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Project by gtpreacher posted 09-23-2010 05:39 AM 4306 views 11 times favorited 19 comments Add to Favorites Watch

After 20 years of working on a cheap, light weight workbench that I bought at a big box store, I finally decided that I needed a bench that would stand up to heavy work. This one is built out of SYP, with a laminated MDF top. The leg vice is made of oak, and I used a quick release vice on the end of the table. The end frames are held together with pegged mortise and tenon joints. The mortises and tenons for the long stretchers are pulled tight with bench bolts, and there are two longitudinal stringers that add support under the tabletop. They are pulled tight to the end frames with lag bolts. It is a rock-solid bench, and I am really looking forward to putting it to use.

-- Phil, North Carolina

19 comments so far

View PurpLev's profile


8551 posts in 4157 days

#1 posted 09-23-2010 05:53 AM

looks ready for some work!

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View kenn's profile


813 posts in 4229 days

#2 posted 09-23-2010 05:55 AM

I agree, put some dents in it, get some sawdust on it! Nice job.

-- Every cloud has a silver lining

View Roz's profile


1707 posts in 4295 days

#3 posted 09-23-2010 06:05 AM

Nice bench, I’ve got to build one. Thanks for the detailed image of the leg vice. I think I want one but am not sure what advantage it offers to the wood worker.

-- Terry Roswell, L.A. (Lower Alabama) "Life is what happens to you when you are making other plans."

View Cullcutter's profile


31 posts in 3329 days

#4 posted 09-23-2010 06:13 AM

Very nice wood vice.

-- I started working with wood because of the biscuits.

View RonPeters's profile


713 posts in 3389 days

#5 posted 09-23-2010 06:16 AM

Nice bench. Looks really solid….!

-- “Once more unto the breach, dear friends...” Henry V - Act III, Scene I

View MickeyD's profile


130 posts in 4035 days

#6 posted 09-23-2010 07:18 AM

Very nice bench. I have been looking at several plans to build a bench. I also have a flimsy bench that I am working on now. Did you use plans to build this one?

-- -Willing to try

View DavidH's profile


519 posts in 4252 days

#7 posted 09-23-2010 07:21 AM

bench turned out great.

-- David - Houston, Texas. (

View David Kirtley's profile

David Kirtley

1286 posts in 3507 days

#8 posted 09-23-2010 07:36 AM

Looks great. I am a big fan of workbenches with hardboard tops. The only thing I would suggest is to have some holes in the face of the skirt to put pegs to support longer pieces in the face vise. It really helps.

-- Woodworking shouldn't cost a fortune:

View Ken90712's profile


17742 posts in 3697 days

#9 posted 09-23-2010 10:48 AM

That is a beast! This one thing my shop is missing, is a great bench. Thx for sharing!

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

View mafe's profile


12109 posts in 3598 days

#10 posted 09-23-2010 11:40 AM

Such a bench, will make it hard to get you out of the workshop!
Best thoughts,

-- MAD F, the fanatical rhykenologist and vintage architect. Democraticwoodworking.

View Cato's profile


701 posts in 3821 days

#11 posted 09-23-2010 12:35 PM

Congrats on your nice bench. I am sure you will really enjoy it once you get over the new car without a scratch syndrome!!

View Beginningwoodworker's profile


13345 posts in 4182 days

#12 posted 09-23-2010 02:24 PM

Nice looking bench.

View Bob A in NJ's profile

Bob A in NJ

1251 posts in 4508 days

#13 posted 09-23-2010 02:44 PM

Cool design and construction. Also like your space saving “tower of tools.”

-- Bob A in NJ

View gtpreacher's profile


107 posts in 3774 days

#14 posted 09-23-2010 03:26 PM

Thanks for the comments, guys.

Roz, I’m not certain what real advantage the leg vise has over other styles, but it certainly was the less expensive way for me to go. I already had a great slab of oak to make the chop, and the modified tail vise screw was only $60 vs. $200-$300 for a quality front vise. It applies good holding pressure, and besides, I just like the way it looks.

MickeyD, I did not work from any single plan, but did do a lot of research before I started the build. Popular Woodworking’s Chris Schwartz is a good authority – he has written extensively about workbenches – and there are good ideas on the Woodsmith Shop and Fine Woodworking web sites and many others. After looking at a number of good designs, I combined the features that I thought would work best for me. I wanted the base to be solid and I wanted the top to be flat and functional. In the end I designed it so that the top can be removed and replaced if I ever want or need to change it. Also, if I ever need to do it, the base can be easily broken down for moving by removing the bench bolts and lag bolts. One thing I didn’t mention in the original post is that I built the bench so that the top is 1/4” shorter than my table saw, so it doubles as an outfeed table.

David, you are right about the holes in the skirt. I have that in my “tweaking plan.” I also intend to put a few more strategically placed holes in the top so I can get more efficient use out of my holddowns. Another tweak will be an adjustable planing stop on the left end of the bench, and I plan to install a small drawer under the front skirt to hold bench dogs and a few layout tools. I’m also thinking about a removable tool rack for the back of the bench.

-- Phil, North Carolina

View nmkidd's profile


758 posts in 3681 days

#15 posted 09-23-2010 06:00 PM

looks like you built yourself a really sturdy work station… that will last many years!!!
.......this is a project that is needed in my modest little shop.

Great job.

at times I go brain dead… what is SYP??

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

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