Hybrid Split Top Workbench With A Dual Personality •

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Project by tyvekboy posted 10-30-2012 08:00 PM 19491 views 63 times favorited 35 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Oct. 30, 2012

I’ve admired the workbenches other LJ’s have shared here. I especially like the split top benches as well as the one’s with a tray down the middle. I just couldn’t decide which one I would like better so I designed my workbench that could be configured either way.

Here is my version of a versatile workbench.

Height: 35”
Bench Tops: 90” long X 12” Wide X 2” Thick (NOTE: There is a 2” x 2” skirt glued underneath each top which makes the tops appear to be 4 inches thick)
Approximate Workbench Weight with Vises Installed: 375 pounds

Top: Laminated Beech and Maple
Legs, rails & Dead-woman: Laminated Hickory
Stretchers: Laminated Plywood
Shelves: Plywood

Almost a gallon of Titebond III to laminate the tops and legs/rails/stretchers.

Danish Oil – Natural

Time to design and complete:
About 4 months

The heaviest parts are the leg sets (2 legs glued to upper and lower rails) that weigh 70 lbs each. The next heaviest parts are the bench top halves that weigh 50 lbs each.

This is all the pieces that go into making the workbench:

Two legs and their rails are glued together as one unit. The upper rail is a double blind mortise and tenon draw bore joint. The lower rail is a double through mortise and tenon held with wedges glued to the outside of each tenon. Each leg set weighs about 70 pounds each and are the heaviest component.

The next heaviest parts are the bench top halves that weigh 50 pounds each.

The stretchers that hold the leg sets apart utilize a haunched through dovetail wedged joint. The stretchers are made out of 3 layers of laminated 3/4 inch plywood with hardwood reinforcement where any contact with the leg occurs. The stretchers are held in place with wedges only. The front stretcher also supports the dead-woman.

The shelf material is just plywood and sit on a cleat screwed to the stretcher.

All dog holes are 3/4” in diameter.


Two workbench tops with a 2” gap between them giving the bench a 26” overall width. The fillers in the gap in one position can be used to hold tools.

Or the fillers can be flipped over to serve as stops that project 3/4” over the bench top surface. All fillers are 18 inches long.

Do you like the “Dead-woman”?


With the ADDITION of 2 corbels that are held in place with a dovetail key and the REMOVAL of a block beneath the rear bench top, the REAR bench top can be moved 4 ” further away from the FRONT bench top making room for a 6” wide tool tray with ramps.

Here is a close-up of one of the two corbels that I made out of hickory.

This is what the corbel looks like installed ready for the rear top to be installed over it.

At the ends of the tool tray are the dog houses. Below shows the pegs for the dead-woman and dogs for the vise chops.

Below are the bench dogs that I made. The other pieces of wood in this dog house are 2 wedges that are used to remove the wedges that lock the front and rear stretchers that join the leg-sets.

The bottom runner of the dead-woman on the front stretcher makes it impossible to remove the wedges with a mallet so these wedges are used to remove the wedges.


Aside from the vises and the ROCKLER workbench casters, the only other metal used in the bench are the small angle brackets that attach the leg sets to the bench top halves …

… and the straps that support either the fillers or the tray and also tie the front and rear workbench tops together.
Here is the mid-bench strap used with the workbench configured with the 6 inch tray.

This is the strap at the end of the tray.

This workbench is so heavy, deploying and retracting the Rockler Workbench Casters is easier done with the use of a small bottle jack which fits under the lower leg-set rail.

I hope this detailed close up of my workbench was helpful in appreciating the design.

Comments are appreciated. Questions always welcomed.

Thanks for looking.

-- Tyvekboy -- Marietta, GA ………….. one can never be too organized

35 comments so far

View WhoMe's profile


1568 posts in 4216 days

#1 posted 10-30-2012 08:10 PM

Wow, that is a really nice bench. I think your dual use with the moving bench top to accommodate the different splitters with the corbels is genius. Where id you come up with that idea/

-- I'm not clumsy.. It's just the floor hates me, the tables and chairs are bullies, the wall gets in the way AAANNNDDD table saws BITE my fingers!!!.. - Mike -

View Rookie702's profile


43 posts in 3250 days

#2 posted 10-30-2012 08:15 PM

so, what’s it going to take for you to cut me up some wood and send me a kit to put it together? I’m Serious.

View tyvekboy's profile


2093 posts in 3986 days

#3 posted 10-30-2012 08:16 PM


When you want your cake and eat it too, you figure out a way to do things like this. The way the bench tops fit over the legs and the way the tops are constructed, allows for this transformation. Unlike other 4 inch bench tops where a big mortise is carved into the bottom of the bench top, my bench tops allow for this flexibility.

Right now I have it set up with the tray in the middle. In a couple of months I’ll re-configure it with the fillers and see which configuration I like the best.

-- Tyvekboy -- Marietta, GA ………….. one can never be too organized

View lanwater's profile


3113 posts in 3907 days

#4 posted 10-30-2012 08:17 PM

That’s an impressive bench.

Very well constructed. Thanks for all the pictures.

-- Abbas, Castro Valley, CA

View tyvekboy's profile


2093 posts in 3986 days

#5 posted 10-30-2012 08:27 PM


Building this workbench was really a lot of fun and a great learning experience. It really tests your patience. The hardest part was gluing the pieces for the bench top and building up the legs. Once that was done, the rest was a piece of cake. You can do it.

I must confess that I got lucky and was offered a bunch of 8/4 hickory that a friend of mine couldn’t use cause it was so twisted and split. However, with a little patience, I found the pieces I needed to make the 5” X 5” legs and rails.

Here is what my truck looked like when I got home with the hickory:

-- Tyvekboy -- Marietta, GA ………….. one can never be too organized

View PurpLev's profile


8642 posts in 4621 days

#6 posted 10-30-2012 08:40 PM

very nice build. looks massive and a good worker too

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View AJswoodshop's profile


1057 posts in 3249 days

#7 posted 10-30-2012 08:46 PM

Great workbench! Looks sturdy, and BIG!

View Surfside's profile


3389 posts in 3146 days

#8 posted 10-30-2012 09:03 PM

Wow! The fit and finish looks incredibly perfect!

-- "someone has to be wounded for others to be saved, someone has to sacrifice for others to feel happiness, someone has to die so others could live"

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

25737 posts in 4078 days

#9 posted 10-30-2012 10:52 PM

I love it. A lot of good thought went into that bench and you’ll use it forever.

But most of all ” You appreciate it more if you make it yourself” and this one is you very own design!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I wish I had the room for a nice bench like that!!. Maybe in my next life!!........................Jim

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

View Dan Krager's profile

Dan Krager

4719 posts in 3207 days

#10 posted 10-30-2012 10:58 PM

You should post this over on the “Workbench Smackdown” forum. It would smack down big time! LOL.

-- Dan Krager, Olney IL All my life I've wanted to be someone. I see now I should have been more specific.

View jjbuzard's profile


31 posts in 3007 days

#11 posted 10-30-2012 11:42 PM

Seeing your bench after talking to you at Rockler yesterday really shows the work you put into it and gives me a better comprehension of how it works, GREAT!!!!!

-- Jim B

View whitebeast88's profile


4128 posts in 3163 days

#12 posted 10-31-2012 01:41 AM

great bench,great attention to detail.

-- Marty.Athens,AL

View OregonWoodRat's profile


174 posts in 3260 days

#13 posted 10-31-2012 01:43 AM

Fantastic bench. Thank you for all of the details. It is nice to be able to read about how it was made.

-- Peter, A man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still.

View Woodwrecker's profile


4240 posts in 4548 days

#14 posted 10-31-2012 02:18 AM

That is one heck of a nice bench.
The time it took you to design and build is impressive with all the detail you put in to it.
I hope it gives you many years of enjoyment.

View judgesawdust's profile


36 posts in 3596 days

#15 posted 10-31-2012 05:27 AM

A very well executed and creative bench. Kudos to you on a job well-done and documented! Thanks for sharing and have fun scratching it up! It is a workbench after all, right?

-- If you lend someone $20 and never see that person again, it was probably a wise investment.

showing 1 through 15 of 35 comments

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