Split Top Workbench

  • Advertise with us
Project by jwicks posted 1345 days ago 7108 views 29 times favorited 38 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Seems like I’ve been working on it most of the year, but finally here is my completed workbench.

It’s basically a Holzapffel design but I modified it to have a split top. I think the split top has several advantages:

1) A parallel clamp fits in the middle for more options when clamping things to the bench
2) A board placed there can be used a planing stop
3) A place to store tools close at hand while working at the bench
4) Each half still fits through my planer if I ever needed to re-flatten that way. During the construction I found it easier to just hand plane it flat. The pieces are too big and heavy to easily maneuver through a planer.

I still have to build that tool holder / planing stop piece to really take advantage of 2) + 3). I plan to make something similar to the “gap stop” that is shown in this split-top roubo video: (

It’s made entirely out of SYP except for the twin screw vise chop which is cherry and the tool holder on the back right corner which is walnut.

The twin screw vise screw and nut hardware were purchased from Lake Erie Toolworks (

The top is connected to the legs with lag screws. The two end assemblies are glued and pegged mortise and tenon joints. The long front and back stretchers have tenons that fit into mortises in the end assembly and use bench bolts so that I can take the bench apart if needed.

I finished it with 3 ragged on coats of danish oil.

-- Jon

38 comments so far

View TomFran's profile


2940 posts in 2580 days

#1 posted 1345 days ago

Very nice build! I’m sure you’ll get many years of pleasurable use out of it.

-- Tom, Surfside Beach, SC - Romans 8:28

View dfdye's profile


372 posts in 1623 days

#2 posted 1345 days ago

That’s a great bench! I have to ask—are you by chance left handed?

-- David from Indiana --

View Kent Shepherd's profile

Kent Shepherd

2694 posts in 1872 days

#3 posted 1345 days ago

Awesome bench. You will really enjoy using it.

-- She thought I hung the moon--now she just thinks I did it wrong

View NBeener's profile


4806 posts in 1760 days

#4 posted 1345 days ago

Beautiful job !

I ask because I genuinely don’t know: is SYP generally considered a bit soft for your typical top ?

I like your thoughts on the split top. Really a great looking bench !

-- -- Neil

View FirehouseWoodworking's profile


620 posts in 1859 days

#5 posted 1345 days ago

Beautiful and functional! Very nicely done.

-- Dave; Lansing, Kansas

View AttainableApex's profile


338 posts in 1419 days

#6 posted 1345 days ago


-- Ben L

View jwicks's profile


54 posts in 2194 days

#7 posted 1345 days ago

@dfdye: Yup, south paw.
@NBeener: Followed The Schwarz’s recommendation. Lots of good info about wood selection in the first chapter of his workbench book. sYP is definitely more prone to denting than hard maple, but I’m not to worried about that. And since it’s all over the orange and blue box stores it’s bdft price is ridiculously cheap compared to anything else in my area.

-- Jon

View wannadoitall's profile


56 posts in 1381 days

#8 posted 1345 days ago

Very nice workbench!

-- -Angela, "Christos Anesti!"

View NBeener's profile


4806 posts in 1760 days

#9 posted 1345 days ago

Ordered the (used) book. Heard too may good things about it, and seen TOO many nice benches, based on his advice … not to :-)

Thank. Enjoy it. Should be a great bench for generations !

-- -- Neil

View CL810's profile


1872 posts in 1574 days

#10 posted 1345 days ago

Great bench. Looks like your efforts paid off handsomely.

-- "It's amazing how much can go wrong when you think you know what you're doing."

View Jamie Speirs's profile

Jamie Speirs

4068 posts in 1442 days

#11 posted 1345 days ago

That is one great bench.

-- Who is the happiest of men? He who values the merits of others, and in their pleasure takes joy, even as though 'twere his own. --Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

View Chris's profile


27 posts in 1435 days

#12 posted 1345 days ago

Very nice job. I also like a softer top. Better a dent in your bench than one in you project piece.

-- Chris, Hubertus, WI

View Tom's profile


30 posts in 2005 days

#13 posted 1345 days ago

A real beauty Jon

-- Tom

View Robsshop's profile


806 posts in 1561 days

#14 posted 1345 days ago

Jon,First things first, a stunning bench to say the least ! It looks like it would give a Sherman tank hell in a wrestling match ! It”s got to be a good feeling when something of this size comes together and turns out as nice as it certainly looks. I will at some point bite the bullet and set out to construct a must have shop fixture such as this. If You don’t mind me asking,what would You guesstimate Your hours and ballpark figure on cost to be ? Once again beautiful work and thanks for the post !!

-- Rob,Gaithersburg,MD,One mans trash is another mans repurposed wood shop treasure ! ;-)

View MayflowerDescendant's profile


413 posts in 1373 days

#15 posted 1345 days ago

Simply exquisite! Great job. Enjoy … you deserve it.

-- Glen - Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

showing 1 through 15 of 38 comments

Have your say...

You must be signed in to post the comments.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics :: gardening showcase