|Project by tpmwoodworker||posted 04-14-2015 05:33 AM||4099 views||13 times favorited||11 comments|
I started woodworking about six months ago. And this workbench was my first major project. I’ve learned a lot from the countless, skilled and experienced craftsmen who are in this forum. I’m just a beginner. And I made a lot of mistakes, which I learned from in the course of building this woodworking bench. But I’m proud of how it turned out. I’ve been using it for a couple months and by that measure it’s been a big success.
The design is fairly straightforward. The base is construction grade Doug Fir, 2×4s and 4×4s and the joinery is a simple but incredibly strong system of steel rod trestles that hold the whole thing together. (The entire base is not actually “attached” together in any way. No glue, epoxy, nails or screws. Just the tension of the trestles.) The top is Doug Fir 2×4s I laminated together. Then I edged the sides with 3/4 ’’ Walnut, in part for aesthetics but mainly to provide a harder edge surface to resist chipping.
I took Chris Schwarz’s advice not to start off with a bunch of vises and dozens of dog holes on the initial build. Keep it simple and add stuff later if you have a specific use. With that in mind the Vise is a Rockler face vise with maple used as the jaws and then two columns of dog holes adjacent to the vise.
The design isn’t mine. It’s got an interesting evolution from a few different prominent woodworkers. As near as I can tell the design originates with Sam Allen in his book Making Workbenches. The plan was then simplified by Asa Christiana. His plans are here. But the version of the plan I worked most closely from was posted by an anonymous woodworker on the instructables.com website. It’s here. He worked from Christiana’s plan but revised it in a few ways. And I really give this guy credit because his plan and guide to building is extremely detailed. I learned a huge amount from following and reading through his detailed account of how he did his build.
I stuck to the plan pretty religiously while making the base. But then I started to go off a bit in my own direction when it got to the top. I stayed pretty true to the basic design – the dimensions are largely the same. But I didn’t like the idea of using MDF for the top and I couldn’t find a laminated hardwood table top that I was satisfied with. So I ended up laminating my own. You can see there’s also a storage area below the top for tools and other accessories. That board is presentation quality birch plywood.
If I were started the project from scratch I think I would make the top by laminating together hard maple 2×4, more durable, more elegant – cost notwithstanding. I bought what was supposed to be presentation quality Doug Fir for the top. But they actually had a lot more imperfections than I realized (should have examined them more closely when they were delivering them). And that meant a lot more work and touch ups when I was planing the top down. Still, I learned a lot. So all good in the end.
I think I will eventually install an end vise and also add more dog holes. But so far the face vise and this set up has covered all my needs.
Thanks for your reading and I appreciate your comments and feedback.
-- Newcomer to Woodworking, Looking to Learn More