New Workbench built around my old one with a little help from Norm Abrams

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Project by xraydav posted 02-03-2014 03:34 PM 5472 views 3 times favorited 3 comments Add to Favorites Watch

First a shout out to New Yankee Workshop. Lots of woodworkers will criticize him, but he got lots of hackers like me on the path.. I had an old cheap workbench bought years ago. It had three saving features, a tool bin built into the back of it, it was hard wood and it had dog holes and wooden pins to fit. It had only one bad feature, it was built like kaka and one day while planing on it, it collapsed on top of my feet. I thought about working on the floor….. just kidding… I had always wished it had an english bench screw and remembered Norm having an episode on one so I googled it and found it on YouTube. Bought the screw online for 70bucks and it sat for the summer as I rebuilt the legs for my bench but it was still my old bench. Decided 3 weeks ago to tear the old one apart and decided to save the hardwood top as the center of my new one. I added a 3/4”x6×7’ foot oak board (reclaimed from old bed side rails) on the front of my old bench to add the length I wanted and give me hard wood to mount the rails for my bench screw rails on that side. I followed Norms instructions to dado the slots for the bench dogs on an angle of 4 degrees toward the screw and block. In the block I dadoed the two holes in 2×6 cherry, 4degrees toward the dog rails. As Norm explained, this keeps the dogs from going beyond vertical and keeps the piece from popping out of the holes. On the bottom of the 4×4 legs I put a horizontal brace and then under that 3” round plastic feet to keep it above the wet floor when my basement floods in heavy rain.
Also wanted to put two matching bench clamps on the front but wanted them intragel on the bench so I could plane long boards on the front when I wanted to. The board you see clamped on the two front clamps is 10’ long… (can’t believe I just said that!!! 10’ board clamped to my bench!!!) As my design developed in my head utilizing Norms bench dog rails and the screw… ended up making it 7’7” long and 37” wide. Have the dog rails dadoed into the 4×4 legs posts as well as the front 2×6 which is chamfered 1/4” in to fit around the outside of the 4×4 legs so everything is supported by the legs.. Used purple heart for the rails for my bench screw block rails and the block itself is cherry. The screw and dog rails will allow a piece of wood 6’3” long to be clamped. Two dog holes in the block allow quick shortening or lengthining as needed. I am glad I left my hard wood old bench top in the middle but the two sides are of 3/4 ply and can be replaced easily when they are too beat up. Glad I left the tool bins as I use them always for stuff I need all the time, pencils, razor, marking knife, awl, tape measure etc.. I love using this bench so much! Encourage any of you using a less than your perfect bench to get to work as the pay back is none stop!

-- David, Norwood Mass, [email protected]

3 comments so far

View OhValleyWoodandWool's profile


970 posts in 4036 days

#1 posted 02-04-2014 12:05 AM

Great bench

-- "All you need in this life is ignorance and confidence, and then Success is sure." Mark Twain

View fivecodys's profile


1674 posts in 2552 days

#2 posted 02-04-2014 09:01 PM

That is very clever!
I like it!


-- A bad day woodworking is still better than a good day working.

View JCantin's profile


185 posts in 4328 days

#3 posted 02-06-2014 01:45 PM


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