My New Workbench #1: Starting the Bench Top

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Blog entry by mramseyISU posted 06-12-2015 02:36 PM 2556 reads 2 times favorited 5 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of My New Workbench series Part 2: It's flat(ish) »

I thought this might be fun to document building a new bench that I’ve been wanting to do for about a year now. My current bench is made out of about 2 sheets of 3/4” plywood and has a sheet of MDF laminated to plywood for the top. It was a good starter bench but I moved to a new house about 2 years ago and now my workshop is in the basement and it’s just too big. I don’t know what style you’d call this new bench exactly but if I had to be pinned down I’d say it’s a Holtzapffel of sorts. I will be putting a Veritas twin screw vice on the front and a regular old woodworking vice on the end. The top I’m building will be 21.75” x 72” x 3.75” when I get it done. The raw material is all white oak taken from the reject stave pile at my grandpa’s sawmill.

I’ve got what amounts to an unlimited supply for my own use of the stuff so that’s good. The bad is that it’s only 38”-40” long so I have to laminate it like you’d lay tile in a subway pattern and that’s been a huge pain. In the end though I glued up two sections and ran them through my planer to get the sections the same thickness for a final glue-up.

The top was about 3.875” thick after I ran it though the planer so that was just too thick to cut with a skilsaw and I don’t have access to one of those 12” timber framing jobs so I here I am truing up the ends with a hand saw. The vintage tool market where I live sucks so I haven’t found a good old handsaw yet so I picked up a new Dewalt brand 20” saw at home cheapo the other night for this job. I started off by striking a knife line on all 4 sides and taking my chisel to make a good knife wall on 3 sides before I started my cut.

It took about 20 minutes to cut though the first end and it wasn’t too bad considering I’ve never tried handsawing something this big before.

Just need to spend some time with the jack plane to square it up right.

-- Trust me I'm an engineer.

5 comments so far

View TheFridge's profile


10859 posts in 2090 days

#1 posted 06-12-2015 02:39 PM

Man I wish I had pieces over 24” long to laminate with :)

Heard you talking about it and good to see its coming together nicely. Free oak never hurts either.

-- Shooting down the walls of heartache. Bang bang. I am. The warrior.

View mramseyISU's profile


578 posts in 2149 days

#2 posted 06-12-2015 02:53 PM

Fridge, I saw your bench and thought if you can do it with those little chunks I can do it with what I have no problem. What I ended up doing was using 2 staves per layer and every other one I cut in half so the joints are staggered every other board.

-- Trust me I'm an engineer.

View TheFridge's profile


10859 posts in 2090 days

#3 posted 06-12-2015 02:58 PM

That’s the way to go bud. Good luck to you and look forward to seeing more.

-- Shooting down the walls of heartache. Bang bang. I am. The warrior.

View Andre's profile


3002 posts in 2410 days

#4 posted 06-12-2015 08:03 PM

Looks real good so far, I have to get off my butt and start putting my bench together. Working on some
2” cedar plank planters lots of hand cutting and Dove Tailing the ends. Would be real nice to have a decent bench to work on!

-- Lifting one end of the plank.

View MNclone's profile


194 posts in 2188 days

#5 posted 06-13-2015 02:47 AM

Nice. I could sure go for a big pile of free wood. That is going to make a nice bench top.

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