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Woodworking Bench

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Project by Skip Mathews posted 60 days ago 1391 views 2 times favorited 27 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I am posting this as an artistic woodworking project and hopefully it is not considered tool gloating :) This was a really big challenge for my skills as a woodworker and took me fifteen months to build. All the wood is salvaged and the two wood screws are antiques.

On a trip to Hannibal Missouri I saw a woodworking bench in an antique shop. I was impressed by the massive size and strength of the bench, and it’s age. I have needed a sturdy workbench for some time now, so I decided, after doing some research, to build a bench that would last several lifetimes.

The top is 24-inch by 96-inch and 4-inches thick, the base is 60-inches wide, the center section of the top is mortised into the end board with a 1×1-inch tenon, then the front edge is glued on and connected at the corner with a big single dovetail, the four main timbers for the top are glued with hide glue. You can see the iron glue pot in the picture showing tools

I included one picture of all the tools used to build the bench. Part of the project was researching, finding and restoring the old tools, and lots and lots of sharpening. The old plane irons are laminated tapered forged steel and hold a razor edge for a long time. Very easy to use.

This box vise was a real puzzle to build. The design I used is my own version of what I learned researching online. There are many excellent craftspeople with examples of their work online, and their generous information helped me figure out how build my bench.

The base is assemble using through tenon draw-joints with hand made pegs. The holes for the pegs are drilled so they are offset a small amount, so when you drive the peg in it draws the joint tighter. I didn’t need to use glue in the joints. I cut the mortises with a half-inch mortise chisel, and cut the tenons with a back-saw. I made the pegs by driving a split piece of wood through a hole in a metal plate.

-- Being focused on a project is the best meditation, it allows you to live in the moment"





27 comments so far

View widdle's profile

widdle

1395 posts in 1633 days


#1 posted 60 days ago

very nice work.. i would really like to incorporate your style vise into a bench

View Skip Mathews's profile

Skip Mathews

77 posts in 485 days


#2 posted 60 days ago

Widdle – Thank you for your comment! The vise was hardest part for me. I had trouble understanding it for awhile. I just kept coming back to it and made dozens of sketches trying to figure it out. The length could have been a little shorter but I based the design on the length of the old screw. I think the overall proportions are about right. It really works good.

-- Being focused on a project is the best meditation, it allows you to live in the moment"

View ToddJB's profile

ToddJB

2008 posts in 765 days


#3 posted 60 days ago

Fanstic Job, Skip. I just brought one back to life after 100 years of service, and I’m sure some lucky lad will be doing the same to yours in 2114

-- I came - I sawed - I over-built

View Skip Mathews's profile

Skip Mathews

77 posts in 485 days


#4 posted 60 days ago

ToddJB – Thank you! I looked at your bench restoration. I really like that you where so careful to preserve the original look with your repairs. The collar on the tail vise looks like it has always been there. Great job!

-- Being focused on a project is the best meditation, it allows you to live in the moment"

View ToddJB's profile

ToddJB

2008 posts in 765 days


#5 posted 60 days ago

Thanks, Sir. But I merely gave something old a little love. You created something from scratch. You should post pics over on the work bench thread.

-- I came - I sawed - I over-built

View palaswood's profile

palaswood

724 posts in 386 days


#6 posted 60 days ago

Fantastic accomplishment my good man! I had the same feeling a few weeks ago and started with douglas fir 4×4s before going with a thinner pine top, so I can make my mistakes now on a smaller workbench, and learn my lessons for a build like this one.

But you just got right down to brass tacks! What a great job! Tell me about that leg vise and that wood screw, PLEASE!

-- Joseph, Lake Forest, CA, http://instagram.com/palas_woodcraft#

View Cantputjamontoast's profile

Cantputjamontoast

341 posts in 2067 days


#7 posted 60 days ago

Very Nice!!!!

15 months that will last the rest of your life and somebody elses’ too

-- "Not skilled enough to wipe jam on toast!"

View HillbillyShooter's profile

HillbillyShooter

4510 posts in 927 days


#8 posted 59 days ago

Very nicely done—instant heirloom.

-- John C. -- "Firearms are second only to the Constitution in importance; they are the peoples' liberty's teeth." George Washington

View Skip Mathews's profile

Skip Mathews

77 posts in 485 days


#9 posted 59 days ago

Palaswood – Thank you for your comment! I think what really got me started was when I bought the leg vise and screw on ebay for about $65. The woman I bought it from said it had come from her uncles workbench at his estate sale. It came with the vertical chop and the parallel guide with the holes in it mortised and pegged to the bottom end. It also came with a wood nut for the screw. The hardest part was drilling a 21/4-inch hole through the 6×6 yellow pine leg with a brace and bit. Then I chopped a 3/4×3-inch mortise through the leg for the parallel guide. I mortised the wood nut into the back of the leg and nailed it in place with two old hand made square nails. It didn’t come with the peg for the holes in the parallel guide so I had to make that. Because of the large threads (2 threads per inch) it adjust really fast and grips super strong with very little turning pressure. It is over 100 years old and it is pretty cool to put it to work again. A very early decision was to build it with hand tools only.

-- Being focused on a project is the best meditation, it allows you to live in the moment"

View Skip Mathews's profile

Skip Mathews

77 posts in 485 days


#10 posted 59 days ago

ToddJB – Thanks again! I didn’t know about the work bench thread. I’ll check it out.

-- Being focused on a project is the best meditation, it allows you to live in the moment"

View hoss12992's profile

hoss12992

2612 posts in 527 days


#11 posted 59 days ago

This is awesome. Great job. LOVE the bench

-- The Old Rednek Workshop https://www.facebook.com/theoldrednekworkshoptn

View Sandra's profile

Sandra

4290 posts in 710 days


#12 posted 59 days ago

Fantastic bench and a great accomplishment. What you would have learned during the build is almost as precious as the bench. Looking forward to the projects to come from it.

And I agree – post it to the workbench smackdown thread.

-- No, I don't want to buy the pink hammer.

View Sandra's profile

Sandra

4290 posts in 710 days


#13 posted 59 days ago

Ooops, double post.

-- No, I don't want to buy the pink hammer.

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

13831 posts in 973 days


#14 posted 59 days ago

Awesome job. Impressed with your journey.

-- Mother Nature created it, I just assemble it. - It's not ability that we often lack, but the patience to use our ability

View lightcs1776's profile

lightcs1776

3557 posts in 289 days


#15 posted 59 days ago

Fantastic bench. You did a great job bringing it to life.

-- Chris ** If there must be trouble, let it be in my day, that my child may have peace. — Tom Paine **

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