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Project by John Ormsby posted 03-21-2008 05:48 AM 6481 views 28 times favorited 29 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Hello, I didn’t realize my workbench would get so many comments. I thank all for your interest. I will try to answer some of your questions regarding this bench. I have included 2 more photos. I built it around 3 years ago. I was really needing a long bench so decided to build one instead of buying one. The timing was right as I had some wood left over from some jobs that was taking up space. I bought a set of Ulmia plans at woodcraft and based the design and construction from their plan. I thought a lot about the height and went with 38” because I work a lot with the router, jigs, sanding, and general planing and scraping. I am about 6’ tall. I tested different heights for these tasks and found 38” served me well. I imagine the height for anyone’s particular bench will vary. The finish is just many coats of wipe on poly that is on the top, bottom, and sides. That way I can just sand it and freshen it up with another coat when needed. The table was built in sections and run through jointer and planer to true them up. Then they were glued into wider sections. I have a 16” jointer which allowed me to make the top almost perfectly flat in 2 main sections. The base legs are normal mortise and through tenons with the stretchers mortised and bolted. The top is 4” thick in some places and 2 1/2” thick in others. This is to accommodate a twin screws vise in the future if it is needed. The bench weighs so much that I used an engine lift to flip it over when putting on the finish. I think it is over 400 lbs. I’ll see how many BF of wood is in it and do a rough calculation later. I do take care of this bench and always put some mdf or other protection when sawing, routing, carving, or finishing. The bench looks as good today as when new. It might actually look better because the wood has started to get more deep in color over time. There are many benches that are really true pieces of art. I consider this one more of a utilitarian tool than a piece of furniture. It’s main purpose is to provide me a flat even sold surface to work wood.
One of the photos is of a Lie Nielsen bronze 4 1/2 anniversary plane working some ebony inlay into some lacewood for some boxes. John

-- Oldworld, Fair Oaks, Ca

29 comments so far

View Dadoo's profile


1789 posts in 4323 days

#1 posted 03-21-2008 07:55 AM

It’s a beauty, that’s for sure.

-- Bob Vila would be so proud of you!

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27250 posts in 4154 days

#2 posted 03-21-2008 10:44 AM

Hi John,

Again this is a gorgeous bench. Thanks for the update on the construction.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View grovemadman's profile


556 posts in 4104 days

#3 posted 03-21-2008 10:56 AM

Very nice job. I wish I had room for a real woodworking bench!

-- --Chuck

View FlWoodRat's profile


732 posts in 4242 days

#4 posted 03-21-2008 12:16 PM

Gorgeous work bench. At 38” tall, I am sure it helps ease the discomfort from bending over. Btw, did you estimate the cost of those Ebony shavings? LOL.

-- I love the smell of sawdust in the morning....

View Thos. Angle's profile

Thos. Angle

4444 posts in 4295 days

#5 posted 03-21-2008 01:33 PM

a great bench

-- Thos. Angle, Jordan Valley, Oregon

View Ad Marketing Guy - Bill's profile

Ad Marketing Guy - Bill

314 posts in 4131 days

#6 posted 03-21-2008 01:48 PM

Nice bench, the finish on the top is great.

-- Bill - - Ad-Marketing Guy, Ramsey NJ

View Yettiman's profile


163 posts in 4070 days

#7 posted 03-21-2008 01:49 PM


Question for all,

I like John, prefer a higher workbench, so I always end up building my own (simple affairs, not a Master piece like John’s) So, my question is why are some many (nearly all) work benches so low?

-- Keep your tools sharp, your mind sharper and the coffee hot

View Mario's profile


902 posts in 4384 days

#8 posted 03-21-2008 02:29 PM

WOW absolutely awesome looking bench.

-- Hope Never fails

View tenontim's profile


2131 posts in 4077 days

#9 posted 03-21-2008 02:54 PM

Yettiman, the older benches were low so you would have the most leverage for hand planing, and wouldn’t have to raise your arms to high for chisel work. The optimum height was for the workman to let his arm hang at his side, bend his hand forward 90 degrees at the wrist, and that’s how high the bench should be. Since I don’t do that much plane work, my bench is about 38” also.

View Kevin Violette's profile

Kevin Violette

235 posts in 4196 days

#10 posted 03-21-2008 03:14 PM

Great followup John to the original post. Thanks for giving us more insight and again….Nice bench!!!

-- Kevin

View Lee A. Jesberger's profile

Lee A. Jesberger

6866 posts in 4312 days

#11 posted 03-21-2008 04:34 PM

Hi John;

Well you keep showing us that gorgeous bench, and now it’s “pokin at me, pokin at me”.

You’re going to force me to build one, (strictly out of jealousy), for such a beautiful, and useful piece.

It’s just an incredible work of art. When I look at the picture, I feel compelled to salute it!


-- by Lee A. Jesberger

View Jon3's profile


497 posts in 4438 days

#12 posted 03-21-2008 04:39 PM

Very nice! My own bench is higher than people usually like, but I’m 6’ tall and going up a little higher just felt better.

View HallTree's profile


5665 posts in 4100 days

#13 posted 03-21-2008 04:45 PM

I missed the first round of comments on your workbench. It is very nice. All you need now to finish it off is a few dents and scratches. Ooooo that might hurt.

-- "Hold on to instruction, do not let it go; guard it well, for it is your life" Solomon

View blackcherry's profile


3339 posts in 4156 days

#14 posted 03-21-2008 05:38 PM

Thanks alot John you put this on my hot list, your bench is first rate and it must be a joy to work off of thanks for the show…Blkcherry

View odie's profile


1691 posts in 4173 days

#15 posted 03-21-2008 08:08 PM

Fair Oaks … You snuck right in here past me. I didn’t notice my neighbor from down the hill. Sorry for that.

That workbench is too beautiful to use.

-- Odie, Confucius say, "He who laughs at one's self is BUTT of joke". (my funny blog)

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