Steve Latta's Inlay Bench

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Project by Tony Strupulis posted 07-11-2013 04:27 AM 4196 views 18 times favorited 11 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Steve Latta's Inlay Bench
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In one of Steve Latta’s many inlay DVDs, he discusses the design and construction of his inlay bench. I built mine to do federal inlay work, but I have found it to be a very useful bench for other tasks.

I picked up an 8/4 maple slab at my local hardwood dealer. The end of the board had a split in it. I elected to go for the extra bench length and leave it in and fill the crack with epoxy. I figured the end of the bench won’t see a lot of hard action and the crack is mostly cosmetic. I drilled a single row of dog holes down the centerline of the bench. I can use the dog holes with the metal dog on the Pony vise, with holdfasts, or with a Veritas Bench Pup.

Each pair of legs is constructed like an I-beam or an engineered joist. I had some 2×10 lumber kicking around and I ripped some 2×6s out of the clear sections of the board. I cut a dado down the center of each 2×6 to accept a 1” thick OSB stair tread for the web of the beam. I glued the leg assemblies together. Once dry, I attached them to the slab with 3/8” diameter dowels. I used six dowels per leg assembly, three in each 2×6. I notched the bottom of each leg to allow the inlay bench to be clamped to my main bench.

Like I said, I find this bench to be very useful for things besides inlay work. I can clamp my Moxon vise to the bench for sawing dovetails. It is higher than it should be, but I like that height for sawing dovetails. Then I take the vise off and clamp boards flat for chopping and paring dovetails.

I am active in the local woodworking club and I have taken the inlay bench to club meetings to demonstrate techniques. It is heavy, but it fits nicely in the back seat of the car. I can then clamp the bench to one of those white plastic tables. It isn’t ideal, but it is much easier than hauling a full sized bench around.

This is a fantastic little bench! Even if you don’t do inlay work, it is a very handy bench to have around.

-- Tony -

11 comments so far

View aussiedave's profile


3014 posts in 609 days

#1 posted 07-11-2013 10:56 AM

Great idea…might just have to make one of those myself….thanks for sharing and well done…

-- Dave.......Keep calm and make more sawdust....

View Jeff_in_LSMO's profile


227 posts in 1125 days

#2 posted 07-11-2013 02:06 PM

I noticed your holdfast. I have the same ones. They are great.

View Sanding2day's profile


981 posts in 631 days

#3 posted 07-11-2013 03:03 PM

Pretty slick… Thanks for sharing…

-- Dan

View WhoMe's profile


1128 posts in 2028 days

#4 posted 07-11-2013 05:46 PM

Several really good ideas there. Bookmarking this for future reference. Thanks for sharing.

-- I'm not clumsy.. It's just the floor hates me, the tables and chairs are bullies and the wall gets in the way.. - Mike -

View steliart's profile


1816 posts in 1473 days

#5 posted 07-11-2013 05:56 PM

nice one!

-- Stelios L.A. Stavrinides: - I am not so rich to buy cheap tools, but... necessity is the mother of inventions - --

View CL810's profile


2542 posts in 1773 days

#6 posted 07-11-2013 08:29 PM

This is a great build. I marked this as a favorite.

-- "It's amazing how much can go wrong when you think you know what you're doing."

View Ken90712's profile


15344 posts in 1973 days

#7 posted 07-12-2013 08:03 AM

great work, solid build….

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

View dmmflys's profile


43 posts in 1182 days

#8 posted 07-17-2013 02:59 AM

Is that the same pony vice that you can get from Menards? If so how do you like it I’ve been thinking about picking one up for my new (yet to be built) workbench.

View mafe's profile


9764 posts in 1874 days

#9 posted 07-17-2013 03:31 PM

Really cool.
Best thoughts,

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

View OggieOglethorpe's profile


914 posts in 895 days

#10 posted 07-17-2013 03:59 PM

Mini benches are an often overlooked tool…

Nice job on yours, I’m sure you’ll reap the benefits of it for many years to come!

View Tony Strupulis's profile

Tony Strupulis

240 posts in 1908 days

#11 posted 07-18-2013 06:21 PM

We don’t have a Menards here. It is a Jorgensen 7” Pony vise. I need to do some work to it. The guides don’t run parallel with the bench top. When the vise is opened, the front jaw rises above the bench top by an inch or so. I think this might be intentional to counteract vise droop. I would like it to run flat so when I clamp a table leg to the bench with the pop up dog it will sit flat on the bench. It is just a matter of me taking the time to shim the vise. Otherwise, I’m satisfied with the vise.

I also plan on making wooden jaw liners and Steve’s tapered jaw liner for holding a tapered leg. Just a matter of time…

-- Tony -

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