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Project by Brian posted 11-27-2012 05:13 PM 3940 views 24 times favorited 17 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Here is the workbench I built this summer. It’s based pretty closely on Christopher Schwarz’s Roubo design from his first workbench book.

Originally I was planning on using ash and laminating it for the top, but a neighbor had a 4” thick 24” wide and 8’ long white pine slab. One single piece and free! It had been used as a bar top for at least 10 years so it was good and dry. I first had to trim off the rounded end and waney edge, then begin the task of flattening this beast! Once I got it flat I added an 8/4 piece of maple to the front edge since that’s where I expect the most wear to take place, and as a bearing surface for the leg vise which is also maple.

I used the Lee Valley screws to make the vises, (I painted them black because that green is atrocious) the leg vice is made from some 8/4 maple about 8.5 inches wide, the wagon vise is a + shaped lamination of maple that moves in a couple of grooves. I lined the wagon vise “pocket” with maple for wear resistance. I added leather to the jaws of both vises and they bite very well.

The base is made of 2 X 12’s laminated together, the legs are 5” X 5” and the stretcher mortises meet in the middle and are mitered. I made white oak dowels with a home made doweling plate and draw-bored all the joints.

I also added a shelf below the top and a sliding deadman. Over all I couldn’t be happier with how it turned out. I was originally concerned about the softness of the top but after nearly six months of use it is holding up very well.


-- Brian, Jericho Vermont

17 comments so far

View pintodeluxe's profile


4185 posts in 1900 days

#1 posted 11-27-2012 05:20 PM

That’s a nice one!

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

View waho6o9's profile


6391 posts in 1664 days

#2 posted 11-27-2012 05:37 PM

Most excellent bench, congrats Brian.

View johngoes's profile


54 posts in 2529 days

#3 posted 11-27-2012 05:47 PM

Beautiful workbench. I am hoping to build a similar bench next Fall after I build my new workshop.

The pine slab caught my attention – a “bar top” that’s “good and dry” sounds funny here in Texas where “dry” and “wet” counties refer to whether alcohol sales are allowed. Thus my brain wouldn’t allow me to expect to find (legally) a bar top that’s dry. – it’s gotta be wet!

(If that weren’t funny, my wife would agree as she constantly complains of my bad humor…)

I have been going back and forth on using square dogs or round dogs. I’m leaning round as I like the flexibility of using holdfasts anywhere I’ve put the round dog holes. Would you mind explaining why you chose round over square dog holes?

-- Anybody can become a woodworker, but only a Craftsmen can hide his mistakes!

View a1Jim's profile


113822 posts in 2664 days

#4 posted 11-27-2012 06:32 PM

Beautiful bench this should serve you well for years to come.

-- Custom furniture

View jap's profile


1243 posts in 1141 days

#5 posted 11-27-2012 08:51 PM

good score for the top

-- Joel

View redsox9's profile


96 posts in 1373 days

#6 posted 11-27-2012 09:12 PM

Very nice – thanks for sharing! How can you beat getting a one-piece top like that?

-- Jeff, North Andover, MA

View Boatman53's profile


919 posts in 1283 days

#7 posted 11-28-2012 01:33 AM

Hi Brian, very nice bench you will enjoy it every time you use it.
If you get tired of the pin in the parallel beam there is is an alternative that I’m selling. You can read a review here.
Good luck with your bench.

-- Jim, Long Island, NY home of the chain leg vise

View GlennsGrandson's profile


439 posts in 1396 days

#8 posted 11-28-2012 02:18 AM

Gorgeous! I’m building a bench that is going to look pretty similar. Inspiration! Those look like some Gramercy Holdfasts there, on my wishlist.

Quality work!!!

-- Grant - S/N Dakota

View tsangell's profile


215 posts in 1780 days

#9 posted 11-28-2012 03:53 AM

Very nice. Love the slab top and the low-buck approach!

View smitty22's profile


667 posts in 2034 days

#10 posted 11-28-2012 04:26 AM

Wonderful bench, hope you don’t have to move it anytime soon!

-- Smitty

View WoodworkGuy's profile


60 posts in 1881 days

#11 posted 11-28-2012 02:26 PM

Outstanding job on your new workbench! You’ll love the functionality of the sliding deadman for larger panels.

-- Making sawdust and memories through woodworking.

View Douglas's profile


372 posts in 1647 days

#12 posted 11-28-2012 05:05 PM

Looks great. I bought those vises for my soon-to-come bench build as well. For the tail vise, did you provide a way to remove the sliding block if you ever had to do repair or maintenance?

-- Douglas in Chicago -

View ericspaw's profile


24 posts in 2560 days

#13 posted 12-01-2012 09:58 PM

You really closed the deal with that top. great looking bench all the way around.

-- I keep cutting and it is still too short.

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile


12268 posts in 1705 days

#14 posted 12-01-2012 10:52 PM

The top and bench look outstanding. Good call painting the hardware, too.

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

View HorizontalMike's profile


6978 posts in 2001 days

#15 posted 12-02-2012 01:25 PM

Great job on the bench! You will find yourself smiling every time you use it for many years to come! Well done!

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

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