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Forum topic by jcwalleye posted 05-31-2011 03:20 AM 2546 views 1 time favorited 2 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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306 posts in 3313 days

05-31-2011 03:20 AM

Topic tags/keywords: wood working bench vise maple

Day 3 Assemble the Bench & Install Vises
Day 2 The Top Takes Shape
Day 1 Building the Base

I’m going to try to blog a bench build project over the next 3 days. All the materials, equipment, and supplies have been acclimating in the shop for about a month, and I’ve lined up friends to help at various times. The blog will be mostly pictures.

The design for the bench was inspired by the two workbench books written by Christopher Schwarz. While the two are somewhat similar, there are unique design concepts introduced in each. Book 1 “Workbenches from Design & Theory to Construction & Use” introduces the bench’s purpose as a three dimensional clamping tool and then provides exhaustive descriptions of each of the clamping tasks a bench is likely to be called upon to perform. It clarified what I wanted to get from my bench.

The second, “The Workbench Design Book, The Art & Philosophy of Building Better Benches” included 18 principles for building workbenches. It also critiqued 10 workbench styles and included plans and measurements in many cases. I tried to follow as many of the principles as I could in designing the bench to fit my needs and took many ideas from the plans therein. If you are going to put the time and material into making a bench, you really should read one or both of those books.

On to the plan. Google Sketchup is a great tool for someone like me, who needs precise plans, for any hope of ending up with something to be proud of. I drew 6 different bench plans settling on #6. Even then there are a few changes made once in the shop. Here is a pic of bench plan #5 that is substantially the same, but with better annotations.

The basics: The bench will be made from 10’ pieces of 8/4 hard maple laminated to a rough thickness of 3 ½”. The leg assemblies will be 3 ½” x 4 ½” joined to a bottom and top rail with drawbored mortis and tenons. The two leg assemblies will be connected with a middle and back stretcher, again mortis and tenon, but held together with bench bolts for additional strength and knockdown ability. Here are a couple of pics including one that shows the amount of detail in the plan.

The top will be connected to the base with 6 ½” hex bolts through the top rail. There are two vises, a Jorgensen face vise and a Benchcrafted wagon wheel vise. The wagon wheel requires an end cap so the other end will also be capped to keep things in balance. Those are also attached with a lighter bench bolt. There is a row of ¾” dogs in line with the wagon wheel and another row in front of the Jorgensen.

Here’s a pic of the starting materials, roughly 120 board feet. The lengths needed for the base and caps was cut off leaving about 85” of working length for the top.

Day 1 is done and can be found here: Building the Base

-- Trees, a wonderful gift --Joe--

2 replies so far

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20965 posts in 3044 days

#1 posted 05-31-2011 12:24 PM

is that Maple?? you’ll be liking that bench a bunch

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

View jcwalleye's profile


306 posts in 3313 days

#2 posted 06-01-2011 02:54 AM

Yes, hard Maple. It’s hard, heavy, and tough on jointer and planer knives.

-- Trees, a wonderful gift --Joe--

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