A Girl's First Workbench

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Project by denovich posted 12-26-2011 08:50 PM 2647 views 2 times favorited 25 comments Add to Favorites Watch

It started as a bit of a joke. My wife wanted a table for our daughter Jana. She really likes my workbench. I got the idea to make a mini version of my own workbench (see the other project I’ve uploaded.) But once I started getting into actual design process, I didn’t like how a replica would look scaled to her size. So, letting the wood dictate some of the constraints (it’s made from a single 8’x10”x2” rough sawn piece of white ash) I came up with this design.

Dimensions are 27” x 16” x 18”. The top and legs are 2” thick. True to the Roubo bench design, the legs are flush and square to the top (to provide a vertical clamping surface in addition to the obvious horizontal surface). Weight is approximately 40lbs.

I started it late Thursday evening (I am a habitually-procrastinating elf) I finished Saturday afternoon. Approximately 20hrs total project time.

Parts were assembled using a Festool Domino (my first project with this tool) and glue. I couldn’t be happier with the performance of the Domino. My Minimax has a horizontal mortiser, which I used on my big bench with excellent results, but the setup time is considerably longer than the seconds it takes to use the Domino. From the clamping photos you might be able to see how I used the top as a clamping guide to make sure the legs and stretchers glued up nice and square.

Sanded using Abranet abrasives (first try with these… so far a very good impression. Long lasting, great dust collection.) I used a Festool ETS125 ROS and a Dynabrade 5” Spirit pneumatic ROS. The Festool is the best ROS I’ve used. But the Dynabrade ROS is so much lighter, smoother, quicker cutting, and cheaper. If you have the compressor to drive one of these things I highly recommend them.

The finish has yet to be applied (I left it a little too late to get it dry for Christmas.) I plan to apply Osmo Polyx Hardwax Oil (same finish as on our floors… it’s food-safe/kid-safe, low-VOC, and reparable. All good qualities for this application.

My daughter (2yrs old) loves her bench… although it’s currently being used to host her tea set. I guess I’ll wait until she asks to drill it for dog holes.

25 comments so far

View crank49's profile


4032 posts in 3857 days

#1 posted 12-26-2011 09:29 PM

Now that’s cute as a bug.

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

25344 posts in 3991 days

#2 posted 12-27-2011 12:32 AM

That is a cute workbench and a little beauty sitting on it. She will really like it!!
You can’t get them started too early to work with wood!............Jim

-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

View woodworm's profile


14477 posts in 4476 days

#3 posted 12-27-2011 03:28 AM

Very cute & well built woekbench for the cutie.

-- masrol, kuala lumpur, MY.

View Jim Crockett (USN Retired)'s profile

Jim Crockett (USN Retired)

852 posts in 4619 days

#4 posted 12-27-2011 05:11 AM

What an adorable Christmas picture – you better be sure to hold on to this one because you’re going to look at it many, many times over the years – especially when she gets older. Very nice workbench and she surely looks like she’s happy with it! What a cutie!!!

-- A veteran is someone who, at one point in his/her life, wrote a blank check made payable to "The United States of America," for an amount of "up to and including his/her life".

View hickeymad's profile


158 posts in 3896 days

#5 posted 12-27-2011 05:23 AM

I am so building one of those! No vise? Dog holes? Oh, I get it; it’s really a table…

View denovich's profile


30 posts in 3709 days

#6 posted 12-27-2011 07:42 AM

I’m trying to convince her she’ll be fine with just a planing stop, round dog holes some holdfasts from Tools for Working Wood… But she’s holding out for a Benchcrafted tail vise and square dog holes.

View Maveric777's profile


2694 posts in 3962 days

#7 posted 12-27-2011 02:54 PM

Love it…. And by the look on her face… She does too. Well done Dad!

-- Dan ~ Texarkana, Tx.

View DamnYankee's profile


3320 posts in 3448 days

#8 posted 12-27-2011 03:40 PM

Cool very cool! About 2 years ago I made for my then 8 yo a tool box (basic A-frame) with kid sized tools (saw, hammer, tape measure, torpedo level, screwdriver, pliers, etc) all real tools just smaller sized. As she opened it for her birthdays she squealed with excitement as her friends looked on confused with faces that said “eeewww”. Well some did, her better friends thought it was cool to.

Anyway it’s great having a shop helper isn’t it?

-- Shameless - Winner of two Stumpy Nubs Awards

View mafe's profile


12609 posts in 3975 days

#9 posted 12-27-2011 03:40 PM

That is one beautiful daughter, what a wonderful proud face on that photo.
A wonderful bench.
And what a wonderful workshop you have.
Best thoughs,

-- MAD F, the fanatical rhykenologist and vintage architect. Democraticwoodworking.

View denovich's profile


30 posts in 3709 days

#10 posted 12-27-2011 03:49 PM

When I was 4 or 5, my Aunt would spread a quilt out in the living room, and give me a coping saw and a piece of pine to play with. They gave me my first tool set too.

View denovich's profile


30 posts in 3709 days

#11 posted 12-27-2011 03:59 PM

Thanks Mads. I’ve been working on the shop for almost 2 years (since we moved back home after a few years living in England.) It is finally approaching the point where I am satisfied with it. It was a delight to take a break from all the construction work and finally create something. It was also nice to get some confirmation that all that hard work was worth it… the shop was now working with me, instead of against me.

View DamnYankee's profile


3320 posts in 3448 days

#12 posted 12-27-2011 04:06 PM

I showed my wife the pic of your shop (shop envy) and she said I couldn’t have one (like it).

Mine is a 12×20 out-building I built, nowhere near the room you have! Nice shop!

-- Shameless - Winner of two Stumpy Nubs Awards

View denovich's profile


30 posts in 3709 days

#13 posted 12-27-2011 04:43 PM

DYankee: My shop is in my basement, and it’s only 13’x21’... and I had to move a furnace, all the ductwork, a water heater, all the plumbing (gas and water) to get that much space.

View Bertha's profile


13588 posts in 3579 days

#14 posted 12-27-2011 04:44 PM

Very nice bench and a very nice shop to go along with it! I love your floors and the lighting. You better watch out with that little woodworker; don’t let her out skill you, lol:)

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

View denovich's profile


30 posts in 3709 days

#15 posted 12-27-2011 04:50 PM

That was how my shop looked about 18 months ago.

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