A new workbench #2: Cutting all that wood

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Blog entry by Murdock posted 08-23-2011 08:33 PM 1552 reads 0 times favorited 2 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 1: Initial Requirements Part 2 of A new workbench series Part 3: First base is complete »

I finally got around to finalizing a design so I could begin cutting the wood.

I started by purchasing 2 sheets of 3/4 sanded ply and 7 2×8 fir boards, I will also be using some MDF I had on hand.

“Bench in Potentia”

After a new TS blade and a whole lot of ripping I went from a stack of a few boards to a stack of more smaller boards.

I then put together the 2 end assemblies, this is where I made my first mistake. I have 3 different widths of boards I cut out of the 2×8’s for the various components, and when creating the top notch you see in the pictures below, I used the largest width to size it, rather than the correct one which was just over 1/4” shorter. At least I didn’t make the mistake the other direction, I cut off the excess and the bench will now be a bit shorter. “Measure twice and cut once” only works if you are measuring the correct thing. :)

You can see in this picture, which is looking from the ‘inside’ of the bench the notches at the top to take the top crossbars and the start of the notches to take the bottom. There will be another piece to fill-in below that cross bar to complete the leg to the floor. The MDF is here to hold things square more than anything structural. Notice I did not take the MDF all the way to the floor as is done on the WoodSmith Shop bench. This is for 2 reasons, 1. I didn’t want to risk absorbing any moisture from the floor into the MDF, 2. I wanted to be able to reach under the bench from all 4 sides if something was dropped under there.

This pictures is from the ‘outside’ where you can see the screws that hold the MDF in place. You cannot tell from these pictures but the MDF is inset to be flush with the outside of the bench leg.

This is a picture from the ‘front’ of the bench, you can tell here that the MDF is flush and again see where the cross members will be bolting in place.

The base should be complete in one more session in the shop, I want to complete the entire first bench before I work on the other 2 which will probably be made more assembly line fashion with each set of components being cut, assembled, etc before the next.

What I am still trying to figure out though is how to attach the top. I ultimately want to be able to dismantle the bench to move it if necessary.

Some ideas I have had already:
Pocket Screws
‘Z’ Clips
Embedding bolts in the top to go through some sort of cleat in the base
Embedding t-nuts or threaded sleeves in the base to bolt up from the bottom

I have also seen people with hardwood tops just letting gravity hold the top on to some pins. I don’t know if my 1.5” plywood top will be heavy enough for that.

-- "Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new." - Albert Einstein

2 comments so far

View John_G's profile


165 posts in 3809 days

#1 posted 08-23-2011 10:20 PM

looking good, can’t wait to see more pix and progress…..

-- John Gray

View jumbojack's profile


1691 posts in 3742 days

#2 posted 08-23-2011 11:08 PM

IF something goes under the bench. EVERYTHING I drop goes under something, just out of foot scraping distance.
I would secure the top from the bottom. Having nasty metal objects in the bench invites trouble.
I can’t wait to see progress.

-- Made in America, with American made tools....Shopsmith

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