Workbench Design

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Forum topic by DaveinCA posted 02-24-2010 07:56 AM 3966 views 3 times favorited 3 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View DaveinCA's profile


18 posts in 3252 days

02-24-2010 07:56 AM

Topic tags/keywords: question workbench

I am just in the beginning stages of collecting materials for a new workbench patterned after John White’s FWW New Fangled Bench. This bench is as close to fitting my needs as I have found however some adjustments have been in order. I do have a fairly detailed SketchUp model, but do not understand the methods of posting it here or providing a link. Be glad to email it to anyone who is interested though.


The size has been adjusted to suit my available space and needs. My biggest concern is what appears to be relatively light framing so I have added a much heavier base borrowing extensively from Bob Key’s Good, Fast, Cheap Bench. This is all very low tech standard dimensional Douglas Fir lumber construction (DF is the West of the Rockies alternative to SYP).


I wanted to give the base and top more mass and stability to resist racking forces and provide a solid foundation to work from. I may be guilty of overkill, but I figured what the heck, framing lumber is relatively cheap and I don’t have any illusions about this being fine furniture or a protected showpiece. Purely functional. I plan on using 3/4” pipe clamps in lieu of 1/2” which has presented some challenges to work around. I also plan on setting the worktop clamps pretty low just because I don’t think I want the top of the metal heads to extend any more than 3/8” of an inch above the top. If anyone has an opinion about this based on their experiences I am very interested in hearing it.


Also I didn’t like the idea of anchoring the clamp screw head and having the entire length of pipe slide through the table so my plan is to pin the back end of the pipe or screw through the outer flange on the screw head into the end support allowing only the plate at the end of the screw to move as it normally would on any table top glue up. I may be missing something but I don’t see a down side to this.

Lastly, I would love some feedback regarding working height. I am 6’-2” and I judge the top surface at +36” to be just about right even considering the slight increase in working height to be expected with edge work. A lot of guys claim a lower top is easier on the back because they can use their legs more for flat planing large areas. I have not felt that need, but then again one of the big reasons for this project is to enable me to look forward to doing more of that kind of work.

By the way I have enthusiastically followed this site for a long while as an interested observer. Finally decided to join in the fun with this great community of producers of rare and exquisitely expensive shavings and sawdust!


-- Dave, Clovis CA

3 replies so far

View a1Jim's profile


117417 posts in 3815 days

#1 posted 02-24-2010 08:02 AM

Thanks Dave
There have been a few guys who have built this bench on Ljs already.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View Sarit's profile


550 posts in 3378 days

#2 posted 02-24-2010 12:15 PM

I’m not sure how that ledge in the front works, but if you don’t need it, you could always build a chest of drawers in the bottom to provide weight and resist racking (plus storage).

View woodworm's profile


14470 posts in 3828 days

#3 posted 02-24-2010 12:37 PM

Very nice drawings!

-- masrol, kuala lumpur, MY.

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