Designing a woodworking bench

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Forum topic by Posty posted 09-14-2013 05:37 PM 1168 views 0 times favorited 7 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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67 posts in 1723 days

09-14-2013 05:37 PM

So I have decided to build a klausz style bench, and I had a question about the top. All the articles and videos I have seen and read have said that you need a perfectly flAt top which I agree with. But they have also said that you need to use a jointer and a thickness planer to achieve this. I have a nice 6” jointer but I don’t have a thicknesslaner and my funds don’t exactly allow me to buy one right now. Even on Craigslist they are about $3-400 and about 50 miles away. Is there an alternative method of getting my top stock square using the tools I have in my shop. I have a 6” jointer, a 2 hp craftsman contractor saw, a 14” band saw, a couple of routers, a more saw, a circular saw and some various hand tools. I plan on making this out of pine or Douglas fir since it is cheap enough and locally available. Rough dimensions are 6 feet long and 2 1/2 feet wide, maybe 3. I also have a delta mortise machine that I am going to use to make the mortises in this project.

7 replies so far

View Loren's profile


10371 posts in 3641 days

#1 posted 09-14-2013 05:48 PM

A benchtop is glued up of board with parallel faces. You can
flatten one face of each board for the top with your jointer.

Then scribe around and plane down to the line with a hand
plane. This is thicknessing by hand. The hand-worked faces
may not glue to the machine-made faces as nicely as you’d
get with a planer, but the bench will work fine just the
same and this is the way everybody had to do it for a long
time anyway.

Technically you can do all the work on the jointer but some
of the parts may come out somewhat tapered. In the
end however you’ll be able to glue mildly tapered parts
up into a rectangular slab. Probably the only person
who will notice the tapers is you.

View mastersus's profile


13 posts in 1737 days

#2 posted 09-14-2013 06:03 PM

I put an old solid core door blank, it’s never moved and that’s almost 20 years now

-- AL, frae bonny Scotland

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile


15341 posts in 2611 days

#3 posted 09-14-2013 06:12 PM

I’d think you can certainly tackle this project with the 6” jointer you have, assuming the stock is ripped and glued up for a benchtop that is less than 6” thick. There are many that have created router sleds for flatting benchtops, too.

The handplane route is well documented; check out the bench Paul Sellers made using, I believe, only a handsaw, a couple chisels and a jack plane… Here's the piece of the series I enjoyed the most.

-- Don't anthropomorphize your handplanes. They hate it when you do that. -- OldTools Archive --

View bondogaposis's profile


4716 posts in 2344 days

#4 posted 09-14-2013 06:40 PM

All you need is a couple of handplanes, a jack and a jointer.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View woodcraftBPW's profile


6 posts in 1723 days

#5 posted 09-14-2013 10:04 PM

I have just recently ‘finished’ a workbench build – I say finished as there are already a few mods I have decided to do as a result of use! :-) My YouTube video (part 1 of 3), of the build airs on Tuesday so maybe keep an eye out for that one.
As per one of the previous commenters, I too Used an old door blank, trimmed with 4X2’s (2×4’s depending on where you are), so far it great, In fact i suspect since the core is of man-made board, it’ll be less likely to change in terms of tem/humidity etc.
On this subject, personally, I agree with other comments – and depending on your skill level, it’s possible to level up the top with purely hand tools ( I personally use a No.5 and No.4 1/2). But i would add that, realistically, it’s probably not worth really getting too hung up about the flatness unless it starts to feel like the rockies, but that’s just my (2cents worth :-) ), good luck with the build and don’t forget to document it!

-- Rick, Cambs UK, http:/

View GerryKD's profile


1 post in 1748 days

#6 posted 09-14-2013 10:25 PM

You can flatten your glued up top using a router. The WoodWhisperer site has a podcast on how its done
It’s also on YouTube

View Posty's profile


67 posts in 1723 days

#7 posted 09-15-2013 12:14 AM

Thanks for the advise guys. Also would youmguysmrecomend using a biscuit jointer on the top parts to keep them level with one another?dont know how much they would move after glueing and clamping.

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