Anarchist Inspired Workbench

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Project by Lazyman posted 04-10-2022 10:52 PM 1362 views 5 times favorited 47 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Finally got my workbench completed. This is inspired by Chris Schwartz’s The Anarchist’s Workbench book which you can download in ebook format for free. I don’t have room for his 8’ bench so I drew up my own plans in Sketchup for a 6’ version. The bench is about 74” long by 23” wide and the top of the bench is about 34” tall. I follow CS’s recommended 5” thick top. I blogged about my build journey where you read about some of the steps I took and of course I got some great advice from the brain trust in the Work Bench Smack Down forum. As usual, builds like this turn out to be a Lumberjocks community effort.

A special thanks goes out to Dave of “KellyCrafts” who provided the Stanley 203 bench bracket in the second picture and Mike “Duckmilk” who forged me some holdfasts for which I have not yet drilled holes for. Before I start drilling holes, I want to be thoughtful so that I don’t turn my new bench in to swiss cheese.

The bench is made from Southern yellow pine, except for the leg vise chop which is black cherry. One reason I liked Chris Schwatz’s idea to use SYP is that I am less likely to be afraid to use and ding it if it is not some fancy hardwood. The leg vise and wagon vise hardware are from Hovarter. I really like the quick release mechanism and I especially like the wagon vise. One reason for building this now is that I have started using hand planes more over the last couple of years and really needed more friendly workbench for that. I have been using my assembly and outfeed table but it just wasn’t great for work holding even though I added a face vise a while back. I have been using wagon vise on the new bench for a couple of months now and that is really a game changer for me. My original plan was to use some of the same cherry to put an end cap for the wagon vise but frankly, the temporary one I made with a scrap of the pine works just fine so I may never do that.

To dress it up a little, I decided to use my CNC to do an inlay into the leg vise chop. The top was inspired by an art deco stained glass image I saw online somewhere and the bottom is a makers mark that has also become my new avatar image.

This was definitely a hybrid build using everything from my CNC to hand planes, saws and mortising chisels. Not too many tools in my shop that didn’t get used at one time or another. A great skill building project for anyone and building some sort of work bench whether traditional or modern style really is sort of a rite of passage that most woodworkers should tackle at some point. I can finally check that box off my to-do list. I need to make some bench hooks and doe’s feet I still need to make a full set of square dogs to replace the temporary ones but those will come sort of as I need them.

Thanks for looking.

-- Nathan, TX -- Hire the lazy man. He may not do as much work but that's because he will find a better way.

47 comments so far

View theoldfart's profile


13159 posts in 3948 days

#1 posted 04-10-2022 11:20 PM

Well done Nathan for a large project masterfully done.

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

View EarlS's profile


5615 posts in 3845 days

#2 posted 04-10-2022 11:33 PM

Nathan – finished project looks great!!!! That’s one sexy beast. Don’t forget the Bondo pose. Everyone is doing it.

BTW – thanks for helping Duck with my holdfast.

Are you starting the cabinet next?

-- Earl "I'm a pessamist - generally that increases the chance that things will turn out better than expected"

View Lazyman's profile (online now)


9796 posts in 2884 days

#3 posted 04-10-2022 11:45 PM

Thanks Earl and Kevin.

Not sure I helped Duck that much. I mostly hammered on one I took home. I’m going to wait a while before I start on the cabinet. Lumber prices have gotten even more ridiculous than the wore when I bought the lumber for the bench so I’ll wait until things cool down. I also have some other projects I need to tackle in the meantime, namely a birthday/Christmas present for my wife that I’ve been putting off. Until the bench was done.

-- Nathan, TX -- Hire the lazy man. He may not do as much work but that's because he will find a better way.

View recycle1943's profile


7086 posts in 3119 days

#4 posted 04-10-2022 11:49 PM

A great looking bench

-- Dick, Malvern Ohio - my biggest fear is that when I die, my wife sells my toys for what I told her I paid for them

View LittleBlackDuck's profile


9455 posts in 2318 days

#5 posted 04-10-2022 11:50 PM

Great job lazy and those infills give it that unique touch… but

I’m sure you spent quite a few hours on,

yet you couldn’t find 30 seconds for a piece of rubber and some elbow grease,

L A Z Y man.

-- If your first cut is too short... Take the second cut from the longer end... LBD

View pottz's profile


26617 posts in 2481 days

#6 posted 04-10-2022 11:52 PM

that came of out freakin nice your inlay really personalizes it. i dont know about the pose though,i think weve had enough of those for awhile.

-- working with my hands is a joy,it gives me a sense of fulfillment,somthing so many seek and so few find.-SAM MALOOF.

View Lazyman's profile (online now)


9796 posts in 2884 days

#7 posted 04-10-2022 11:58 PM

LBD, Those are signature marks left for posterity. There are a few others as well that I’m sure you could find if you zoom in.

Actually, I left them intentionally because my plan is to use that piece, which is supposedly temporary, as a template for a nicer and thicker end cap at some point, though it works just fine and I may never do that.

-- Nathan, TX -- Hire the lazy man. He may not do as much work but that's because he will find a better way.

View Lazyman's profile (online now)


9796 posts in 2884 days

#8 posted 04-11-2022 12:00 AM

Thanks Dick and Pottz.

-- Nathan, TX -- Hire the lazy man. He may not do as much work but that's because he will find a better way.

View Eric's profile


5836 posts in 1370 days

#9 posted 04-11-2022 12:46 AM

Great job on the bench Nathan. It looks like the SYP worked out well for the purpose. The inlay and makers mark are really nice. A wonderful show piece of craftsmanship for you shop.

-- Eric, building the dream. the "Loft"

View BB1's profile


3319 posts in 2345 days

#10 posted 04-11-2022 01:54 AM

What an awesome workbench! Looks to be on wheels – any idea on the weight?
Has to be fun using it for projects now that you’ve completed it to your specifications.

View Lazyman's profile (online now)


9796 posts in 2884 days

#11 posted 04-11-2022 02:23 AM

Thanks Eric & BB1.

Without the vise hardware and chop, IIRC, I calculated the weight at a little over 220 lbs based upon 35 lbs/cft so total weight is probably about 250 lbs? The casters I bought are the Fulton from Peachtree purchased through Amazon. The say they are rated at 840 lbs total weight but that might be pushing it. I also bought a quick release bracket, also from Peachtree through Amazon in case I ever decide I don’t like it sticking out or want to use them on another tool. I like this QR bracket because it has a spring-loaded lock instead of a pin you have to remove and keep up with. I really like these casters and I don’t feel like they are flimsy at all. It is pretty effortless to raise and lower them one leg at a time and they swivel and move effortlessly. I originally bought some slightly cheaper ones on Amazon from Spacecare that just didn’t look strong enough so I sent them back and got the Fulton ones instead.

-- Nathan, TX -- Hire the lazy man. He may not do as much work but that's because he will find a better way.

View therealSteveN's profile


10241 posts in 2071 days

#12 posted 04-11-2022 02:26 AM

Nice bench Nathan. Between you and Earl I think sexiest bench of 2022 has already been taken.

Use it in good health.

-- Think safe, be safe

View Dave Polaschek's profile

Dave Polaschek

10525 posts in 2079 days

#13 posted 04-11-2022 02:35 AM

Very nice, Nathan! Looks like you’ll get a lot of use out of it.

-- Dave - Santa Fe

View BurlyBob's profile


10803 posts in 3762 days

#14 posted 04-11-2022 02:35 AM

That’s really outstanding Nathan. You inlays really are quite wonderful.

View corelz125's profile


5556 posts in 2473 days

#15 posted 04-11-2022 02:53 AM

Great looking bench Nathan. Inlay looks nice.

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