A Solid Foundation to Build a Future - A New Workbench #2: The base comes together

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Blog entry by bfd posted 04-24-2009 08:55 PM 2537 reads 3 times favorited 18 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 1: building the bases Part 2 of A Solid Foundation to Build a Future - A New Workbench series Part 3: The Top »

So my 3 sheets of veneer arrive and I open them to inspect them. I opted to use 2 ply 4×8 sheets to save time vs. laying up my own veneer. Out of the 3 sheets I rejected two, one walnut sheet which was supposed to be flat cut and the maple sheet which I paid a premium for to have wider leaves. The walnut piece didn’t have any cathedraling in it at all and was made up entirely of the quartered portion of a flat cut piece of veneer. The supplier worked with me to get me replacement sheets ASAP. Honestly Joe at Veneer Supplies has to have some of the greatest customer service I have ever encountered. He totally gets it. I decide to keep one of the walnut sheets and use it for the inside of the storage case. I chalk out the sheet and cut it into pieces.

I veneer one side of each panel and clamp them up. I stack them on top of each other separating them with wax paper. I use one of the slab legs for added weight. The 75lbs comes in handy.

My replacement veneer arrives a few days later and I am able to veneer the other side of the panels that will make up the case. I also veneer the slab legs. I then attach 1/4” thick maple solids to each end of the slabs encasing them entirely in maple. I oversize the solid maple and then use my block plane to bring the edges flush with the veneer. I then use a 1/8” round over bit to soften the edges.

I then drill for the vertical dog holes in the side of the right leg.

The slab legs receive two coat of whip on poly. I will follow up with a few more coat once the base is assembled.

I next turn my attention to the construction of the case. With both sides of the top, bottom, back and fronts veneered I drill the sides for the 3/8” x 2 1/2” lag screws that will attach the case to the legs. The sides of the case are unfinished as they will not be seen. I recess the washer to be flush with the side of the case and mark the center lines for the drawer slides.

I then use my pocket hole jig and drill for the sides of the case.

I also rabbet the back of the sides, bottom, and top to accept the 3/4” back panel.

I glue up the case and add the 1/4” solid edge to the front side using blue tape as clamps. I miter the corners. Once dried I flush the edge to the case using a flush trim bit on my router and soften the top and bottom edge.

everything gets sanded and then the case receives two coats of tung oil to bring out the grain of the walnut.

Now for the fun part, assembling the base. To aid in the assembly I make a quick riser out of mdf to set the case on. I level the glides and then attach the case with 4 lag screws into each slab. I remove the riser and test for any lateral movement. Sure enough this thing is solid!!!


I couldn’t resist seeing what it looked like with the top on (obviously without the apron yet). It is starting to come together. Next up the top.

18 comments so far

View PurpLev's profile


8652 posts in 4810 days

#1 posted 04-24-2009 09:07 PM

looks great! gotta love that walnut grain, and those clean lines on this bench give it a beautiful balance.

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View GaryK's profile


10262 posts in 5149 days

#2 posted 04-24-2009 09:13 PM

Great looking job so far. Looks nice and clean.

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

View EternalDesign's profile


237 posts in 5156 days

#3 posted 04-24-2009 09:18 PM


-- Brian, Eternal Furniture & Design

View Damian Penney's profile

Damian Penney

1141 posts in 5152 days

#4 posted 04-24-2009 09:23 PM

Hadn’t caught this before. Really cool looking – bit flimsy though ;)

-- I am always doing that which I can not do, in order that I may learn how to do it. - Pablo Picasso

View bfd's profile


502 posts in 4968 days

#5 posted 04-24-2009 09:28 PM

Thanks guys for your comments.

View pommy's profile


1697 posts in 4852 days

#6 posted 04-24-2009 09:34 PM

thaqt looks cool can’t wait to see the finished piece


-- cut it saw it scrap it SKPE: ANDREW.CARTER69

View spanky46's profile


995 posts in 4551 days

#7 posted 04-24-2009 10:22 PM

Very nice so far!

-- spanky46 -- Never enough clamps...Never enough tools...Never enough time.

View jlsmith5963's profile


297 posts in 4509 days

#8 posted 04-25-2009 12:52 AM

bfd I have a question regarding the feet. Are they side mounted to the particleboard and if they are, are you concerned that the way they are attached will have enough holding power over time (and abuse)?

-- criticism: the art of analyzing and evaluating the quality of an artistic work...

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27249 posts in 4983 days

#9 posted 04-25-2009 01:58 AM

Brian, this is looking good so far. This is going to be a nice tool when you get finished with it. It will not only be functional but it will also look good as well.

I am looking forward to seeing the next post.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View Napaman's profile


5535 posts in 5238 days

#10 posted 04-25-2009 02:35 AM

wow…brian this is so great…i love the photos…and flimsy is not on my mind…lol…

cant wait to meet you tomorrow…!!! Bring your bag!!!

-- Matt--Proud LJ since 2007

View bfd's profile


502 posts in 4968 days

#11 posted 04-25-2009 02:36 AM

Hi jlsmith5963,

I am not too worried about the feet they are secured to the particle board with 6 screws. With the addition of the metal lip that laps over the bottom of the side I don’t anticipate any strain or failure over time. If that lip wasn’t there to transfer the weight I would be very worried but these glides are designed for this exact application and are rated to 1000 lbs each so they should hold.

View Francisco Luna's profile

Francisco Luna

1004 posts in 4554 days

#12 posted 04-25-2009 02:41 AM

You did a great Job Brian, the bench looks awesome, so well built in every single detail! congrats!

-- Nature is my manifestation of God. I go to nature every day for inspiration in the day's work. I follow in building the principles which nature has used in its domain" Frank Lloyd Wright

View bfd's profile


502 posts in 4968 days

#13 posted 04-25-2009 02:48 AM

Hi Matt,

Looking forward to meeting you and the others tomorrow. I learned how to build a flimsy bench from this post from Damian! lol

Moai, Thank you! The top will be fun with hand cutting all those half blind dovetails.

View jlsmith5963's profile


297 posts in 4509 days

#14 posted 04-25-2009 05:40 AM

bfd thanks for clearing out the fog I was in re: the feet. I am going to use the fig leaf that the picture showed the feet upside down and therefore confused me. Otherwise, I will have to admit just how silly that question was.

-- criticism: the art of analyzing and evaluating the quality of an artistic work...

View Blake's profile


3443 posts in 5035 days

#15 posted 04-25-2009 08:46 PM

Great project. I think I would be afraid to use it when it was done, its so nice. But it will reflect your business well to potential clients. Excellent design as usual.

-- Happy woodworking!

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