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Project by PaxJen posted 05-03-2020 04:09 PM 2494 views 3 times favorited 21 comments Add to Favorites Watch

A few years ago a medium-sized oak in our small yard blew down in a storm, falling towards the city park next door, causing no damage to persons or pets. The city workers were kind enough to leave the trunk in 8 foot lengths in my driveway. We hired a sawyer with a motorized band saw to turn it into slabs for about $300. That air-dried wood is most of this bench. I do not know if it is white or red oak. The lower reddish shelf is flooring scraps that I may replace later with more wood from the same tree.

The bench needed to be small to fit my tiny basement workshop. The bench is 6 feet long and 21 inches wide. The height is 34.5 inches from the floor and the top is close to 4 inches thick. The top is glued up into two 10 inch sections so it can be broken down and hauled up the twisty little stairs if we ever move. My son Will helped me with some of the heavier milling.

Tenons extend up into the slab from the front legs and the back slab has a lag bolt underneath, with an elongated hole in the stretcher for wood movement. Loose dominos keep the slabs coplanar. The lower stretchers are held into the legs with Rockler bed bolts, which feel very solid. The trestles are glued with liquid hide glue and pegged with 3/8 inch oak pegs. For a finish, one coat of Watco tung oil went on pretty easily.

The milling was done with machines and the mortices excavated with a drill press or brace and bit, and chopped square with chisels. I hope to do more hand tool work now that I have a bench. It will be nice to stop trying to clamp things to my table saw.

The vise is the Benchcrafted Glide M which feels very nice. It opens more than 3 inches with one hard spin of the hand wheel and has a tenacious grip. I recommend using the criss cross retro, which would have been easier to install. I used the criss cross 14 inch so as not to interfere with the bed bolts in the leg. (Not sure if retro is available with the 14 inch version). The vise still opens plenty wide, so I am happy.

Next comes the installation of the planing stop (Benchcrafted) and a buttery smooth little inset vise from HNT Gordon. I will probably get the Crucible holdfasts. Maybe make some end caps? The shop upgrade is my retirement present to myself and the lovely wife likes it when I make noise down there.

Inspiration credit goes to the Lumberjocks in general, you know who you are, and to Christopher Schwartz, Richard Maguire, and LJ Lysdexic.

-- Pax - Maryland

21 comments so far

View theoldfart's profile


13128 posts in 3903 days

#1 posted 05-03-2020 04:33 PM

That’s a fine looking bench and looks really solid. I did do breadboard ends on my bench, they add a nice touch but did complicate adding an end vise.

Again really nice job and welcome to the club. Lysdexic sets a high mark for craftsmanship, you chose well.

-- "With every tool obtained, there is another that is needed" DonW ( Kevin )

View PaxJen's profile


237 posts in 2108 days

#2 posted 05-03-2020 04:43 PM

Thank you, sir. I have your bench in my favorites and I really like your contemporary side table.

-- Pax - Maryland

View BurlyBob's profile


10410 posts in 3717 days

#3 posted 05-03-2020 06:08 PM

That’s a really great looking bench.

View PaxJen's profile


237 posts in 2108 days

#4 posted 05-03-2020 08:37 PM

Thank you, BurlyBob.

-- Pax - Maryland

View therealSteveN's profile


9977 posts in 2026 days

#5 posted 05-03-2020 08:40 PM

Awesome looking bench, looks like it will work hard for you. The build is made all the better with the use of the salvaged tree fall. Good on you for going after it, and housing it while it dried.

You will love that Glide.

-- Think safe, be safe

View avsmusic1's profile


682 posts in 2137 days

#6 posted 05-03-2020 08:54 PM

a lovely bench
there is something special about building with wood from your own property

View CL810's profile


4297 posts in 4440 days

#7 posted 05-03-2020 09:42 PM

That’s a great bench Pax! Will serve you well.

I put end caps on mine, not sure they are necessary, though they are a nice visual touch.

-- "The only limits to our realization of tomorrow will be our doubts of today." - FDR

View Foghorn's profile


1519 posts in 838 days

#8 posted 05-03-2020 11:07 PM

Very nice and I wouldn’t call that a small bench. Looks like it has feline approval too which is important!

-- Darrel

View AJ1104's profile


1546 posts in 3111 days

#9 posted 05-04-2020 12:57 AM

Beautiful bench. You should really enjoy using it after this great build.

-- AJ

View swirt's profile


7655 posts in 4423 days

#10 posted 05-04-2020 02:24 AM

Looks like a great bench. Nce work making it from windfall wood.

-- Galootish log blog,

View Jeff's profile


321 posts in 837 days

#11 posted 05-04-2020 04:08 AM

It’s too nice for a work bench, more like a piece of furniture. Lovely. Retirement is a good career, enjoy.

View Peteybadboy's profile


4823 posts in 3401 days

#12 posted 05-04-2020 10:30 AM

Excellent job!

-- Petey

View tt1106's profile


248 posts in 4520 days

#13 posted 05-04-2020 12:12 PM

Beautiful bench. Very nicely done.

-- -Todd

View WirelessWoodworker's profile


88 posts in 2708 days

#14 posted 05-04-2020 12:39 PM

Awesome bench – and a nice story to go with it!

-- Tim, Delaware, and YouTube:

View Brandon's profile


4382 posts in 4403 days

#15 posted 05-04-2020 08:46 PM

Sweet bench! That’s definitely something to be proud of. Like CL810, I put caps on mine, but I really like how yours looks without them.

-- "hold fast to that which is good"

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