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My Joinery Workbench

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Blog entry by Tom posted 02-12-2020 08:23 PM 492 reads 0 times favorited 3 comments Add to Favorites Watch

While posting my projects, I have had several questions and comments about my joinery workbench. It is a bit unusual.

It is mostly based on the workbench that Paul Sellers advocates, which is more of an English design. Here is a version of it from an old book from the 1920s.

The typical size for this kind of workbench is about 2’ wide and 6’ long. Typical work surface is 1’ wide and the tool well adds another foot to the top.

I built my joinery bench to fit in a small workspace attached to my garage on the basement level of my house. It is more of a passageway into the house than an actual room. But I use hand tools, so I don’t need all that much work space. The main part of my workbench is 2’ wide and 10’ long. This gives me a lot of work space on the top, which I enjoy. I added a tool well and extra work surface which is cantilevered off the back of the bench and fits into an alcove that supports a bay window in the room above. The leg assemblies are 4’ apart and the top overhangs the ends by 3’ on each side.

It is a bit jarring when you first see the overhangs on the ends, but in reality it works well. Most of my joinery work takes place between the leg assemblies and close to the face vise. It is very solid with the thick top. I don’t do much work on the overhang areas except when I use the end vise with the dogs for grooving boards. Most of that area on the ends just makes for a convenient surface to set workpieces. I only have one skirt board on the front, but I left provision to add a skirt board to the rear of the bench. So if I ever move the workbench, I will get rid of the extension on the back, add another skirt to the rear and cut off the overhangs to convert to a standard workbench size. For now, one skirt adds sufficient stability against racking since the workbench is attached to the wall on the left.

The 24” wide top is laminated fir 2×4s from the home center. It was a lot of work to plane the top down to a level surface, but the wood is soft which made it manageable.

I like the soft wood for the top. It gets pretty beat up, but I would rather ding up the top than damage my work pieces. The top is plenty thick, so I can plane it down again if the damage bothers me in the future. To be honest though, I like to beat up look. Having a 2’ wide top is luxurious to work on with hand tools. I use this bench for joinery tasks. I usually break down my stock to manageable pieces on saw horses in the garage.

I have slowly added the work holding features as needed. I have the end vise with dogs for planing grooves. I have the face vise with an opposing dog for planing wide pieces. I have one hold fast hole for mortising and general work holding. I also added a metal planing stop which I use more often than I thought I might.

I have added various storage option like shelves. Eventually, I want to add a drawer to the center section of the workbench, but it hasn’t moved up to the top of the list yet.

If you are in the market for an inexpensive workbench with a lot of flexibility for design, I think this is a good design. I really like it.

-- Tom



3 comments so far

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Northwest29

1694 posts in 3122 days


#1 posted 02-12-2020 08:29 PM

You did a very nice job. Should last you quite a while.

-- Ron, Eugene, OR, "Curiosity is a terrible thing to waste."

View Northwest29's profile

Northwest29

1694 posts in 3122 days


#2 posted 02-12-2020 08:29 PM

Deleted.

-- Ron, Eugene, OR, "Curiosity is a terrible thing to waste."

View Northwest29's profile

Northwest29

1694 posts in 3122 days


#3 posted 02-12-2020 08:34 PM

Deleted.

-- Ron, Eugene, OR, "Curiosity is a terrible thing to waste."

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