Workbench #1: Workbench kick off

  • Advertise with us
Blog entry by Matt posted 07-15-2014 10:19 PM 1933 reads 0 times favorited 2 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of Workbench series Part 2: Purchased my base material tonight (and my table saw is better than I hoped) »

As a home owner I’ve struggled for years with projects because I don’t have a solid work surface. When I started wood carving recently this became painfully obvious. So now I’ve decided to invest in a proper workbench.

After looking at 100s of benches online and in books I think I know what I want:

Size: 6’ long, 24” deep. This will fit my workspace well.

Work clamping:

1) A leg vice. For this I will use this from Veritas:
2) Two wagon vices. I’ve selected these screws from Rockler:

I want 2 wagon vices for clamping larger panels whil carving. I think I will bias them toward the front of the bench, maybe 3” and 15” from the front edge (centerline of the vice), but I still haven’t decided. It will look a little odd I suspect, but it might be more usefull than on the far side of the bench.

I got to spend some quality time at the lumber yard near me ( with Steve, a worker there who was extremely helpful and knowledgeable. We talked through a bunch of aspects of the build: what it would be used for, how it would be finished, was it a show piece or a working bench?

Together we landed on a Meranti top laminated from 2×6 stock ripped in half with some Ash edging and accent strips. This will give me about 2 5/8 thick top. For the base he convinced me to go with HD spruce 2×8s laminated. The legs will be very robust, if not beautiful. I may cant them at about 5deg for stability, or add some diagonal bracing. I need to do some sketching to decide.

Top lumber: will come in around $250
Vice hardware: $100
Base: guessing at $100

So, call it $500 all in.

It won’t be a work of art, but it will be functional, reasonably attractive, and suit my space.

I am debating adding a removable mini bench on top that can tilt and clamp work solidly for panel carving, but we will see about that…

Now, off to craigslist to buy a thickness planer…

-- I do this for fun.

2 comments so far

View shampeon's profile


2167 posts in 3191 days

#1 posted 07-16-2014 12:12 AM

Cool. Meranti/luan is easy to work, and looks beautiful. A good choice for the top for those reasons, but also it can be a little soft, which isn’t a bad quality for a bench top—better to dent the bench than the furniture during a mishap.

And +1 to the recommendation to just use construction spruce 2×8s laminated.

I’ll assume you know about the Workbench Smackdown thread on the forum here. It’ll be a great resource during your build.

-- ian | "You can't stop what's coming. It ain't all waiting on you. That's vanity."

View Matt's profile


190 posts in 2426 days

#2 posted 07-16-2014 01:01 AM

Thanks Ian!

Yes, it was the the smackdown thread that attracted me here a week or so ago looking for ideas. It is a treasure trove!

I think the meranti will be a cost effective compromise. At that cost bracket it was that or SYP, or step down to 2×4 which would have been fine for my purposes except for all the work I wanted a little something extra to show for it.

-- I do this for fun.

Have your say...

You must be signed in to post the comments.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics