MilkChocolate Workbench

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Project by eTodd posted 07-05-2015 04:14 PM 5351 views 19 times favorited 7 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Like many readers of Popular Woodworking and Christopher Schwarz’s hand tool articles, I was enamored of the Milkman’s Workbench (June 2013, #204). I had been looking for a portable woodworking bench that I could take with me on vacation (the only down-side of going someplace for vacation is that I am not in my shop). I was given a pile of ill-dried walnut (plenty of wave and twist) that was kind of difficult to make any furniture out of, so I thought I would try a modified version to see how I liked it. In honor of the the source of my inspiration and the walnut used for construction, I call my version the “MilkChocolate Workbench”.

There were a few details in the original (like the cross grain gluing of the outer frame to the rear bench) and the non-serviceable wagon vise that I did not like, and I thought I might size it to fit the work-pieces I had in mind. The overall size ended up being 36” long by 9-1/4” wide by 2-1/4” thick. I can fit a 30” work-piece between the bench dogs, a 24” wide panel in the front vice, and the wagon vise can clamp work pieces up to 4”x5.5”.

Basic construction is rails stretching the entire length to form the front and back. Three cross pieces, pegged into the front and back rails, are used to define the front vise/bench rectangle and the wagon vise rectangle. The bench slab is glued to the back rail and is allowed to expand or contract on dados cut in two of the cross pieces, alleviating one of my concerns. The wagon vise is made serviceable by removable cleats on the bottom that are held in by screws. Other than walnut, pegs are oak, and the dowels used for the threaded rod are of maple (stained dark), and leather pads are glued to all clamping mechanisms.

I gave this one to my youngest son for Christmas while I build my version of a Moxon vise, and explore the possibilities of a modified version of Chad Stanton’s portable work/saw bench combo.

-- eTodd

7 comments so far

View stefang's profile (online now)


15726 posts in 3210 days

#1 posted 07-05-2015 04:37 PM

You did a very good job on this. The walnut looks great too. I can relate to your wanting a bench to take on vacation. I usually take vacations at my son’s house in Sweden and I have equipped a nice shop in his basement with extra tools from home.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View kiefer's profile


5618 posts in 2542 days

#2 posted 07-05-2015 05:03 PM

Well thought out little workbench and the modifications you made make sense .
So nice looking that is almost a shame to use it .


-- Kiefer

View waho6o9's profile (online now)


8071 posts in 2452 days

#3 posted 07-05-2015 09:00 PM

Clean work eTodd, mighty fine!

View DanielS's profile


123 posts in 1812 days

#4 posted 07-06-2015 01:05 AM

Beautiful work.

-- Daniel S

View lepelerin's profile


486 posts in 2200 days

#5 posted 07-06-2015 06:15 AM

nice work

View lumberboss's profile


27 posts in 967 days

#6 posted 07-06-2015 02:58 PM

Great Job And of Course Very Functional!!!

View tomakazi's profile


686 posts in 3158 days

#7 posted 07-10-2015 02:24 AM

I could sure use one of these, Great job!!

-- I didn't go to college, I was too busy learning stuff - Ted Nugent

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