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Blog entry by knotfree posted 10-25-2010 12:33 AM 8705 reads 5 times favorited 16 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I decided to build a better workbench that would be more conducive to the way work. I like to make furniture and cabinets and needed something that would handle clamping case goods, cabinet doors, assembled drawers and all the other assemblies that go into my work. I did a LOT of research on workbench design, read all the books, perused the many websites and eventually decided on a design. The workbench is the Holtzapffel design from Chris Shwarz’ book, with some minor modifications to suit my personal requirements. Here are some photos of the build:

Beginning top lamination, 3” white ash

Adding one strip at a time to the top.

Laminating more strips, vertical clamps keep edges aligned.

Adding more strips to get to the final width.

Added the benchdog strips on each side.

Another view of the dog strips.

Leveling the top with hand planes. My buddy Paul bought over his number 8 and we got cracking, working our way down to my number 4.

Making the front vise, using 1.5 inch maple screws I cut with Beall threader.

I cut the vice chop down to size,added bolsters and handles, and planed the chop even with the benchtop. The chop is 3” thick.

I put 25” between the screws, so I can get case good sides in the vise for dovetailing.

The wooden screws work great! I used beeswax to lubricate them.

Dogs in action with end vise.

End view. It weighs a ton!

Putting it to good use.

-- Pete

16 comments so far

View John's Woodshop's profile

John's Woodshop

347 posts in 3107 days

#1 posted 10-25-2010 12:35 AM

Very Nice Bench! Excellent Work!

-- John -- Racine, WI -- Woodworking..."It's not just a Hobby, it's an Adventure"

View a1Jim's profile


113833 posts in 2668 days

#2 posted 10-25-2010 12:37 AM

Wow that’s a full blow winner.great bench.

-- Custom furniture

View canadianchips's profile


2137 posts in 2088 days

#3 posted 10-25-2010 12:50 AM

That is going to be a handy dandy workbench. Very Nice Job !

-- "My mission in life - make everyone smile !"

View Splinterman's profile


23059 posts in 2452 days

#4 posted 10-25-2010 01:05 AM

Hey Pete,
That is one sweet bench….great design and finish…good job.

View jcontract's profile


84 posts in 2178 days

#5 posted 10-25-2010 01:38 AM

Pete. Nice. I’m halfway through my Holtzapffel. What did you use for the end vise? And do you think you’ll line the vise in leather? A friend of mine did and it works like a charm. Just a thought..

View jim1953's profile


2711 posts in 2933 days

#6 posted 10-25-2010 01:51 AM

Great Lookin Bench Must Be Heavy

-- Jim, Kentucky

View Eric_S's profile


1538 posts in 2286 days

#7 posted 10-25-2010 02:00 AM

Very nice bench. I like your homemade vice.

-- - Eric Indianapolis, IN

View knotfree's profile


13 posts in 3370 days

#8 posted 10-25-2010 02:05 AM


I used a Jorgensen Quick release, 10” Face, 12” Opening, for the end vise and added the chop to the front jaw. The rear jaw is recessed under the end cap. I have been thinking about a leather lining for the vise to protect the work pieces. It’s tough to find leather here in jersey, but I think Tandy sells on line. I will update this blog as I make progress.

-- Pete

View JamieH's profile


52 posts in 1890 days

#9 posted 10-25-2010 03:17 AM

Wow, that is awesome. Very nice work. It will be a pleasure to use!

View JL7's profile


8127 posts in 2056 days

#10 posted 10-25-2010 05:28 AM

That is very impressive – nice work!

-- Jeff - I have not failed. I've just found 10,002 ways that won't work.

View Neil Rokos's profile

Neil Rokos

6 posts in 1864 days

#11 posted 10-25-2010 05:44 AM

Nice Bench

A saddle maker would have some nice heavy leather and it can be attached with contact cement.

View Abbott's profile


2570 posts in 2394 days

#12 posted 10-25-2010 05:48 AM


-- Ohh mann...pancakes and boobies...I'll bet that's what Heaven is like! ♣ ♣ ♣ ♣

View Jamie Speirs's profile

Jamie Speirs

4166 posts in 1947 days

#13 posted 10-25-2010 08:54 AM

Great bench.
It will be great for loads of projects and several generations projects as well.

-- Who is the happiest of men? He who values the merits of others, and in their pleasure takes joy, even as though 'twere his own. --Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

View jcontract's profile


84 posts in 2178 days

#14 posted 10-25-2010 01:46 PM

ok. You’re gonna laugh. I’m in NJ as well. My friend had the same issue, so he wound up buying leather weight belts. You know the ones …. that the muscle heads wear? He bought then off e-bay for only a few bucks each. Only issue might be thickness. Just a thought.

View brianl's profile


108 posts in 2172 days

#15 posted 10-25-2010 02:37 PM

Really nice work so far! It’s going to be an awesome bench once you get done.

-- Brian - Belmont, Massachusetts

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