My First Workbench #1: Intro

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Blog entry by GrumpyCub posted 03-31-2016 12:25 AM 1974 reads 3 times favorited 6 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of My First Workbench series Part 2: Bench is finished »

Hello all!

This is my first blog post as a Lumberjocks member so it is sort of an introduction/project progress post.
I got into wood working years ago in high school, and even worked at a cabinet shop for a brief period right out of high school. Recently I built a shop in my back yard and have slowly been getting back into the wood working hobby.

This blog will show my progress on my first wood working bench and I would appreciate any feedback. It has taken me a long time to decide to join the forum and my bench is pretty far along. This first post will start with the beginning and hopefully get to the present.

The base of my bench is a take on a set of plans from woodsmith. It incorporates mortise and tenon joinery and a trestle style using construction grade lumber. My choice of materials for this bench is driven by budget as well as the fact that its my first bench, and I may well decide I want something different once I get further into the hobby. All of the material in he base is reclaimed from a huge pallet a friend of mine gave me from work, so you will see character marks (old nail holes).

On to the pics!

These first two pics show a bit of a learning experience for me. Even with 4 years of high school wood shop, I had never done a mortise and tenon joint. Crazy right? These are not perfect, but I got to experiment with both machined and hand cut mortises and tenons. The mortises in the legs that receive the stretchers I cut with a dado stack and then laminated the 2x stock to make the mortise. All the other mortises I hand cut, as well as all the tenons.

Here is the base dry fitted together. Also, say hello to Sheba! You will see her quite a bit as she thinks she must model for most things.

The tenons on the stretchers I wedged with some pieces of cherry a local cabinet shop let me have from their dumpster.

My base was assembled for a few weeks before I decided on what to do for my top. I read threads on Lumberjocks and other sites to get information on types of materials, thickness, height, etc. In the end I decided on Southern Yellow Pine, again from construction lumber. This time 2×12 material ripped down for a top that is 3 1/2” thick. While making the top my plan was to glue up for 3 sections that were 9” wide each, plane them smooth, then glue the sections together for a solid top. Mid-build, I made the decision to incorporate a tool well in the center section.

Time will tell if I like the tool well. If not, I will lam up a middle section and make a solid top later. For now, it enabled me to add a home made feature that I am pretty excited about. I made a front vice using a pipe clamp. Again, budget is a consideration right now, but in truth I built this because I could, and I wanted to know how effective it would be. This thing is solid and I could not be more pleased with this shop made solution. It has maple jaws and 3/4” guide rods on a 3/4” pipe clamp.

As I said, the bench is pretty far along and I have learned a lot while making it. I still need to drill dog holes and apply an oil finish. I also have a few other things I am considering, but I am looking forward to posting this as a finished project soon!

6 comments so far

View Matt's profile


190 posts in 2099 days

#1 posted 03-31-2016 02:58 AM

cool idea on the vice

-- I do this for fun.

View waho6o9's profile


8836 posts in 3258 days

#2 posted 03-31-2016 03:26 AM

Keep doing the good work!

View NormG's profile


6506 posts in 3684 days

#3 posted 03-31-2016 11:39 PM

Well done, nice bench, I am sure you will use the knowledge you gained during this build to make additional projects

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

View TheTurtleCarpenter's profile


1053 posts in 1747 days

#4 posted 04-01-2016 02:16 AM

Every challenge gains a skill. Fine job on your Bench and Welcome.!

-- "Tying shoelaces was way harder than learning to Whistle"

View GrumpyCub's profile


51 posts in 1470 days

#5 posted 04-01-2016 12:21 PM

Thanks for the encouragement folks!

View helluvawreck's profile


32086 posts in 3547 days

#6 posted 04-01-2016 07:39 PM

That bench will do fine. Congratulations and welcome to Lumberjocks.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

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