Workbench upgrade

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Project by oldstarter posted 05-31-2014 10:22 PM 2129 views 1 time favorited 6 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I haven’t had a new bench for over forty years and having recently taken up working with wood more seriously I decided to make myself something a little better. I’ve seen loads of fantastic benches on here but couldn’t hope to build anything as good as these as I haven’t the resources, so I set myself a challenge to build one out of any wood already in my garage starting with the old bench. the only bit of any use there was a piece of Hemlock which had the vice attached to it, it was 4” by 9” and I managed to get 3 legs out of that, the forth leg was made by laminating 2 old bits of pine together. All the stretchers were made from some redwood pine I inherited. The apron was made from a plank of old yellow pine again inherited, the sliding deadman was made from some of the hemlock and lastly the top, it was originally a kitchen work surface made of particle board about 2” thick and Laminated with a green melamine surface (nice), it then became a surface in my wife’s potting shed then a work surface in the garage and now it’s final resting place my bench worktop, I fixed the leg assemblies to the top by using connecting nuts hammered and glued into undersized holes and bolted into those . The only thing I’ve had to buy is the hardware because I wanted it to be a knockdown bench as we intend moving sometime in the next couple of years. The knock down joints I saw on the net somewhere and I liked them because you only need to use one bolt per joint.
Well it was never going to be a silk purse, but it’s the best I’ve ever had to work on, Oh! and the art deco vice jaws (lol) were made from three pieces of oak that came from some old drop leaf tables I bought some time back, I only had one long piece and the 2 shorter pieces had dowels in the end so I just went with what I had. Not many people have art deco vices.
Thanks for looking.
P.S. I’ll tidy up tomorrow.

-- Oldstarter (Dave Ashby)

6 comments so far

View Buckethead's profile


3140 posts in 1293 days

#1 posted 05-31-2014 10:34 PM

The bench is fantastic. Using what you have on hand is the truest spirit of a workbench build. Sometimes we go overboard and build with expensive materials. Could just be ego. I’m really liking your approach. It looks grist, and serves its purpose.

Well done!

-- Support woodworking hand models. Buy me a sawstop.

View oldstarter's profile


116 posts in 915 days

#2 posted 06-01-2014 07:13 AM

Thanks for your comments Bucket they’re very encouraging!
Forgot to say that the bolts showing are not the ones I used, did think I would be able to use them but wrong heads so had to buy some hex head bolts.
I did forget something else but I’ve forgotten what I forgot lol.
Ah! Just remembered, I was worried from the start about fixing the heavy vise to a particle board top. In the end I used some timber to pack out between the underside of the bench top and the top of the vice, glued and bolted this to the top then came in from the side with a bolt through the leg into the packing timber and secured through the apron as well. All is rock solid now.

-- Oldstarter (Dave Ashby)

View snowdog's profile


1158 posts in 3406 days

#3 posted 06-01-2014 11:35 AM

I don’t know what it is about benches but I love em, love looking at them and love the stories behind them. Great job (both the work and the post) thanks.

-- "so much to learn and so little time"..

View TNwoodchuck's profile


102 posts in 3199 days

#4 posted 06-01-2014 11:44 AM

Great bench! I really admire your use of materials at hand to produce something anyone would be proud of. Thanks for the inspiration.

-- Chuck near Nashville - “All you are unable to give possesses you” (Andre Gide)

View jakeprater's profile


91 posts in 1013 days

#5 posted 06-01-2014 09:03 PM

Great bench! I worked of an old particle board table for a few years and it served just fine. Your new bench looks 100 times better than my old table, and is probably more stable as well.

Keep up the awesome work!

-- All this sawdust.......wait........ what happened to my board???

View oldstarter's profile


116 posts in 915 days

#6 posted 06-01-2014 09:58 PM

Thanks for all your kind comments everyone! I’m really enjoying using it, although I find I keep dusting it lol. Using it at the moment to make my second clock as my brother gave me a couple of pieces of wood that he had glued together and as he is into turning and has made my wife and I a couple of things in the past I thought I’d better try and make something of them. Much easier to work to a plan than try two work around a couple of bits of timber, but I have managed to split them a few times and have found some hidden treasure in two one eighth veneers. Here’s a photo of what he gave me it’s Yew. Looked more like a couple of rashers of bacon then.

-- Oldstarter (Dave Ashby)

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