Woodworking Bench

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Project by Reddial posted 06-27-2014 05:14 AM 13495 views 30 times favorited 23 comments Add to Favorites Watch

My bench is made from 8/4 german beech with purple heart accents. It is a little larger than most that I researched. It is 30”X84”. The top is 3” thick and it stands 36” (consistent with all the other benches and tool tops in the shop).

The legs and stretchers were built first to allow me to disassemble the existing workbench and use the old bench top on the new frame for constructing the very cumbersome new top. The legs are 4”X3 7/8” and the stretchers are 2”X4”. The stretchers are attached to the leg assemblies with 3/8” bolts. I chose to drill the nut holes first and relied an a shop made drilling guide with an extra long 7/16” bit to drill the bolt hole to intersect exactly in the center of the nut hole. I used standard hex nuts instead of barrel nuts and slightly bent/curved flat washers to fit into the nut holes. It worked perfectly. I also cut very short tenon and mortises to assist in assembly.

I cut the 8/4 into 3 1/8” boards to be laminated for the bench top. I ran them trough the planer on all 4 sides. Then laminated them into 3 sections approximately 9 1/2” wide. This allowed for easier handling at about 75lbs each and , more importantly they could be run through the planer on two sides before assembling final top. The slight curves of the individual pieces is totally eliminated during clamping. I was careful to coordinate grain direction to eliminate tear out on that final planing.

I used an abundance of glue and high quality clamps. I applied a very heavy wax coating to the old bench top that was being used as solid flat surface for gluing the new top. The wax worked great to release the new bench section and to very easily clean the squeeze out mess before doing the next section. Once the 3 sections are together, you’ll need help flipping and maneuvering the top that is now over 200lbs.

Next I cut and routed the bread board ends that match the front apron at 7 1/8”. This width was dictated by the Veritas vises, which use the aprons as back vise jaws. The bread board ends are attached so they ‘float’ to accommodate seasonal wood movement. They are bolted and not glued except for the dovetailed joint connecting them to the front apron.

The half Blind dovetails were made easy by laminating 1/2” of purple heart. And it added a little highlight.

The 3 aprons (none on the back) were thoroughly glued at the dovetails and laminated to the main bench top. It was installed about 1/8” proud of the top to allow final flush trim router bit to match the top. Both, the front and right end aprons must be drilled in tandem with the corresponding front vise jaws.

I used the Veritas Twin Screw for my end vise. It is a great product, but I highly suggest an abundance of planning on its placement and width to make sure you don’t conflict with the dog holes or the stretchers.

A shop built dog hole template was used to drill the dog holes. The number and spacing of dog holes are up for debate, but I decided on 3 across plus 1 on the back edge of the bench top. I spaced them at about 3 inches less than the maximum end vise jaw opening. I wouldn’t worry too much. You can always add more.

The template was predrilled to accommodate a 7/8” router bushing. It then is clamped to align where the set of holes are to be drilled. I used a 3/4” straight bit that plunged a hole about 2 ” deep. the hole is finished to the desired 3” with a 3/4” twist drill bit.

I included dog holes along the back edge of the bench top with a corresponding hole on the end of the end vises back jaw.

I followed Veritas’ suggestion to plane the front vise jaw at a slight bevel that provides contact at the very top edge of the jaws and leave a gap at the bottom. This compensates for the possible ‘sag’ when the vise is fully opened. Look closely at the picture and you will see it.

And of course in 200 years I want people to know who made it!

1. General Finish’s Arm-R-Seal satin—-3 coats
2. Beech is very heavy. 4+ lbs per bf. the top weighs 240lbs…total weight with empty cabinet is 640lbs.
3. Bench top is sitting on 4 1” guide dowels. It is not bolted down.

-- Darrel..."The biggest threat to 'good' is 'better'.

23 comments so far

View maplerock's profile


529 posts in 2599 days

#1 posted 06-27-2014 05:59 AM

Fantastic job. A bench to be proud of!

-- Jerry... making sawdust in the Knobs of Southern Indiana

View Ken90712's profile


17888 posts in 3988 days

#2 posted 06-27-2014 08:07 AM

Great looking work bench… Would love to have the room for one of these beauty’s

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

View jinkyjock's profile


488 posts in 2374 days

#3 posted 06-27-2014 09:24 AM

Fantastic bench, love the use of contrasting woods.
Attention to detail superb,
I can just see from pics you have matched drawer and door fronts.
Cheers, Jinky (James).

View mmh's profile


3680 posts in 4522 days

#4 posted 06-27-2014 11:49 AM

Beautiful bench! I would work on this one any day!

-- "They who dream by day are cognizant of many things which escape those who dream only by night." ~ Edgar Allan Poe

View Scott Landry's profile

Scott Landry

210 posts in 2269 days

#5 posted 06-27-2014 11:52 AM

Super nice bench. Looks beautiful! Good work. It would look nice in my kitchen or living room.

-- Every project is an opportunity to acquire new tools and any solution that requires buying a new tool is the correct one.

View Holdem's profile


43 posts in 2456 days

#6 posted 06-27-2014 11:56 AM

Whoa! That’s a beautiful bench!!!!!

View stefang's profile


17039 posts in 4134 days

#7 posted 06-27-2014 12:45 PM

Beautiful and well done build Darrel. Your great great grandchildren will probably be using this bench some day.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View Scott Oldre's profile

Scott Oldre

1128 posts in 4231 days

#8 posted 06-27-2014 12:51 PM

Beautiful. I TOO wish I had the room for a real work bench.

-- Scott, Irmo SC

View triviasteve's profile


225 posts in 2500 days

#9 posted 06-27-2014 01:14 PM

That is a beautiful bench! great job!

-- You know I'm on the level 'cause my bubble's in the middle.

View theoldfart's profile


11772 posts in 3251 days

#10 posted 06-27-2014 02:10 PM

Beautiful bench. It should serve you and your heirs for generations.

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

View buck_cpa's profile


150 posts in 2687 days

#11 posted 06-27-2014 02:18 PM

sweet bench – how’d you get the logo on there?

View Mainiac Matt 's profile

Mainiac Matt

9589 posts in 3128 days

#12 posted 06-27-2014 02:27 PM

One of the best I’ve seen.

thanks for sharing the details

-- Matt -- I yam what I yam and that's all what I yam

View smitty22's profile


714 posts in 3746 days

#13 posted 06-27-2014 02:41 PM

Wow! An Epic Build!!

Thanks for the extra detailed pictures and description, will help me as I build mine.

-- Smitty

View Sanding2day's profile


1015 posts in 2646 days

#14 posted 06-27-2014 02:55 PM

Great work Darrel!! Beautiful bench which will no doubt serve you for a lifetime. Really like the concept of setting the bench top up on 1” dowels, will likely be used when I make mine. Added to favorites, thanks for sharing…

-- Dan

View neverenougftackle's profile


195 posts in 2646 days

#15 posted 06-27-2014 04:39 PM

Just had to stop and say, Now that is one well made woodworking work table. Yelp that sure is !!!!

If a certain look see’r was to come in and make and ask for a price , what would this guy have to pay to the craftsman who put it all together? In order disassemble this particular one, and while smiling walk out of your shop with it.,,,,(attached here is a big yellow smiley face with cocked head and a winking eye)

showing 1 through 15 of 23 comments

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