New-Fangled Workbench

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Project by Tomas posted 11-18-2007 03:28 AM 8845 views 11 times favorited 11 comments Add to Favorites Watch

My inspiration for building this bench came from viewing Jeff’s blog of how he built Mr. White’s New-Fangled Workbench as featured in Fine Woodworking. The version I built was based on a sketchup model that I obtained elsewhere. I had two challenges – first, finding2 by material that would not warp. Most of the wood I bought warped too much. Others suggested I buy wide boards with straight end grain. That did not seem to help. I ended up buying kiln dried studs and used them for two pieces on the table top and the two table length rails that form the walls to the well. The rest of the wood was from green 2 by 6’s and 2 by 8’s. I never used the 2 by 10 material.

I did not joint or plane the thick leg pieces that formed the two legs. I had one split on me as I discovered I was driving a lag bolt through a knot. The leg still felt stable so I did not bother to replace it – so I have this ugly split in the wood. After driving the lag bolts you will understand it is too much of a chore to start over.

My other challenge was to deal with 1 and 3/8 inch wide pieces when the rails were 3 inches wide. When dealing with the spacers between the legs and table top I had to turn one board on its side, plane it down so that the support would be flush with the board that runs on the bottom, across both rails and also attaches to the top.

the MDF initially sat below the surface of the table but that is why there are spinners – to help prop up the pipes – and that made the MDF sit flush with the top. I still need to work on an end spinner because at the very end you will see the MDF sits a little blelow the table surface. As Jeff has stated, the Fine Woodworking article does not explain everything so you have to figure some things for yourself. I am not very happy with the level of the benchtop because I could not take all the warpage out as I approached 1 and 3/8 inch thickness. The bench is fine for my needs, however.

11 comments so far

View David's profile


1969 posts in 5019 days

#1 posted 11-18-2007 03:34 AM

Tomas -

Very nice! Looks like you did a great job. Congratulations on the new addition to your shop!

I have been working on a variant of this bench myself so it was very cool to see this posting. You are right that there is a fair amount to figure out on your own – that’s part of the fun I guess!


View TomFran's profile


2964 posts in 4875 days

#2 posted 11-18-2007 03:43 AM

Sounds like you had some “fun” with the various challenges of woodworking. You did well working out the difficulties. My motto is “It will always take longer than you think.”

-- Tom, Surfside Beach, SC - Romans 8:28

View Jeff's profile


1010 posts in 4974 days

#3 posted 11-18-2007 05:20 AM

Yes!!! Looks great. I’m glad to see it completed, Tomas. It looks like your 2nd approach for lumber worked out really well. I hear you on the spinners. I put my MDF in without the spinners just to see how the pieces fit and was discouraged too until I made the same realization as you. For your issues with a slightly out-of-level top, have you considered some passes with a card scraper? I think that might get you where you want to be because the shavings are so thin and you could control where and how much you removed.

Enjoy this great tool.

-- Jeff, St. Paul, MN

View cajunpen's profile


14578 posts in 4946 days

#4 posted 11-18-2007 08:35 AM

Nice bench Tomas. I need to get myself started making a new one, think I’ll swing over to Jeff’s blog and see if this is the one for me.

-- Bill - "Suit yourself and let the rest be pleased."

View Dadoo's profile


1790 posts in 4871 days

#5 posted 11-18-2007 04:40 PM

You know, if we didn’t make mistakes, we’d never get it right. I occasionally find some 2x lumber that won’t warp, but the wider the board, the more prone it is to cupping, etc. I remember seeing Jeff’s bench and it is a great idea to incorporate the pipe clamps into the bench like this. If you do get warpage don’t fret though. Next time for a inexpensive approach, try two pieces of 3/4” plywood laminated together. You’ll get the 1 1/2” thickness and no warpage. On the other hand, once the bench is perfected, a nice maple butcher block top would look great!

-- Make Woodworking Great Again!

View oscorner's profile


4563 posts in 5191 days

#6 posted 11-20-2007 12:34 AM

You and Jeff have done a wonderful job on this style of bench. I can hardly wait till I can built one, too. Great bench, thanks for sharing.

-- Jesus is Lord!

View Marco Cecala's profile

Marco Cecala

189 posts in 4914 days

#7 posted 11-21-2007 01:52 AM

I’m getting close to building mine. The information I have gathered here will save me a lot of work. Never fear, I will report what I learned after messing something up!

Great bench, can’t wait to see what you build next.

View Karson's profile


35227 posts in 5281 days

#8 posted 11-21-2007 02:02 AM

Nice bench. glad you were able to work through the problems you found.

If we didn’t have warped wood we wouldn’t have any wood at all. I think every board is warped, bowed or cupped. That’s why they make jointers and planers.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Appomattox Virginia [email protected]

View markrules's profile


146 posts in 4996 days

#9 posted 12-10-2007 01:12 AM

I want to build one just like this. Do you have links to the plans (of can you email them)? I suppose I could create it myself but I’d overcomplicate it and it would only be a third as useful as this proven design.

View Jeff's profile


1010 posts in 4974 days

#10 posted 12-15-2007 05:10 PM


There is a link to the FWW article with the loose plans in my blog from when I built mine. There are also some drawings I made in sketchup in my later entries of the blog. See Part 6 I think.

-- Jeff, St. Paul, MN

View Jiri Parkman's profile

Jiri Parkman

953 posts in 4693 days

#11 posted 01-10-2008 02:59 PM


-- Jiri

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