My Dream Workbench

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Project by rockindavan posted 09-05-2012 01:15 AM 7568 views 36 times favorited 44 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This is the bench I built over the last three semesters of college. I can’t even count how many hours I spent designing and planning, much less building it, but it was a labor of love. The first semester I built the base and top. Second semester the vises and the third the tool cabinet. Needless to say I had plenty of time to make it exactly how I wanted it, although I had plenty of other projects going on. I must admit, it is not done. I still have the drawer and door hardware to put on (CAB hardware from Whitechapel) and two cast iron handwheels for the front vice and tail vice. Money is tight so it will have to wait.

The base breaks down for travel if necessary. The wedged tenons can be knocked apart. The top stretcher has dry fitted dovetail sockets. The top is registered by mortises from the base. I haven’t felt the need to bolt the top to the base yet. Top is 3 1/2 ” thick all the way through, one thing I didn’t want is an apron. The square bench dogs are at the same intervals on the tail vise. On the top they start out close then the distance gets larger as you get further from the vise. With this setup I rarely have to move the vice more than an inch or two to get to a workable spot.Tail vise is Lie Nielsen with a big dovetail. The front vise is Lie Nielsen. I ordered it with a two handled configuration. My plan is to have one of the handles as a cast iron hand wheel and the other a traditional handle. I turned them out of curly maple and added the turned cheery ends and attached them with machine screws tapped into the maple.

Cabinet is all solid wood with frame and panel back and sides. One thing I set out to do with this bench is have it as traditional as possible. Except for the hardware, I didn’t use and screws or nails, just good ole fashion joinery. Drawers are hand cut dovetails which ride on blum tandems. Doors needed to swing past the legs, so I found some offset hinges from Whitechapel. On either side of the drawers, the cabinets have adjustable shelves with wooden square pegs. The top of the cabinet has a tapered sliding dovetail to attach it to the cabinet base. Lastly after realizing I had nowhere to put my beer, I added some removable maple shelves to each side of the base. The rest of the cabinet is assembled with mortise and tenons.

Overall I enjoyed building it as much as I do using it. It already has a few scratches but that is part of it. The maple on the drawers is much lighter then the doors, but in time it should all harmonize. I guess thats my fault for taking so long to finish it. I look forward to the day once the colors have blended and all the small scratches that come from normal use only add to its beauty.

44 comments so far

View higtron's profile


253 posts in 3132 days

#1 posted 09-05-2012 01:43 AM

Sweet bench good job!

-- A friend will help you move, a good friend will help you move a body

View urbansouth's profile


5 posts in 2572 days

#2 posted 09-05-2012 01:47 AM

absolutely beautiful!

View waho6o9's profile


8714 posts in 3032 days

#3 posted 09-05-2012 01:50 AM

Most excellent work Rockindavan!
Your bench should serve you well for a very long time.
It’s a favorite for sure, thanks for posting.

View Hoakie's profile


306 posts in 4491 days

#4 posted 09-05-2012 02:12 AM

Very nice looking bench. one of these days i’ll get off my butt and build mine

-- John H. [To invent, you need a good imagination and a pile of junk. ~Edison]

View lysdexic's profile


5291 posts in 3078 days

#5 posted 09-05-2012 02:35 AM

Excellent sir. What is the distance between the bottom of the bench top and the top of the cabinet?

-- "It's only wood. Use it." - Smitty || Instagram - out_of_focus1.618

View HorizontalMike's profile


7793 posts in 3369 days

#6 posted 09-05-2012 02:42 AM

Very cool! From your description, it sounds like this is your FIRST major piece of WW-ing. If so, I also started with my first project being a kick-butt workbench. You are going to love it! I really love the alternating woods/colors/textures on yours.

Ya’ ‘dun good!

-- HorizontalMike -- "Woodpeckers understand..."

View ShaneA's profile


7084 posts in 3053 days

#7 posted 09-05-2012 02:49 AM

It is a beauty, congrats on a great looking build. I like the storage area beneath it, have to maximize the space as much as possible…well done.

View kody's profile


180 posts in 2733 days

#8 posted 09-05-2012 03:01 AM

very nice. love it….

View grfrazee's profile


388 posts in 2595 days

#9 posted 09-05-2012 03:08 AM

That’s a keeper right there. You’ve given me a few more ideas for my eventual workbench build (not that I need any more kicking around in my head).

Did you go off any plans on this or was it all in your head? I’d love to see plans, if only to get some more ideas.


View dnick's profile


986 posts in 2837 days

#10 posted 09-05-2012 03:44 AM

Wow man, that is great craftsmanship. A wonderful bench.

-- dnick, North Hollywood, Ca.

View rockindavan's profile


299 posts in 3091 days

#11 posted 09-05-2012 03:51 AM

The top stretcher limits the opening to 5 1/2” but, from bottom of bench to top of cabinet is 7”.

Plans were all in my head. There are only a few detailed sketches, which were just for figuring out exact dimensions. The rest of the sketch books are numbers and very rough sketches. I’ll have to look through them again to see any ideas I scratched. I looked at a lot of benches to get an idea of what I wanted, then let my imagination and needs do the rest.

View doordude's profile


1085 posts in 3438 days

#12 posted 09-05-2012 03:57 AM

great looking bench. its going to be a great asset in your future woodworking projects

View LeslieC's profile


151 posts in 2553 days

#13 posted 09-05-2012 04:53 AM

This is one of the coolest benches I’ve seen in a while. Awesome work. I love all the details, and the fact that you used traditional joinery makes it all the better. This is the kind of bench I aspire to. You should be extremely proud of your accomplishment. Now start posting the projects you create using this beautiful bench!

-- There is nothing like a Grateful Dead concert.

View woodworm's profile


14472 posts in 4046 days

#14 posted 09-05-2012 06:41 AM

Beautiful workbench.

-- masrol, kuala lumpur, MY.

View Ken90712's profile


17701 posts in 3644 days

#15 posted 09-05-2012 07:49 AM

Great bench a real beauty!

-- Ken, "Everyday above ground is a good day!"

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