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Woodworking Bench

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Project by Reddial posted 06-27-2014 05:14 AM 2662 views 30 times favorited 22 comments Add to Favorites Watch

My bench is made from 8/4 german beech with purple heart accents. It is a little larger than most that I researched. It is 30”X84”. The top is 3” thick and it stands 36” (consistent with all the other benches and tool tops in the shop).

The legs and stretchers were built first to allow me to disassemble the existing workbench and use the old bench top on the new frame for constructing the very cumbersome new top. The legs are 4”X3 7/8” and the stretchers are 2”X4”. The stretchers are attached to the leg assemblies with 3/8” bolts. I chose to drill the nut holes first and relied an a shop made drilling guide with an extra long 7/16” bit to drill the bolt hole to intersect exactly in the center of the nut hole. I used standard hex nuts instead of barrel nuts and slightly bent/curved flat washers to fit into the nut holes. It worked perfectly. I also cut very short tenon and mortises to assist in assembly.

I cut the 8/4 into 3 1/8” boards to be laminated for the bench top. I ran them trough the planer on all 4 sides. Then laminated them into 3 sections approximately 9 1/2” wide. This allowed for easier handling at about 75lbs each and , more importantly they could be run through the planer on two sides before assembling final top. The slight curves of the individual pieces is totally eliminated during clamping. I was careful to coordinate grain direction to eliminate tear out on that final planing.

I used an abundance of glue and high quality clamps. I applied a very heavy wax coating to the old bench top that was being used as solid flat surface for gluing the new top. The wax worked great to release the new bench section and to very easily clean the squeeze out mess before doing the next section. Once the 3 sections are together, you’ll need help flipping and maneuvering the top that is now over 200lbs.

Next I cut and routed the bread board ends that match the front apron at 7 1/8”. This width was dictated by the Veritas vises, which use the aprons as back vise jaws. The bread board ends are attached so they ‘float’ to accommodate seasonal wood movement. They are bolted and not glued except for the dovetailed joint connecting them to the front apron.

The half Blind dovetails were made easy by laminating 1/2” of purple heart. And it added a little highlight.


The 3 aprons (none on the back) were thoroughly glued at the dovetails and laminated to the main bench top. It was installed about 1/8” proud of the top to allow final flush trim router bit to match the top. Both, the front and right end aprons must be drilled in tandem with the corresponding front vise jaws.

I used the Veritas Twin Screw for my end vise. It is a great product, but I highly suggest an abundance of planning on its placement and width to make sure you don’t conflict with the dog holes or the stretchers.


A shop built dog hole template was used to drill the dog holes. The number and spacing of dog holes are up for debate, but I decided on 3 across plus 1 on the back edge of the bench top. I spaced them at about 3 inches less than the maximum end vise jaw opening. I wouldn’t worry too much. You can always add more.

The template was predrilled to accommodate a 7/8” router bushing. It then is clamped to align where the set of holes are to be drilled. I used a 3/4” straight bit that plunged a hole about 2 ” deep. the hole is finished to the desired 3” with a 3/4” twist drill bit.

I included dog holes along the back edge of the bench top with a corresponding hole on the end of the end vises back jaw.

I followed Veritas’ suggestion to plane the front vise jaw at a slight bevel that provides contact at the very top edge of the jaws and leave a gap at the bottom. This compensates for the possible ‘sag’ when the vise is fully opened. Look closely at the picture and you will see it.

And of course in 200 years I want people to know who made it!

NOTES:
1. General Finish’s Arm-R-Seal satin—-3 coats
2. Beech is very heavy. 4+ lbs per bf. the top weighs 240lbs…total weight with empty cabinet is 640lbs.
3. Bench top is sitting on 4 1” guide dowels. It is not bolted down.

-- Darrel..."The biggest threat to 'good' is 'better'.





22 comments so far

View maplerock's profile

maplerock

427 posts in 487 days


#1 posted 06-27-2014 05:59 AM

Fantastic job. A bench to be proud of!

-- Jerry... making sawdust in the Knobs of Southern Indiana

View Ken90712's profile

Ken90712

15082 posts in 1875 days


#2 posted 06-27-2014 08:07 AM

Great looking work bench… Would love to have the room for one of these beauty’s

-- Ken, "Everyday above ground is a good day!"

View jinkyjock's profile

jinkyjock

342 posts in 261 days


#3 posted 06-27-2014 09:24 AM

Fantastic bench, love the use of contrasting woods.
Attention to detail superb,
I can just see from pics you have matched drawer and door fronts.
Cheers, Jinky (James).

View mmh's profile

mmh

3442 posts in 2409 days


#4 posted 06-27-2014 11:49 AM

Beautiful bench! I would work on this one any day!

-- "They who dream by day are cognizant of many things which escape those who dream only by night." ~ Edgar Allan Poe

View Scott Landry's profile

Scott Landry

51 posts in 156 days


#5 posted 06-27-2014 11:52 AM

Super nice bench. Looks beautiful! Good work. It would look nice in my kitchen or living room.

-- Every project is an opportunity to acquire new tools and any solution that requires buying a new tool is the correct one.

View Holdem's profile

Holdem

39 posts in 343 days


#6 posted 06-27-2014 11:56 AM

Whoa! That’s a beautiful bench!!!!!

View stefang's profile

stefang

13265 posts in 2021 days


#7 posted 06-27-2014 12:45 PM

Beautiful and well done build Darrel. Your great great grandchildren will probably be using this bench some day.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View Scott Oldre's profile

Scott Oldre

391 posts in 2118 days


#8 posted 06-27-2014 12:51 PM

Beautiful. I TOO wish I had the room for a real work bench.

-- Scott, Irmo SC

View triviasteve's profile

triviasteve

107 posts in 387 days


#9 posted 06-27-2014 01:14 PM

That is a beautiful bench! great job!

-- You know I'm on the level 'cause my bubble's in the middle.

View theoldfart's profile

theoldfart

4464 posts in 1138 days


#10 posted 06-27-2014 02:10 PM

Beautiful bench. It should serve you and your heirs for generations.

-- "Aged flatus, I heard that some one has already blown out your mortise." THE Surgeon ……………………………………. Kevin

View buck_cpa's profile

buck_cpa

63 posts in 574 days


#11 posted 06-27-2014 02:18 PM

sweet bench – how’d you get the logo on there?

View Mainiac Matt 's profile (online now)

Mainiac Matt

4147 posts in 1015 days


#12 posted 06-27-2014 02:27 PM

One of the best I’ve seen.

thanks for sharing the details

-- Pine is fine, but Oak's no joke!

View smitty22's profile

smitty22

615 posts in 1633 days


#13 posted 06-27-2014 02:41 PM

Wow! An Epic Build!!

Thanks for the extra detailed pictures and description, will help me as I build mine.
Dale

-- Smitty

View Sanding2day's profile

Sanding2day

979 posts in 533 days


#14 posted 06-27-2014 02:55 PM

Great work Darrel!! Beautiful bench which will no doubt serve you for a lifetime. Really like the concept of setting the bench top up on 1” dowels, will likely be used when I make mine. Added to favorites, thanks for sharing…

-- Dan

View neverenougftackle's profile

neverenougftackle

195 posts in 533 days


#15 posted 06-27-2014 04:39 PM

Just had to stop and say, Now that is one well made woodworking work table. Yelp that sure is !!!!

If a certain look see’r was to come in and make and ask for a price , what would this guy have to pay to the craftsman who put it all together? In order disassemble this particular one, and while smiling walk out of your shop with it.,,,,(attached here is a big yellow smiley face with cocked head and a winking eye)

showing 1 through 15 of 22 comments

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