Workbench bathing in asymmetry

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Project by Justus posted 09-04-2009 11:03 PM 5105 views 10 times favorited 14 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Building workbenches can be addictive. This is already the third and won’t be the last. Number 1 I showed previously, number 2 is a not-so-sturdy copy of number 1 build from reclaimed lumber in a hurry and now number 3.

Since in the workshop there already is this workbench #2, ready to serve as assembly table and for light (read machine) work, (see picture 3, in the back) the #3 shall focus on handplaning, sawing, chopping.

I’ve spent countless hours researching LJ, reading internet entries, books (e.g. the one by C. Schwarz) and thinking about my way to a workbench. Quite contrary to the modells by Schwarz and many others, I decided for asymmetry – what do you need similar sides for?

The lumber I used is entirely reclaimed lumber from a major storm damage to my parents holiday house, so I had no choice concerning sizes, quantity or species. I believe its all spruce. That’s what we use in Germany for construction work.

I often clamp boards to the front of the bench, so this bench had to be an apron-style bench (Schwarz calls them “English”). The front legs have to be straight and flush with the bench, while regarding the back legs I decided for an angled design (known from many traditional European benches, e.g. Spanish ones) allowing for a rather slim benchtop (only about 30 cm / 12” wide) and still a stable footprint. I also simply find it classy.

The strap reinforcing the top is not as crucial to this design as it is to my other designs, since this bench is completely glued, but it helped tremendously with assembly (I had no helper), is a very useful place to hang some clamps or other tools and does provide the force to keep the legs close together. In combination with the upper ring of boards it prevents rocking.

To add the icing to the cake I also installed a tool rack. The contruction of this tool rack had to ensure that the tool rack can quickly be moved flush with the front for front clamping and flat on the bottom rack (which does not have boards on it for lack of time, maybe next summer) when clamping to the benchtop is needed.

That I used a strap (which is actually the very first strap I ever bought at the age of 17 preparing to go to a boarding school in Italy) to adjust the angle of tool rack is no wonder to those who followed my oeuvre.

The tool rack takes the tools I most commonly use: #4 plane, low angle block plane, 4 chisels, pencils, combination square, dozuki and kataba. It has a magnet batten to keep whatever is ferromagnetic.

I had not yet a lot of time testing the bench since my holidays are over and the bench stays at my parents holiday house. See you next summer, #3!

14 comments so far

View Christopher's profile


576 posts in 4488 days

#1 posted 09-04-2009 11:20 PM

The bench is the ingeniously ergonomic and your shop makes my heart skip a beat, exactly what I want!

View CharlieM1958's profile


16284 posts in 4786 days

#2 posted 09-04-2009 11:34 PM

A very special bench for a very special shop. You actually make sawdust in there? :-)

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View wyeth's profile


135 posts in 3795 days

#3 posted 09-05-2009 12:04 AM

A very interesting example of lateral thinking and design based on personal needs and available materials. It will be instructive to have your thoughts in a year or so on any great advantages/disadvantages you encounter.

-- David Australia

View Bricofleur's profile


1466 posts in 3760 days

#4 posted 09-05-2009 12:38 AM

Unusual bench, but very nice and looks sturdy. I like the A shape of the legs. No tipping in seight for sure.

Your shop is awesome. White walls and shiny wood floor, lots of natural light. I guess on the opposite side of the shop sit the kitchen, the dinning room and the living room !!! Maybe the bedroom.

Jealousy… is my actual feeling about your shop !

And thanks for sharing your ‘personal style’ workbench.



-- Learn from yesterday, work today and enjoy success tomorrow. --

View Dennis Zongker's profile

Dennis Zongker

2800 posts in 4159 days

#5 posted 09-05-2009 01:07 AM

Great looking shop & Benches.

-- Dennis Zongker

View huff's profile


2828 posts in 3853 days

#6 posted 09-05-2009 02:28 AM

Unique bench and a very nice shop.

-- John @

View skeeter's profile


233 posts in 3908 days

#7 posted 09-05-2009 03:56 AM

you know why we like your shop so much. I think it the sunlight reflected off the nice glossy floor. I’m sure other jocks are like me working in what resembles a dungeon of a garage where the only thing nice to look at is the current project that is in progress.

-- My philosophy: Somewhere between Norm and Roy

View BarryW's profile


1015 posts in 4474 days

#8 posted 09-05-2009 04:00 AM

nice shop? great shop…super designs…

-- /\/\/\ BarryW /\/\/\ Stay so busy you don't have time to die.

View John Gray's profile

John Gray

2370 posts in 4453 days

#9 posted 09-05-2009 04:55 AM

Heck with the workbench look at the floor and the rest of the shop. ;>)
Great idea thanks for the post!!!!

-- Only the Shadow knows....................

View RexMcKinnon's profile


2593 posts in 3763 days

#10 posted 09-08-2009 06:39 PM

Now that’s a nice shop. Quality of the shop reflects the quality of the work.

-- If all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail!

View Justus's profile


30 posts in 4043 days

#11 posted 09-10-2009 10:17 PM

Thank you for all the nice comments. Yes, this shop is truly a pleasure to be in – but, Bricofleur, there are no rooms adjacent – it is a garden house in my parents holiday house garden. And it does have lot of natural light (so much that there is actually not one single lamp installed) – and no heating. I only work there in summer in my holidays. 500 km is a bit far from home for weekend projects. But I do have another shop at home.

Cheers, Justus

View Beginningwoodworker's profile


13345 posts in 4240 days

#12 posted 09-12-2009 02:03 AM

Nice looking bench.

View RGtools's profile


3372 posts in 3222 days

#13 posted 05-20-2011 03:49 AM

Awesome design. Normally I am a traditionalist when it comes to bench but this is a great new entry. Nice tidy shop, I need to clean more…

-- Make furniture that lasts as long as the tree - Ryan

View Jack_T's profile


623 posts in 3599 days

#14 posted 05-20-2011 04:34 AM

I agree the shop looks great and the bench is very interesting. I am curious as to what type of work that you use this bench for?

-- Jack T, John 3:16 "For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life."

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