Daddy's Little Helper Workbench

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Blog entry by 47phord posted 08-28-2013 02:02 AM 2835 reads 3 times favorited 7 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I’ve been meaning to make my 8 year-old a workbench so he can ‘help’ me when I’m out in the shop, but kept putting it off. When I saw Baligh’s latest contest, I couldn’t think of an idea for a project, then it hit me: “I’ll make a workbench!”. So, here it goes.

This is what I started with: 1- 8’ 2×8 piece of Douglas Fir, 6 board feet of 1×6 pine, 1-4×4x1/2 sheet of CDX plywood (not shown), 1-3’x1” oak dowel, 1-3’x5/8” oak dowel, 1-1’x5/8 piece of threaded rod, 3-5/8” nuts, pocket hole screws, Titebond III.

I decided on pocket hole joinery over mortise and tenons primarily because it was more in line with the ‘kit’ motif of the contest, plus it’s much faster and easier.

Here is the back-end, all screwed together.

This is the other reason I went with pocket holes, my Little Helper could actually help!

Here is a shot of the main body, all assembled. You can kind of see that the left-hand leg is wider than the others. I did that because…

I wanted to add a vice. The jaw is made out of a piece of the leg off-cut and two pieces of the 5/8” dowel.

This is the handle for the vice. Another piece of fir that I band-sawed and sanded into shape, with two pieces of the 1” dowel for handles.

Another shot of the vice handle. You can see I epoxy’d a nut into the handle, which of course will thread onto the threaded rod. You can also see that the damned thing split when I drove the nut into the hole. I opened up the hole a smidge, and glued up the crack.

And a couple shots of the finished project. I attached the vice handle with a little Loc-tite to keep it secure, and cut the CDX to size for the bench top and the shelf below.

This is all I had left out of the original materials. Start to finish, the whole thing took me about four hours to build. It was a fun project to build and I think I got about $35 in the whole thing.

And finally, here is my little man going to work. The finished size of the bench is 36” wide by 18” deep by 30 1/2” tall. It’s a bit tall for him right now, but then he’s a bit too young to do any serious work. I figure by the time he grows into it, his attention span will be long enough to actually build something. For now, he is content to saw off pieces of wood and nail them together. Thanks for taking a look!

7 comments so far

View NormG's profile


6507 posts in 4164 days

#1 posted 08-28-2013 04:48 AM

What a great bench idea, well done, hope he remains interested

-- Norman - I never never make a mistake, I just change the design.

View murch's profile


1380 posts in 3784 days

#2 posted 08-28-2013 04:56 PM

Great project. If you teach them to be good at woodworking I think they’ll be good at life.

-- A family man has photos in his wallet where his money used to be.

View 47phord's profile


182 posts in 3397 days

#3 posted 08-28-2013 09:48 PM

I hope he stays interested too, it’s nice having something to do together with the young-un’s.

View Roger's profile


21054 posts in 3964 days

#4 posted 08-29-2013 12:00 AM

Nice. He may fill Tommy Mac’s shoes in a few decades

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Keep your dust collector fed. [email protected]

View Dogboy's profile


94 posts in 3773 days

#5 posted 08-29-2013 12:07 AM

inspired to build my daughter one of these. thanks

-- No mistakes, just kindling

View 47phord's profile


182 posts in 3397 days

#6 posted 08-29-2013 12:14 AM

Roger-I hope so. Then I can retire and he can support me! :)

View exit116's profile


140 posts in 2952 days

#7 posted 09-13-2013 02:04 AM

very nice, I hope to add something like this in basement (where it’s warm) my boy is 12 and will be making some wooden holiday gifts. Thanks for posting, there are some small coin banks for kids to build at the big box stores around the this time of year, have fun

-- Money: if you do not have fun earning it, have fun spending it, I do not enjoy spending it so I have fun earning it.

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