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Project by arudson posted 06-21-2013 10:54 PM 7048 views 25 times favorited 22 comments Add to Favorites Watch

My start to woodworking began when I wanted to make a cedar strip canoe. The plans I used called for the construction of an 18 foot long strong-back from 2×10 SPF upon which the canoe would be made. I made the strong-back, and over a long period of time completed the canoe. When the canoe was all done, I was left, essentially, with a long, low, narrow table and I needed to something with it. I decided to disassemble it and use the materials to make a workbench. Despite the gobs of hardened epoxy resin on some parts and the screw holes in others, that workbench served me well for almost 25 years. I broke down and reassembled that workbench for three moves; it did everything I could ask of it and more.

Many woodworkers long to have a workbench like those featured in the woodworking magazines, I know I sure did. Finally, I decided, it was time to make a new workbench for myself. Something with a couple of vices as my old one only had one plastic vice screwed to the top. Something stable so when I worked a board on the top the whole bench wouldn’t wobble and squeak as I have been accustomed. Something that is a good height for woodworking as my current bench was about 3 inches too high making it awkward for many applications. And finally, something that offered lots of storage space – maybe not as much as the two 7’ full length open shelves of my old bench, but something with a cabinet where I could keep things organized and free of dust.

I looked through many books and magazines on different workbench designs and landed on a hybrid. I really liked the cabinet of the workbench featured in ShopNotes Issue #84 and the bench top of Woodsmith Issue #173, so I combined the two. My workbench cabinet is made of straight grain Douglas Fir while the top is made from Ash. I had wanted to use Maple for the top but where I live Ash is less than half the cost and consuming about 100 bf on the top alone, the savings was significant.

I am very happy with how my bench came out. It took some creativity to figure a way to join the top to the base but it all worked out very well. I wasn’t seeking to have a shelf under the bench top but this is what worked best for my design; I’m not sure it this will end up being a blessing or a curse. Although I have good useful storage space, my old bench offered much more and I am still trying to figure how the make the best use of the space I have.

I hope you enjoy these pictures of my new bench. Looking at benches that other Lumberjock’s have posted on this site sure was helpful for me; it allowed me to understand the pros and cons of different design features and determine what was most important to me. Perhaps my posting may help others.

22 comments so far

View pintodeluxe's profile


6488 posts in 4056 days

#1 posted 06-21-2013 11:00 PM

Very nice! Great storage, and plenty of workspace.
Well done.

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

View chrisstef's profile


18135 posts in 4250 days

#2 posted 06-21-2013 11:15 PM

What an awesomely functional bench. I kove how you set back the cabinets and drawers to keep clamping room available at the face and end. Excellent job.

-- Its not a crack, its a casting imperfection.

View SPalm's profile


5338 posts in 5125 days

#3 posted 06-22-2013 12:10 AM

That is just spectacular.
Very well done.


-- -- I'm no rocket surgeon

View gklassen's profile


3 posts in 3891 days

#4 posted 06-22-2013 12:46 AM

Very impressive Alan!!! Beautiful work.

View Thinkerf's profile


53 posts in 3046 days

#5 posted 06-22-2013 01:06 AM

Beautiful work Alan. I know what you mean about having a sturdy “third” hand to hold your work piece while you do what you have to do. After I built my workshop, my workbench was the first project that was built in the shop and I have had excellent service from it ever since.

View BBF's profile


144 posts in 3082 days

#6 posted 06-22-2013 01:18 AM

Very nice.

-- I've never been disappointed buying quality but I have been disappointed buying good enough.

View kdc68's profile


3016 posts in 3520 days

#7 posted 06-22-2013 01:47 AM

Beautiful bench…I like the dividers inside the drawer….thanks for sharing…

-- Measure "at least" twice and cut once

View aussiedave's profile


3114 posts in 3067 days

#8 posted 06-22-2013 02:08 AM

Wow!...beautiful bench and storage space under it for tools ect….Great job, excellent job.

-- Dave.......If at first you don’t succeed redefine success....

View whitebeast88's profile


4128 posts in 3434 days

#9 posted 06-22-2013 02:16 AM

awesome bench!!!

-- Marty.Athens,AL

View BillyD3152's profile


112 posts in 3122 days

#10 posted 06-22-2013 02:26 AM


-- Billy Long Island, NY

View Woodbridge's profile


3751 posts in 3661 days

#11 posted 06-22-2013 02:30 AM

Another wow. great looking bench.

-- Peter, Woodbridge, Ontario

View MShort's profile


1798 posts in 4661 days

#12 posted 06-22-2013 03:37 AM

Excellent !!!

-- Mike, Missouri --- “A positive life can not happen with a negative mind.” ---

View nonenone's profile


55 posts in 3050 days

#13 posted 06-22-2013 02:36 PM

Very nice work bench.

View a1Jim's profile


118258 posts in 4820 days

#14 posted 06-22-2013 03:52 PM

Outstanding work bench ,great design and build.


View LeroyTheLips's profile


248 posts in 3491 days

#15 posted 06-22-2013 05:36 PM

That is one beautiful bench. If I were a single guy I would put that in my bedroom…which would also make me a single guy…

showing 1 through 15 of 22 comments

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