"The Woodworker's Mistress"

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Project by FJPetruso posted 09-19-2011 04:04 AM 9777 views 36 times favorited 26 comments Add to Favorites Watch

“The Woodworker’s Mistress” or My Woodworking Workbench

The inspiration for this Woodworking Bench project came from several different directions. First, I found an article on building a woodworking bench in the November, ‘09 issue of Popular Woodworking. In the article Christopher Schwartz & Megan Fitzpatrick built her a Roubo style bench with modern knock-down technology. They used Laminated Veneer Lumber or “LVL”. The LVL didn’t appeal to me at all but the design was just what I was looking for. It was eight feet long by two feet deep & had an end vise & a “Leg Vise” with a “Garter“. (MMMMMM?) And a Board Jack made for a woman‘s workbench that was in the shape of an hour glass. (MMMMMM?)

I stashed the article &, like my other projects, I waited for sales & searched for materials needed. The first thing I found was an antique leg vise with a nice, rebuildable vise screw. (See my Vise Screw Project.)

I also started searching for plans for leg vises & such. I was looking in some of my old publications & books when I found on page 54 of Classic Hand Tools, by Garrett Hack, some dividers, calipers & a scribe in the shape of women’s legs. (MMMMMM?)

Next I found six old two inch by eight inch by eight foot long locker room benches. And best of all they were made of Hard Maple! Then I went to the lumber mill & purchased some more maple.

My friend was asking what I was planning to do with all the wood & I showed him the article & started drawing up some sketches of my ideas. The sketches were a bit risqué so I had to make sure that they would not only make a totally functional leg vise & board jack but, most important, they also had to get the wife’s OK.

Speaking of “The Wife”… I later overheard her talking with her friend when she said that If she wanted to know where I was she could find me in my woodshop. Then she said it… “Sometimes I think he has a girlfriend out there.” (MMMMMM?) Now I had an idea of a name for my project.

Now for the nuts & bolts of the Woodworking Bench…

The maple base is five feet wide by two feet deep. The legs are three inches thick by five inches wide. The four end stretchers are one & a half inches thick by three inches wide. The front & back stretchers are the same thickness by five inches wide. I added a three inch wide stretcher in the back near the top that wasn’t in the plans. The front & back stretchers are attached at the ends by two, half inch bolts. The end stretchers are attached at the ends by two, three eighth inch bolts. (The plans only called for one, half inch bolt per end there.)

I was originally planning to make my own top. But after figuring the cost & time I decided to purchase a two foot deep by eight foot long by two & one quarter inch thick top from Grizzly & modify it to suit my design. Now it’s three inches thick and it’s attached with three, one half inch lag bolts in each of the top stretchers. (The plans only called for two bolts in each stretcher.)

On the left front of the bench, the Leg Vise is made from laminated maple to get to the two inch thickness desired. It has an antique two & one half inch thread diameter, Ohio Tool Company vise screw. The Roller Guide & the Bell-Crank Support are made of maple, as is the Parallel Guide. The Garter is made of oak in the bench. The only oak in the project. I made the vise handle of maple & the knobs on the end are Ash “Doll Heads” from Michaels Craft Store. The pin for the parallel guide is turned maple with a three eighths diameter steel rod & a copper ferrule.

The Sliding Board Jack is made of laminated maple & rides on a triangular shaped guide at the bottom & a groove in the underside of the maple top.

The End Vise on the right side of the bench is a Rockler vise. I had previously installed one on my other woodworking bench & liked it so well I bought another. (See my Woodworking Bench Upgrade Project)

I laminated more maple to make the “Crochet” & used three brass threaded bushings to attach it to the top. I used three in order to have the option to use the crochet in two positions.

The left end of the bench has a maple planing stop attached by screw anchors & plastic knobs.

A runner was added near the top of the front & rear stretchers to support the pine shelving. I just used pine because #1, the shelving would normally get scratched up from tools so why use good maple. And #2, someday I plan on making a maple cabinet with drawers to go in that spot.

With the exception of the factory finished top & where I sealed the under side of the top with a poly-coat, the woodworking bench is finished with a mixture of Beeswax, Linseed Oil & Mineral Spirits.

As you know, most of the items attached to the bench & parts of the bench itself are projects in themselves. So I plan on going in depth in describing the various parts on the bench & posting them as separate projects.

F. J. Petruso

-- Frank, Florissant, Missouri "The New Show-Me Woodshop"

26 comments so far

View Lance's profile


428 posts in 4016 days

#1 posted 09-19-2011 04:09 AM


-- Lance, Hook'em HORNS! ""V""

View Bearpie's profile


2601 posts in 4508 days

#2 posted 09-19-2011 04:27 AM

Very unusual and creative! Better not let your wife catch you petting! ;-)

-- Erwin, Jacksonville, FL

View clieb91's profile


4267 posts in 5425 days

#3 posted 09-19-2011 04:27 AM

Frank that is quite project. Really nice outcome.


-- Chris L. "Don't Dream it, Be it."- (Purveyors of Portable Fun and Fidgets)

View Dawn's profile


17 posts in 4008 days

#4 posted 09-19-2011 04:28 AM

ha ha

View jeffwedekind's profile


148 posts in 4182 days

#5 posted 09-19-2011 05:51 AM

Too damn cool. I love it when you can take something of function and make it a piece of art.

-- Jeff, eastern Wa

View Dennisgrosen's profile


10880 posts in 4605 days

#6 posted 09-19-2011 07:37 AM

congrat´s having a second mistress witj that look ain´t the worst you cuold have done ….. :-))

enjoy even though you already have too much fun ….


View Sodabowski's profile


2404 posts in 4323 days

#7 posted 09-19-2011 09:47 AM

Hahaha =D no way!

-- Thomas - there are no problems, there are only solutions.

View MShort's profile


1798 posts in 4908 days

#8 posted 09-19-2011 02:21 PM

Frank that is a great looking bench. Love the board jack idea.

-- Mike, Missouri --- “A positive life can not happen with a negative mind.” ---

View racerglen's profile


3112 posts in 4270 days

#9 posted 09-19-2011 02:38 PM

Great stuff ! And nice humour as well..

-- Glen, B.C. Canada

View StumpyNubs's profile


7854 posts in 4290 days

#10 posted 09-19-2011 03:15 PM

What does your wife think about it?

-- Subscribe to "Stumpy Nubs Woodworking Journal"- One of the crafts' most unique publications:

View jcees's profile


1079 posts in 5289 days

#11 posted 09-19-2011 08:47 PM

Love this bit… I mean bench. Outstandingly sexist. Gotta love it. Screw political correctness. A guy’s bench should be whatever he makes it. Bravo!


-- When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world. -- John Muir

View Tomcat1066's profile


942 posts in 5286 days

#12 posted 09-20-2011 12:52 AM

Rude, crude, and totally unacceptable at many parties. In other words, I love it!

-- "Give me your poor tools, your tired steel, your huddled masses of rust." Yep, I ripped off the Statue of Liberty. That's how I roll!

View Millo's profile


543 posts in 4540 days

#13 posted 09-20-2011 06:02 AM

LOL! Great humour. Hey, you have a sliding deadwoman there! Even if we put the whole lady thing aside, great bench! Quite the inpiration ;-)

View PatHarris's profile


8 posts in 3932 days

#14 posted 09-20-2011 06:21 AM

What a great looking and functional designed workbench. I need a mistress like her. Pat

View Ken90712's profile


18123 posts in 4679 days

#15 posted 09-20-2011 05:38 PM

LMAO what a great sense of humor! Blondie says the same when her friends say arent you worried he’s out being bad while your working? ( I work 4 10’s and at night so I have daytime to my self. )
She’s like heck no! I know exactly where he is, in the wood shop or at the wood store. He would sleep in there if I let him.

Very cool bench with some nice features!

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

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