Building my Workbench #2: My (almost) Final Design... maybe... sorta

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Blog entry by HokieKen posted 08-31-2016 04:35 PM 1875 reads 0 times favorited 3 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 1: Quit thinking and relocate your donkey! Part 2 of Building my Workbench series Part 3: I'm getting to the beginning... »

Well I’m back. In this entry, I’ll be showing you my design and going over why I made some of the decisions that I did and why I’m still kinda floundering on a couple more. So, on with it!

Here’s a view of my 3D model. As you can see it’s very similar to a split top Roubo.

I tried to decide for months whether or not to put a tool tray in and whether or not to make it a split top. I ultimately decided that I definitely need a tool tray. There is always a tote full of tools on my bench that is consistently in my way. I started really paying attention to, and evaluating, my work habits and a tool tray is absolutely something I want.

More on that in a moment…

Now how about a split top? Nope. Never really liked the gaping chasm between the 2 pieces. My bench is used for assembly as well as everything else (including wrapping gifts at Christmas) so, I want a solid, continuous piece for the top. So where does the tool tray go?

As you can see in the model, there are actually 2 “holes”. I intend to use one for a chisel/saw type holder and the other as a tool well. Both will be removable and can be flipped over to be flush with the bench top in the event that becomes necessary (although I doubt it will). Between the 2 “holes” and on each end will be oak pieces glued to the rest of the top. So it’s still continuous all the way across. I’m also going to fix it so the chisel-type holder can be pulled up slightly to act as a planing stop.

Here are the measurements:

Everything will be made from the Oak beams I showed in the first entry of this blog except I’m considering bordering the top with some 4/4 Walnut just to make it purrdy ;-P I expect to finish out the beams at 3.5 X 7.5, maybe a little more but I drew it up at those dimensions. I like having the 7.5” wide legs but decided to laminate another inch onto the front to make them 4.5” deep. It gives better proportions and allows me to cut the mortises for the long stretchers with a dado stack before lamination. In fact, with this design, the only mortises I’ll have to chop will be the ones for the short stretchers. And believe me, that’s more than enough for my tastes.

Speaking of joinery, the stretchers will all be joined to the legs with drawbored M&T, blind on the shorts and through on the longs. I keep waffling on the joinery for the top though. I like the look of the through mortise and dovetail but I’m also not sure I want the exposed endgrain on the top. I’m also considering just a large blind mortise for each leg. Still am not positive one way or the other but I’m leaning toward the tenon/dovetail as shown.

There will be a shelf on the bottom that will house a small bank of drawers. I know Chris Schwarz just cried a little but I simply need them. I have stuff on a shelf under my bench now that simply has no place to go in my small shop. I’ll set them back about 6” from the front and leave 8-12” clearance from the bottom of the top. That way they won’t interfere with clamping of any sort.

There will be a simple end vise on the right side that will span the full width and dog holes as shown. You can see the cutouts for leg vise hardware on the front left leg. I put the cutouts in the model so I wouldn’t put my stretchers in the way. I don’t think I need a sliding deadman but can add one later if I change my mind.

So that’s where I’m at. Whaddya think?

Next time, I should be underway on getting those big-assed beams cut to rough length and surfaced!

-- I collect hobbies. There is no sense in limiting yourself (Don W) - - - - - - - - Kenny in SW VA

3 comments so far

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile


17136 posts in 3595 days

#1 posted 08-31-2016 05:22 PM

I love my under bench drawers, just sayin’. Let the Anarchist cry if he must.

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

View ToddJB's profile


8723 posts in 3107 days

#2 posted 08-31-2016 07:49 PM

Looking good to me, Kenny

-- I came - I sawed - I over-built

View Thom's profile


36 posts in 2400 days

#3 posted 09-02-2016 12:45 AM

Sweet design I like your take on a tool well definitely a great way to go

-- Thom CT.

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