getting the bench done

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Project by grumpycarp posted 02-23-2008 10:13 AM 3363 views 6 times favorited 19 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Here’s a shot of my soon to be completed workbench. The top and under carriage are of doug fir, the chop on the front vise is hickory. They were scribe rails left over from a cabinet job and the end vise chop was made from some alder “drops” from another job. Sometimes parsimony pays. . .

19 comments so far

View Dorje's profile


1763 posts in 3959 days

#1 posted 02-23-2008 10:27 AM

Looks good! How does the top attach to the base? Is the top flush with the legs? What technique did you use to flatten the top and what else are you gonna do to it? Dog holes? Finish?

-- Dorje (pronounced "door-jay"), Seattle, WA

View grumpycarp's profile


257 posts in 3708 days

#2 posted 02-23-2008 10:59 AM

Thanks for the compliment. Yes the top is flush with the legs. The legs are attached to the stretchers with draw bored mortise & tenons. The dark circles in the leg detail are the oak draw bore pins not hole plugs for screws. Since the 4×4 legs are on their third iteration of use they weren’t long enough to include tenons on them to mortise into the top I made up some 1” dowels out of fir and then set them through a counter bore in the top and into the legs. I elongated the upper portion of the counter bore slightly and then wedged the dowels kind of what is sometimes done with a chair leg. On the inside of the top of the 4×4 legs I drove another oak pin to capture the bottom of the dowel thereby having some sort of mechanical connection on both ends in case the glue failed. I could only get slow set epoxy in white and I should have used a steeper angle on the wedges in the dowels. Oh well, next time.
The top was glued up in two sections, run through a planer and then the two halves were glued together. When that was done I planed the final glue up by hand with a #8, a #6, and a final localized touch up with a scraper. There was a slight bit of twist when I first took off the clamps so that was worked out with winding sticks and the #8 prior to smoothing. For finish it just has a couple coats of boiled linseed oil. I’m waiting for delivery on a couple of hold fasts after which I can work out the spacing for the holes for them and at that time I’ll add a row of dog holes to work with the end vies that will match the holdfast holes at the back. I made sure to locate the end vise so that a dog hole in the middle of the chop would land in the middle of one of the laminate courses and not straddle a glue line. When I mounted it I dropped the end vise down a bit so that the back jaw was below the top and I wouldn’t have to relocate it every time I reflattened the top.
Thanks again for your kind words.

View rikkor's profile


11295 posts in 3837 days

#3 posted 02-23-2008 11:39 AM

That is a fine workbench. The workmanship is great. I can’t wait to see some projects come off it.

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27250 posts in 3785 days

#4 posted 02-23-2008 02:00 PM

Wow. This is a really nice bench. It is almost too nice to work on. Thanks for the construction details. This is certainly will be the centerpiece of your shop.

Thanks for the post.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View ChrisN's profile


259 posts in 3736 days

#5 posted 02-23-2008 03:57 PM

Great Bench!!! I’ve been going through plans to build my own…my current bench is made from 2×4’s, which is functional but not as sturdy as I would like.

-- Chris N, Westford, MA - "If you won't eat something from your fridge that turned green...why would you eat something that started out that way?"

View Karson's profile


35111 posts in 4363 days

#6 posted 02-23-2008 04:00 PM

Another great LJ work bench. Nice review of it.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Southern Delaware soon moving to Virginia †

View KDL's profile


36 posts in 3730 days

#7 posted 02-23-2008 04:32 PM

Congrats on a bench that’s nice looking, solid, and functional. It makes me want to build one.

View mjlauro's profile


244 posts in 3724 days

#8 posted 02-23-2008 04:39 PM

Great looking bench. I just have one question, are you planning on plugging the holes on the top?

View CharlieM1958's profile


16274 posts in 4181 days

#9 posted 02-23-2008 05:46 PM

Looks great! And the background of the first photo reminds me why I live in the deep south. :-)

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View GaryK's profile


10262 posts in 3951 days

#10 posted 02-23-2008 07:37 PM

That’s one sturdy looking bench! Great job.

-- Gary - Never pass up the opportunity to make a mistake look like you planned it that way - Tyler, TX

View Damian Penney's profile

Damian Penney

1141 posts in 3954 days

#11 posted 02-24-2008 02:11 AM

Looks great, I’m about to start on mine (which will look very similar)

-- I am always doing that which I can not do, in order that I may learn how to do it. - Pablo Picasso

View Grumpy's profile


23836 posts in 3814 days

#12 posted 02-24-2008 03:04 AM

As one Grumpy to another Grumpy, nice job.

-- Grumpy - "Always look on the bright side of life"- Monty Python

View Tomcat1066's profile


942 posts in 3759 days

#13 posted 02-24-2008 12:52 PM

Nice bench! Looks like it should do everything you ask of it for a long, long time!

-- "Give me your poor tools, your tired steel, your huddled masses of rust." Yep, I ripped off the Statue of Liberty. That's how I roll!

View Bob A in NJ's profile

Bob A in NJ

1229 posts in 3962 days

#14 posted 02-25-2008 01:47 AM

Great, I’m planning mine now, where did you get the vises, what size are they, how much are they? Very excellent work!


-- Bob A in NJ

View grumpycarp's profile


257 posts in 3708 days

#15 posted 02-25-2008 08:00 AM

Thanks all for the nice comments. To Bob A regarding the vises: Both the face vise screws and the “tail” vise are from Woodcraft. I have no love for Woodcraft at all! There is one in Reno, which is about a 45 min drive from my house. I have gone down 3 different times for three different items that they were advertising and they have never had them. The last time it happened I called before leaving and confirmed they had the item in stock, arrived within the hour and still no item and no one had a recollection of the call. They are shameless bait and switch sleezoids and very poorly informed about most of their products. Your mileage may vary at your location. Fortunately there is another woodworking store (Apex Saw) down there that delivers to jobs in my area so all I have to do is call down and they’ll bring my stuff right to the job. The items I bought from them I bought online. We were in the middle of a week long snow storm and they were offering free shipping. Also the tail vise was on sale.

The screws are about 30 bucks each (handle not included) and I don’t know why I bought handles from them since I had to make a couple different size dowels for this project anyway, but I did. The tail vise is a 10 1/2” at that address. I Do NOT recommend it. It is build in India by Groz and it has several issues. The back side of the rear jaw convex and irregularly so just a lumpy messed up unfinished surface and it’s the part that will be up against your bench when you mount it so it needs to be fairly smooth or you’ll have to scribe your bench to fit the vise. The second thing wrong with it was the four bosses that the bolts go through to mount it were all a different height, varying a total of over an eighth. This has the affect of making the thing impossible to install square and level. I spent about an hour and a half with an angle grinder grinding the lumps and the belly off the back and then grinding the foot bosses down square and to the same height. Then a little more time scribing the rebate that I cut into the end of the bench for that while mess to fit flush and level. And lastly, the built in dog in the vise is just a cheap piece of flexible molded plastic. I’m going to drill a hole in the chop and use a bench dog but still . . .

The American made Jorgensen is only twenty bucks more and IMO absolutely worth the extra. Hope that helps.

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