-2009 10:01 PM 2694 reads 0 times favorited 5 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 2: Base assembly complete Part 3 of Holtzapffel Workbench series no next part

It has been some time since I have updated my blog on my progress. The bench is coming along nicely. I began working on the table top and am learning a lot as I progress.

The top requires a lot of work. I don’t see myself building another bench for a long time. I am glad that I thought about what I would need before ever beginning. Since I started my bench, I have seen other’s benches on this site that look great. It has made me think about a wish list for the next bench, but that will not happen for a long time. If anything, I will just add to the bench I am building.

I took advice on here regarding gluing up the top. I checked my last “table” for flatness and found that it was bowing under the weight of half the bench top. So, I opted for gluing the top vertically with parallel clamps. I spent a weekend gluing each piece and weighting 45 minutes before gluing on a second piece. After every third piece of wood, I would leave it alone for 4 hours before adding more wood. It seemed to work well, but it is work!.

Here is the top in clamps after the last board was glued and clamped in place.

I flattened the bottom using a foreplane and jointer plane. I apparently had created a trapezoid with one of the pieces for the top. Thank goodness I added a 1/4” to the thickness of the top in case something like this happened. I then cut the four large mortises in the bottom. I caught myself before I permanently attached the base and cut the back mortises wider to accommodate for movement. Only time will tell if I did this correctly.

I attached the base to the top and flattened the top using the drawbore method. The top ended up almost exactly 3” thick. You can imagine how much work it was to take it from 3 1/4” to 3” with handplanes. Next, I will drill the holes for the bench dogs and attach the end vise. I still haven’t decided what to do about a face vise, but at least I will be able to finally use the bench.

I did finally use hardware on the bench. I used screws to attach some cleats around the inside of the stretchers on the base. I plan to add some planking for additional storage as I am working out of a two car garage that I share with my wife’s car.

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

5 comments so far

View Splinterman's profile


23074 posts in 3383 days

#1 posted 06-29-2009 02:57 PM

Coming along nicely Cylis….......well done.

View Judge's profile


32 posts in 3336 days

#2 posted 06-30-2009 03:54 AM

Good work! Bench building is a timely ordeal.

View a1Jim's profile


117114 posts in 3599 days

#3 posted 06-30-2009 04:05 AM

Almost done looks great

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View PurpLev's profile


8536 posts in 3670 days

#4 posted 06-30-2009 04:11 AM

looks great! what are you using for the end vise?

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

View cylis007's profile


56 posts in 3491 days

#5 posted 07-03-2009 12:54 AM

Thanks for the comments. Things have gotten a lot easier as I have become more experience with the hand tools and organized with the space. As for the end vise, I am using a shop fox. I had ordered this vise a while back before I decided to build this bench. I had planned to attach it to a work table as a face vise. I had to do a little work to the vise to get the quick release action to work. The flat bar was a little bent and a pin was missing that wouldn’t let me use the quick release function. It is true that you get what you pay for. When I am done with this project, I will post an “after thoughts” entry for people wanting to build this type of bench. Thanks again, everyone!

-- 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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