Making of the Workshop - Behind the Scene #2: The Bench

  • Advertise with us
Blog entry by Thuan posted 03-03-2008 04:25 AM 1566 reads 2 times favorited 13 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 1: Going Green Part 2 of Making of the Workshop - Behind the Scene series Part 3: What You Can Get For $1 »

My plan today was to build a workbench for the new workshop. I had the day to myself and wanted to get the thing built before I had to start dinner. This is actually a lofty goal since I had no idea what I was building. I didn’t plan much, I stopped by Agent Orange on the way home from work yesterday and asked them to rip a sheet of MDF to 23-1/2 “ wide. Got some 2×3 pine to along with that, total price, $28. The rest of the materials were things I had saved from my old shop, a couple of 4×4 redwoods and some 1×3 poplars.

I did know the bench would be built permanently onto the wall, it would have a way to clamp wood for planning and cutting dovetails and tenons. That was it. My last work bench was an IKEA stepstool I had purchased for $9.99. It’s design would inspire my new workbench by having a multipurpose slot on the top.
Work Bench
So I went to work. Now, I’m not good at taking pictures of the procedures since it slows down my creative process. But this is the final product. Six hours of work and about $60 worth of materials. I hope it works. The slot is designed for my Japanese saw, it cuts on the pull stroke, so I use the downward force to hold down the wood. This notch gives me clearance as I like to kneel and cut on the down stroke.
saw slot
The front slots is for clamps, there’s plenty of holes so it offers plenty of flexibility. I have more ideas on jigs and attachment for my bench, but that will have to wait for later.
The top is held down my gravity and wood dowels, hammered in and cut flushed. This lets me flip the top and change it should it wears.
Bechclamps slots
After dinner, I continued working on the shop and found a used for an old bamboo ladder. I had a left over cherry door form one of my kitchen client, I used it on the white bookshelf even though it didn’t fit. It thought it looks better with it. Next step is to make wall cabinets from the old shelving the last owner left behind.
West Wall

-- Thuan

13 comments so far

View grovemadman's profile


556 posts in 4134 days

#1 posted 03-03-2008 04:37 AM

Looks solid and simple. I like the clamp slots in the front a lot and they look handy. Looks like you got plenty of room to expand if needed…

-- --Chuck

View kshipp's profile


179 posts in 4141 days

#2 posted 03-03-2008 04:53 AM

Those keyholes at the front of the bench are an excellent idea for clamping. I was trying to figure out the other day how I could hold some boards vertically on my workbench.

-- Kyle Shipp,

View GaryK's profile


10262 posts in 4351 days

#3 posted 03-03-2008 05:13 AM

I’ve never seen anything like your clamp slots before. That’s a great idea!

-- Gary - Never pass up the opportunity to make a mistake look like you planned it that way - Tyler, TX

View Dorje's profile


1763 posts in 4360 days

#4 posted 03-03-2008 06:26 AM

Very inventive! Visually appealing too!

-- Dorje (pronounced "door-jay"), Seattle, WA

View WhiskeyWaters's profile


213 posts in 4168 days

#5 posted 03-03-2008 06:34 AM

I like the cut slot personally – might be getting myself a new workshop space. I’ll have to steal er…cough borrow your ideas.

-- make it safe & keep the rubber side down.

View DustyNewt's profile


690 posts in 4225 days

#6 posted 03-03-2008 12:09 PM

Fresh, simple ideas! I knew when you came on board LumberJocks that you would be interesting to follow. Thanks for sharing, Thuan.

-- Peace in Wood ~

View Thuan's profile


203 posts in 4181 days

#7 posted 03-03-2008 05:41 PM

Thanks everyone, I really wanted to add something of value to the Lumberjock community so that we can all share. I receive plenty of ideas from this site.

-- Thuan

View RobS's profile


1334 posts in 4669 days

#8 posted 03-04-2008 08:05 AM

Awesome bench and excellent ideas! You are very resourceful, thanks for sharing.

-- Rob (A) Waxahachie,TX

View Blake's profile


3443 posts in 4237 days

#9 posted 03-04-2008 11:58 PM

You are amazing, Thuan. Your simple yet extremely effective sense of “streamlined” style is so cool. You incorporated multiple ideas into this bench that I had never seen or would have thought of before. Are they original ideas straight from the brain of Thuan or have you seen them somewhere before? Either way, bravo. Very cool bench. For $60 bucks and an afternoon it looks as solid as a rock. What was for dinner?

-- Happy woodworking!

View bfd's profile


502 posts in 4170 days

#10 posted 04-05-2008 05:54 PM

Hi Thuan,

Gotta tell you that is a great idea for a clamp rack! Man you think outside the box. Your innovated ideas and sensibility on how to re-purpose things and use them in a new way is amazing! I love your bench and the thought that went into it. The fact that you spent $60 and did it in an afternoon is just incredible. To call you resourceful would be an understatement. Your passion for the craft definitely shows. I can’t wait to see more on this blog from you.

View SteveKorz's profile


2139 posts in 4077 days

#11 posted 04-05-2008 06:04 PM

Thuan, I really like the clamp slots. I’m going to have to incoroprate that into something I build, like an assembly cart. Very good job! Thanks for the post!


-- As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another. (Proverbs 27:17) †

View Ad Marketing Guy - Bill's profile

Ad Marketing Guy - Bill

314 posts in 4161 days

#12 posted 04-05-2008 06:43 PM

I fully agree with what everyone has said, this is such a simple design but unbelievabaly useful- what a FANtastic design. The clamp design and saw slot are very unique.

Thuan, did you use dowels to joint the 4×4 legs and front support? Also how did you attach the bottom layer of MDF to the front support and wall cleat?

GREAT Project – nice contribution!

-- Bill - - Ad-Marketing Guy, Ramsey NJ

View Ad Marketing Guy - Bill's profile

Ad Marketing Guy - Bill

314 posts in 4161 days

#13 posted 04-05-2008 06:46 PM

PS to the Entire Group – Thuan’s blog is truly amazing a clinic in fine craftsmanship!
It is definitely worth a visit to read his blog and look at his style.

KUDOS Thuan!

-- Bill - - Ad-Marketing Guy, Ramsey NJ

Have your say...

You must be signed in to post the comments.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics