Need Help with table from "The Workbench Book"

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Forum topic by Avispex posted 03-22-2010 04:24 PM 1364 views 0 times favorited 3 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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6 posts in 2954 days

03-22-2010 04:24 PM

Hi all, and thanks to so many of you for all of those welcome messages. I have been on Internet forums for years and this is the first time I received welcome messages from forum members .

I am currently enrolled in a furniture/ woodworking class at a local community college. I should back up a bit. We just bought our first house and it comes with a two car garage with a 12*25 foot workshop attached. It is wired for 220 and has 2 small windows and its own door. I plan to insulate it and put a partition between the shop and the garage so that I can keep the shop heated and use it year round. But, once I knew I was getting a shop, I gave in to my decades of wanting to work with wood and signed up for this class. I also started getting some tools. My class focuses on hand tools, so that is what I have been mostly buying. Eventually I would like to have at least a good minimum set of power tools. I would also like to eventually build my own workbench. Ideally, my dream bench would have the exact bench design that Chris Gochnour is working on in the video that just showed up at the Marc Adams school website: but in the short term, I plan to build something more like the ”$175 workbench” from this article at popular woodworking :

In any case, I am almost finished with my first project for my class and I will have time to build one more thing before the class ends and I lose access to the instruction and those glorious jointers, planers, tablesaws, etc.

The project I am considering is featured in Scott Landis’ “The Workbench Book” in Chapter 7, “A Workbench Sampler” In my version of the book, the particular bench that I love is on page 104, but Landis describes it as “One of the most unusual knockdown bases I have seen was built by Michael Podmaniczky, of Wilmiington, Delaware. The design is based on the workbench of an old Swedish boat builder, Seth Persson, with whom Podmaniczky apprenticed more than 12 years ago….”

I don’t know if it would be a copyright violation to copy the pictures of the bench design so that people who do not own this book could see what I am talking about. But for me, this bench just looks like the ultimate piece of furniture. It looks more carved than constructed. I also love the way the pieces fit together. The main changes I would like to make are that I want to build this simply as a table, not as a knockdown workbench, so I can lose the workbench top and that tool tray on top of the stretcher. I can also scale down the wood a bit so I am not working with legs that are solid boards 2 inches thick. The main features I would like to keep are the crossed, curved legs, the keyed tenons on the stretcher, and the solid, simple aesthetic. Other than that, I am very flexible.

The main areas where I need help are ideas on how to carve the keyhole in that tenon. Would that be considered a type of mortise? Also, if I ditch a workbench top, what would be a good, basic top design that I could possibly mount to this base? Finally, if I think of this as simply a table building project and not a workbench specifically, am I shooting myself in the foot? I mean, would this just look horrible as any kind of table other than a workbench?

If anybody has any ideas, please let me know.



3 replies so far

View Avispex's profile


6 posts in 2954 days

#1 posted 03-24-2010 04:43 PM

View PurpLev's profile


8534 posts in 3613 days

#2 posted 03-24-2010 05:00 PM

yes, that is simply a mortise in the tenon that accepts the ‘key’ which is a wedge that tightens the joint

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View Jedediah's profile


4 posts in 2947 days

#3 posted 03-27-2010 04:38 AM

Lon schleining’s book, The Workbench: A Complete Guide to Creating Your Perfect Bench, has a picture of a purpleheart workbench like Avispex linked to. It looks good and I believe the author stated that it was only the builder’s second project. About a third of the Barnes & Nobles in my area (Dallas/Fort-Worth) keep it in stock if you want to take a look at it.

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