New Workbench

  • Advertise with us
Project by David Kirtley posted 06-26-2010 08:40 PM 3338 views 3 times favorited 14 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Well, I finally finished the workbench I have been playing with.

The plan:

The product:

The legs are 4×4 cedar with 2×4 crossbeams through mortised into the legs.

The crossbeams are pinned with 1/2 in hardwood dowels.

I was particularly pleased with how all the tenons seated without gaps. I can occasionally get a bit off chopping the cheeks of the tenons.

I decided against making pads for the feet and just scabbed on another piece of 2×4 glued on with Titebond III. I figured that it was not worth the trouble to do it in pieces.

I am not sure yet on how I like how far the vise is inset. I set it in according to the included directions but I might set it back a bit further into the bench. There is enough clearance but I figure that I can move it in if I don’t like it. It will be a small job if I decide to change it. I figured that I would not mess with the manufacturers instructions until I gave it a chance.

The top is made of 3 layers of 3/4 hardwood ply glued with Titebond III and a floating tempered hardboard face that I can replace as it gets banged up. I have not decided yet if I will pin it down with either some hot glue or some countersunk screws in the corners to keep it from slipping. It is held in well enough for now by the edge frame. The top is lag screwed to the base with four 1/4×3 screws through the leg caps into the top.

I cut out the clearance for the vise on each layer of ply before glue up.

I left a bit extra clearance to be able to adjust the position of the vise after I get used to using it.

I might sand and paint the wood but I think for now, I am just going to use it as is. I still have to decide where I want to drill holes for my holdfasts and stuff but I will let that happen organically as I develop work patterns on the bench.

In case you were wondering, the goo that you see around the top and bottom of the leg beams is a thickened epoxy that I used to glue the cap pieces into the dadoes. The tenons are just pinned without glue.

Now to get to work.

-- Woodworking shouldn't cost a fortune:

14 comments so far

View swirt's profile


6346 posts in 4135 days

#1 posted 06-26-2010 08:46 PM

Stout and stable. I like the pattern maker’s vice.
Time to start drilling some dog holes ;)

-- Galootish log blog,

View David Kirtley's profile

David Kirtley

1286 posts in 4161 days

#2 posted 06-26-2010 08:51 PM

Yes, I am thrilled I will no longer be working on wobbly saw horses or my old wimpy HF bench with vises that don’t hold anything.

-- Woodworking shouldn't cost a fortune:

View Sailor's profile


544 posts in 4428 days

#3 posted 06-26-2010 10:01 PM

Great bench! I need one…. I have a workbench/outfeed table with a tempered hardboard top that was once floating. After a short while it started to warp upwards and didn’t want to lie flat anymore so I just put a few sheetrock screws in strategic places. It really helped it and the will be simple to remove when the time comes.

If you look close enough you can see the spots where the top is screwed down.

-- Dothan, Alabama Check out my woodworking blog! Also my Youtube Channel's Facebook page

View David Kirtley's profile

David Kirtley

1286 posts in 4161 days

#4 posted 06-27-2010 03:02 PM


Yeah, I know it needs to go in some. For now, I followed the installation instructions to give it a chance. It is a lot easier to cut away wood than to build it out. I just have a lot of other projects on the burner and will deal with it when I get to it. More important is to get a small storage unit built for putting between the stretchers. I just have to get stuff organized and stowed away. I also need a bit of ballast on the right hand side of the bench. That is a big chunk of cast iron on the left and it is a bit, shall we say, unevenly balanced.

-- Woodworking shouldn't cost a fortune:

View Ken90712's profile


18051 posts in 4352 days

#5 posted 06-27-2010 07:43 PM

Nice bench! That should help alot!

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

View nordichomey's profile


103 posts in 4265 days

#6 posted 06-28-2010 04:14 AM

I see what you mean about your bench! Nice work! Now I have a 3rd option to consider. How thick of hardboard did you use?

-- nordichomey

View David Kirtley's profile

David Kirtley

1286 posts in 4161 days

#7 posted 06-28-2010 04:51 AM

Mine is 3 layers of 3/4” hardwood ply with a topping of 1/4 tempered hardboard that I can replace easily as it gets dinged up. Over time, you end up re-flattening a solid wood bench top and once was enough for me. I don’t mind flattening, I just didn’t like resetting the vise hardware to the new depth. I really don’t see any advantage to the massive solid wood except for the fact that it is pretty. The engineered sheet goods are more stable and stronger than solid wood. I don’t particularly trust MDF for this application though. I don’t know how it would hold up in the long run with holdfasts.

If I were making a longer bench, I would have either gone with 4 layers of plywood or reinforced a bit more with stringers along the bottom. Chopping mortises is much easier when the bench is not acting like a springboard. With a short bench like this one, it is not a problem.

-- Woodworking shouldn't cost a fortune:

View Gary Lucas's profile

Gary Lucas

80 posts in 4071 days

#8 posted 06-28-2010 05:04 AM

Great Bench..looks very solid. I feel this is the most important tool in the shop.You sure have made an excellent bench.

-- Go create sawdust

View a1Jim's profile


118163 posts in 4740 days

#9 posted 06-28-2010 05:23 AM

cool bench.great job I thing you’ll like the pattern makers vise I like mine


View Brian S's profile

Brian S

108 posts in 3756 days

#10 posted 04-22-2011 03:33 AM

I love your bench (and the vice – there’s certainly some envy in this department). I bet that bench is as solid as a rock.

The replaceable top is a really good idea. I wish I’d thought of that.

-- Brian

View David Kirtley's profile

David Kirtley

1286 posts in 4161 days

#11 posted 04-22-2011 04:29 AM

The vise is an oddball. If I were going to only be working with wood and doing joinery, it really isn’t the best solution. What it really excels at is holding odd pieces and working from different angles.

-- Woodworking shouldn't cost a fortune:

View Maddhatter's profile


127 posts in 4740 days

#12 posted 04-22-2011 04:33 AM

Well done, should last a life time and be a great companion to the next one you build. Can’t make just one!

-- Norm (AKA - The Maddhatter), Middletown DE

View David Kirtley's profile

David Kirtley

1286 posts in 4161 days

#13 posted 04-22-2011 04:37 AM

I already have it’s twin that my metal lathe is sitting on right now until I make a better home for it. What I really need to do is organize things because right now, things have just spilled out all over the place.

-- Woodworking shouldn't cost a fortune:

View KOVA's profile


1362 posts in 3541 days

#14 posted 11-09-2013 04:42 AM



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