My nephews workbench

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Project by Hammerthumb posted 05-06-2015 05:24 PM 5557 views 18 times favorited 24 comments Add to Favorites Watch

My nephew Mikey is the son of my recently deceased sister. I don’t have much family here in Las Vegas except for him and my mom. When he showed up at my shop one day and asked if I could help him pick out some lumber to make a workbench for his garage, I knew I just had to give him a hand. This bench is what evolved from our plans.

The bench is made from a single beam of Doug fir that was removed from a neighbors house. The bench dimensions are 75” long by 26” wide. Think it measures about 34” tall. The legs are 3.5” by 5.5”. I would have liked to make the legs a little thicker for added weight, but this is all we could yield from the beam, and I didn’t want to laminate any new material to it as the doug fir is over 35 years old. The stretchers are 1.75” by 6”. The construction of the base is M/T joints at stretchers to legs, with the short stretchers being glued and draw bored. The long stretchers are pulled together with bolts and barrel nuts. This is done so the bench can be taken apart – left and right leg assemblies, front and back stretchers, and the top.

The top is made of 2 pieces of the beam and has just the one glue joint. It measures 3.5” thick. The top is held on with gravity, as I have tenoned the top of the legs into the bottom of the top. The back mortises are elongated to allow for wood movement, while the front mortises are just large enough for the tenons to easily slip into. If a top is done this way, it is extreamly important that the shoulders of the legs are perfectly in plane, and the bottom of the top is perfectly flat. The front and sides of the top are banded in 8/4 Aldur with dovetail joints at the corners. The ends are breadboarded to the Doug fir with drawbbore pins. The front pins are tight, and middle and rear pins are elongated. This should allow movement only at the rear of the top and keep the dovetails from opening up.

The leg vise is home made with a few parts from LJ August, and a few other items that I had to find. August provided a brass nut and flange for a 1-1/2” acme rod. He also provided some delrin plastic with 1-1/2” holes for bushings. The nut and flange is mounted at the back of the leg, and a bushing was mortised into the front of the leg. I found a 24” length of acme rod and had a machine shop install a 10” cast wheel and flange bearing at one end. The flange bearing is mortised into the leg chop with shim washers to align the chop for parallelism. The chop is 2-1/2” thick. I then installed a turned knob to the cast wheel for ease of use. I used a standard parallel guide with pin on this vise. I did line the through mortise for the guide with slip tape, but feel that it is not necessary. I used 1-1/2” neoprene wheels at the top and bottom of the guide to aid in alignment as the chop and hardware are quite heavy.

Special thanks to LJ August McCormack Lehman, and the guys on the Smackdown thread, for guidance and encouragement.

Thanks for looking.

-- Paul, Las Vegas

24 comments so far

View Shelbdog's profile


23 posts in 1442 days

#1 posted 05-06-2015 05:40 PM

Good Stuff

-- Shelby Strempke - IOWA...GO HAWKS

View CL810's profile


3440 posts in 2448 days

#2 posted 05-06-2015 05:56 PM

Paul, this is a great bench. And the story line makes it even better. What a lucky nephew! And we’re all lucky to have Auggie as a bud.

Love the wheel. If I hadn’t paid so much for my wooden screw I’d change to a setup like yours.

-- "The only limits to our realization of tomorrow will be our doubts of today." - FDR

View Mauricio's profile


7115 posts in 2611 days

#3 posted 05-06-2015 05:57 PM

Man that is one handsome bench, I love the look of that old wood. Must have been one hell of a beam!

-- Mauricio - Woodstock, GA - "Confusion is the Womb of Learning, with utter conviction being it's Tomb" Prof. T.O. Nitsch

View john2005's profile


1741 posts in 1638 days

#4 posted 05-06-2015 06:04 PM

You done it right Paul! Looks awesome!

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

View glclark46's profile


19 posts in 577 days

#5 posted 05-06-2015 06:04 PM

I’am jealous!!! Solid design and it’s all about the detail.. AWESOME!

View waho6o9's profile


7166 posts in 2036 days

#6 posted 05-06-2015 06:10 PM

Great bench and story Paul, thanks for sharing.

View Derek Oliver's profile

Derek Oliver

159 posts in 1611 days

#7 posted 05-06-2015 06:30 PM

That’s a great bench.

View JayT's profile


4772 posts in 1671 days

#8 posted 05-06-2015 06:38 PM

All that out of one beam? OK, then the next question is how in the world did you move that beam to do anything to it?

Excellent work, Paul. I’m sure the nephew will get great use out of it.

-- "Good judgement is the result of experience. A lot of experience is the result of poor judgement."

View ShaneA's profile


6471 posts in 2058 days

#9 posted 05-06-2015 07:03 PM

Looks amazing Paul. Hard to believe that could come from just one beam. It turned out awesome.

View Hammerthumb's profile


2532 posts in 1435 days

#10 posted 05-06-2015 07:15 PM

Thanks for the compliments guys.

JayT – the beam was a decorative beam at the peak of the vaulted ceilings that were put in the houses in our neighborhood. The beam in my house is still up. The one in my house is 6” x 15” x 22ft. I have one in the living room and one in the family room.

Moving it was easy as I just put it on a drywall cart and wheeled it across the street. Took 3 of us to move it. Once I had it on the side of the house, I just used a skil saw to cut it into movable lengths. I just wonder how they got the beam down. I am glad I have a 20” planer though. A lunch box planer would have been squished.

Once again, thanks for looking, and the compliments. My nephew is very proud of the bench and is now shopping for more wood working tools.

-- Paul, Las Vegas

View SPalm's profile


5256 posts in 3342 days

#11 posted 05-06-2015 07:39 PM

What a great bench and what a great story.
Well played sir.


-- -- I'm no rocket surgeon

View siavosh's profile


674 posts in 1330 days

#12 posted 05-06-2015 07:58 PM

Wonderful bench and a great gift :)

-- -- Discover the most interesting woodworking blogs from around the world

View Rick M's profile (online now)

Rick M

7905 posts in 1840 days

#13 posted 05-06-2015 08:06 PM

Darn good looking bench.


View Combo Prof's profile

Combo Prof

2373 posts in 737 days

#14 posted 05-06-2015 08:25 PM

very pretty.

-- Don K, (Houghton, Michigan)

View hoss12992's profile


3831 posts in 1353 days

#15 posted 05-06-2015 09:43 PM

That looks like it will last a very long time with many years of service to yall. Great job

-- The Old Rednek Workshop

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