My first (and most likely not my last) real workbench.

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Project by RGtools posted 02-26-2011 05:15 PM 7280 views 6 times favorited 21 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Cabinetmakers workbench, took me ~25 hours to build and cost under $200.

I made this out of pine this year using only hand tools working on a “bench” that had more in common with a picnic table. The joinery is rough but strong. All the tenons are huge, glued and pinned. Not going anywhere for a good long time. I built this bench cheaply so I could get working and figure out what I wanted in the long run, it’s going to serve me very well until I build a Roubo some day. The two biggest things I would change: no tool well, all it does it collect clutter. I would also put the stretcher lower so it provides better clearance for my knees when planing cross-grain.

Shown here are my two favorite bench accessories. The Hook in particular spends a lot of time on my bench because it works for push saws, pull saws, and if you flip it over it acts as a planing stop for narrow parts.

The bench is a right of passage of sorts but most importantly it works.

-- Make furniture that lasts as long as the tree - Ryan

21 comments so far

View Beginningwoodworker's profile


13347 posts in 3511 days

#1 posted 02-26-2011 05:21 PM

Nice workbench that will last for years, great job.

View jerrells's profile


918 posts in 2723 days

#2 posted 02-26-2011 05:33 PM

Dude – that is one nice power drill you are using in pic. #1 – great looking workbench too

-- Just learning the craft my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ practiced.

View David Kirtley's profile

David Kirtley

1286 posts in 2836 days

#3 posted 02-26-2011 06:08 PM

Definitely nothing to be ashamed of. A little quality time with a plane to flatten a bit and a little oil finish and it will be ready for a sexy photo shoot :)

-- Woodworking shouldn't cost a fortune:

View kowtow's profile


20 posts in 2496 days

#4 posted 02-26-2011 06:10 PM

Great stuff, RG!

View oicurn2it2's profile


146 posts in 3676 days

#5 posted 02-26-2011 06:16 PM

some say …a man and his dog …....i say…. a man and his bench
great job ...

i’ve got one, and one in process …they are kind of like lays potato chips aren’t they

-- "when you think youre going to slow, slow down just a little bit more" .... Pop's

View BTKS's profile


1985 posts in 3303 days

#6 posted 02-26-2011 06:26 PM

This bench should last yours and several other life times. Must make planing a lot easier to have a stable (rock) under you. Also good to know about the tool well. I had considered one but I may not now. Thanks.

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

View RGtools's profile


3372 posts in 2493 days

#7 posted 02-26-2011 08:10 PM

I flatten the top about once a year. (still never put a finish on it, don’t know if I ever will)

The potato chips thing is so true…

Yes it does make handplaning vastly easier (as well as every other task). The tool well is not a huge nuisance when in power tool mode, but when I use hand tools all it does is become a sea of shavings “I know my glen-drake is in there somewhere.” is something I say a lot

-- Make furniture that lasts as long as the tree - Ryan

View Don Johnson's profile

Don Johnson

678 posts in 2619 days

#8 posted 02-26-2011 10:13 PM

A solid piece of work – and the clamps storage system looks well designed ! ( lol )

-- Don, Somerset UK,

View bigfish_95008's profile


250 posts in 2942 days

#9 posted 02-27-2011 03:00 AM

That’s what you call getting on top of the work. Good looking bench!

-- bigfish "I am always doing what I cannot do yet, in order to learn how to do it." Vincent Van Gogh

View Houtje's profile


311 posts in 2810 days

#10 posted 02-27-2011 05:36 AM

That’s a really nice heavy bench

View tdv's profile


1186 posts in 2908 days

#11 posted 02-27-2011 06:19 PM

An old friend of mine(about 40 years my senior)built a bench like this as an apprentice, made from heavy sections of softwood in the early 1930’s it was still in use when he died in the mid 1980’s after a lifetimes work as a Joiner/Builder, so it may be the only bench you’ll ever need it looks great & you can always modify to suit your requirements rather than replace
Good job

-- God created wood that we may create. Trevor East Yorkshire UK

View RGtools's profile


3372 posts in 2493 days

#12 posted 02-28-2011 03:25 AM

If a replace it, I plan on bequeathing it to someone who is just getting started in the craft.

-- Make furniture that lasts as long as the tree - Ryan

View dubsaloon's profile


621 posts in 2632 days

#13 posted 02-28-2011 11:27 AM

Really nice job! I have the small end vise like yours. The tenon frame is sweet.

-- The works of evil people are not the problem. It is the "Good" people standing by and watching not speaking up. Dubsaloon

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile


14857 posts in 2457 days

#14 posted 04-11-2011 12:00 AM

I know what you’re saying re: tool wells. I have a bench with one but have yet to find a good use for it other that to trap cr*p that otherwise should be swept (effectively) to the floor with my bench brush.

Nice bench! May your next one be everything you’re after and more!

-- Don't anthropomorphize your handplanes. They hate it when you do that. -- OldTools Archive --

View RGtools's profile


3372 posts in 2493 days

#15 posted 04-11-2011 02:49 AM

Thanks Smitty. I figured out why tool wells were useful back in the day. I was looking at a picture of an old cabinet shop (plate 11 Roubo to be more specific) and it dawned on me. When you are working with other cabinet makers you can’t have storage quite at hand but you still needed to work quickly, so you would grab the tools you need for a specific task and those would go in the tool well. For them the benefit of not having to walk across the room constantly was worth the benefit of dealing with the shavings.

Now that most craftsmen work alone, the tool well needs to go extinct.

-- Make furniture that lasts as long as the tree - Ryan

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