My first workbench

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Project by Bill729 posted 06-22-2012 08:40 AM 3333 views 2 times favorited 16 comments Add to Favorites Watch
My first workbench
My first workbench No picture No picture No picture No picture No picture
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I began wanting to make a traditional style workbench and the more I learned, the more I realized that it takes a workbench to make the heavy kind you see in books and magazines. This one is based on a friend’s design, but mine is a bit longer and taller. It is 58”L x 27”W x 40”H. It has at least 2” of room around the edges for clamping. I built it on a piece of plywood stretched across 2 saw horses. It has a SYP top and is assembled with about a hundred 3 1/2” deck screws and glue. I learned a great deal from this project and am sure that I will get a lot of use from the bench.

I intend to mount a machinist’s vise on it with wood in the jaws, for now. I included the old saw in the picture just for fun. This is the first project I’ve posted. Thank you for looking!

Bill Whig

16 comments so far

View Major's profile


8 posts in 2743 days

#1 posted 06-22-2012 09:32 AM


This has given me impetus to build a work stand for my table saw. Nice clean lines and looks sturdy especially as you were working from plywood on saw horses and can’t wait to see your projects from this bench forwards. Nice work.


-- What is this life if full of care we have no time to stand and stare!

View Lockwatcher's profile


91 posts in 3206 days

#2 posted 06-22-2012 10:42 AM

Looks similar to my “Easy Shop Table” – had thought about modifying one of them to hold an actual bench top – if it moves on you too much, you can add some extra boards near the bottom, and toss on some sandbags! The big saw is way cool!

Ken C / Lockwatcher

-- Lockwatcher, Ohio,

View jaykaypur's profile


4017 posts in 2922 days

#3 posted 06-22-2012 11:10 AM

Great build and welcome to L.J.’s.

-- Use it up, Wear it out --------------- Make it do, Or do without!

View woodworm's profile


14475 posts in 4104 days

#4 posted 06-22-2012 12:09 PM

Nice and functional bench. You need a workbench to build a workbench, I can’t deny it.

-- masrol, kuala lumpur, MY.

View A Slice of Wood Workshop's profile

A Slice of Wood Workshop

1097 posts in 3687 days

#5 posted 06-22-2012 12:12 PM

nice bench. Really nice saw as well.

-- Follow me on YouTube-

View morath's profile


33 posts in 2703 days

#6 posted 06-22-2012 01:50 PM

That looks better than my first workbench. Instead of mounting the machinist vise directly to the top you can mount it to a piece of 2×8 or layered plywood and then clamp that to your worktop when needed. That’s what I wound up doing with mine anyway.


-- My mom says I'm handsome.

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile


16194 posts in 3132 days

#7 posted 06-22-2012 01:55 PM

There’s enough material in the front legs to support a leg vise… For woodworking, they’re the least expensive type of vise and are incredibly versatile.

Nice bench, Bill!

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

View nobuckle's profile


1120 posts in 3275 days

#8 posted 06-22-2012 08:46 PM

That’ll work. Should last for quite a while. Just goes to show that a workbench doesn’t have to be a show piece to get the job done.

-- Doug - Make an effort to live by the slogan "We try harder"

View Bill729's profile


241 posts in 3595 days

#9 posted 06-22-2012 09:59 PM

Thank you everyone for your thoughtful comments and suggestions!

John (morath), I’m going to try your advise about mounting my vise to an extra piece of 2by-lumber. Thank you for suggesting it today! I’ve encountered the concept before, but at this point it definitely strikes me as being the “right” thing to do.

Smitty_Cabinetshop, do you have a reference for an easy to make leg vise?

Well…back to the store to get some shorter bolts (for the vise)! Thanks all!

Bill Whig

BTW, I picked up the 2-man saw a few weeks ago at an auction to use as a “shop decor” item.

View jjw5858's profile


1135 posts in 3116 days

#10 posted 06-23-2012 12:15 AM

Really nice bench. This is exactly the way I started…haaa, I am still on the that same bench too and like most of us….a larger more tradtional bench is on that huge… list! Have fun on the site and I look forward to seeing and hearing more. Love the saw too!

All the best, cheers


-- "Always continue to learn, laugh and share!" JJW

View DavidH's profile


519 posts in 4257 days

#11 posted 06-23-2012 02:10 AM

Nice first bench similar to mine, definitely add the front vise and a few dog holes and it will serve you well.

-- David - Houston, Texas. (

View Newage Neanderthal's profile

Newage Neanderthal

190 posts in 3064 days

#12 posted 06-23-2012 03:26 AM

Great starter bench. As someone who uses only handtools I would recommend two things to you. One, don’t get in a rush to add stuff to the bench, use it and add only as you feel you need. Two, please don’t subject that saw to being a “shop decor” item. Crosscutting that thing will eat large chunks of wood faster than ANY powertool other than a chainsaw.

-- . @NANeanderthal on twitter

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile


16194 posts in 3132 days

#13 posted 06-23-2012 03:38 AM

A leg vise is essentially a threaded rod and two boards (one the chop, the other a much smaller parallel guide. Lots of info out there and here on LJs… My bench has one and my inspiration came from C. Scharz’ first workbenches book.

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

View James Alberding's profile

James Alberding

79 posts in 2710 days

#14 posted 06-23-2012 07:56 AM

Awesome bench I’m planning out my first bench build too! Looks like I’m going to need a lot more screws though.

-- measure once, cut twice...

View Bill729's profile


241 posts in 3595 days

#15 posted 06-23-2012 08:11 PM

James Alberging and anyone else considering a project with deck screw jointery,

I found that my 10-Amp, 120v DeWalt drill stripped the square heads of the screws. I acquired a battery operated “impact driver” during the course of the project which made a HUGE DIFFERENCE not only in the results, but also in the shear pleasantness of driving the screws. If I had known about impact drivers at the time, I probably would not have bought the 10-Amp drill.

Also, some folks screw two 2by4s together in place of using 4by4s, saving some money. As a beginner, I didn’t take that approach, but I might on my next effort if it saved a trip to the lumberyard.

I hope these comments help save someone time, effort, and/or $$$! : )


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