I’m working on a hard maple woodworking bench, using inspiration from The Workbench Book (1983) by Scott Landis. I would appreciate feedback on this project. All the major pieces have been cut and smoothed, although not all are cut to final length. I have not begun mortising the joints yet, nor have I created the dogholes or set the vises, so now’s the time for tweaking.
The benchtop is hard maple, 2 13/16 thick, with an African Padauk tail vise (Lie-Nielsen hardware). The doghole strip is American Oak, and the Apron is birdseye maple. The stretchers are figured maple with African Padauk keys for the key-through joints. The benchtop rests on the arms and is held in place by bullet dowels. Bullets at the front side of the bench are roughly to size whereas the bullets to the rear of the bench sit in holes that are oversize, to allow for movement of the bench away from the vises. Similarly, end caps will be glued for the first 1/3rd of the bench top but will remain free to allow for sliding of the bench away from the vises. The front vise is a Sheffield, England made Eclipse 10” vise modeled on Record’s famous 52 1/2D.
Modifications that I’ve made (from plans in Landis’s book) include setting the front legs so that a bit of the front right leg can be used for additional support when clamping a workpiece vertically in the tail vise. I almost goofed and originally put the leg too far under the tail vise so that work would hit the tenon and key, but I’ve rectified that error. I was also careful not to have doghole placement issues. The Lie-Nielsen vise instructions had a mislabled benchtop thickness of 3”, so due to that error in their installation guide I added blocking for the tail vise because the bench top was not thick enough (should have been 4”). I’m using 1×1 bench dogs using the spring design that Rob Cosman shows on his Swedish-style bench (look for it on Youtube).
I welcome questions, comments and critiques – particularly those that help me avoid errors before the build is complete! If you are not into the style of the bench (i.e. you’re a Roubo fan) I’m sorry but I’m not changing horses mid-stream :)