Maple Left-Handed Workbench w/ Emmert Patternmaker's Vise

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Project by Patrick posted 04-30-2014 03:26 PM 9465 views 8 times favorited 13 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I would like to share one of my latest projects that I can finally say is finished. Believe it or not, I only have around $350 in this workbench. The majority of the construction took maybe 2 months (working a couple days per week on average) and mounting the Emmert took a full day and a half by itself. I used a good mix of hand and power tools throughout the project.

Thanks for looking!

I bought a truckload of soft maple off craigslist for $100, milled it all to about 1×4 and started the glue-up.

I had trouble getting the two glue-ups to join together. A long-bed jointer would have been nice…or maybe a longer setting glue or epoxy so I could do it all at once.

I should have been more careful during the glue-up because I had to plane off nearly a 1/4” in some spots to get the top flat. After I was finished, I had a large trash bag full of shavings and worn out arms.

A template and pattern bit makes the dog holes easy. I nailed a front and back to the template so I could slide it to each location and clamp it in place with no alignment issues.

I learned how to use pegged mortise and tenon joinery.

I also learned how to cut dovetails, although I should have practiced first before trying it on the real thing. It’s not perfect, but it’s not bad enough to motivate me to redo it! The hardware was originally for an old leg vise. I bought it off eBay for $50 shipped.

I decided to try something different than the traditional tail vise mounting design. So far it is working fine, although I admit I haven’t used it much yet. Of course it’s not as smooth as the bolt-on steel mechanisms, but it works fine for what I do and the price was right.

Last but certainly not least, my face vise is an Emmert Pattern Maker’s vise. I couldn’t bring myself to restore it and remove the patina, so I just cleaned it up and left it as is. I made a template with hardboard and used various router bits, a circular saw, chisels, gouges and a rasp during fitting.

13 comments so far

View Ken90712's profile


17902 posts in 4046 days

#1 posted 04-30-2014 03:33 PM

Great looking bench, which I had the room for one of these. Enjoy!

-- Ken, "Everyday above ground is a good day!"

View woodchuckerNJ's profile


1404 posts in 2492 days

#2 posted 04-30-2014 04:00 PM

Hey Lefty enjoy your new bench…

-- Jeff NJ

View waho6o9's profile


8942 posts in 3434 days

#3 posted 04-30-2014 05:50 PM

Most excellent with an Emmert’s pattern making vise

to boot, may it serve you well for years.

View woodcox's profile


2386 posts in 2870 days

#4 posted 04-30-2014 06:17 PM

Beautiful bench you have made there. I couldn’t see how you mounted your shoulder vise, should have scrolled down some. Good to see it is working out for you. Congrats!

-- "My god has more wood than your god" ... G. Carlin.

View LJackson's profile


295 posts in 2452 days

#5 posted 04-30-2014 07:49 PM

Hey, I’m left handed! What makes this bench left handed? Your vice is on the right.

Oh, and I’d like to see some pictures of that large trash bag full of worn out arms.

View cabmaker's profile


1745 posts in 3666 days

#6 posted 04-30-2014 10:37 PM

Well done my friend! Nice install on the Emmert! You will enjoy it .

Enjoy the journey! Jb

View 7Footer's profile


2575 posts in 2806 days

#7 posted 04-30-2014 10:49 PM

Wow, fantastic bench. Extra points for it being a lefty too! Well done!


View blackcherry's profile


3344 posts in 4681 days

#8 posted 04-30-2014 10:59 PM

Is that a southpaw coming off the bench…couldn’t resist, enjoy your new workmate. Great work by the way as well…BC

View stefang's profile


17040 posts in 4192 days

#9 posted 06-20-2014 04:48 PM

That is a lot of bench for $350 or even a whole lot more money. It goes to show what someone with the necessary skills can do with limited outlay. I just finished building a new bench and I considered buying a knockoff Emmert vice, but it was way too expensive plus, after thinking it over I didn’t feel I needed everything it was capable of doing. I do hope you will enjoy yours though. You did a terrific job on this build and I doubt you will ever want to replace it.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View Frank's profile


40 posts in 4521 days

#10 posted 06-20-2014 04:57 PM

It’s backwards! :-D

Just kidding it’s great!

-- Some rescue cats, some rescue dogs. I rescue tools. Feel free to send me any tools you cannot take care of or don’t want and I will foster them until I find a good home for them.

View Buckethead's profile


3196 posts in 2726 days

#11 posted 06-20-2014 05:03 PM

Beautiful bench!

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

View Steveg1's profile


10 posts in 3179 days

#12 posted 01-24-2015 01:29 AM

Being left handed and building a new bench I was particularly impressed with your Emmert on the right (correct) side of the bench. With the vise set into the bench the way you have it, does it still swivel? It looks like it is contained by the bench, but I wasn’t sure.


-- Steve, Dewitt NY, Retired and ready to make more sawdust.

View helluvawreck's profile


32122 posts in 3724 days

#13 posted 05-02-2017 12:51 PM

You did a wonderful job on this workbench. It’s so nicely done and will be a fine addition to your shop.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

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