|Project by arudson||posted 06-21-2013 10:54 PM||3504 views||24 times favorited||22 comments|
My start to woodworking began when I wanted to make a cedar strip canoe. The plans I used called for the construction of an 18 foot long strong-back from 2×10 SPF upon which the canoe would be made. I made the strong-back, and over a long period of time completed the canoe. When the canoe was all done, I was left, essentially, with a long, low, narrow table and I needed to something with it. I decided to disassemble it and use the materials to make a workbench. Despite the gobs of hardened epoxy resin on some parts and the screw holes in others, that workbench served me well for almost 25 years. I broke down and reassembled that workbench for three moves; it did everything I could ask of it and more.
Many woodworkers long to have a workbench like those featured in the woodworking magazines, I know I sure did. Finally, I decided, it was time to make a new workbench for myself. Something with a couple of vices as my old one only had one plastic vice screwed to the top. Something stable so when I worked a board on the top the whole bench wouldn’t wobble and squeak as I have been accustomed. Something that is a good height for woodworking as my current bench was about 3 inches too high making it awkward for many applications. And finally, something that offered lots of storage space – maybe not as much as the two 7’ full length open shelves of my old bench, but something with a cabinet where I could keep things organized and free of dust.
I looked through many books and magazines on different workbench designs and landed on a hybrid. I really liked the cabinet of the workbench featured in ShopNotes Issue #84 and the bench top of Woodsmith Issue #173, so I combined the two. My workbench cabinet is made of straight grain Douglas Fir while the top is made from Ash. I had wanted to use Maple for the top but where I live Ash is less than half the cost and consuming about 100 bf on the top alone, the savings was significant.
I am very happy with how my bench came out. It took some creativity to figure a way to join the top to the base but it all worked out very well. I wasn’t seeking to have a shelf under the bench top but this is what worked best for my design; I’m not sure it this will end up being a blessing or a curse. Although I have good useful storage space, my old bench offered much more and I am still trying to figure how the make the best use of the space I have.
I hope you enjoy these pictures of my new bench. Looking at benches that other Lumberjock’s have posted on this site sure was helpful for me; it allowed me to understand the pros and cons of different design features and determine what was most important to me. Perhaps my posting may help others.