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Project by Ivan posted 04-07-2010 03:46 AM 4957 views 14 times favorited 17 comments Add to Favorites Watch

My first ‘real’ bench. Made from KD 4×4’s from HD. Cheap and dry, or so I thought. I used threaded rods to add compression and this winter I found that the top had shrunk about 1/4”-1/2” and the lock nuts that were tight in August are now loose.

Camera Battery died, I’ll take more pics tomorrow.

Added pics show the new front vise laminated face.

-- "Do it right the first time, you'll just kick yourself later..."

17 comments so far

View Les Casteel's profile

Les Casteel

160 posts in 3109 days

#1 posted 04-07-2010 04:13 AM

Yep, I built one like that. I turned caps for bolts with a slight angle. I can take them out and keep the top tight.

good job on the bench.

-- Les, Missouri,

View deeman's profile


379 posts in 3131 days

#2 posted 04-07-2010 04:16 AM

Looks great. I really like the router jig

-- Dennis Trenton Ohio And life is worth the living just because He lives!

View NormG's profile


6201 posts in 3054 days

#3 posted 04-07-2010 04:21 AM

I had considered 2×4’s, but I like your plan better. Did you rotate the grain in a particular fashion (I see the numbers)? Great bench by the way.

-- Norman - I never never make a mistake, I just change the design.

View Splinterman's profile


23074 posts in 3411 days

#4 posted 04-07-2010 04:27 AM

Looking good…nice lumber.

View Dan Hux's profile

Dan Hux

577 posts in 3424 days

#5 posted 04-07-2010 04:47 AM

great bench top.
I used about 50 or 60 Southern Yelllow Pine 1×4’s from builders discount center, to make my bench top,,same threaded rod setup. flattened it out with a electric planer. solid as a rock

-- Dan Hux,,,,Raleigh, NC

View jm82435's profile


1285 posts in 3792 days

#6 posted 04-07-2010 05:07 AM

Nice looking top. Looking forward to seeing the finished bench.

-- A thing of beauty is a joy forever...

View bigike's profile


4052 posts in 3338 days

#7 posted 04-07-2010 05:50 AM

cool, very good work! is this one better than the torsion box one?

-- Ike, Big Daddies Woodshop,

View mafe's profile


11734 posts in 3139 days

#8 posted 04-07-2010 10:05 AM

Nice bench top.
I like the jig you made for the router.

-- MAD F, the fanatical rhykenologist and vintage architect. Democraticwoodworking.

View SPalm's profile


5320 posts in 3932 days

#9 posted 04-07-2010 02:20 PM

Very nice. I did the same with Douglas Fir 4×4s from HD. And the same router jig. That is the way to go. It really makes for a nice heavy top that does not move around. I also think that your wood will stabilize. I just used glue, no threaded rod, and no problems two years later.

Make sure to show us the rest,

-- -- I'm no rocket surgeon

View HokieMojo's profile


2104 posts in 3778 days

#10 posted 04-07-2010 04:25 PM

thats very nice. any more comments on your router setup? It looks good, but still simple.

View Dave Owen's profile

Dave Owen

254 posts in 3124 days

#11 posted 04-07-2010 04:29 PM

I’m also interested in the router setup to smooth the top. How about posting a blog on that?

-- Dave O.

View Ivan 's profile


185 posts in 3427 days

#12 posted 04-07-2010 05:19 PM

I find that this bench is becoming my ‘beater’ bench. I had wanted a nice Rock Maple bench, but a buddy of mine has one and freaks out every time he nicks the top with a chisel, plane, etc… I’m not careful and wanted something that wasn’t decoration only.

The numbers were used to help me keep the grain orientation during glue up, now i find that every other board seems to have warped, so my top is far from flat. I’ll wait til August to see if it flattens out, or if it stays I’ll just use my #7 again.

Router setup was using a table mount plate (Rockler I believe) on a couple square aluminum pipes, this gave me the initial flattening. I used the torsion box top bench as the ‘flat’ reference, raised it above the bench with some plywood T’s and then used 2 long T’s to rest the Al jig on top. I found that the Al plate and Al square tubing had allot of friction, so I added some plastic strips as lubrication strips with double sided tape, this made the travel much smoother.

I was using a 3/4” CMT bit until one of the edges broke off, I know allot of people like the CMT bits, but I had 2 and they both came apart. So I use a $5 Woodcraft bit to finish.

After I did the initial flattening on both sides (parallel was not really a concern since I can adjust the bottom with the legs) I used my antique Stanley #7 (winding sticks to check to twist) followed by my L-N #4 smoothing.

In retrospect I wouldn’t have used Shellac, but a wipe on oil. The top gets abused quickly and the Shellac wears quickly, but it does keep the glue from bonding to the top, but Wax will as well. I was hoping that the Shellac would minimize moisture exchange and help keep the top flat, but it moved anyway.

In all I like it as a good bench for the vises (tail and front vise) I did notice that the original front vise wood warped and the top of the vise ‘opened’, so I laminated a bunch of hardwood scraps and made a new one, this seems to be holding much better. My tail vise now sticks due to the seasonal movement and I’m kicking myself for not installing a wagon vise. The 3/4” holes closed up and my Veritas round dogs don’t fit, so I made some from wooden pegs and whittled them down to fit, but it’s far from perfect.

Overall I’d say that I like the bench for the cost (something like $120 without hardware) and it’s a good addition to teh shop, lets me hold panels like a proper woodworking bench should, but the longevity will depend on the seasonal movement, maybe I should have used more boards to limit the movement?? Like Dan Hux did with 1×4’s??

I’ll post some more pics tonight.


-- "Do it right the first time, you'll just kick yourself later..."

View HokieMojo's profile


2104 posts in 3778 days

#13 posted 04-07-2010 08:49 PM

i think it was an optical illusion, but now I can see that they are pipes. for soem reason i thought you were using aluminum or stainless angle iron. The pipe makes much more sense. Thanks for the info. This might be the way I will go at some point.

View BTKS's profile


1986 posts in 3514 days

#14 posted 04-09-2010 12:33 AM

I love the leveling jig in photo one. Gives me ideas!!! Thanks, BTKS

-- "Man's ingenuity has outrun his intelligence" (Joseph Wood Krutch)

View tblank's profile


61 posts in 3020 days

#15 posted 04-10-2010 12:18 AM

What ….no drawers???? Kidding!!! Well done. I made one like this a while ago for a friend and yes it moves but only nominally. And that’s on the coast. You have no worries.

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