Finished my 2x6 Paul Sellers Workbench

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Project by RustyHacksaw posted 07-15-2015 05:17 PM 14759 views 7 times favorited 11 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Wow what a rewarding project. I had a week off work to work on it as often as I could physically handle. It ended up taking 2 weeks.

Details:Spent $56 on the 2×6s from the store. $8 on the Danish oil. $150 on Jorgensen 41012. I splurged on the vise but I love it.

Top is 5” thick. I thought this would be a great idea, I wish I would have made it less, it has made everything a challenge, fitting the vise required a huge 3” deep 12”x8” mortise I had to chop… also the hold fasts don’t grab well, even with sandpaper trick. Once I forget about the huge amount of work it was to fix those issues I will probably enjoy the thicker top.

Height is 36”. Bench is 24” deep and 5’ long.

The mortise and tenons were hand chopped (first time). The wedges in the housing dado of the apron change every thing. Without them I don’t know how rigid it would be. Aprons are 12” wide. The bolts holding them on make the bench able to breakdown if I need to move it.

Finish is dark danish oil.

Like I said this was an incredibly rewarding experience. I learned a lot and gained confidence in lots of different aspects of woodwork. The only power tools used were the power planer to flatten the bottom of the tops. I did the top and all of the stock prep by hand with my #5 craftsman.

I was learning how to crosscut a slab and got to teach my son how to make a rip cut And mark boards.

fun times. But I’m too tired to start a project on it now

11 comments so far

View waho6o9's profile


8812 posts in 3186 days

#1 posted 07-15-2015 05:26 PM

Great bench!

View JayT's profile


6362 posts in 2820 days

#2 posted 07-15-2015 06:55 PM

Looks good and after you forget about the amount of work, the extra mass of the 5inch top will be much more of a benefit than liability. What did you end up doing for the holdfasts, counterbore the bottom of the holes?

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

View Tim Royal 's profile

Tim Royal

315 posts in 2095 days

#3 posted 07-15-2015 07:09 PM

Beautiful bench! Fine work!

-- -Tim Royal -"Pride makes us artificial and humility makes us real." -Thomas Merton

View ohwoodeye's profile


2290 posts in 3762 days

#4 posted 07-15-2015 08:16 PM

OSHA approved footwear please.

-- "Fine Woodworking" is the name given to a project that takes 3 times longer than normal to finish because you used hand tools instead of power tools. ----Mike, Waukesha, WI

View greg48's profile


617 posts in 3366 days

#5 posted 07-15-2015 11:52 PM

Go ahead and take five (minute) break before starting on the next project. Looks like you might get a few miles out of that top and good decision on the vise.

-- Greg, No. Cal. - "Gaudete in Domino Semper"

View RustyHacksaw's profile


145 posts in 1872 days

#6 posted 07-16-2015 12:35 AM

A slight counterbore from underneath helps… I’m still searching for solutions. I have found that at different angles the holdfast works better than others. Or rather, if it doesn’t hold, if I spin it around 180degrees it will hold fine…

Ideas on that that means?

Also I am searching out options for a tail vise.

Thanks for all of your kind comments.

I’ll let him know to put shoes on when the inspector comes by.

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile (online now)


16344 posts in 3227 days

#7 posted 07-16-2015 03:37 AM

Looks a lot like the flops I wear in the shop. That’s when I actually wear shoes at all. OSHA be damned in my home shop.

-- Don't anthropomorphize your handplanes. They hate it when you do that. -- OldTools Archive --

View Combo Prof's profile

Combo Prof

3992 posts in 1886 days

#8 posted 07-16-2015 11:01 AM

First tool well that I actually like.

-- Don K, (Holland, Michigan)

View HokieKen's profile


12009 posts in 1747 days

#9 posted 07-16-2015 02:46 PM

Great bench and nice work on the build!

It’s not so surprising that your holdfasts won’t cinch down reliably in a top that thick. I would guess that your counterbores either aren’t deep enough or aren’t big enough. I would try holding down stock of varying thicknesses. If your counterbores are the issue, thin stock will cinch down better. See what thickness stock starts causing problems and take your counterbore that much deeper. Or, when you start having trouble, look underneath and see if the holdfast is wedging against the edge of the counterbore or the edge of the through-hole. If it’s contacting the counterbore and not the through-hole, you’ll need to increase the diameter.

As for why it would work when turned around… the only thing I can think of is that your through-holes are a little out of square to the top and when you’re trying to hold stock the little bit of extra clearance the angle of the hole gives on 1 side vs the other makes the difference.

-- Kenny, SW VA, Go Hokies!!!

View BrettMcD's profile


13 posts in 3145 days

#10 posted 07-23-2015 10:06 PM


I use the gramercy holdfast in a Nicholson with a 3in top no problem. So you could counterbore it if you want to, but I think a simpler solution if you don’t mind roughing up the holdfast is to just take a nail punch and place random holes on two sides (front and back) to give it extra bite. If you go to the “English woodworker blog” Richard has a video on this procedure it appears to work incredibly well and looked like it took him about 3-5 minutes a holdfast. If it was me with that thick of a top that is what I would do. Nice bench I am also a big fan of Paul Sellers been in his Masterclass for several years now. Hope this helps.

View RustyHacksaw's profile


145 posts in 1872 days

#11 posted 08-18-2015 11:51 AM

Thanks for the input. I ended up drilling a 2” counterbore with a 7/8 bit. The holdfasts work great now. I also did the trick that Richard from “english woodworker” suggests.

Also, I added a veritas inset vise as a tail vise… I love it.

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