21st Century Workbench

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Project by Snakeye posted 11-11-2012 05:47 PM 8817 views 32 times favorited 32 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I started this workbench about a year ago based off this article. Ultimately, this workbench is what launched me into the hand-tool world (as you can see, the dovetails are all hand-chiseled). It took me about 3 months, working for about 5-6 hours every Saturday, to bring the bench up to 90% completion. I then brought it home and started working on it with all my projects. It wasn’t until about 6 months later that I finally decided I needed to fit the bins to the bench (they were already built, but just needed some planing to fit in the spaces), and then another month or two before I finished the double-screw Veritas vice. This weekend, I finally mounted the wooden jaws on the tail vice, and put 2 coats of Boiled Linseed Oil on it. It is now, 1 year later, 100% finished and complete.

The bench is built almost entirely out of European Beech (since I live in Italy and it’s easy to find). What’s not Beech? The 24” double-screw vice is a large Mahogany slab, and the tail vice is Elm (left over from my Beer Cabinet).

I built this almost exactly to Robert Lang’s specs (based off his article). It measures 87” long and 31” wide. The top is 3” thick. I only deviated by 1) not drilling as many dog holes (if I need more, it’s easy to drill them), and 2) I got a 9” tail vice instead of the 7” one used in the article (if some is good, more is better, right?).

The only thing I messed up a little bit: I’m left-handed. As you can tell by the pictures, the vices are set in a right-handed arrangement. I realized this after I had drilled the mounting holes for the tail vice… I didn’t feel like chopping off a few inches and re-doing it (or filling the drill holes with wood), so right-handed arrangement it was. To be honest, I don’t even notice. I’ve not had any problems planing or sawing with the vice arrangement as it is.

It’s a dream to work on. It’s heavy as hell and sturdy – I could park my SUV on the thing and it wouldn’t flinch. Hopefully it will last a long time with all the moves I have left to make!

32 comments so far

View a1Jim's profile


117276 posts in 3752 days

#1 posted 11-11-2012 05:52 PM

Looks great what a wonderful place to work for years to come.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View Tokolosi's profile


678 posts in 2530 days

#2 posted 11-11-2012 06:45 PM

That is a beautiful bench!!!

-- “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 mafe's profile


11741 posts in 3264 days

#3 posted 11-11-2012 06:48 PM

Dam, that is a killer!
I love it.
Best thoughts,

-- MAD F, the fanatical rhykenologist and vintage architect. Democraticwoodworking.

View blackcherry's profile


3338 posts in 3998 days

#4 posted 11-11-2012 06:57 PM

Wonderful job and I know you’ll enjoy because it my very own bench as well. Over the years I’ve grown to love working on it and use the bottom area of the bench to store my lumber making the bench a rock to move…enjoy your new work mate thanks for posting Blkcherry

View Jamie Speirs's profile

Jamie Speirs

4168 posts in 3031 days

#5 posted 11-11-2012 06:59 PM

That will launch many projects.

What a great bench, I like your vice changes.


-- 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 Budmon's profile


27 posts in 2206 days

#6 posted 11-11-2012 07:03 PM

Wonderful bench

-- Bud, North Carolina

View sb194's profile


197 posts in 3193 days

#7 posted 11-11-2012 11:04 PM

Great bench. It should last a few lifetimes.


View HorizontalMike's profile


7770 posts in 3089 days

#8 posted 11-11-2012 11:06 PM

Congrats on the “righty tighty” version of the 21st Century WB. I made mine for “lefties” with the vices on the other ends. YOU ARE GOING TO LOVE IT! And well done!

-- HorizontalMike -- "Woodpeckers understand..."

View ic3ss's profile


391 posts in 2951 days

#9 posted 11-12-2012 01:08 AM

I found this workbench article several months ago and I’m determined to build it, I just don’t have the room for it right now. Nice build, good luck moving it from Italy.


-- "I am endeavoring, ma'am, to construct a mnemonic memory circuit using stone knives and bear skins."

View thewoodworker01's profile


93 posts in 2320 days

#10 posted 11-12-2012 01:24 AM

Wow, makes me drool!! I wish I could say it was mine. I would like to sometime redo my workbenches and make them similar to yours. Great build!

-- Most people say "Measure Twice, Cut Once." I say, "Cut Twice, Measure Once".

View love2cad's profile


39 posts in 2231 days

#11 posted 11-12-2012 01:26 AM

Spectacular workbench. Great work!

-- Bobby

View oldnovice's profile


7273 posts in 3542 days

#12 posted 11-12-2012 02:02 AM

Beautiful work and outstanding looking bench!

-- "I never met a board I didn't like!"

View thedude50's profile


3603 posts in 2652 days

#13 posted 11-12-2012 02:43 AM

very nice. I am making two of these right now. One is almost done the other will go much quicker. They are a fun build. I BOUGHT THE DVD AND WAS A BIT UPSET THAT THEY DIDN’T FIX THE ERRORS ON THE DISK

-- Please check out my new stores and

View dnick's profile


986 posts in 2557 days

#14 posted 11-12-2012 04:31 AM

Wonderful bench. Areally great job, and a great place to work.

-- dnick, North Hollywood, Ca.

View Drunken Woodworker's profile

Drunken Woodworker

70 posts in 2427 days

#15 posted 11-12-2012 07:16 AM

Great job! I’d be proud to work off this bench!

-- Visit my blog at

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