Bench-top Carving Bench

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Project by Jack Barnhill posted 07-31-2011 05:38 AM 4196 views 9 times favorited 8 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I just saw WayneC’s carving fixture and it reminded me that I hadn’t posted my carving bench so here it is.

I made this for a carving class a few years ago at Cerritos College. The college had some benches for the students but I wanted to practice at home. The college’s benches made extensive use of screwing down wooden battens and wedging the workpiece in place with shims. If you wanted to change the position of the workpiece you had to unscrew the battens and screw them down in the new position. I thought the matrix of dog holes, wonder pup and bench pups would be a simpler, more flexible solution.

The top is 30”X24”X1-1/2”. The dog holes are spaced in a 6” matrix. The carving bench is made of 3/4” BB ply left over from another project except for the bottom layer of the top. I didn’t have enough BB ply to laminate 2 layers for the top so I used 3/4” MDF for the bottom layer.

I picked up a cheap clamp-on desk lamp for task lighting. To reduce the distance I have to adjust the wonder pup, I place a piece of scrap wood between the workpiece and the pups as needed.

All-in-all, it worked great for the class. I could put all of my carving tools in the center compartment and carry it back and forth to class. I eventually want to put a shelf and a drawer in the middle section.

-- Best regards, Jack -- I may not be good, but I'm slow --

8 comments so far

View WayneC's profile


13754 posts in 4097 days

#1 posted 07-31-2011 05:43 AM

It looks very nice. I have been watching craigslist looking for a workmate to use under it. How stable is your workmate?

-- We must guard our enthusiasm as we would our life - James Krenov

View Jack Barnhill's profile

Jack Barnhill

366 posts in 3366 days

#2 posted 07-31-2011 05:54 AM

The workmate work fine for holding the bench while carving. I wasn’t doing any heavy chopping like morticing on it. I didn’t put the clamps on for these pictures but I would just clamp the bench to the workmate in a 2-3 places. I didn’t have any problem with movement or stability.

That piece of white melamine sandwiched between the workmate and the carving bench is my router table.

-- Best regards, Jack -- I may not be good, but I'm slow --

View Lee A. Jesberger's profile

Lee A. Jesberger

6856 posts in 3980 days

#3 posted 07-31-2011 02:33 PM

Hi Jack;

I like it. I could use something like that.

I would really like to see the carvings that are on the top of it. Did you finish those?


-- by Lee A. Jesberger

View helluvawreck's profile


31104 posts in 2867 days

#4 posted 07-31-2011 02:39 PM

That’s a really nice carving fixture, Jack.

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View Bertha's profile


13528 posts in 2693 days

#5 posted 07-31-2011 02:49 PM

Wow, you and Wayne think alike. They’re quite similar and both fantastic.

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

View Maveric777's profile


2693 posts in 3077 days

#6 posted 07-31-2011 03:18 PM

I been wanting to build something similar to put on my work bench. Thanks for the inspiration and really like this bench top bench….. Very cool!

-- Dan ~ Texarkana, Tx.

View Ken90712's profile


17556 posts in 3189 days

#7 posted 07-31-2011 06:12 PM

Well done, looks very functional.

-- Ken, "Everyday above ground is a good day!"

View Jack Barnhill's profile

Jack Barnhill

366 posts in 3366 days

#8 posted 08-02-2011 12:47 AM

@Lee – I did finish the carvings are far as the class was concerned. I just didn’t have any projects to use them on so they’re probably laying around the shop somewhere. I see if I can locate them and post some pictures if I do.

-- Best regards, Jack -- I may not be good, but I'm slow --

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