V8 Degree wedge powered workbench #5: Assembling the inter-laid legs.

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Blog entry by shipwright posted 09-07-2012 03:31 AM 10612 reads 9 times favorited 13 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 4: Fitting the top edges and ends Part 5 of V8 Degree wedge powered workbench series Part 6: Mounting the Wagons and Cosmetic Top. »

Ok, lets get into the leg assemblies. This is one of the really interesting parts of my bench. The leg assemblies end up as perfectly fitted finger joints with the very best possible glue joint but can be cut and assembled with butt joints and simple fasteners. I used a pneumatic stapler.

Here I have fitted the inner leg vice piece. It is 1 3/4” X 6” arbutus and is half lapped inside the face board up to one layer into the bench top. It is fitted here to act as a spacer while assembling the plywood leg members for the vice end of the bench. You can see, just inside this piece, that there is a hole that goes right through the top layers. This will be filled by the outer of the two plywood leg layers.

Here the two plywood leg members have been dry fitted. The first in its hole in the tabletop and the second (inner) butted against the bottom.

Pulled out for a photo op, the whole leg vice leg joint looks like this. It isn’t that important here how the interlock works as much as that it does interlock in some way to make a rigid base for the vise. The second piece of arbutus on the outside is the movable vice component.

In this photo three recesses have been jig sawn into the 1 1/2” plywood leg member and the five layer top leg beam is laid up beside it…. all dry fits so far.

Now the top beam has been dry fitted and the five layer back leg has been added. You can see that the vice end piece now has jig sawn recesses for the bottom leg beam.

Finally the lower beam has been dry fitted and the leg is complete. The fact that the beam is not completely filling the space left for it in the bottom layer of the top is because at this point I was still planning to “plate” the plywood with 1/2” arbutus to create the solid wood illusion.

On to the free standing leg. This photo shows one of the alternating layers of the free standing leg. All joints are simple butts.

This is the other alternate layer. The joints are reversed here and the verticals run through the top, not the bottom. By alternating these layers the leg can be laid up with staples and glue to form a monolithic structure of immense rigidity and strength. It isn’t even necessary that all pieces be full length. You can, with discretion, use up some short pieces in these leg layups with no loss in strength. It’s very material efficient.

Here the leg is being assembled for a dry fit. It’s easy to see how the layering will work.

This is a little video of how easy these parts are to assemble. It was actually shot to detail the use of hot glue, hence the dialog.

Last thing before the glue up was to jig saw holes for the stretchers.

Here are the legs all glued up, sanded and ready to assemble to the stretchers and table.

Here are the box beam stretchers…..

...And here is the whole assembly. This is as far as you need to go to have a solid base for your bench. The rest of what I did was just to make it a little prettier.

Same shot but right side up. The dog hole inserts are installed and glued in here but the vices are just sitting in place.

Next I got a little carried away and walnut veneered the legs. The original plan, as I said was to “plate” them with 1/2” arbutus. Hammer veneering it was easier.

and the stretchers.

Now I’m just having too much fun. Here the little solid walnut “feet” have been screwed on the bottoms of the legs and a bit of stain applied to accent the grain.

Well that about does it for the legs. Next up will be installing the vices and cosmetic top.

Hope this is understandable.

Thanks for dropping in.

Questions, comments and critiques are, as always, welcome.


-- Paul M ..............If God wanted us to have fiberglass boats he would have given us fibreglass trees.

13 comments so far

View Joe Lyddon's profile

Joe Lyddon

10123 posts in 4081 days

#1 posted 09-07-2012 04:07 AM

You sure changed the picture dramatically when you started covering up that Plywood!

Just goes to show… what you see is NOT necessarily what you’re going to get! LOL

Super design… Beautiful use of plywood!

Do you have a Sketchup model prepared for this… knowing you, I’d say it helped you quite a bit…
... going to make it Public? (grin)...

Thank you… What Hat size are you up to now? LOL

-- Have Fun! Joe Lyddon - Alta Loma, CA USA - Home: ... My Small Gallery:"

View lanwater's profile


3111 posts in 2963 days

#2 posted 09-07-2012 05:46 AM

Great series of blog Paul.

using plywood for the base got got me thinking that it was time to start on my bench.
I have some of plywood and ply is cheaper than regular lumber.

That walnut venneer dramatically changed the picture…Wow!

Venneering will be a challenge for me. I have never done / learned it.
I guess I can resaw some 1/8 or 1/4 inch “skin” and glue it on ( just thinking out loud).

At any rate your design will come up much cheaper than most alternatives.


-- Abbas, Castro Valley, CA

View Lee A. Jesberger's profile

Lee A. Jesberger

6859 posts in 4008 days

#3 posted 09-07-2012 08:43 AM

As always, Paul, beautiful work.

You make me miss my shop time!


-- by Lee A. Jesberger

View JimDaddyO's profile


549 posts in 3108 days

#4 posted 09-07-2012 01:19 PM

View Julian's profile


1348 posts in 2719 days

#5 posted 09-07-2012 02:54 PM

I think your plywood design is genius. All that laminated plywood is extremely strong and rigid. Plus you don’t have to worry about the wood expanding, twisting, etc.. The veneer makes your bench look as good as any other work bench I have seen.

-- Julian

View stefang's profile


15881 posts in 3363 days

#6 posted 09-07-2012 04:47 PM

Looks wonderful. The walnut gives it that extra fine look.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View DocSavage45's profile


8609 posts in 2871 days

#7 posted 09-07-2012 04:59 PM

I’m awestruck! Time, patience, a lot of mistakes…LOL, and your character come through! Trying to catch up but I never will. So just keep cutting the path for us.

-- Cau Haus Designs, Thomas J. Tieffenbacher

View DocSavage45's profile


8609 posts in 2871 days

#8 posted 09-07-2012 05:01 PM

Oh yeah, Love the port holes in the beautiful shop!

-- Cau Haus Designs, Thomas J. Tieffenbacher

View 489tad's profile


3370 posts in 3040 days

#9 posted 09-07-2012 09:12 PM

I agree with all above. Using plywood is smart and the veneer is such a great idea. It looks great.

-- Dan, Naperville IL, I.G.N.

View Roger's profile


20929 posts in 2833 days

#10 posted 09-07-2012 10:32 PM

You should be able to park an F-350 SuperDuty Ford truck on that baby

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Keep your dust collector fed.

View shipwright's profile


7996 posts in 2826 days

#11 posted 09-08-2012 05:03 AM

Yes Joe, There will be a sketchup at the end of the blog.

-- Paul M ..............If God wanted us to have fiberglass boats he would have given us fibreglass trees.

View Schwieb's profile


1858 posts in 3490 days

#12 posted 09-08-2012 09:40 AM

Sweet bench Paul. Let me guess, that was hide glue for all that glue-up and veneering, right? This gives me an idea for using some beautiful cherry veneer that I bought for a song awhile back. Got my Hold-Heet pot BTW.

-- Dr. Ken, Florida - Durch harte arbeit werden Träume wahr.

View Joe Lyddon's profile

Joe Lyddon

10123 posts in 4081 days

#13 posted 09-08-2012 05:19 PM

Thank you!

-- Have Fun! Joe Lyddon - Alta Loma, CA USA - Home: ... My Small Gallery:"

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