Miniature Bench #1: Steve Latta's Mini Bench Plan

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Blog entry by HappyHowie posted 01-30-2016 02:38 PM 4633 reads 1 time favorited 0 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of Miniature Bench series Part 2: Legs with Feet and Mortises for Clamping to Main Workbench »

With my sore back, I needed a solution when working at my workbench. Clamping a mini-bench seems like a good step to take. Of the plans I have seen I like Steve Latta’s miniature bench that was presented in Fine Woodworking Magazine. I bought the plan and printed the article. The reason I like it is because along the working edge of the bench, the legs are flush with the benchtop. This allows the user to clamp boards, etc to the side of the mini-bench.

I had most of the lumber already in my shop. I did go shopping for a nice sized 8/4 plank of cherry.


After milling my lumber and planing flat and square my benchtop made from the 8/4 plank, I needed to drill the 3/4 inch dog holes. I discovered that using my spade drill bit that I needed to clamp everything down on my floor drill press; otherwise the bit would have the plank climb or lift off the table.

I used one of my super sawhorse’s with an outfeed support rack to hold this 2 inch think board level for my drill press.


I also planed a space block for mounting my vise to the benchtop. I sized the thickness of this block so that the vise would be 1/16 of inch below the benchtop’s top surface.

Then with two 5/16” lag screws 2 1/2” long I pre-drilled their holes and fastened the vise to the benchtop. I also cut the vise pads, clamped them together and marked the center so I could drill a 3/8” diameter hole vertically through its center. This is so I can have the option of clamping tapered legs, etc in this vise. To fasten the pad to the vise jaws I use 1/4” hangerbolts for the inside jaw and #14 – 1 inch long panhead screws to hold the pad to the outer jaw.


I have also started to make the legs for this bench. I am hoping to make the legs so they are flush on both sides of the benchtop. However, that may be difficult to pull off. I noticed the Steve Latta only got one side of his bench to be flush.

To start I glued two 3/4” scrap pieces of plywood together. i cut them to size. Nibbled 1/8” deep along the bottom edge but leaving one inch on each end for the leg’s feet. I cut out a notch on each of the two legs so I could clamp this miniature bench to the top of my workbench, or some other table or flat surface. There was also a rectangular hole I cut in one leg by drilling holes in each corner and using my jig saw to cut the rest. This hole is there so the back end of the vise can fit through the leg. I discovered that my benchtop thickness was more than the purchased plan; thus, I had to custom fit the legs and the vise spacer block accordingly. In my view, if I could mill my 8/4 inch plank thicker than the plan, then that was a good thing. My cherry benchtop is close to being 2 inches thick versus the plan’s 1 3/4 inches.

My next step is to use my hollow mortiser to cut into the cherry leg support for the clamping notch. i will detail more on the build of these legs in my next post…

-- --- Happy Howie

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