Workbench Attempt

  • Advertise with us
Project by CaptainKlutz posted 04-23-2014 10:14 PM 23715 views 64 times favorited 38 comments Add to Favorites Watch

After way too many years of tinkering with wood, getting frustrated with fold up plastic tables scooting around, and building half dozen different utility garage workbenches (from solid core doors and 4X4 pine legs) that were so ugly they go left behind when ever I moved; I finally decided to put time/effort into a real woodworking work bench.

Used the “The Essential Workbench” plans from Fine Woodworking #167 as the baseline. Top is 87” long X 30” wide. The trestle legs are a beefier than plans 3.5”X4.5”made from hard maple to ensure nothing moves during hand plane work. The 2.5” thick top is made from a pile of 4/4 $1 per bd/ft beech I found on CL a few years ago. Was a lot a work to laminate that many strips for the top, so much; I made the (3) 10” wide sections of the top (width to fit my planer) and let it sit for 8 months debating if they were become a bench or give away cutting boards for Christmas. :) When I found some inexpensive 8/4 maple (legs) and 8/4 beech (table apron) during the black Friday holiday sale last year, decided to finish the work bench as you see it. Instead of fancy new vices, used (3) old 10” Wilton rapid acting vices I picked up for $50 each from CL and refurbished. One for the front vise and (2) creating a wide end vise. The vices got new hard maple handles with walnut end caps to match the walnut drawer fronts. Also lined the vice jaws with thick 14oz leather to help with clamping. Finished the top with 3 coats of Tried and True linseed/beeswax blend, that is easy to touch up and even super glue doesn’t stick to it. Legs are finished with 4-5 coats of Arm-r-seal urethane for durability. The pic with ugly green vices is during finishing of the bench/legs.

Used the bench without cabinets for a couple of months and decided it was a huge waste of space under there. As you can see from the test fitting picture, even my 8 year old son liked the size of the storage space created. The cabinets under the bench are based on “Tool Cabinet for a Workbench” from Fine Woodworking #181. Followed the plans except for dimensions, drawer configurations, and pull hardware. I dyed the curly maple edged birch boxes with a custom burgundy color Transtint to match the metallic red automotive paint I used to repaint the refurbished Wilton vices. The exterior of the cabinets are finished with Arm-r-seal urethane, while the drawers got several coats of GF WB high performance urethane with less odor and faster cure. The drawers are all lined with burgundy felt to coddle the tools inside. Included a pic of the first tools that got moved into their new home. :)

To be honest, never would have posted a work bench on the web. There are already thousands out there. It is not my best work, nor my worst. If look real close you will find at least a dozen mistakes and understand my nick name. But SWMBO saw the finished bench, tells me it is too nice to be in the garage, and promptly demanded that I build one like it as a dinning curio cabinet for her china and silverware. That is just too funny not to share. Hope you like it as much as we do. :)

-- If it wasn't for bad luck, I wouldn't have no luck at all, Doom, despair, agony on me… - Albert King - Born Under a Bad Sign released 1967

38 comments so far

View Buckethead's profile


3196 posts in 3210 days

#1 posted 04-23-2014 10:22 PM

We get the aw shucks title, (workbench attempt) then he presents a matserpiece!

What a beautiful bench. Does mom let you bring it inside for lunch?

-- Support woodworking hand models. Buy me a sawstop.

View j_dubb's profile


196 posts in 3150 days

#2 posted 04-23-2014 10:36 PM

Seeing this makes me extremely happy with the abysmal workbench I built. I abuse it regularly. If I had a bench like yours I wouldn’t want to use it!

Gorgeous work, sir – i have work bench envy.

-- Josh // "If trees could scream, would we be so cavalier about cutting them down? We might, if they screamed all the time, for no good reason." - Jack Handey

View Jasonjenkins's profile


44 posts in 2944 days

#3 posted 04-23-2014 10:54 PM

Man, its finds like you have on CL that would make something like this possible for me to think about affording, and so far NOT possible for me. SLC is not a forest despite its other good attributes. Great materials, great finish.

I hope thats false modesty, and you are not really that critical of your work because that thing is awesome. WOW.

-- Growing a full beard is proven to instantly improve your handtool skills...

View wood_maestro's profile


137 posts in 4035 days

#4 posted 04-23-2014 10:58 PM

Let me start by congratulating you on a job well accomplished. It is not only beautiful, but also well designed. I am sure that you will be enjoy using it for years to come. Keep up the good work. I also wanted to know, how those retractable casters are working for you? I have same style and size bench, but I thought there may for lighter benches. Will you let me know?

-- wood maestro....... Be Well, Do good work, and Stay in touch

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

27270 posts in 4447 days

#5 posted 04-23-2014 11:09 PM

First of all: WELCOME TO LUMBERJOCKS- just 3 hrs ago!!

That is one fine looking work bench. Very nice job!!!!!!!!!!!!..........Jim

-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

View Ttier315's profile


58 posts in 2883 days

#6 posted 04-23-2014 11:27 PM

That bench is gorgeous. Would take me years to build something like that and I’m not sure I could anyway. Sounds like you didn’t skimp on the quality of the wood you used either. Congratulations on a product you should be very proud of and welcome to Lumberjocks. I too am a recent member and I absolutely love this site.

-- Tom T, upstate NY

View kdc68's profile


3052 posts in 3618 days

#7 posted 04-23-2014 11:37 PM

Good looking bench !...thanks for sharing

-- Measure "at least" twice and cut once

View CaptainKlutz's profile


5170 posts in 2836 days

#8 posted 04-23-2014 11:52 PM

Wow. Posted less than a hour and 4 nice comments. Thanks everyone.

Buckethead – Yes, it comes inside. :) I only moved it out of the dark, dusty garage to take pictures. It promptly went back inside and is covered in sapele shavings right now.

Jason – If it weren’t for CL bargains, I would not build half the stuff I build. Just wish I could hardware and finishing supplies from CL when I need them!
And Yes, my wife tells me I am too critical. This project was my first LJ post, and truthfully thought maybe I needed to get some other opinions in case she was just being kind. Guess that is the nice thing about woodworking; a little glue, sandpaper, or more wood: and you can fix anything no matter how big a klutz you may be. :)

Wood Maestro – The bench castors are Rockler. Noticed Woodworkers has something similar now too. Have been using them about 3 months now. Was surprised myself how well they work. Rolls around easy, even after putting tools in the cabinets. The bench weighs in at ~320# before tools. The going up/down can be challenging, but is acceptable for something as heavy as my new workbench. My large frame and size 11 shoe has enough leverage to put it up, but lifting the bench corner slightly does make it easier. The going down is ok, just abrupt. There is nothing to slow the lowering bench, and the 1st and last corner makes a pretty good thud. Now that I have tools in it, it is really hard on the tops of my feet to get under and lift the levers for lowering. I find it more comfortable to reach for a short 2’ piece of scrap 2X2 or 2X4 to pry the levers up. Hence another reason for the felt lined drawers. :)

-- If it wasn't for bad luck, I wouldn't have no luck at all, Doom, despair, agony on me… - Albert King - Born Under a Bad Sign released 1967

View BikerDad's profile


347 posts in 4943 days

#9 posted 04-23-2014 11:56 PM

Very nicely done. I’m not a fan of the trestle design from a functional perspective, but with that deeper apron on the front and the drawers I suspect you’ll be using that beast until you pass it on to the scamp. That’s assuming you let him out of their before you put the drawers in…. :p

-- I'm happier than a tornado in a trailer park! Grace & Peace.

View luv2learn's profile


3148 posts in 3644 days

#10 posted 04-23-2014 11:58 PM

I would say that your work bench is more than just an attempt, it is a beautiful success.

-- Lee - Northern idaho~"If the women don't find you handsome, at least they ought to find you handy"~ Red Green

View theoldfart's profile


13012 posts in 3793 days

#11 posted 04-24-2014 12:32 AM

OK, guess I’ll just burn my “attempt” rather than finish it, no way it’s going to look that good! Really nice bench and you might want to post some pics in the work bench smack down thread. Folks over there will like seeing it.

-- "With every tool obtained, there is another that is needed" DonW ( Kevin )

View Nindwood's profile


134 posts in 3024 days

#12 posted 04-24-2014 01:22 AM

WOW! It even has a built in shop monkey! I;-D Nice. Well done Captian.

-- Narinder, Calgary, Ab.

View hotncold's profile


788 posts in 2886 days

#13 posted 04-24-2014 01:53 AM

Great work! Love the brass hardware for the drawers…but what’s up with the “attempt”? Welcome to Lumberjocks and now…give us some more!!!!

-- Dennie - Tennessee

View 489tad's profile


4118 posts in 4353 days

#14 posted 04-24-2014 02:37 AM

I like how you say you “tinker with wood”. You build a solid professional bench. Well done. Welcome to LJ’s.

-- Dan, Naperville IL, I.G.N.

View Wendell Pahls's profile

Wendell Pahls

1 post in 3813 days

#15 posted 04-24-2014 02:38 AM

Congratulations on a great looking bench. Tell us about the dog holes. Are they 3/4 inch or did you use the 21 mm holes to be compatible with the Festool system pieces? I am in the planning stages of my bench and it would seem reasonable to use 21 mm system since apparently the 3/4 in dogs work in the metric holes adequately. What did you use and if you went 3/4 did you consider the metric Festool MFT system accessories?

showing 1 through 15 of 38 comments

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