Red's Joinery Bench

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Project by BigRedKnothead posted 26 days ago 2562 views 54 times favorited 79 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Hallelujah it’s done! It’s not like me to let a project drag on, but I’ve been working on this doozy on and off for about a year. It’s finished, and I love it.

What’s a joinery bench? Heck, I don’t know. I wanted a taller bench to work in conjunction with my roubo. I wanted a permanantly mounted Moxon/twin screw vise for dovetails. I wanted lots of storage for hand tools, hardware, and supplies. So, this is what I came up with. The driving inspiration was a bench I saw in Jim Tolpin’s shop:


Anyway, I failed to blog the build so I’ll just ramble about it now for those interested.

Part 1: El Bencho
The legs and top are made of 8/4 white oak that I source locally and very reasonably. This part didn’t take too long. I just milled and edge glue pieces for the top. The tenons on the legs were made by laminating one piece longer that the other. I then pegged all the joints with dowels.


I was content to just have another work surface in my shop and left it this way for awhile. The standing dimensions are 9 foot long and 46” tall, and 29” deep.


Then came the benchcrafted hardware for a moxon vise:



Part Deuce: The Lower Cabinets

These puppies ate up some hours. The design was to have wide hardware/whatever drawers on the right. Those would have full extension metal slides.

On the left there was to be a large power tool slide-out below, and small hand tool drawers above.
Walnut is the other hardwood I can get reasonably here. I had some rather gnarly pieces I didn’t want to use on furniture, so joinery bench drawer fronts they became.

I bought one nice sheet of oak ply for the cabinets. I scabbed the rest from my plywood cart. There’s probably 5 different types of plywood in those things. To finish them off I glued some 1/4” false frames to give them the appearance of frame and panel.


It was about this time that I began to embark on hand cut dovetails. What a great way to practice….on a bench ehh? So the drawers on the right have through DTs with false fronts. The drawers on the left have half blinds.

Oh ya, I made some drawer pulls with white oak on the router table. Soft maple for the drawer sides.



The space behind the moxon vise is used to store a shooting board and dovetail alignment jig. It also allows room for a holdfast through the top.

Once the drawers were done I revisited the top. I had some small issues with the air dried oak. The through tenons had shrunk a bit leaving gaps. I also had a few checks on the ends. So I drilled out the dowels, removed the top and fashioned some walnut wedges:

I guess I didn’t want to stop at my first dovetails, so I attempted my first butterfly inlays on the splits/checks of the benchtop. I got carried away and put several throughout the top. I just love the look of ‘em. I even put a ribbon of walnut in the front edge just for fun. Then I gave the whole thing 3 coats of satin polyurethane.

Last, I had picked up a ghastly purple leather hide on the cheap. So I’m using the suede side of that hide as liner for my hand tools. Very nice. It’s gonna take me a while to sort out where everything goes. I don’t have enough crud to fill these drawers yet….but I will.


There ya have it folks. I view it as my contribution of sorts. What a journey. As always I pushed myself and tried to become a better woodworker. I posted much of this build on various forums and I tons of good feedback, encouragement, and advice from various LJ’s. Thanks to all.

Here’s what she looks like tonight:

“I stand here in front of you today, all because of an idea, I could be who I wanted if I could only see my potential”
- Macklemore

-- Red -- "Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: What! You too? I thought I was the only one." C.S. Lewis

79 comments so far

View palaswood's profile


598 posts in 348 days

#1 posted 26 days ago

my jaw has dropped…

holy moly! I’m gonna take a few minutes and check this out, but I wannted to say WOW

What are the dimensions of this masterpiece?

-- Joseph, Lake Forest, CA,

View JADobson's profile


280 posts in 708 days

#2 posted 26 days ago

Red, your shop just looks like a beautiful place to work. This bench is the icing on the cake. Fantastic.

-- James

View lysdexic's profile


4779 posts in 1220 days

#3 posted 26 days ago

You are a god to me. May I be the father of your children?

-- It isn't the mountains ahead to climb that wear you out; it's the pebble in your shoe. - Muhammad Ali

View waho6o9's profile


4744 posts in 1174 days

#4 posted 26 days ago

I like the proportions of the dove tails on the walnut

with the wood drawer slides the best.

Another great piece of fine wood working Mr. Rojo


View BigRedKnothead's profile


4390 posts in 579 days

#5 posted 26 days ago

“You are a god to me. May I be the father of your children?”

Lawl Scotty. I’d settle for a beer if I inspired you.

Joseph- doh, It’s 9’ long and 46” high. I’ll edit that in the post.

-- Red -- "Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: What! You too? I thought I was the only one." C.S. Lewis

View bruc101's profile


555 posts in 2139 days

#6 posted 26 days ago

View Northwest29's profile


682 posts in 1087 days

#7 posted 26 days ago

That is one beautiful and nicely crafted bench. Love the wood colors. I too am jealous. Thanks for sharing.

-- Ron, Eugene, OR, "Curiosity is a terrible thing to waste."

View widdle's profile


1332 posts in 1596 days

#8 posted 26 days ago

hate it…

View john2005's profile (online now)


849 posts in 775 days

#9 posted 26 days ago

Not sure how you can stand to look at that hideous, useless pile of garbage. Because I care and only want the best for you, I will swing by to take it of your hands for proper disposal. It’s the least I can do for you….

Seriously friggen hoss!

-- In theory there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice there is.

View Rick M.'s profile

Rick M.

3775 posts in 977 days

#10 posted 26 days ago

Beautiful bench.

-- |Statistics show that 100% of people bitten by a snake were close to it.|

View ColonelTravis's profile


558 posts in 491 days

#11 posted 26 days ago

Oh gosh, sorry.

At first I thought you said that glorious looking thing was a bench.

View mmh's profile


3322 posts in 2319 days

#12 posted 26 days ago

Beautifully executed! When can you deliver it to MY woodshop???

As you can tell, we are all inn bench envy!

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

View 7Footer's profile


853 posts in 545 days

#13 posted 26 days ago

Truly inspiring Red. It’s also been really cool to see the pics along your journey of the build and to now see this finished product, absolutely incredible work, and great write up.

-- If a kid asks where rain comes from, I think a cute thing to tell him is "God is crying." And if he asks why God is crying, another cute thing to tell him is "Probably because of something you did." -

View K_B's profile


9 posts in 199 days

#14 posted 26 days ago

Awesome – must be a pleasure to have such a masterpiece in the shop :)

-- -> Kim

View CL810's profile


1909 posts in 1585 days

#15 posted 26 days ago

Great job Red! Nice to have benches built specifically around how you work. Where’s the bondo pose? Better put on a bow tie.

-- "It's amazing how much can go wrong when you think you know what you're doing."

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