Work bench

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Project by woodenwarrior posted 08-03-2012 02:13 PM 4651 views 10 times favorited 17 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Well here it is, my first project posting on LJ. I built this bench a thousand times in my head while deployed to Afghanistan last year. It took the better part of two months working 1-2 hours a day in the shop (well garage actually, but “the shop” sounds more like I know what I’m doing) to build and it came out exactly as I had envisioned it. The trestle base is oak with a 2 1/2 in. laminated maple top. I mounted a Wood River front vise and bit the bullet and purchased a Veritas twin screw vise for its superior functionality.

The base is all pinned mortise and tenon joinery that should withstand a nuclear strike if need be (you don’t know…it could happen). The oak I used I’ve had on my wood rack for awhile. It wasn’t quite good enough for furniture but I wasn’t about to get rid of it. Using it for the base also gave me an excuse with my wife to buy more wood..bonus. The base went together easily and was a joy to build, unlike the maple top…more on that.

I’ll set the stage: My wife left for a week with my daughter to visit her family in Maine which gave me unfettered access to “the shop” after work and for one gloriously long weekend without any husband/fatherly responsibilities. This was the perfect opportunity to build the top. I had purchased the maple from my local lumber mill…well… the only lumber mill within a few hundred miles to be honest. It was a great price but I could only get 4/4 sawn lumber. “No problem”, I said, “That many laminations will be easy”, I said….yeah..not so much.

After machining all of the strips 3 in. wide and 6’6” long, I set about playing “beat the clock” trying to glue-up and keep mostly even, 11 strips at a time so that they would fit through the planer. Working like a one-armed wallpaper hanger (and with many fine cuss words thrown in) I finally got three sets glued up and ready to be planed. Let’s just say that trying to maneuver a bulky 6ft, 75 lb mass of wood through a planer will test the patience of a saint.

After much scraping and sanding,I had one 30 in wide flat laminated top. The apron is 6 3/4 in wide 2 in thick laminated maple. The blind dovetails connecting them were a challenge but a good learning experience nonetheless. The vise faces are 3 in thick laminated maple. The thumbnail profile will have to come later as I only have a 6 in depth of cut on my bandsaw and buying a riser block and new blade just for that wouldn’t pass the wife test. At this point is was just a matter of assembling it all, which went together without too many curses or yells of frustration. a little more hand planing, scraping and finish sanding, two coats of Danish oil, a finish coat of thinned shellac and I now have work bench that should last me until I meet the grave. I am very happy with it. Its stable and not so embellished that I would shed tears the first time I ding it. Next will be a hand tool cabinet to fill the space between the trestles…after I build the blanket chest my wife wants (she made me write this ;) )

-- Do or do not...there is no try - Master Yoda

17 comments so far

View helluvawreck's profile


32087 posts in 3063 days

#1 posted 08-03-2012 02:18 PM

This workbench looks great and it seems strong and solid and should serve you well.


-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View waho6o9's profile


8516 posts in 2773 days

#2 posted 08-03-2012 02:51 PM

That’s an awesome workbench WoodenWarrior, may you make many great
projects with that nice workbench.

View Gumnut's profile


95 posts in 2354 days

#3 posted 08-03-2012 02:56 PM

I am very jealous of your bench, great job though.
I understand your dilema with the family life balance thing but I find that with the making of projects that improve over time the wife get’s happier because she gets to apreciate good quality furniture and you build up the tools and skills slowly. key word is balance!
Well done.

-- Peter, member of the Fine Woodwork Association

View Gator's profile


383 posts in 3872 days

#4 posted 08-03-2012 03:41 PM

Nice solid looking bench.
I am sure you will enjoy just sitting at it, let alone working on it. A good bench is still on my shop “bucket list”


-- Master designer of precision sawdust and one of a kind slivers.

View exelectrician's profile


2328 posts in 2623 days

#5 posted 08-03-2012 07:03 PM

You have built a solid foundation for your journey in woodworking – well done!

-- Love thy neighbour as thyself

View BenI's profile


333 posts in 2374 days

#6 posted 08-03-2012 09:17 PM

That’s a really nice looking workbench, great job. I would love to make a bench like this.

Thanks for your service by the way.

-- Ben from IL

View nwbusa's profile


1021 posts in 2482 days

#7 posted 08-03-2012 11:27 PM

Great looking bench, nice job!

-- John, BC, Canada

View Ripthorn's profile


1458 posts in 3181 days

#8 posted 08-04-2012 02:10 AM

I have literally felt your pain on the top glue up in the last week. I will be flattening my work bench top tomorrow and have one or two small gaps in the glue up (between the three sections). Oh well, it is what it is. By the way, yours looks quite nice, a much nicer top than mine.

-- Brian T. - Exact science is not an exact science

View Tokolosi's profile


678 posts in 2551 days

#9 posted 08-04-2012 04:27 AM

Beautifull bench. Now you need to take a hammer and give it a couple of good whacks. At random. Then spill something on it. Because you know its going to happen. May as well get it over with. Just kidding. That bench is something to be envious of.

Thank you for your service.

-- “There is nothing like looking, if you want to find something. You certainly usually find something, if you look, but it is not always quite the something you were after.” ~ JRR Tolkien

View AKSteve's profile


475 posts in 2499 days

#10 posted 08-04-2012 02:55 PM

Seriously nice bench, Excellent job!

-- Steve - Wasilla, Alaska

View Ken90712's profile


17594 posts in 3385 days

#11 posted 08-04-2012 03:19 PM

First off Welcome back and glad your ( I assume ) return was a safe one… I read a quote today on here I think you would agree with as I seved as well.

A veteran is someone who, at one point in his/her life, wrote a blank check made payable to “The United States of America,” for an amount of “up to and including his/her life”.

Great job on the bench and some quality shop time,,,,,,,its a real beauty!!! Now get back to the honey do list Mr! LOL

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

View theoldfart's profile


10161 posts in 2647 days

#12 posted 08-04-2012 09:20 PM

Welcome back first sergeant and thank you. I’ve been putting off building a good bench for some time. I’ve bought and read several books on the subject. I built a sizable tool chest so now I guess now I should follow your lead, stop reading, and start working A beautiful bench that you can be proud to pass on to your children.
kevin costa

-- "With every tool obtained, there is another that is needed" DonW ( Kevin )

View woodenwarrior's profile


238 posts in 2391 days

#13 posted 08-06-2012 01:10 PM

@Ripthorn ,
I had a couple of very small gaps in my glue up as well, in addition to one or two unavoidable small knot inclusions. A little five minute epoxy with some sanding sawdust mixed in and spread in the gaps filled the bill nicely. Scrape and sand it down and the gaps will disappear. I would love to see your bench when you complete it.

-- Do or do not...there is no try - Master Yoda

View sheetzy's profile


167 posts in 2355 days

#14 posted 08-08-2012 10:03 AM

Very nice bench. I’m in the middle of putting together my final wood shop. This is 28’ x 32’ two story. Can’t wait to get it done to start building benches and get started on the new kitchen. again…..NICE. sheetzy

-- What this world needs is a little more sawdust on the floor.

View toolmantim's profile


22 posts in 2219 days

#15 posted 12-25-2012 02:19 AM

Real nice look’in bench. Definitely on my list of projects as soon as I make a little room in my shop. Enjoy !

-- " My favorite Place in Life, The Shop "

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