My Version of the $175 Workbench #3: Drilling and Drilling and Drilling

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Blog entry by jonah posted 06-12-2014 11:07 PM 2761 reads 0 times favorited 4 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 2: Coming together Part 3 of My Version of the $175 Workbench series Part 4: Top and Vises »

After finishing the base assembly, I put a couple of coats of Arm-R-Seal on the underside of the top and the base.

I then started laying out my vise locations. I have two identical cast-iron Columbian vises. In a perfect world, I would mortise at least the face vise into the side of the bench top, but after looking at that the other day, I decided it would be too much work. I didn’t want to start chopping the thing up without a clear plan for how I’d bury the somewhat irregular shape of the inside vise face in the top.

Below you can see my extremely clever way of keeping the vise from tipping over as I laid out where the maple faces I made would go. I made those, at least, flush with the top and sides of the bench.

Since I have to screw through the inside maple face, through the existing hole in the vise and into the bench top, it was a bit involved to get the through holes, countersinks, and such lined up properly.

I then flipped the top over, laid out and drilled the dog holes with a spade bit. I made sure to stick a spare piece of 2×8 under the top to back up the hole. The holes ended up pretty much tearout-free and they fit the Kreg bench dogs I’ll be using just fine.

While I was at it, I also drilled all the pilot holes for the vises, the pilot holes in the cleats to attach the top to the base, and the appropriate countersinks.

Next comes actually attaching the top to the base, flattening the top, and putting finish on it. Almost done!

4 comments so far

View NormG's profile


6441 posts in 3483 days

#1 posted 06-13-2014 04:28 AM

Great progress, glad to see the vices are working out

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

View stefang's profile


16717 posts in 3813 days

#2 posted 06-13-2014 10:28 AM

I just mounted two vices, so I can appreciate your paint can trick. Well done. Your bench top looks great too.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View Grumpymike's profile


2417 posts in 2794 days

#3 posted 06-13-2014 04:57 PM

Like your paint can, I too have several “unusual” tools in my shop … could this become a new blog? “The new uses I found for my …”
Your bench is coming along just fine … Where did you find your Columbian Vises?

-- Grumpy old guy, and lookin' good Doin' it. ... Surprise Az.

View jonah's profile


2075 posts in 3778 days

#4 posted 06-13-2014 05:56 PM

I got them off Craigslist for $25 each. A guy was selling two for $50 and I jumped on them.

I had to spend a good amount of time getting the rust off with electrolysis, but that was a good learning experience too so I’m glad I did it.

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