Woodworking Bench

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Project by BenchDawg posted 04-23-2011 06:37 PM 5613 views 22 times favorited 21 comments Add to Favorites Watch

It became apparent, shortly after building a couple of Adirondack chairs, that if I was to continue with this woodworking madness, then I was going to need some type of bench. I found a work bench book from my favorite woodworking store and picked out a plan that would best fill the bill.

My needs call for a bench vice on one end, with some bench dog options and I built so it could be in the center of the workshop. I made it the same height as my table saw so I can dual-purpose the surface for cutting large stock on the saw.

The frame is made dimensional lumber from the big box stores. It brought some new skills to me. I bought an inexpensive 3/8” dowelling jig for use on the ends of support brackets to the legs. The frames is then joined by use of a 3/8” threaded rod that is tucked into a routed channel of the support bracket and then through the legs. The dowelling keeps the supports in square as the rod is bolted down. It makes for a very solid frame.

The top is made of three 3/4” laminated birch plywood sheets. To keep from picking up splinters off the edges, I finished the ends of the table with a light hardwood. The top was placed with spacing to accommodate a bench vice. I took the time to make a grid pattern on the bottom surface of the table top that matched where I would put bench dogs if I chose to dog out the whole surface. I didn’t want to drill into a support leg or my table top mounting pins. As it turned out, I chose to put three rows close to the vice but I can add more later if I need to.

The table top mounting pins fit into a routed channel on the upper surface of the upper frame supports. The pins sit freely in the channel, being bolted to the underside of the table top. I am told this will allow for expansion and contraction of the table in my drafty garage and keep the table top from warping. This table can also be broken down for movement if needed at a later date.

The bottom shelf was always part of the plan, but as an afterthought, I decided to add a tilted shelf that would hold tools at the ready. All my Bailey planes and some assorted tools I reach for on a consistent basis are close at hand. The tilted shelf slides out from the back. I am already thinking I might add a rack towards the back side the tilted shelf to hold some chisels and rasps.

All-in-all, this has been a great project and the table is really solid. It does not budge and it has helped speed up some cumbersome projects and it places the work at a comfortable position saving my aging back. After a month or so of work, the surface already has the patina of a well used, well loved bench.

21 comments so far

View RGtools's profile


3372 posts in 4107 days

#1 posted 04-23-2011 07:36 PM

Nice looking bench. This looks a lot like the start woodworking bench. I love your solution on the table brackets, that’s just cool.

That ought to serve you for a good long time.

Nice looking router plane. How old is it? Mine’s is made before they made the depth stop but that has yet to really bother me.

-- Make furniture that lasts as long as the tree - Ryan

View Beginningwoodworker's profile


13345 posts in 5126 days

#2 posted 04-23-2011 07:56 PM

Nice looking workbench!

View AaronK's profile


1512 posts in 4917 days

#3 posted 04-23-2011 08:25 PM

nice bench! i really like that plane shelf underneath.

View smitty22's profile


718 posts in 4400 days

#4 posted 04-24-2011 03:18 AM

Thanks, I was wondering how the threaded rods and top hold-downs would work. I’ve already started the same bench, same book, hope my results are as good as yours!

And, Welcome to LJ!!

-- Smitty

View mrg's profile


888 posts in 4452 days

#5 posted 04-24-2011 05:40 AM

Nice bench. I built the same one a few months back. The thing is nice and heavey.

-- mrg

View DocSavage45's profile


9071 posts in 4295 days

#6 posted 04-24-2011 05:42 PM

Thanks…in a similar position as you. Just finished Frankenbench as my wife calls it. Used the materials I was going to make my wooden shop floor, when I found that I hand water trickling in. Mine is 3/4 fir. flooring for top x3. We will see? Don’t have your cool vice though. Can’t afford one right now. Do have a cheap one I bought awhile back I just found. Looked at bench costs. A kit from Woodcraft was 1700 bucks! Might help me get my 5 horse table saw for hardwoods? ( when I get 1700 bucks?...LOL)

-- Cau Haus Designs, Thomas J. Tieffenbacher

View NBeener's profile


4816 posts in 4627 days

#7 posted 04-24-2011 05:49 PM

She’s a BEAUTY !

Thanks for sharing. I wish you many happy years of woodworking with/on it :-)

-- -- Neil

View BenchDawg's profile


38 posts in 4046 days

#8 posted 04-24-2011 07:33 PM

Thanks everyone. Just a few more thoughts…..

I was amazed at how sturdy the framework was once I cinched down the threaded rod. I quickly understood how it, and the dowels, work together for a tight, sturdy fit.

The vice is an old Wilton, which I found on Craigslist for $30. I see similar vices often and it’s been a good source for quality vintage equipment for little $$$. I did clean it up and repainted it as well as add some new wood to the jaws from some scraps I had.

Lastly, the dogholes are 3/4” in a pattern that allows me to buy bench tools to fit the pattern if I chose. Had much more fun making bench dogs out of 3/4” dowel and various tops for various holds. 75ยข opposed to $18 bucks for the fancy store dogs!

View BenchDawg's profile


38 posts in 4046 days

#9 posted 04-24-2011 07:42 PM

RG tools:

The router plane is a Stanley #71 1/2 patented in 1901. The Baileys planes are types 10 and 11.
The Type 10’s are 1890ish while the 11’s are 1910ish.

I am, by no means a master of either, but I cannot resist picking up them up at flea markets and estate sales. They are of very good quality and reasonably priced…..sometimes downright cheap!

View RGtools's profile


3372 posts in 4107 days

#10 posted 04-24-2011 10:36 PM

It’s funny how some of them work better than the new ones.

-- Make furniture that lasts as long as the tree - Ryan

View JordanCanada's profile


10 posts in 4074 days

#11 posted 04-25-2011 05:34 AM

i’m just about to start this bench, this will be a great reference. I love the hold-downs for the bench top, thanks for sharing!

View steliart's profile


2895 posts in 4141 days

#12 posted 04-26-2011 09:55 AM

welcome to LJ
nice FWW design bench
wish you the best with it

-- Stelios L.A. Stavrinides: - I am not so rich to buy cheap tools, but... necessity is the mother of inventions !!!

View EvilNuff's profile


60 posts in 4080 days

#13 posted 04-26-2011 07:31 PM

Great bench, I built the same one and also was amazed how sturdy it was when the bolts were tightened down! When I first assembled it I was a little disappointed that it rocked a little…then I realized I had not tightened them all down and now its rock solid.

For anyone else trying this I strongly recommend a doweling center punch or doweling jig to line up the dowels. I did not use either and regret it as my rails aren’t lined up quite perfectly…it works but it annoys me.

View a1Jim's profile


118322 posts in 5030 days

#14 posted 04-26-2011 08:35 PM

Good build that should last for years to come.


View aak's profile


8 posts in 4030 days

#15 posted 05-06-2011 10:31 PM

is there a plan for this workbench that you can share?

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