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Project by Bob, Oregon posted 11-18-2011 07:42 PM 3336 views 22 times favorited 20 comments Add to Favorites Watch

A bench I started on the 4th of July and completed in mid-October. Turned out to be one of those BIG projects. But now I wish I had built one of these 40 years ago.

Mostly laminated Doug. fir and with a design that is basically a compilation of many ideas borrowed from C. Schwarz and R. Lang in “The Workbench Design Book” along with a nod to S. Landis’ “The Workbench Book”.

All in all it was a fun project and is extremely satisfying to use. You can hold just about anything very securely somewhere on it’s surface…or side…or end.

Top is 20”W X 3.25”T. All laminated from pieces ripped from 2X12’s and hand-planed to square and flat, which was a first for me and something that amazed me with it’s do-ability. Note that I did not say it was “easy”. It’ll put hair on your chest. But it is quite do-able.

I made my bench dogs from hickory dowel using a design by Schwarz in the WDB…using bullet catches on the sides to keep them in the holes while still allowing them to slide up and down…sort-of a Whack-a-Mole arrangement.

Veritas Twin-Screw vise for the face vise and a 9” quick-release from Rockler for the end vise, both with maple chops. So far I have no complaints about either. I deviated from the recommended installation procedure from Lee Valley on the twin-screw…something that they issue dire warnings about on the first page of the manual…but with some careful thought and close measuring it all worked out fine.

If anyone out there is vacillating about building a proper workbench, I say, “Start doing some research and formulating some plans. Then get to cutting wood.”

You’ll be very happy that you did.

-- 73, Bob

20 comments so far

View Brandon's profile


4381 posts in 3957 days

#1 posted 11-18-2011 07:50 PM

Wow! Beautiful bench, Bob. We’ve seen a lot of really really nice benches in the last few days and yours is no exception. I’ve been thinking about building a proper bench for some time and have been researching plans. I like your advice—just get out there and start cutting wood. :-)

-- "hold fast to that which is good"

View bobasaurus's profile


3711 posts in 4189 days

#2 posted 11-18-2011 08:02 PM

Fantastic looking bench. I like the use of affordable lumber with such a nice end result. Something I’ve been wondering about bench construction… how do you drill out the bench dog / hold down holes without any wander? Using a forstner bit with a hand drill is always a recipe for disaster when I try.

-- Allen, Colorado (Instagram @bobasaurus_woodworking)

View AlbertaJim's profile


47 posts in 3434 days

#3 posted 11-18-2011 08:14 PM

I drilled my 3/4” dog holes with a 3/4” spade bit following the levels on my Craftsman 1/2” cordless drill. The bench top was made of 4 layers of 3/4” ply, so 3” thick. None of the holes have had any problem.
BTW great looking bench.

-- My Boss was a carpenter

View Bsmith's profile


330 posts in 3675 days

#4 posted 11-18-2011 08:30 PM

That’s a great bench and should last many generations. Good job.

-- Bryan

View a1Jim's profile


118161 posts in 4582 days

#5 posted 11-18-2011 08:34 PM

Hey Bob fellow Oregonian

This is a really great bench, looks great too. ,A well thought out project and it’s super sturdy, as bobasaurus said very affordable material .This should be a great tool to use for years to come. Great job.


View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile (online now)


17220 posts in 3624 days

#6 posted 11-18-2011 09:02 PM

Excellent work, Bob! You are so right – there are so many reasons to get started on a proper workbench, and it’s nothing short of amazing how the right bench improves the quality of our work. Thanks for posting, and again, congrats!

-- Don't anthropomorphize your handplanes. They hate it when you do that. - OldTools Archive -

View Riggindncr's profile


2 posts in 3507 days

#7 posted 11-18-2011 09:27 PM

That turned out great. I started laminating my 2×4 top earlier this week and the planing job at hand seems ominous…. Your finish product gives me hope. Love the stout base!

View doncutlip's profile


2832 posts in 4561 days

#8 posted 11-18-2011 10:37 PM

Great series of pictures, we can really see what’s under the hood. That one should hold up just fine!

-- Don, Royersford, PA

View joekr's profile


12 posts in 3613 days

#9 posted 11-19-2011 12:46 AM

Nice Bench and I like your driftboat in the background. Did you build that yourself too?

View sandhill's profile


2128 posts in 4929 days

#10 posted 11-19-2011 01:23 AM

Nice Bench It just came to mind that it would be nice if we had the ability to add text to the bottom of the zoom photos so you could add a little something about the photo. Maybe I will shoot Martin a note about it sometime.

View Beginningwoodworker's profile


13345 posts in 4678 days

#11 posted 11-19-2011 01:54 AM

Nice looking workbench.

View RGtools's profile


3372 posts in 3660 days

#12 posted 11-19-2011 02:12 AM

what a monster. Great work.

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

View exelectrician's profile


2339 posts in 3433 days

#13 posted 11-19-2011 02:25 AM

I know the feeling about the procrastinating part. Your advice about start cutting wood now, work out the details as you go along is good, and it worked for me. Now you have a fine solid work surface that you can do real handplaning on.

-- Love thy neighbour as thyself

View Bob, Oregon's profile

Bob, Oregon

93 posts in 4397 days

#14 posted 11-19-2011 03:39 AM

Thanks for all the kind comments, folks!


I used a gizmo that (sorta’) makes a portable drill press out of your corded 3/8” drill. A buddy lent me his to drill the holes and I found the operation so useable that I found one on eBay and bought it. Not sure if anyone makes such a thing any more, so finding one might be a crap-shoot.

It will keep a Forstner under control. You have to clamp for every hole, but after the third or fourth one you develop a pretty fast rhythm. I just marked my layout lines on blue tape and had at it. Amazingly, I didn’t even burn out the drill motor!


No, I wish I could say that I built it, but am afraid to say that I bought the drift boat ready-built many years ago. It’s a Don Hill and I got a great price on it and the trailer, so I couldn’t pass it up.

To all…

The bench is quite heavy, which is good because it just won’t budge when you start planing on it. But it will also break down into 5 pieces if and when it becomes necessary. I used the 6” knock-down fasteners from Lee Valley to attached the stretchers to the legs through M&T joints. This makes for a very solid arrangement while still allowing for relatively easy disassembly.

-- 73, Bob

View CharlieM1958's profile


16292 posts in 5224 days

#15 posted 11-19-2011 06:07 AM

Outstanding job. I could sure use one of these.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

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