The Workbench

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Project by chrisstef posted 08-11-2015 01:52 PM 8767 views 25 times favorited 43 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Ive blogged it and shown it on a couple other long standing threads but I needed to make it officially an entrant into my small woodworking portfolio here on LJ’s, so here it is …. again lol. Its finished size is 25” wide, 70” long, 5” thick and 34” off the ground. The finish is simply natural Danish oil.

Here’s the story behind the materials used:

This project started off a couple of years ago with the acquisition of the timbers. The doug fir timbers started their life off as roof columns for an experimental building owned by the VA here in Connecticut that, the company I work for, was contracted to do some demolition work on. Part of that job was removing the entire roof structure. Originally 6”x6” they were milled down to 5” square, well, close to that at least. You’ll see that ive inlaid a darker strip of walnut in between the fir timbers on the top. This was due to a milling mishap where they came back at 4 7/8” instead of 5”. I had to make up the difference in the top because I build the base first. Probably not my smartest decision but that’s how it goes.

The end vice jaws, leg vice chop, parallel guide and deadman are all native cherry and come from one 8/4 board I bought off a customer who runs a mill. The brass garter on the leg vice was milled by my father in law and was scrap from his workplace at Pratt & Whitney. The screw and hub came from a trade with LJ BigRedKnothead who acquired the screw in a trade with LJ Arlin who had it turned for him (at least that’s the story I remember). Ive used a stick of mystery wood I got in a care package from LJ 7footer as the peg for the parallel guide. The handle for the leg vice was turned by LJ CL810 and acquired in another trade for a miter box tree. The end vice was a salvage from the depths of the warehouse at work and the handle was turned by LJ Bhog. A pretty cool lineage in my book.

The top is held together with just glue joints. The stretchers are all pegged mortise and tenon. The top attaches to the base with through mortises. Deadman rides on a “V” shaped piece of hard maple and a cleat screwed to the back slides in a 3/4” dado in the underside of the top.

It took me a few months of working 2 hours here and there after my little guy would fall asleep but in the end im pretty proud of the monster ive created. There’s a bit of tweaking to be done along with adding dog holes and holdfasts but in the end she functions. Many battle wounds are forthcoming.

Thanks for the look and I apologize for the redundancy in my multiple posts. There's more pictures in the thread of the blog post.

-- Its not a crack, its a casting imperfection.

43 comments so far

View Hammerthumb's profile


3088 posts in 3030 days

#1 posted 08-11-2015 01:56 PM

Once again, great job Chris!

-- Paul, Duvall, WA

View helluvawreck's profile


32122 posts in 3921 days

#2 posted 08-11-2015 02:01 PM

That’s a great bench, Chris. Congratulations.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View BurlyBob's profile


8716 posts in 3320 days

#3 posted 08-11-2015 02:02 PM

That is quite a bench. I’m jealous.

View walden's profile


1552 posts in 3077 days

#4 posted 08-11-2015 02:05 PM

Looks great! Cool that you were able to reuse those timbers.

-- "I am hiring a realtor if and when the day comes a lion is on my roof."

View AnthonyReed's profile


10165 posts in 3495 days

#5 posted 08-11-2015 02:13 PM

That leg vise chop is divine.

Congrats on completing your bench; it is a tremendous specimen.

Stellar job bud.

-- ~Tony

View Buckethead's profile


3196 posts in 2923 days

#6 posted 08-11-2015 02:40 PM

You already know I love this bench, but I did not realize the walnut was a correction rather than an intentional embellishment. Once again proving that mistakes are often a case of the universe improving on what we do.

That leg vise is epic, as is every aspect of this monster truck bench. Also remarkable how well the Douglass fir and the cherry match in color. I’m guessing round dog holes at this stage. Square dogs are a heap of work even when you do them in advance. Seems like a very tough job after assembly.

One question (which may have been answered in another post but here goes anyway):

How is the bread board attached? Is it a blind mortise/tenon, bolted on, or other method?

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

View chrisstef's profile


18129 posts in 4061 days

#7 posted 08-11-2015 02:57 PM

Round dogs Bucket. If ive got to chop through 5” of that stuff again I might not make it. I got more bloody knuckles working this bench than id like to admit. The “bread board” is just lagged into the end grain of the bench. I originally planned on leaving the end grain of the top uncovered and acting as the inside jaw of the vice but there was some knurling on the vice jaw and it would have ended up marring my work.

-- Its not a crack, its a casting imperfection.

View ScottinVa's profile


44 posts in 2570 days

#8 posted 08-11-2015 03:21 PM

Thanks very much for the write-up & great job.

View RogerBean's profile


1605 posts in 4008 days

#9 posted 08-11-2015 03:28 PM

Looks like a bench you will enjoy for many years to come. Congrats.

-- "Everybody makes mistakes. A craftsman always fixes them." (Monty Kennedy, "The Checkering and Carving of Gunstocks", 1952)

View blackcherry's profile


3345 posts in 4878 days

#10 posted 08-11-2015 03:31 PM

Fantastic, enjoy your new work mate!!!

View Mauricio's profile


7166 posts in 4206 days

#11 posted 08-11-2015 04:12 PM

This really came out great, I love the proportions, and the wood used. the shape of the leg vise chop is a nice touch and it looks great with the brass garter. I need to get me one of those.

-- Mauricio - Woodstock, GA - "Confusion is the Womb of Learning, with utter conviction being it's Tomb" Prof. T.O. Nitsch

View palaswood's profile


1061 posts in 2806 days

#12 posted 08-11-2015 04:17 PM

This is a bench to be proud of. Im very impressed. The cherry leg vise is a treat to the eyes and Im now jealous of your work holding capabilities. Bravo!

-- Joseph, Irvine CA, @palas_woodcraft on Instagram

View August McCormick Lehman III's profile

August McCormick Lehman III

1811 posts in 2545 days

#13 posted 08-11-2015 04:17 PM

nice job chriss
someday i wish i can have one very nice….


View terryR's profile


7642 posts in 3363 days

#14 posted 08-11-2015 05:01 PM

Great job, Stef!
Love the wood, design, and finish!

Definitely worth the wait…should last your lifetime.

-- tr ...see one, do one, teach one...

View Tim's profile


3859 posts in 3016 days

#15 posted 08-11-2015 05:08 PM

Leg vice chop is stellar, hadn’t noticed that before. Great job, should hold anything you can throw at it.

Edit, and from looking back in the workbench thread, I see you called it all then. :)

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