Basic Workbench - Lockwatcher's 'Easy Shop Table' Style

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Project by ITnerd posted 03-27-2012 03:37 PM 3944 views 1 time favorited 5 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Hey all, I’ve been getting further and further behind in project postings. So time to take one step forward.
This is my first workbench, primarily for hand tool work in my small shop. This is the first of the three projects I’ll be putting up, all based on the excellent design of the Lockwatcher Shop Table.

Design Notes:
Sketchup was key for me, as I had not built a bench before, and am too dumb to follow the perfectly good plans out there.

  • I saw a commercial bench maker (Canadian i beleive, can’t find the link now) who had removable/reversible rails. I liked the concept, and incorporated it here.
  • I left the front legs with a gap at the base, in case I want to tie in another pair of legs (for heft/support). Have not needed to yet.
  • The vises are only backwards if you are right-handed. :)

Build Notes:
The best part of this project is I got to do 95% percent of the final dimensioning with my Brother & Dad. Dad had come in from Virginia for his birthday gift from us, a long weekend on Lake Oconee. Brother was back from Tour #2 with his new bride. We did this when we got back to the city.

  • Thier first time with a Table Saw, and we ripped & cut everything but 2 dividers to support the top. As Lockwatcher mentions, be careful ripping dimensioned lumber, the internal tension can be very surprising to a novice.
  • I let the SYP sit for a long time, both before dimensioning and after, and used only the best, tight grained quartersawn for the bench. Was worth it for me, as I had very little warping or cuppign to deal with.
  • I trued the top with the lazy mans scrub plane (a Dewalt powered hand-planer on full tilt), then we had at it with the 608 and Bailey 7. Vise installs were easy, as luck would have it. One mortise required for each; one into the side rail for the end vise, and a mortise into the bottom of the front right panel for the back face of the quick release up front. Some Maple blocking for the mounting, and job done.

Are we there yet?

  • Finish – Not sure it will ever get one, but we’ll see. I plan on just replaning/toothing the surface as needed, so probably nothing on the top.
  • Back Rail – I would like a substantial back rail, that could raise or drop flush, adding an inch or two to the bench depth, and giving me a backstop for some projects.
  • Storage – the two temporary sleds underneath are to get a feel for what I want under there, before I build the storage boxes. I am currently envisioning 2; one cart for toolchests & homeless power tools, the other a sharpending station (grinder & buffing rail/lathe).
  • Long Term Mobility – I am cheating now, I have left felt furniture movers on the leg to try different shop positions, pull it away from wall etc. I plan to put tacky rubber on the bottom to really stick it to the fake wood flooring, although its mass keeps it still for everything except scrub planing. If it turns out moving it around works best for me, I may have to revisit this.

Whew – thats about all I can think of for this one – thanks for looking, and thanks again to Ken C. for sharing his great concept and build walkthrough.

-- Chris @ Atlanta - JGM - Occam's razor tells us that when you hear hoofs, think horses not zebras.

5 comments so far

View Lockwatcher's profile


91 posts in 3199 days

#1 posted 03-28-2012 12:49 AM

Wow! Wow!
Your bench turned out great…you took it a few steps further by adding a REAL bench top.

Great job…be watching for more soon…

Ken C / Lockwatcher

-- Lockwatcher, Ohio,

View Martyroc's profile


2712 posts in 2813 days

#2 posted 03-28-2012 01:16 AM

Nice bench, working with your brother and father, was probably the best part of the build. Thanks for the detailed story gives us a better idea and I personally appreciate the work on this project more because of it.

-- Martin ....always count the number of fingers you have before, and after using the saw.

View Don W's profile

Don W

19331 posts in 3075 days

#3 posted 05-20-2012 07:58 PM

the bench is great, but that infill smoother really caught my eye. I’d like some details on that little sweatheart. It even over shadowed the bedrock.

-- - Collecting is an investment in the past, and the future.

View ITnerd's profile


263 posts in 3106 days

#4 posted 05-21-2012 12:09 AM

Thank for visiting Don – I can definitely do that for you, I’m still recovering from your Shop tour. The little I know about it is likely mid-late 1800s, London Pattern smoother, and English in origin.

I wanted to see if the hype was true regarding infills, although I wasn’t willing to cough up the coin needed for a named collectors piece. I found this dog at Lee Richmonds, and figured it would serve for my test purposes. It has a gigantor Sorby iron in it, and has seen more repairs than Cher. But I love her – the plane, now.

The mouth isn’t closed up super tight, but with the chipbreaker set properly, and honed down to 1micron lapping paper, it is able to do what I need – on the piece of cherry on my bench, you can see my ‘test knot’ near the Bedrock. At the time I got it, it was all I had that could get close to that without chattering my fillings out.

With time (read, learning and patience), I’ve been able to get the same result from a properly fettled bench plane. Sawmill Creek has some interesting video & thread posts about the effects of a well tuned chipbreaker, which I definitely had to learn the hard way. That said, the mass and fully bedded blade do make it slightly less of an ordeal to get through the swirly stuff. I wouldn’t make the mortgage late for one, but its a fun toy to have in the arsenal.

I could/should have stopped there… but did not. Ahem…3 Sandusky’s in the back, 3 Steve Knight’s in the middle, Old Painless up front and a Lignum-Vitae resoled Sandusky 3 off to the side. I am stopping now. Unless… well lets just say, you should PM me if you have any minty fresh Sandusky Tool Company planes.

All said, I could have been just as happy with the used Steve Knights as any of the older ones. Sanded flat, mouth closed, waxed and with that ridiculous meat-cleaver-of-a-blade sharp, they perform stunningly. Next, I’ll be building my own – starting with one modelled after yours, from a block of Persimmons I’ve been hanging onto. Got a David Finck blade that mysteriously showed up in the mail (shhh…).

I am also hanging onto a couple spare blades to attempt those small scrapers you made – super impressed. Thanks again for all the advice on restoring, and the inspiration to try and build my own.

-- Chris @ Atlanta - JGM - Occam's razor tells us that when you hear hoofs, think horses not zebras.

View woodworkfkdn's profile


298 posts in 12 days

#5 posted 10-03-2019 07:56 PM

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