Red's Joinery Bench

  • Advertise with us
Project by BigRedKnothead posted 06-28-2014 04:09 AM 14800 views 76 times favorited 84 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Hallelujah it’s done! It’s not like me to let a project drag on, but I’ve been working on this doozy on and off for about a year. It’s finished, and I love it.

What’s a joinery bench? Heck, I don’t know. I wanted a taller bench to work in conjunction with my roubo. I wanted a permanantly mounted Moxon/twin screw vise for dovetails. I wanted lots of storage for hand tools, hardware, and supplies. So, this is what I came up with. The driving inspiration was a bench I saw in Jim Tolpin’s shop:


Anyway, I failed to blog the build so I’ll just ramble about it now for those interested.

Part 1: El Bencho
The legs and top are made of 8/4 white oak that I source locally and very reasonably. This part didn’t take too long. I just milled and edge glue pieces for the top. The tenons on the legs were made by laminating one piece longer that the other. I then pegged all the joints with dowels.


I was content to just have another work surface in my shop and left it this way for awhile. The standing dimensions are 9 foot long and 46” tall, and 29” deep.


Then came the benchcrafted hardware for a moxon vise:



Part Deuce: The Lower Cabinets

These puppies ate up some hours. The design was to have wide hardware/whatever drawers on the right. Those would have full extension metal slides.

On the left there was to be a large power tool slide-out below, and small hand tool drawers above.
Walnut is the other hardwood I can get reasonably here. I had some rather gnarly pieces I didn’t want to use on furniture, so joinery bench drawer fronts they became.

I bought one nice sheet of oak ply for the cabinets. I scabbed the rest from my plywood cart. There’s probably 5 different types of plywood in those things. To finish them off I glued some 1/4” false frames to give them the appearance of frame and panel.


It was about this time that I began to embark on hand cut dovetails. What a great way to practice….on a bench ehh? So the drawers on the right have through DTs with false fronts. The drawers on the left have half blinds.

Oh ya, I made some drawer pulls with white oak on the router table. Soft maple for the drawer sides.



The space behind the moxon vise is used to store a shooting board and dovetail alignment jig. It also allows room for a holdfast through the top.

Once the drawers were done I revisited the top. I had some small issues with the air dried oak. The through tenons had shrunk a bit leaving gaps. I also had a few checks on the ends. So I drilled out the dowels, removed the top and fashioned some walnut wedges:

I guess I didn’t want to stop at my first dovetails, so I attempted my first butterfly inlays on the splits/checks of the benchtop. I got carried away and put several throughout the top. I just love the look of ‘em. I even put a ribbon of walnut in the front edge just for fun. Then I gave the whole thing 3 coats of satin polyurethane.

Last, I had picked up a ghastly purple leather hide on the cheap. So I’m using the suede side of that hide as liner for my hand tools. Very nice. It’s gonna take me a while to sort out where everything goes. I don’t have enough crud to fill these drawers yet….but I will.


There ya have it folks. I view it as my contribution of sorts. What a journey. As always I pushed myself and tried to become a better woodworker. I posted much of this build on various forums and I tons of good feedback, encouragement, and advice from various LJ’s. Thanks to all.

Here’s what she looks like tonight:

“I stand here in front of you today, all because of an idea, I could be who I wanted if I could only see my potential”
- Macklemore

-- "At the end of the day, try and make it beautiful....because the world is full of ugly." Konrad Sauer

84 comments so far

View palaswood's profile


1061 posts in 2562 days

#1 posted 06-28-2014 04:14 AM

my jaw has dropped…

holy moly! I’m gonna take a few minutes and check this out, but I wannted to say WOW

What are the dimensions of this masterpiece?

-- Joseph, Irvine CA, @palas_woodcraft on Instagram

View JADobson's profile


1448 posts in 2921 days

#2 posted 06-28-2014 04:19 AM

Red, your shop just looks like a beautiful place to work. This bench is the icing on the cake. Fantastic.

-- No craft is very far from the line beyond which is magic. -- Lord Dunsany — Instagram @grailwoodworks

View lysdexic's profile


5348 posts in 3433 days

#3 posted 06-28-2014 04:20 AM

You are a god to me. May I be the father of your children?

-- "It's only wood. Use it." - Smitty || Instagram - nobodhi_here

View waho6o9's profile


8920 posts in 3387 days

#4 posted 06-28-2014 04:23 AM

I like the proportions of the dove tails on the walnut

with the wood drawer slides the best.

Another great piece of fine wood working Mr. Rojo


View BigRedKnothead's profile


8574 posts in 2793 days

#5 posted 06-28-2014 04:31 AM

“You are a god to me. May I be the father of your children?”

Lawl Scotty. I’d settle for a beer if I inspired you.

Joseph- doh, It’s 9’ long and 46” high. I’ll edit that in the post.

-- "At the end of the day, try and make it beautiful....because the world is full of ugly." Konrad Sauer

View bruc101's profile


1383 posts in 4352 days

#6 posted 06-28-2014 04:54 AM

I’m jealous

-- Bruce Free Plans

View Northwest29's profile


1702 posts in 3301 days

#7 posted 06-28-2014 05:19 AM

That is one beautiful and nicely crafted bench. Love the wood colors. I too am jealous. Thanks for sharing.

-- Ron, "Curiosity is a terrible thing to waste."

View widdle's profile


2073 posts in 3809 days

#8 posted 06-28-2014 05:29 AM

hate it…

View john2005's profile


1768 posts in 2988 days

#9 posted 06-28-2014 05:48 AM

Not sure how you can stand to look at that hideous, useless pile of garbage. Because I care and only want the best for you, I will swing by to take it of your hands for proper disposal. It’s the least I can do for you….

Seriously friggen hoss!

-- In theory there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice there is.

View Woodknack's profile


13444 posts in 3190 days

#10 posted 06-28-2014 05:54 AM

Beautiful bench.

-- Rick M,

View ColonelTravis's profile


1976 posts in 2704 days

#11 posted 06-28-2014 06:06 AM

Oh gosh, sorry.

At first I thought you said that glorious looking thing was a bench.

View mmh's profile


3680 posts in 4533 days

#12 posted 06-28-2014 06:57 AM

Beautifully executed! When can you deliver it to MY woodshop???

As you can tell, we are all inn bench envy!

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

View 7Footer's profile


2575 posts in 2759 days

#13 posted 06-28-2014 07:47 AM

Truly inspiring Red. It’s also been really cool to see the pics along your journey of the build and to now see this finished product, absolutely incredible work, and great write up.


View K_B's profile


16 posts in 2413 days

#14 posted 06-28-2014 10:05 AM

Awesome – must be a pleasure to have such a masterpiece in the shop :)

-- -> Kim, Denmark

View CL810's profile


4055 posts in 3798 days

#15 posted 06-28-2014 10:07 AM

Great job Red! Nice to have benches built specifically around how you work. Where’s the bondo pose? Better put on a bow tie.

-- "The only limits to our realization of tomorrow will be our doubts of today." - FDR

showing 1 through 15 of 84 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