Workbench #2: Wrapping it up

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Blog entry by David Craig posted 04-14-2012 10:25 PM 2188 reads 0 times favorited 6 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 1: Replacing an old bench Part 2 of Workbench series no next part

Had a rough for for a couple months will little time in the shop. Some for obvious reasons, the rest mostly due to work. I know my voice has been out there in the forums, but the majority of the posts are done from my work computer as adverse to the home computer.

I finished flattening the top of the bench and added dog holes for the hold fasts and the bench dogs. The top has been especially challenging due to the space in my shop. I don’t like working in tight spaces. I have about a 20×15 space to work, much of it occupied by stationaries and lumber. Hard to believe that five years ago all I had was a miter saw and a drill.

I like moments when I feel like I am half way intelligent when it comes to a process. The dog holes I was concerned about. The bench top is slightly over three inches thick and I didn’t want the holes to come out quicker. When I first started woodworking, I had the illusion that I could drill a straight hole by “dead reckoning.” What I learned shortly thereafter is that my dead reckoner came disassembled and apparently has to be built up by years of experience. Getting there. Plan B was to take a strip of 2×4 and drill three 3/4 inch holes in it. I think took a forstner bit and put it in a handdrill and used the 2×4 as a guide. This bought me another inch and a half. With about 2 and a half inches to guide me, I took a longer auger bit and finished it up. The result was a series of holes straight enough to use for the dogs and the fasts.

I didn’t want a bench made out of swiss cheese. So the holes were limited to 9 on each side of the bench with a series of 6 on the left and right side. Spaced out by the holes I made in the 2×4. I may have to add more, maybe not, going to see how this works for me. All I have to do now is just add the holes to the legs and mount the wood vise, The vise will cover up a couple of the holes from underneath but the low profile dogs I have will sit fully in the holes without obstruction. I will drill the leg dogs by following the same process as the top, so that I can mount a board on its side to hand plane the edge. No aprons surrounding the top as I want to be able to clamp around all areas of the bench without obstruction. I have come to the conclusion that my best option for utilizing my rough lumber is to hand plane the edge and the face and finish off with a thickness planer. My shop just can’t afford the space of a full fledged jointer.

So, there you are, bench as is. Crude but effective, kind of like me :)

Question for fellow jocks – When flattening, I could not help but get tear out since I varied the grain direction of the top. I had to do a fair amount of sanding while attempting to not lose the consistency of the surface. My guess is that many flatten with planes and then use a high quality belt sander that has a true level surface to finish the job. Am I correct on this? Or do some of you have a planing tip to help eliminate that tear out?


-- There is little that is simple when it comes to making a simple box.

6 comments so far

View JRL's profile


104 posts in 3821 days

#1 posted 04-14-2012 11:02 PM

Hi, David.
First of all, nice bench!
Have you considered a router sled jig to flatten the top? That’s what I did, and would do again.
Check out the the various RS jigs available through the LJ search function.

Secondly, well-secured aprons of hard stock might give you added clamping edge at the four leg-meets-table positions.

-- Jay in Changsha

View Jim Bertelson's profile

Jim Bertelson

4275 posts in 4447 days

#2 posted 04-15-2012 12:34 AM

.......and you are worried about Swiss Cheese?

Forget it. Of course this top is MDF, and absolutely flat.

.......and Swiss Cheese.

The dogs have found a home in my shop, but they probably don’t look like your dogs, different breed….

Up to my eyeballs in alligators, the techie kind…...building a program for my physicians’ assistant who is keyboard challenged. ........and we go live with electronic medical records next week, I am the techie lead in our business…...last thing I did on Friday was replace consumer class Wi-Fi with commercial class…....with a totally different price tag. We had over 40 PC’s in the business…....but we will end up with over 50, the last bunch being portables on Wi-Fi. Always hidden expenses.

Have fun drilling holes.

Right now, think I need to find a rabbit hole…...I’ll drill me one if I can’t find something close….....(-:

-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska

View David Craig's profile

David Craig

2137 posts in 4391 days

#3 posted 04-15-2012 12:49 AM

Jim Feel your pain regarding EMR. We do not have the techie doctors. Your practice should be so lucky Jim :) As far as your bench, far from cheese. I can’t compete with such advanced engineering :) I really think you need to make a schematic for that bench and get it published. That truly is a one of a kind top.

Jay – Good idea on the router sled. I am still getting my chops on the hand plane so went that route. Discovered where that can be problematic with the grain shifts. No skirts but there are stretchers that go the length of the width on the legs. Under the benchtop are 2×2 stretchers that are not visible but minimize racking and I used to fasten the top to the base with coarse drywall screws. Zero racking when laboring in each direction. The top is also very heavy. I could sit on the edge of the top without moving the bench unfastened. Solid was what I was shooting for. Now I just have to adjust the working space to accomodate my new work area.

Thanks for viewing and commenting.


-- There is little that is simple when it comes to making a simple box.

View eddie's profile


8565 posts in 3897 days

#4 posted 04-15-2012 04:04 AM

don’t think you’ll going to miss that old bench, that looks solid as a rock, do some serious hand planing on this one.looks great David. i just finished mine and posted it i thought it had a lot of wood in it but that bench has got a lot of wood. very solid.

-- Jesus Is Alright with me

View Jim Bertelson's profile

Jim Bertelson

4275 posts in 4447 days

#5 posted 04-15-2012 05:55 AM

Definitely one of a kind. Not sure anyone else would want to build it, though. It is kinda personal, and for me, extremely functional. Now if I can get done with this EMR stuff, then I can get back into the shop.

Have a good one…....


-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska

View Beginningwoodworker's profile


13345 posts in 4956 days

#6 posted 04-16-2012 01:46 AM

Nice workbench!

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