Work Bench -Traditional

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Project by James Lango posted 11-02-2009 07:15 AM 8986 views 22 times favorited 23 comments Add to Favorites Watch

My first “real work bench” almost complete. Made entirely from Cherry and Maple. All lumber was milled last year, which saved me a TON of money. The legs are 2” x 4” solid Cherry. Stretchers are Maple. The top is glued up 1” x 2” maple/cherry strips. So far my only purchase has been the 2 vises from Lee ($130).

Finishe size is 35 high, 32 wide, about 72 long. weight is about 250 now.

This tail vise takes ALOT of time to get right. Their are no plans to go off of, only pictures that i have. The runner that keeps the tail vise straight are hard maple. Its tounge and groved to ride true and reduce racking. The black spray that is visible is graphite lube. Its a dry lube that is similar to oil, but not quite liquid. Seems to really help out and avoild friction. I use it on the radial arm.

I plan to get fancy with the tail vise during my next few days of construction. (hope i get it OK) The large dovetail at the corner was pain enough and not soo perfect.

All the aprons are 4” square. I mill my lumber 1 1/4” so getting to 1” is not too big a problem.

The top is secured to the legs with 1 lag in the center (2 bolts total) to allow for movement. the head apron is also only laged with 1 bolt. While the tail apron has 2 lag bolts.

The wood is around 10-12% MC. I only expect it to shrink slightly, and definetly not swell much. (shop is in my garage)

The only problem i see for the next few years of abuse is that the maple i used is soft. I remember milling one tree, and knew there was some in the back yard pile. Half way through the top, it hit me that not all Maple is the same. (its yellow looking) lol
Well, it is what it is now. Cherry aint the strongest of woods either, but its what i had plenty of.

Any one have comments about Boiled Linseed for a finish? I would really like to use it (cause i have a gallon sitting).

The dog holes are evenly spaced, except at the front vise end. I threw in an extra one close to the other, hopefully to use with the front vise.

This has been by far the most challenging project i ever attempted. Mostly cause it all from pictures, and building as you go. Which is normally fine, but difficult on such a large scale. I had to square and prep every single piece of wood this baby’s made of. From a chain saw none the less. Even burned through a set of brushes on the planner.

I would like to thank all the other guys/girls who have posted their work benches of a similar construction style! Without your pics to feed me ideas, i would still be using my 2×4’s and particle board bench.

Thanks for looking, please leave any comments. Anyone planning a bench and wants more pics – let me know.
I will post soon the finished look.
James Lango

-- [email protected]

23 comments so far

View a1Jim's profile


117782 posts in 4136 days

#1 posted 11-02-2009 08:34 AM

Very impressive bench James, looks fantastic

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


18739 posts in 4235 days

#2 posted 11-02-2009 08:41 AM

Nice bench!!

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View nmkidd's profile


758 posts in 3732 days

#3 posted 11-02-2009 08:57 AM

Great bench!!
You might want to ensure your insurance is up-to-date…......just in case you decide to move the bench!!

-- Doug, New Mexico.......the only stupid question is one that is never asked!........don't fix it, if it ain't broke!

View Splinterman's profile


23074 posts in 3921 days

#4 posted 11-02-2009 12:08 PM

Hey James,
Sweet bench…good job.

View CedarFreakCarl's profile


594 posts in 4613 days

#5 posted 11-02-2009 12:18 PM


-- Carl Rast, Pelion, SC

View Dan Hux's profile

Dan Hux

577 posts in 3933 days

#6 posted 11-02-2009 12:48 PM

very nice bench,,it really is ashame it’s at your house and not mine.. LOL

-- Dan Hux,,,,Raleigh, NC

View Cantputjamontoast's profile


416 posts in 3992 days

#7 posted 11-02-2009 01:20 PM

very nice work!!

Can you post more on the vises when you get them installed

-- "Not skilled enough to wipe jam on toast!"

View JasonWagner's profile


527 posts in 3739 days

#8 posted 11-02-2009 02:25 PM

Awesome bench, looks great!

-- some day I hope to have enough clamps to need a clamp cart!

View blackcherry's profile


3343 posts in 4382 days

#9 posted 11-02-2009 02:33 PM

Heavy duty in deed, should bring plenty years of service. Great work thanks for sharing…Blkcherry

View lou's profile


343 posts in 4002 days

#10 posted 11-02-2009 03:11 PM


View Tony Ennis's profile

Tony Ennis

137 posts in 3696 days

#11 posted 11-02-2009 03:18 PM

That’s really nice. I think it will be a long time before you wear down a maple top.

-- Tony

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27250 posts in 4381 days

#12 posted 11-02-2009 03:19 PM

James, this is a beautiful bench. And building it from lumber that you milled yourself only adds to the personal satisfaction that you get from adding this to your shop. You should see years of service from this bench and it is something that most of us would love to have in our shops.

Nice choice of woods too, by the way. This is my favorite combination. I have a bench on my short list (if my wife ever lets me get to it) and yours certainly is an inspiration.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View Safetyboy's profile


119 posts in 4318 days

#13 posted 11-02-2009 03:30 PM

Looking good! You certainly don’t see many cherry workbenches…

One comment about the finish – I’ve seen “Danish oil” or an oil/varnish blend recommended as the best workbench finish. The varnish adds a bit of resistance to stains & glues, without making the top too slick.

Looks like you’ll have many happy hours working on that bench. Enjoy it!

-- -- Kevin in Mentor, Ohio

View Ken90712's profile


17786 posts in 3748 days

#14 posted 11-02-2009 04:03 PM

Very nice and solid! It’s always the first ding that hurts the most on a workbench as niec as that.

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

View ToGoMan's profile


100 posts in 3803 days

#15 posted 11-02-2009 05:14 PM

I bet even the sawdust will look beautiful coming off of this one! I’m sure you’re excited to use it.

-- ToGoMan ------ "No ONE of us knows as much as ALL of us." (anon.) ----

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