Small Shop Workbench

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Project by VetMed posted 05-10-2011 08:05 AM 5676 views 29 times favorited 11 comments Add to Favorites Watch

My first laminated top workbench measures 30” wide x 60” long. The “field” of the bench top is comprised of 3” thick douglas fir that was salvaged from a barn (1970’s era wood). The end aprons and vise face are 2” x 6” cherry. The side aprons are a sandwich of maple and black walnut. Base is made of pine reused from an old bench that I had been using, bottom shelf is cut from that previous bench top. Base finished with 3 coats satin poly. Top finished in Turpentine/Beeswax/BLO combination.

Yes, I am still missing a handle for vise, plan to make one out of some left over walnut when I get a chance.

A lot of firsts went into constructing this bench: First dovetail joints, first time to use a plane of any sort (Low angle block plane used to level aprons and flush trim dovetails), and first time to install a bench vise.

Dovetails were not on my shortlist of things I wanted to learn to do by hand, but after failing to find a router jig that would produce the results I wanted, I dove into it head first. Despite others’ warnings, I decided not to do any practice first, and just went at it with a handsaw and chisel. The results were some pretty “rough” looking dovetails. I was able to fix some gaps with wedges and make it look somewhat respectable. I now have these dovetails to look at, during cutting of future dovetails, as “motivation” to practice more in the future. Overall a really fun project.

11 comments so far

View Boneski's profile


143 posts in 3745 days

#1 posted 05-10-2011 08:33 AM

Hey nice bench.
Not bad for a first effort on the dovetails!

-- Blinded by brilliance

View tctaylor79's profile


44 posts in 3206 days

#2 posted 05-10-2011 11:48 AM

This is beautiful! Nicely done. The dovetails on the ends are a great touch.

-- Tim Taylor - GLT Woodworks

View SSMDad's profile


395 posts in 3209 days

#3 posted 05-10-2011 01:33 PM

Agree. The dovetails are very nice on this. Great job for a first shot at them. (Ive yet to get the courage to make one even though I had the proper tools…so i still blame it on recovering from surgery, haha)

Nice workbench. Thanks for posting.

-- Chris ~~Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past."

View woodworm's profile


14476 posts in 4203 days

#4 posted 05-10-2011 03:50 PM

Nice one.

-- masrol, kuala lumpur, MY.

View helluvawreck's profile


32086 posts in 3479 days

#5 posted 05-10-2011 04:06 PM

This bench is outstanding. Good work.

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View Ken90712's profile


17820 posts in 3801 days

#6 posted 05-10-2011 06:59 PM

Great looking bench should be a great asset to your shop. Well done!

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

View Jim Bertelson's profile

Jim Bertelson

4272 posts in 3777 days

#7 posted 05-10-2011 07:18 PM

Looks great, and should function well. I have an old bench, 72” x 27” that is begging for an upgrade, especially the drawers. My top is 2×10’s flat, covered with a 3/4” piece of plywood (the plywood extends over to the wall making the top actually 30” wide). Built it 41 years ago as a do-it-yourselfers bench, and it has both an inexpensive wood vise, and fairly large machinist’s vise on it. 4×4 legs, 2×4 stretchers, all put together with 3/8” carriage bolts.

Your bench will probably be a lifetime thing just like mine, except yours is built better and looks better….....(-:

Thanks for the post, may inspire me to get that workbench reorganized.

-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska

View RockyBlue's profile


271 posts in 3305 days

#8 posted 05-11-2011 03:16 AM

Nicely done. I like the smaller size and overall look of this bench. I just bought a vintage columbian vise today and am hesitant to put it on my 4’x8’ bench, since I want to build a “traditional” bench. I may have to build one like yours. My outfeed table is about the size of your bench so I could make a dual pourpose bench to replace it.

-- I haven't had this much fun since hogs ate my little brother.

View Maveric777's profile


2694 posts in 3689 days

#9 posted 05-11-2011 02:27 PM

I’m really digging this bench. In fact I am going to save it to my favorites so I can come back to it when the time comes for me to build my own small work bench for the shop. Thanks for the inspiration…

-- Dan ~ Texarkana, Tx.

View christopheralan's profile


1126 posts in 4333 days

#10 posted 05-12-2011 01:39 PM

Amazing work! It looks great!

-- christopheralan

View steliart's profile


2895 posts in 3300 days

#11 posted 05-15-2011 09:19 PM

very cool bench, nice work

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

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