Workbench with patternmaker's vise

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Project by Girino posted 10-22-2018 01:18 AM 5223 views 9 times favorited 14 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I built this last winter to finally take advantage of an Emmert vise that I picked up about 8 years ago.

The bench is made mostly of European beech which around here is 25% cheaper than hard maple, similar in density and in my experience better workability. I loved building with this stuff. The end panels are big leaf maple from a friend’s mill about 45 minutes away (wet side of Oregon). It is fun to have a bench with local wood in it. The tail vise sliding components are hornbeam I harvested from my property when I lived in Virginia, so I have a piece of my 25 years in Virginia in this bench, too. There are also birch ply dust panels, and ebony plugs conceal bolts and drawbore pins. The base is finished with Waterlox satin. The top is unfinished but leveled, sanded, and waxed.

The bench is 84 inches long, 26 inches deep, and 36 inches high. Legs are just under 4×4, laminated from 8/4 stock. The top is solid and laminated from 8/4 stock, 4” thick. The table weighs a bit under 400 pounds.

The Emmert vise is probably from the 30’s or 40’s. If you’ve never seen one: they tilt and swivel so you can hold a piece in just about any orientation if necessary. The vise alone weighs about 90 pounds. I’ll be honest and say it is overkill for most of woodworking I do, but it’s there just in case…...

I went overboard with the dog holes, but I did that for a reason. The tail vise screw I purchased from Lee Valley has a tpi of about 7, so it takes a long time to screw in or out. I thought putting the dog holes closer together than usual would save me a bit of time positioning my work. Once the dado jig was set up to cut the holes it took only a few minutes to cut them all, so there they are at a bit under 3 inches on center.

The frame is mortise and tenoned and drawbored and glued together. I believe it will not come apart, at least not in my lifetime.

There is a “secret” compartment under the bottom shelf.

I made the shelves as dust panels thinking that I might want to add drawers later. After using the bench for a few months I think I would like drawers and am working on them now. I use the bench from both sides and the drawers will open both ways.

14 comments so far

View swirt's profile


6625 posts in 4213 days

#1 posted 10-22-2018 01:26 AM

Very nice looking bench. Pretty sweet vise too.

-- Galootish log blog,

View waho6o9's profile


9065 posts in 3818 days

#2 posted 10-22-2018 02:09 AM

Excellent work bench!

View JayT's profile


6431 posts in 3452 days

#3 posted 10-22-2018 02:14 AM

Very, very nice! Envious of the Emmert.

-- - In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice, there is.

View NotaJock's profile


183 posts in 2340 days

#4 posted 10-22-2018 02:22 AM

Why does it look as if the 4th image is of a different bench?

-- Mike in SoCal, now East Texas

View Girino's profile


11 posts in 1102 days

#5 posted 10-22-2018 02:29 AM

I forgot to say that the nicest feature of the Emmert, and one I do use, is that you can cant the jaws to accommodate tapered parts like table legs.

View Girino's profile


11 posts in 1102 days

#6 posted 10-22-2018 02:31 AM

Why does it look as if the 4th image is of a different bench?

- NotaJock

Sorry, that is the tail vise but from below, while I was fitting it, to show the mechanism.

View PCDub's profile


305 posts in 1485 days

#7 posted 10-22-2018 01:11 PM

Why does it look as if the 4th image is of a different bench?

- NotaJock

Sorry, that is the tail vise but from below, while I was fitting it, to show the mechanism.

- Girino

Thank you for that explanation—I was really confused about that too!

View Dutchy's profile


4189 posts in 3409 days

#8 posted 10-22-2018 02:41 PM

Very nice bench. I like my look alike far east emmert vise, even for the small parts. And I hope you also will have a lot of benefit from your bench and vise.


View Rwolinski's profile


179 posts in 1566 days

#9 posted 10-22-2018 02:55 PM

Great job. I hope you get lots of use out of it

-- What I make is for others....How I make it is for me.

View Mainiac Matt 's profile

Mainiac Matt

9985 posts in 3569 days

#10 posted 10-22-2018 06:10 PM

An awesome looking bench.

Well done.

-- Matt -- I yam what I yam and that's all what I yam

View AJ1104's profile


1362 posts in 2900 days

#11 posted 10-23-2018 12:19 AM

You did a wonderful job building your bench. It looks like the beech was a great choice. I hope you enjoy many days working on it!

-- AJ

View John's profile


2107 posts in 2511 days

#12 posted 10-23-2018 12:53 AM

Awesome, enjoy it!!!

-- John, Sunshine Coast, BC, Canada.

View Girino's profile


11 posts in 1102 days

#13 posted 10-23-2018 02:47 AM

Thanks, everyone. I’ve been enjoying the bench. It has really worked out well in my space and for the kind of work I like to do. I’m grateful to be able to have the large surface area. The vises hold most everything, and I can clamp around all the edge for things the vises can’t handle.

View Festus56's profile


4283 posts in 2469 days

#14 posted 10-23-2018 03:39 AM

Great build!! And with a great pair of vises. I have a Emmert vise like that on a 90 + yr. old bench. Love it and use it daily. Enjoy!!

-- Mark -- Really we're not crazy, just "Limited Editions" -- --

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