Workbench build #4: Coming together.

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Blog entry by curliejones posted 12-18-2016 12:21 AM 1103 reads 2 times favorited 2 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 3: Question about 21st century workbench. Part 4 of Workbench build series no next part

I’ve been at this for much of the last 3 weeks and have a bit to go to reach what I’ll call completion. There’s lots of benches built to suit one style or another, albeit English/Nicholson, Roubou, and I researched benches ad nauseum to come up with a hybrid design I can call my own. One side of the bench has an apron for stabilizing the legs and the other side has a tenon through the thick top, as well as a bottom stretcher – sorta kinda maybe French/Roubou-ish. I like the idea of a tool well so I’m calling mine the English channel. The channel will have three removable boxes to facilitate quick cleaning and tool pick up and these boxes, when inverted, will be flush with the bench top. This idea was inspired by Bob Lang’s 21st century workbench and those who built before me. Just a couple days ago, I researched drilling holdfast holes and came across an entry on LJ where another guy built his bench with the French/English sides. His did have lower stretchers on both sides and did not have a tool well. I guess an original idea is certainly a rarity.

I collected ideas (and vises too) over a couple years and was caught in the conundrum “build to suit your style of handwork” vs “the first thing you need for hand tool use is a good workbench”. I thought I had the two vises I needed when a third popped on craigslist for $20 that had never been installed. For a day or so I wondered if this would simply add to my confusion about style and then I decided to build a hybrid of two different styles. I am posting a picture showing the English side of the bench with a face vise (wooden chop yet to come) and a tail vise that is marketed as a front vise.

The other side, French-ish, if you will, will also have a vise and I had planned to put that just outside of the left leg. This 10” Eclipse weighs in at 39 lbs and I’m wondering what that might do, if anything, to the 3” SYP top. If I must, I can put a brace returning to the front leg from a point near the bench’s end. Hmmm? If only I could see into the future!

There’s some dog and holdfast holes to drill into the top and some more finish to be applied. So far, there’s one coat of Danish oil applied to all but the underside of the 3” thick top (Not in the French-side pic). This should be completed in about a week and I’ll then get busy developing my hand tool “style” and hope it matches one side or the other.

-- Like Guy Clark sez - "Sometimes I use my head, Sometimes I get a bigger hammer"

2 comments so far

View NormG's profile


6507 posts in 4117 days

#1 posted 12-20-2016 01:49 AM

Wow, looks great, very well built and sturdy

-- Norman - I never never make a mistake, I just change the design.

View curliejones's profile


190 posts in 3379 days

#2 posted 01-02-2017 02:33 AM

Thanks Norm! I finally drill dog holes today, so I’m calling it finished.

-- Like Guy Clark sez - "Sometimes I use my head, Sometimes I get a bigger hammer"

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