Workbench Complete

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Project by mtalley posted 05-06-2015 06:21 PM 6345 views 23 times favorited 26 comments Add to Favorites Watch

After 14 months of a few hours here and there, my workbench is done. Completely done! All bells and whistles added. It seems like it took me forever, but it fits perfectly in the shop and I started using the bench even before it was finished. I am very happy with the outcome and am currently working on projects that have been piling up all winter.

In truth the bench is an amalgamation of benches by M. Roubo, Roy Underhill, Norm Abrams, Chris Schwartz, and Bill Schenher. I am calling it the “Cornebarrieu Bench” after the small village in southern France where we live, where the lumber has been sourced, and where the bench was made and first used. I thought it fitting to build a somewhat traditional French workbench with a few extras: It is 8’3” (2.5m) m long, 24” wide and 36″ high (as that is MY optimal bench height). It includes a wooden leg vise, dog holes, a cast iron German tail vise – all the bells and whistles! I built it so that it would take a mule to move the thing (400+ pounds) as I will do some serious plane work on this baby over the next 40 years or so.

For anyone interested and because it was WAY too big to upload to lumberjocks, I have a documented build process presentation PDF with lots more pictures, build notes, and step by step guide – 115 steps – to build this beast on my website:

-- Matt at:

26 comments so far

View Derek Oliver's profile

Derek Oliver

155 posts in 1571 days

#1 posted 05-06-2015 06:28 PM

Great looking bench.

View waho6o9's profile


7119 posts in 1997 days

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

Awesome bench and an enjoyable pdf to boot.

Thanks for sharing.

View RSetubal's profile


28 posts in 719 days

#3 posted 05-06-2015 07:16 PM

Beautiful bench! Congratulations.

View Grumpymike's profile


1892 posts in 1735 days

#4 posted 05-06-2015 07:31 PM

Wow, that is an awesome work bench, and I like the shop accessory also; every shop should have one … I’m speaking of the charging station on the wall …

Being in France, what is the primary wood used in your bench?
Is the lead screw for your leg vise made? purchased? And is it German like the tail vise?

Great piece of work and an heirloom for sure … Thanks for posting.

-- Grumpy old guy, and lookin' good Doin' it. ... Surprise Az.

View Hammerthumb's profile


2513 posts in 1395 days

#5 posted 05-06-2015 09:58 PM

Beautiful. The bench isn’t bad either! ;-)

-- Paul, Las Vegas

View Jim Rowe's profile

Jim Rowe

917 posts in 1732 days

#6 posted 05-06-2015 09:59 PM

That’s some workbench! I assume that it is a permanent fixture in the South of France and may not see Seattle in the future?
Your blog is excellent.

-- It always looks better when it's finished!

View hoss12992's profile


3810 posts in 1313 days

#7 posted 05-06-2015 10:01 PM

Beautiful bench and loved the PDF. Thanks for sharing. Great job

-- The Old Rednek Workshop

View lateralus819's profile


2236 posts in 1309 days

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

Sweet bench! Checking out the PDF now. I think it is absolutely hilarious you refer to your wife as “Stamps-with-foot”. Brilliant.

By the way, that swift is kickass! Wish we could have had them in the states…oh well, I’ll stick with my sx4 sedan ;)

View ksubenny's profile


74 posts in 1278 days

#9 posted 05-07-2015 12:54 AM

Awesome bench and amazing write up PDF!

View TRHeath's profile


75 posts in 1007 days

#10 posted 05-07-2015 03:49 AM

There was a bench?

-- So much to little time.....

View SawdustTX's profile


239 posts in 1744 days

#11 posted 05-07-2015 04:02 AM

You said “All bells and whistles…” Shouldn’t that be “belles”? Beautiful belle and bench.

View Rick M.'s profile

Rick M.

7699 posts in 1800 days

#12 posted 05-07-2015 05:30 AM

She’s a beaut!


View albachippie's profile


757 posts in 2455 days

#13 posted 05-07-2015 07:55 AM

Lovely bench and lovely model. Thanks for taking the time to document it too. That could be very helpful. Well done on a great project. You will get many years of use out of that.

Great work,


-- Garry fae Bonnie Scotland -

View mtalley's profile


98 posts in 896 days

#14 posted 05-07-2015 08:21 AM

Thank you all for the kind notes. My wife really enjoyed them as well. She popped up on the bench for a picture in part because I had spent so much time away from her working on it.

grumpymike: The material for the top is beech and the base is pine and oak. The Leg vise screw is salvaged from a junk pile her in France

Jim Rowe: Nope, this baby is coming back with us to Seattle in a year. I am rebuilding my shop there and having an open bright spot for the bench is a requirement. And thank you for the blog comment as well. Really appreciated!

lateralus819: my wife stamps her little feet when she is pissed or wants something or needs to make a point. She once uttered, “I am the essence of sweetness, dammit!” stamping her foot on the last word. I had told her to be sweeter about something/someone. It is one of her many endearing qualities/habits.

The Swift is Diesel ad gets 45+ mph. Really like the car. Really, really. Want to bring it home, but the US will not let you import a diesel that is newer than 25 years old. I have looked at 5 different ways to get it in – even shipping through Vancouver Canada. In the end, I can get it there, but won’t be able to put tags on it. bummed about the whole thing.

-- Matt at:

View RPhillips's profile


1110 posts in 1256 days

#15 posted 05-07-2015 12:08 PM

Nice looking bench with a very deserving “Bondo” to go with it.

-- Rob - Indianapolis IN - Learning... one mistake at a time...

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