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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
starting

I've been on the thought of building a workbench for several years.

What's held me back ?

- My shop is a mess, I've neglected organization and now 1/3 of my space is a pile of scrap and lumber.

- It's hard to budget for nice things

- Indecision ; How do I want to work ? Where is woodworking going to take me next ?

What I do know right now, is that I want to enjoy my hand tools and my bench/tables don't hold my work. A day may be a series of awkward improvisations.

After much reading and thinking I have considered many roubo, danish, and english variations. For how I expect to use a new bench I want something roubo-ish. Something with a knockdown option is good too.

Without much budget, I need to work with as much of what I have as possible. What I do have are 2 and a half sheets of 38mm plywood that I suspect are 40 years old. I bought them from a neighbor on CL a few years ago without a plan and they have been a shop obstacle ever since.

Wood Table Wood stain Flooring Plank


Not beautiful; there will be compromises ; but, most of the delamination isn't too deep.

Thoughts stewed, and after long inspection of the material, I decided that there was enough good material to setup something that looks like the foundation of Bob Lang's 21st century bench. (PW 10/2008 #171) .

a form like this:
Table Wood Floor Hardwood Workbench


I'll laminate the legs in 3 layers, forming the mortises of the stretchers as it is glued up.

First steps are breaking down the sheets to 12inch strips.
Wood Floor Wood stain Flooring Plank


And they will sit here while I build up a lumber rack to clear up some floor space.
Wood Floor Flooring Wood stain Hardwood


The weathered plywood may be a weak thing for some roles. I'll consider some accommodation for it as I go, perhaps a block of hardwood for floor contact and hardwood strips where the stretchers hold unto the the legs.

What to do for the bench top still needs to be discovered. As this is kicking off with unconventional materials, I may expand on it and try something odd like a couple beams of Parallam PSL. There is an interesting video on How to finish a Parallam Beam that looks like an option. (and a lot of effort )

I am also undecided about using a twin screw as front vise as Bob Lang did. Some people find them clunky … some people love them. Should I go for it ?
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
restarting after a long pause

Last I left this topic was last year or before, leaving it at "What is to be done for the bench top?"

I really wanted to get a couple beams of Parallam PSL, parallel stranded lumber. There is an interesting video on How to finish a Parallam Beam that looked like fun.

When I queried for a quote for two 4×12, 8 foot beams. They replied with $370USD. That is about $6/bf ! I was torn. I have been scanning Craigslist ads for several months looking for someone may have spare. Nothing has come up within 50 miles.

Looking over my thick slices of ply, I figured out that I could do the top with whats on hand at about 2.75-3 inch thick.

Here's a few stood up to consider bench height. Ive been putting the boards at different heights to scour an opinion.
Wood Floor Flooring Hardwood Gas


I have not yet found my religion in work bench height. There are very different and compelling recommendations presented by respected professionals. I am 5'10". The recommended height for me is in the range of 32" → 38".

I've plenty of time to consider height and gather opinion.

So until we arrive at that bridge, off we go with bottles of glue.

Wood Flooring Floor Hardwood Gas
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
forming legs and standing it up

While gluing up sections of boards for the benchtop, I started working on the legs. The legs are to be 3 layers of 1.5 inch ply on the sides with the lower long rail tailed into the middle layer and the upper long rail tailed into the outer layer.

The inner most layer of the leg is mortised for the the short rails. After marking out each per tenon, I drilled out the centers and chiseled to fit.

Wood Flooring Floor Plank Hardwood


A chisel and ply don't mate for a satisfying experience.

I soon found my most comfortable tact was to treat each layer as its own mortise to follow how the grain direction changes with depth. Stropping the chisel ever few minutes also helps.

I chose to use one of my older butt chisels because its ground to 30 deg and seemed to hold up to the pounding through ply a bit better.

Wood Gas Hand tool Hardwood Metal


The sides are cut straight. The upper and lower ends are cut at about 5 deg to accept wedge expansion. Each came out really well !

Wood Building material Flooring Wood stain Floor


For wedges, I used an oak flooring remnant and this hastily crafted jig on the bandsaw to get a uniform 5 deg cut.

Wood Automotive tire Gas Hardwood Bumper


A bowl full of wedges ! I ended up with about 30 , but only needing 16.

Tableware Wood Ingredient Waste container Food


Assembly didn't escalate an issue …
Wood Motor vehicle Gas Engineering Machine tool


... everything lined up with symmetry

Table Wood Rectangle Wood stain Outdoor furniture


Through all of the leg work, 6 sections of the bench top were glued up. For the top, 4 sections are 3 layers thick; 2 are 2 layers thick.

The longs rails are glued as 2 layers thick each will be flush with the outer layer of the legs when complete.

Right now, there are enough raw parts to put it together with gravity and get a feel for it.
Table Furniture Wood Window Creative arts


Next steps are to work on tailing the rails and building out the legs further. From my experience with hand chiseling mortises in this plywood, for the consistency of tails, I may be inclined to make a template for a router.
 

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forming legs and standing it up

While gluing up sections of boards for the benchtop, I started working on the legs. The legs are to be 3 layers of 1.5 inch ply on the sides with the lower long rail tailed into the middle layer and the upper long rail tailed into the outer layer.

The inner most layer of the leg is mortised for the the short rails. After marking out each per tenon, I drilled out the centers and chiseled to fit.

Wood Flooring Floor Plank Hardwood


A chisel and ply don't mate for a satisfying experience.

I soon found my most comfortable tact was to treat each layer as its own mortise to follow how the grain direction changes with depth. Stropping the chisel ever few minutes also helps.

I chose to use one of my older butt chisels because its ground to 30 deg and seemed to hold up to the pounding through ply a bit better.

Wood Gas Hand tool Hardwood Metal


The sides are cut straight. The upper and lower ends are cut at about 5 deg to accept wedge expansion. Each came out really well !

Wood Building material Flooring Wood stain Floor


For wedges, I used an oak flooring remnant and this hastily crafted jig on the bandsaw to get a uniform 5 deg cut.

Wood Automotive tire Gas Hardwood Bumper


A bowl full of wedges ! I ended up with about 30 , but only needing 16.

Tableware Wood Ingredient Waste container Food


Assembly didn't escalate an issue …
Wood Motor vehicle Gas Engineering Machine tool


... everything lined up with symmetry

Table Wood Rectangle Wood stain Outdoor furniture


Through all of the leg work, 6 sections of the bench top were glued up. For the top, 4 sections are 3 layers thick; 2 are 2 layers thick.

The longs rails are glued as 2 layers thick each will be flush with the outer layer of the legs when complete.

Right now, there are enough raw parts to put it together with gravity and get a feel for it.
Table Furniture Wood Window Creative arts


Next steps are to work on tailing the rails and building out the legs further. From my experience with hand chiseling mortises in this plywood, for the consistency of tails, I may be inclined to make a template for a router.
Using plywood is not a bad idea.
It seems you made your life more complicated by the way you choose to orient the boards.
To see what I mean, look at the Paul Sellers plywood workbench.
six episodes.
Sorry I didn't catch your first post.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
forming legs and standing it up

While gluing up sections of boards for the benchtop, I started working on the legs. The legs are to be 3 layers of 1.5 inch ply on the sides with the lower long rail tailed into the middle layer and the upper long rail tailed into the outer layer.

The inner most layer of the leg is mortised for the the short rails. After marking out each per tenon, I drilled out the centers and chiseled to fit.

Wood Flooring Floor Plank Hardwood


A chisel and ply don't mate for a satisfying experience.

I soon found my most comfortable tact was to treat each layer as its own mortise to follow how the grain direction changes with depth. Stropping the chisel ever few minutes also helps.

I chose to use one of my older butt chisels because its ground to 30 deg and seemed to hold up to the pounding through ply a bit better.

Wood Gas Hand tool Hardwood Metal


The sides are cut straight. The upper and lower ends are cut at about 5 deg to accept wedge expansion. Each came out really well !

Wood Building material Flooring Wood stain Floor


For wedges, I used an oak flooring remnant and this hastily crafted jig on the bandsaw to get a uniform 5 deg cut.

Wood Automotive tire Gas Hardwood Bumper


A bowl full of wedges ! I ended up with about 30 , but only needing 16.

Tableware Wood Ingredient Waste container Food


Assembly didn't escalate an issue …
Wood Motor vehicle Gas Engineering Machine tool


... everything lined up with symmetry

Table Wood Rectangle Wood stain Outdoor furniture


Through all of the leg work, 6 sections of the bench top were glued up. For the top, 4 sections are 3 layers thick; 2 are 2 layers thick.

The longs rails are glued as 2 layers thick each will be flush with the outer layer of the legs when complete.

Right now, there are enough raw parts to put it together with gravity and get a feel for it.
Table Furniture Wood Window Creative arts


Next steps are to work on tailing the rails and building out the legs further. From my experience with hand chiseling mortises in this plywood, for the consistency of tails, I may be inclined to make a template for a router.
Thank you for commenting.

This is an adaptation of using plywood for Bob Lang's 21st century workbench .

Bob Lang does the leg with ash using 2 layers. The first layer receives mortise for the leg stretchers. The second layer has mortises for the rails that are oriented 90 degrees from the first. Because of the variation of orientation, there are battles to choose from.

For a plywood variation, I am doing the legs in 3 layers. The outer two layers will have sandwich mortises similar to Sellers.

PWWs original sketchup illustrates the next steps in the legs better than my words.

Rectangle Outdoor bench Table Outdoor furniture Gas
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
forming rails and solid wood diversions

Bob Lang's bench joins rails to legs with very big dovetails for knockdown as illustrated here.
Rectangle Line Parallel Font Pattern


From my experience of mortising plywood described in my last entry on this thread, I put chisels aside and attacked these dovetails with a router template. The angled offcuts from the template making were handy for clamping and replicating the angle for machine setup.
Wood Gas Composite material Plank Hardwood


All came out with symmetry.
Table Wood Floor Flooring Rectangle


The rails are embedded into the legs as a 3 layer plywood sandwich.
The lower rail is wedged in the middle, the upper rail bolts to the outside.

Roughly like this
Wood Table Rectangle Wheel Plank


Everything fit together well. But, I came to a point of decision that I have been anticipating. I can not construct everything here in plywood and be happy about it. The mating surfaces of the dovetails would wear out; my concrete floor would be unkind to longevity of the feet; plywood vise chops ? maybe it would work, but no.

So, for practicality, this is isn't going to be 100% engineered wood.

I picked up a 10 foot board of 8/4 hickory.

Table Wood Floor Window Flooring


Cross cut it into thirds: 2/3 for vise chops, 1/3 for creating end caps for surfaces that will experience friction like the dovetail joints, feet, and tenon wedges.

Here, I am jointing an edge to prepare it for the table saw.
Wood Gas Engineering Machine Lumber


I have an old ryobi bt3100 that had to take it very slow. After a bit, I was working with smaller pieces like these 28 small end caps for the dovetail joints.

Wood Gas Hardwood Wood stain Plank

Wood Wood stain Hardwood Plank Gas


This is the upper rail.
Brown Wood Flooring Rectangle Floor


This is the lower rail that is still incomplete. The block of hickory here is waiting to be cut into wedges.
Wood Wood stain Plank Hardwood Flooring


After that is done and fitted, the plywood sandwich legs will glue up.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
forming rails and solid wood diversions

Bob Lang's bench joins rails to legs with very big dovetails for knockdown as illustrated here.
Rectangle Line Parallel Font Pattern


From my experience of mortising plywood described in my last entry on this thread, I put chisels aside and attacked these dovetails with a router template. The angled offcuts from the template making were handy for clamping and replicating the angle for machine setup.
Wood Gas Composite material Plank Hardwood


All came out with symmetry.
Table Wood Floor Flooring Rectangle


The rails are embedded into the legs as a 3 layer plywood sandwich.
The lower rail is wedged in the middle, the upper rail bolts to the outside.

Roughly like this
Wood Table Rectangle Wheel Plank


Everything fit together well. But, I came to a point of decision that I have been anticipating. I can not construct everything here in plywood and be happy about it. The mating surfaces of the dovetails would wear out; my concrete floor would be unkind to longevity of the feet; plywood vise chops ? maybe it would work, but no.

So, for practicality, this is isn't going to be 100% engineered wood.

I picked up a 10 foot board of 8/4 hickory.

Table Wood Floor Window Flooring


Cross cut it into thirds: 2/3 for vise chops, 1/3 for creating end caps for surfaces that will experience friction like the dovetail joints, feet, and tenon wedges.

Here, I am jointing an edge to prepare it for the table saw.
Wood Gas Engineering Machine Lumber


I have an old ryobi bt3100 that had to take it very slow. After a bit, I was working with smaller pieces like these 28 small end caps for the dovetail joints.

Wood Gas Hardwood Wood stain Plank

Wood Wood stain Hardwood Plank Gas


This is the upper rail.
Brown Wood Flooring Rectangle Floor


This is the lower rail that is still incomplete. The block of hickory here is waiting to be cut into wedges.
Wood Wood stain Plank Hardwood Flooring


After that is done and fitted, the plywood sandwich legs will glue up.
I thought it might be another week or so before I could get back to it, but I found some time to form the wedges.

Wood Rectangle Plank Hardwood Wood stain


Wood Wood stain Hardwood Plank Rectangle


Now I can focus on tying it all together.
 

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forming rails and solid wood diversions

Bob Lang's bench joins rails to legs with very big dovetails for knockdown as illustrated here.
Rectangle Line Parallel Font Pattern


From my experience of mortising plywood described in my last entry on this thread, I put chisels aside and attacked these dovetails with a router template. The angled offcuts from the template making were handy for clamping and replicating the angle for machine setup.
Wood Gas Composite material Plank Hardwood


All came out with symmetry.
Table Wood Floor Flooring Rectangle


The rails are embedded into the legs as a 3 layer plywood sandwich.
The lower rail is wedged in the middle, the upper rail bolts to the outside.

Roughly like this
Wood Table Rectangle Wheel Plank


Everything fit together well. But, I came to a point of decision that I have been anticipating. I can not construct everything here in plywood and be happy about it. The mating surfaces of the dovetails would wear out; my concrete floor would be unkind to longevity of the feet; plywood vise chops ? maybe it would work, but no.

So, for practicality, this is isn't going to be 100% engineered wood.

I picked up a 10 foot board of 8/4 hickory.

Table Wood Floor Window Flooring


Cross cut it into thirds: 2/3 for vise chops, 1/3 for creating end caps for surfaces that will experience friction like the dovetail joints, feet, and tenon wedges.

Here, I am jointing an edge to prepare it for the table saw.
Wood Gas Engineering Machine Lumber


I have an old ryobi bt3100 that had to take it very slow. After a bit, I was working with smaller pieces like these 28 small end caps for the dovetail joints.

Wood Gas Hardwood Wood stain Plank

Wood Wood stain Hardwood Plank Gas


This is the upper rail.
Brown Wood Flooring Rectangle Floor


This is the lower rail that is still incomplete. The block of hickory here is waiting to be cut into wedges.
Wood Wood stain Plank Hardwood Flooring


After that is done and fitted, the plywood sandwich legs will glue up.
Awesome blog. Thanks for sharing!
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
leg sandwiches

The final layers of legs for Lang's workbench using 1.5" plywood.

Using solid wood, the rabbets for the upper and lower stretchers of the bench would be cut on opposite sides of on 8/4. Using plywood, I chose to go down the path where each side of the rabbets are different pieces. So, where Bob used one board, I used 4 boards and glue forming a thick sandwich.

I started with short boards set flush, then proceeded with sneaking up to the fit of the longer boards.

Road surface Wood Gas Asphalt Metal


Wood Hardwood Wood stain Floor Plank


Everything came together well enough, but there were a couple points where my pre-cut dovetailed angles didn't line up precisely.

Here, there is a bit of a gap on the inside.
Wood Wood stain Plank Hardwood Varnish


I thought this was great opportunity to bring out my 10 1/2 rabbet plane. It had been sitting in a box fo 18 months with a broken tote. So, after a bit of time and epoxy , reconditioning its edge ; it looked as good as new+80years. With creative clamping, I got back to it.

Plane Scrub plane Smoothing plane Jack plane Rebate plane


That actually did not work out well. The approach angle and grain of the hickory did not cooperate. Though glad to get the 10 1/2 back into service, gritty sandpaper on a wood block served the task better.

After care and cure time, the sandwich was getting solid and fitting tightly.
Television Wood Wood stain Natural material Hardwood


At this point I became really clever. Realizing that each peace was custom fitted in a way that eyes couldn't see. The alignment chalk marks weren't going going to last long. I decided to mark the inside faces with 1/4" drill hole patterns that I would match when it is taken apart and assembled again. I drilled one shallow hole in the faces that go to one lege, and two holes for the other, orientating the holes upward.

Wood Wood stain Natural material Hardwood Plank


If you stare at the picture above, you'd realize that when the parts are mated, the holes won't be oriented with each other. I somehow did both top stretchers this way, which all led to both stretchers being marked oppositely for extra confusion about knowing what goes where.

I paused to fill the wrong side up holes and redrill the other side.
Wood Rectangle Flooring Floor Fixture


Putting some protection on the plywood feet, I chose to glue 5/8" hickory to the bottom of the feet using of this piece.

Wood Milling Jig grinder Hardwood Gas


To reduce snipe on small pieces, I use a sled with scrap wood end feeders plus a few dabs of hot-melt glue on edges to hold it down.
Wood Gas Engineering Machine Machine tool


To ensure the feet were level. I put the legs upside down on a flat service and clamped them together for planing.
Wood Workbench Gas Hardwood Table


After final sizing and chamfers on 4 sides of each, came the last glue-up of the legs.
Wood Hardwood Wood stain Gas Plank


While I sat back with a cold one, I fetched my conscript labor for final face flushing.
Wood Tradesman Cap Baseball cap Carpenter


Wood Creative arts Table Loom Hardwood


Sorry if this was all too many pictures to scroll through.

Congrats - You got this far !

Next steps
  • drilling dog holes in the legs and stretchers
  • experimenting with how I want to proceed with filling voids and finishing
  • thinking about vise options
  • assembling the top
  • lots of non-productive shop dawdling
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
tasks of intermission

After completing the legs illustrated in the last entry, not a whole of much has been going on.

Yet, there was a time I was in fear of being stranded in eastern Oregon for a bit without a road non-burning going west…. but that's not a about a bench.

For discussion today: rail fitting, vises, shelves, and plywood voids.

Rails

With the legs formed there was some final fitment to do for the rails. First was drilling out 27 dog holes. 9 on each rail. I believe Bob Lang only dogged the side of the bench with the face vise. I covered it all.

Saw Wood Milling Drilling Jig grinder


With only 2.3 inch of throw on my little press, I had to finish them with a hand drill. This is using a wolfcraft guide. Its not my favorite thing; there is a bit of play in the upper bearing that allows the bit tip to move 1/8 inch or so. It requires a lot of care, but its better than by hand. For 4x the price there are other options, and Rockler released their own branded version this year. I'm curious if these have more precision, or if its a similar risk of error in a better looking package.

Saw Milling Wood Machine tool Gas


Mr Lang attached the upper rails and top with lag bolts - he also used solid ash. For plywood, I don't trust a lag bolt to be installed and removed many times before failure. I chose to instead use 3/8 stainless nut+bolt. I strapped the legs together with the rails in place to keep it all held tight to drill through. A 7/8 counter bore on the front and back keeps the hardware below the surface plane.

Wood Vehicle Wood stain Motor vehicle Hardwood


With those set in place firmly, I could flush the ends. A trim router took out most of it, leaving a quarter inch to take out with a hand plane.

Table Wood Handheld power drill Tool Wood stain


I followed that with trimming the wedges into a more reasonable shape.
Wood Wood stain Plank Natural material Hardwood


Vises

The way the top is integrated with the vises, I don't want to go far down that road until the vises are in hand. I'll leave the top's final glue-up until I am certain how the vises and the vise chops will integrate. Knowing how slowly that may go, I expect to have the base completely finished before I do much more with the top.

For now, I have extended the width of some of the bench tops with another glue up. These now consist of 2 beams 9in wide, and 2 which are 3in wide, these will finalize as 2×12inch beams.

Wood Musical instrument Hardwood Flooring Gas


I am pretty sure that I will have a 7inch iron vise on the tail. For the face, Bob Lang chose a Veritas twin screw with a 24in center. I am leaning that way, but I haven't sold myself on a commitment.

My order of interest ….


Today's front runners are Hovarter or Veritas

Next steps
  • shelves on the lower rails
  • ply void treatment

Shelves !

I've taken inventory of the 1.5in ply cutoffs and my calculator told me that I if I cut them 1.12 in thick then reglue them on their sides, I will have enough material for a shelf along the length of the lower rails.

Wood Flooring Floor Wood stain Plank


It was ugly lumber on the table, but after slicing it up, I gained confidence that this will work well. I will glue them up as 11 inch panels that will be ship lapped together across the length of the bottom rails.
Wood Floor Wood stain Flooring Hardwood


Using the cutoffs from those pieces, I believe I can make this patch work into a shelf that straddles the top rails in a way that it could slide from side to side. I am pretty excited about this idea.
Table Wood Rectangle Wood stain Desk


With that done, that's nearly all of the 2.6 sheets of ply I started with. What's left won't fill a bucket.

Treating the plywood voids

I acquired some Ultramarine Blue dry pigment for earthpigments.com and experimented with mixing it into Durhams water putty.

Filling the ply voids, the first thing learned is that the grain needs to be filled. The end grain layers of the ply soak up the dye quite deeply. I tried a glue wash, a shellac wash, a sanded danish oil coat and combinations. What worked best for me to prepare for void filling.
  • 1lb cut shellac wash coat mixed with water putty 1:10 / apply and dry
  • one thin coat dasnish oil / apply and dry
  • Blue dye mixed with water putty 1:35 / apply and dry
  • chip off the proud filler with a chisel and sand
  • apply danish oil and sand until done

This pic is a color study using holes drilled into a sample. The color ratio I chose is on the top left of the pic below.
Blue Azure Wood Sky Building


Meanwhile, it will be about shelves.

Please comment vise opinions.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
shelving !

Shelving !

Wood Composite material Plank Wood stain Flooring


The shelving is laminated from plywood scraps that were cut into 1.12" strips, turned 90% and glued back together. The sequences of glue/clamp/wait were numbing the mind.

Wood Wood stain Flooring Floor Table


The shelf on the top rails is made to so that it easily slides left or right, so that its conveniently not in the way. Its in the spirit of an under the benchtop drawer without being a drawer. The sliding surfaces are 1/2" hickory re-sawed from a 4/4 board and with one piece glued to the end, and another into a rabbet. The rabbet was hogged out at the table saw and cleaned up by hand.

Plane Wood Wood stain Flooring Table


Table Furniture Wood Rectangle Wood stain


The bottom shelf is six 10" wide laminated boards that are ship lapped.
Rectangle Wood Flooring Floor Plank


They sit on a support made of 4/4 hickory that is glued and screwed to the bottom rails.

This snapshot is of the bench right-side-down, receiving the shelf supports.

Wood Floor Hardwood Plank Flooring


To continue, its time to commit to decisions on vises so that the bench top may progress.
 

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shelving !

Shelving !

Wood Composite material Plank Wood stain Flooring


The shelving is laminated from plywood scraps that were cut into 1.12" strips, turned 90% and glued back together. The sequences of glue/clamp/wait were numbing the mind.

Wood Wood stain Flooring Floor Table


The shelf on the top rails is made to so that it easily slides left or right, so that its conveniently not in the way. Its in the spirit of an under the benchtop drawer without being a drawer. The sliding surfaces are 1/2" hickory re-sawed from a 4/4 board and with one piece glued to the end, and another into a rabbet. The rabbet was hogged out at the table saw and cleaned up by hand.

Plane Wood Wood stain Flooring Table


Table Furniture Wood Rectangle Wood stain


The bottom shelf is six 10" wide laminated boards that are ship lapped.
Rectangle Wood Flooring Floor Plank


They sit on a support made of 4/4 hickory that is glued and screwed to the bottom rails.

This snapshot is of the bench right-side-down, receiving the shelf supports.

Wood Floor Hardwood Plank Flooring


To continue, its time to commit to decisions on vises so that the bench top may progress.
Looks sturdy, great idea on the sliding shelf.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
shelving !

Shelving !

Wood Composite material Plank Wood stain Flooring


The shelving is laminated from plywood scraps that were cut into 1.12" strips, turned 90% and glued back together. The sequences of glue/clamp/wait were numbing the mind.

Wood Wood stain Flooring Floor Table


The shelf on the top rails is made to so that it easily slides left or right, so that its conveniently not in the way. Its in the spirit of an under the benchtop drawer without being a drawer. The sliding surfaces are 1/2" hickory re-sawed from a 4/4 board and with one piece glued to the end, and another into a rabbet. The rabbet was hogged out at the table saw and cleaned up by hand.

Plane Wood Wood stain Flooring Table


Table Furniture Wood Rectangle Wood stain


The bottom shelf is six 10" wide laminated boards that are ship lapped.
Rectangle Wood Flooring Floor Plank


They sit on a support made of 4/4 hickory that is glued and screwed to the bottom rails.

This snapshot is of the bench right-side-down, receiving the shelf supports.

Wood Floor Hardwood Plank Flooring


To continue, its time to commit to decisions on vises so that the bench top may progress.
Thank you for the comment.

I provided some jointing work of the vise chops to the bench frame yesterday, and all stood still and firm.

Wood Hardwood Composite material Engineering Flooring
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
vise fitting preparation

I left my last posting with a question of vise commitment.

While I haven't committed 100% about which vises to get, I did make a run to the Rockler store with a 20%-off coupon to pick up a simple 7-inch quick release for the end vise. I am pretty sure I will get a Veritas twin-screw for the face vise unless someone convinces me that Hovarter is much better.

I got the end vise first because it was easy to get… and I could size up how much length was required at the end of the bench past the legs. before getting too much further down that road, I also needed some square ends to the bench top parts.



Who knew ? This 10 inch sliding miter can cleanly crosscut 12×3 ~ .. maybe my future doesn't need a 12 inch miter.

I grit my teeth and hogged out a recess for the iron vise, freehand with a router and spiral bit. It got close and then I cleaned it up with a chisel.

Wood Office ruler Tool Hardwood Wood stain


There are a couple disappointing things with Rockler's vise. The first is that the mounting base is wider than vise jaws by 1/4 inch. This meant that it can not be mounted where the vise jaws are flush with the corner of the bench top. So, I backed it off the corner by 1/2 inch. bummer.

The second problem is that the base is not square to the rear jaw; it is 90 degrees plus a few degrees. Mounting the base flush to the benchtop bottom, the rear jaw cannot be flush benchtop side. In the picture above, I forced the rear jaw to be flush. If you look closely, you may notice that the back mounting flanges are few mm off the bench. I will need to shim this with washers for the final installation.

Beyond these issues, the Rockler vise seems well constructed with a good screw and solid guide bars. I also like that it has a wooden handle instead of a metal rod to turn. The sound that metal rod handles make as they slide and clank gets to me.

Another vise preparation step was preparing the bench top to receive the rear chop of the face vise. Regardless of whether I end up with Veritas , Hovarter, or using pipe clamps; the rear vise chop is ready and planed to its final thickness. To receive the chop, I re-sawed and laminated some 4/4 hickory to the edge of the plywood, leaving a recess of the proper depth and length.

This glue up should have been done in a couple steps. The clamping is chaotic … but it worked.

Wood Floor Hardwood Plank Flooring


After hand planing flush, all is looking ok.

Outdoor bench Table Wood Bench Hardwood


After I decide on a front vise, I am sure it will take a while for it to arrive. There are plenty of finishing details to dawdle over between now and then.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
dog holes

With core construction completed, I moved on to considering dog hole arrangements.

The top is in two 12inch wide segments that sit about 6.5 inches apart.

I found that with my front vise layout, the closest I could get the dog holes which project along the front edge from the end vise was 2.75 inches.

The end vise, with chops, provides 6.75 inches of travel, which led me to go with a distance of 6 inches between center holes. I drew these out to the right half of the front vise, skipped 8 inches over the leg support and then added two more to match up with the face vise.

There is one row of hold fast holes on each top section. The 3 inches from the back of the front section, and 5 inches back from the rear section.

From the front vise chop there are four dog holes, two of these extend across both tops as rows of 4 holes.

I moved around a lot of blue tape snippets in the process of feeling this out.
Table Wood Wood stain Hardwood Plank


A diagram makes a little more sense of it.

Rectangle Slope Font Parallel Circle


I've had some concerns that the compression of holdfasts may put some wear on the plywood. Thinking that some hardwood support may add a couple years, I used my remaining 4/4 hickory stock on the underside along with adding the center shelf that supports tray boxes. I wasn't scientific about this assumption, but I can assure myself that I gave the problem a go of a thought.

Table Furniture Wood Rectangle Wood stain


With that all set and ready, it was time to drill. A big board makes this little drill press feel all grown up.
Table Wood Saw Plant Table saws


I then carried over the side rail dog holes unto the front edge of the bench. These are drilled to 2..3 inch deep to support a bench pup or surface clamp.

Wood Table Wood stain Floor Flooring


Wood Automotive tire Gas Composite material Engineering


It came together as this
Wood Outdoor bench Wood stain Hardwood Plank


After a little bit of sanding and chamfering it was looking pretty good. The holes are very square and symmetrical.
There are also some additional holes for 8 , 6×5/16in , carriage bolts that will tie the top to the legs.

Furniture Table Wood Rectangle Outdoor furniture


I am still pretty sure I will add a veritas twin-screw, but I haven't ordered it yet. ... maybe this week. Still, there is plenty more to do. Before the front vise is fitted, I expect I will disassemble all of it and give it a fair finish.

My first step in finishing is to fill the end grain layers of the plywood. There are two reasons for this. Firstly, to promote a more even saturation of finishing oils accross the different ply layers. This reduces the color contrast of plys.

Secondly, I will be filling the voids with blue dyed water putty. My trials of this have shown that if the surface isn't sealed well, the blue putty will fully stain the end grain layers. Maybe that's cool to some, but not here for me.

My recipe for the grain fill is 2 TBsp of durhams wather putty per 10 oz of 1lb cut shellac for a wash coat. In this case, the durham powder is acting as a substitute for pumice.

Tin Ingredient Table Condiment Solution


After the wash coat application, I will wetsand with 1 coat of danish oil. This leaves a surface that cleans up well after filling the voids with blue and avoids unintended stains. After the putty is set, I will sand it back flush and continue with danish oil.

But, that's just talk. Maybe next entry will have pictures.
 

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dog holes

With core construction completed, I moved on to considering dog hole arrangements.

The top is in two 12inch wide segments that sit about 6.5 inches apart.

I found that with my front vise layout, the closest I could get the dog holes which project along the front edge from the end vise was 2.75 inches.

The end vise, with chops, provides 6.75 inches of travel, which led me to go with a distance of 6 inches between center holes. I drew these out to the right half of the front vise, skipped 8 inches over the leg support and then added two more to match up with the face vise.

There is one row of hold fast holes on each top section. The 3 inches from the back of the front section, and 5 inches back from the rear section.

From the front vise chop there are four dog holes, two of these extend across both tops as rows of 4 holes.

I moved around a lot of blue tape snippets in the process of feeling this out.
Table Wood Wood stain Hardwood Plank


A diagram makes a little more sense of it.

Rectangle Slope Font Parallel Circle


I've had some concerns that the compression of holdfasts may put some wear on the plywood. Thinking that some hardwood support may add a couple years, I used my remaining 4/4 hickory stock on the underside along with adding the center shelf that supports tray boxes. I wasn't scientific about this assumption, but I can assure myself that I gave the problem a go of a thought.

Table Furniture Wood Rectangle Wood stain


With that all set and ready, it was time to drill. A big board makes this little drill press feel all grown up.
Table Wood Saw Plant Table saws


I then carried over the side rail dog holes unto the front edge of the bench. These are drilled to 2..3 inch deep to support a bench pup or surface clamp.

Wood Table Wood stain Floor Flooring


Wood Automotive tire Gas Composite material Engineering


It came together as this
Wood Outdoor bench Wood stain Hardwood Plank


After a little bit of sanding and chamfering it was looking pretty good. The holes are very square and symmetrical.
There are also some additional holes for 8 , 6×5/16in , carriage bolts that will tie the top to the legs.

Furniture Table Wood Rectangle Outdoor furniture


I am still pretty sure I will add a veritas twin-screw, but I haven't ordered it yet. ... maybe this week. Still, there is plenty more to do. Before the front vise is fitted, I expect I will disassemble all of it and give it a fair finish.

My first step in finishing is to fill the end grain layers of the plywood. There are two reasons for this. Firstly, to promote a more even saturation of finishing oils accross the different ply layers. This reduces the color contrast of plys.

Secondly, I will be filling the voids with blue dyed water putty. My trials of this have shown that if the surface isn't sealed well, the blue putty will fully stain the end grain layers. Maybe that's cool to some, but not here for me.

My recipe for the grain fill is 2 TBsp of durhams wather putty per 10 oz of 1lb cut shellac for a wash coat. In this case, the durham powder is acting as a substitute for pumice.

Tin Ingredient Table Condiment Solution


After the wash coat application, I will wetsand with 1 coat of danish oil. This leaves a surface that cleans up well after filling the voids with blue and avoids unintended stains. After the putty is set, I will sand it back flush and continue with danish oil.

But, that's just talk. Maybe next entry will have pictures.
Looks fantastic! You've had your workbench for about 4 months, how is it holding up? I finished mine about 1 week ago and am glad to finally be able to use it.

Did your final plan end up having the gap between both sides of the bench?
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
dog holes

With core construction completed, I moved on to considering dog hole arrangements.

The top is in two 12inch wide segments that sit about 6.5 inches apart.

I found that with my front vise layout, the closest I could get the dog holes which project along the front edge from the end vise was 2.75 inches.

The end vise, with chops, provides 6.75 inches of travel, which led me to go with a distance of 6 inches between center holes. I drew these out to the right half of the front vise, skipped 8 inches over the leg support and then added two more to match up with the face vise.

There is one row of hold fast holes on each top section. The 3 inches from the back of the front section, and 5 inches back from the rear section.

From the front vise chop there are four dog holes, two of these extend across both tops as rows of 4 holes.

I moved around a lot of blue tape snippets in the process of feeling this out.
Table Wood Wood stain Hardwood Plank


A diagram makes a little more sense of it.

Rectangle Slope Font Parallel Circle


I've had some concerns that the compression of holdfasts may put some wear on the plywood. Thinking that some hardwood support may add a couple years, I used my remaining 4/4 hickory stock on the underside along with adding the center shelf that supports tray boxes. I wasn't scientific about this assumption, but I can assure myself that I gave the problem a go of a thought.

Table Furniture Wood Rectangle Wood stain


With that all set and ready, it was time to drill. A big board makes this little drill press feel all grown up.
Table Wood Saw Plant Table saws


I then carried over the side rail dog holes unto the front edge of the bench. These are drilled to 2..3 inch deep to support a bench pup or surface clamp.

Wood Table Wood stain Floor Flooring


Wood Automotive tire Gas Composite material Engineering


It came together as this
Wood Outdoor bench Wood stain Hardwood Plank


After a little bit of sanding and chamfering it was looking pretty good. The holes are very square and symmetrical.
There are also some additional holes for 8 , 6×5/16in , carriage bolts that will tie the top to the legs.

Furniture Table Wood Rectangle Outdoor furniture


I am still pretty sure I will add a veritas twin-screw, but I haven't ordered it yet. ... maybe this week. Still, there is plenty more to do. Before the front vise is fitted, I expect I will disassemble all of it and give it a fair finish.

My first step in finishing is to fill the end grain layers of the plywood. There are two reasons for this. Firstly, to promote a more even saturation of finishing oils accross the different ply layers. This reduces the color contrast of plys.

Secondly, I will be filling the voids with blue dyed water putty. My trials of this have shown that if the surface isn't sealed well, the blue putty will fully stain the end grain layers. Maybe that's cool to some, but not here for me.

My recipe for the grain fill is 2 TBsp of durhams wather putty per 10 oz of 1lb cut shellac for a wash coat. In this case, the durham powder is acting as a substitute for pumice.

Tin Ingredient Table Condiment Solution


After the wash coat application, I will wetsand with 1 coat of danish oil. This leaves a surface that cleans up well after filling the voids with blue and avoids unintended stains. After the putty is set, I will sand it back flush and continue with danish oil.

But, that's just talk. Maybe next entry will have pictures.
Did your final plan end up having the gap between both sides of the bench?
- dphmeyer
The gap will be filled with 3 or 4 or 5 tool trays, probably of hickory.

The bench is usable and has been used frequently, but its yet unfinished. Work on it paused over the winter while I have been kicking around other (newer) projects.

This blog series will live on with new editions, until its done.

Enjoy your new bench!
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
ply-void filling

I will not hide the plywood voids, they will be filled BLUE.

Using an ultra-marine blue powder + water putty, I tried to replicate the color of a bright horizon sky blue.

I found that, since water putty is more cream colored than "white", if the hue was made too light, it would start to become more of a a blue-gray than a light blue.

After trials I didn't quite get to the tone I had in mind; but I like where it ended up. I settled on 8 tablespoons of putty to 1/2 teaspoon of ultra-marine.

Ingredient Liquid Fluid Paint Drink


Though that doesn't look like much blue in the powder, a bit of water brings it out.

Wood Wood stain Paint Hardwood Tool


I spent a fair amount of time sealing the surface pores so that the end-grain layers of the ply would not soak up the tint of the filler. I did this with a 1lb cut shellac with an addition of water putty as I found that 3TB of water putty per 12oz of shellac sealed better then shellac alone. After 2 wash coats, I followed with a quick wipe on of danish oil to limit surface adhesion of the filler.

Blue Wood Flooring Wood stain Floor


When it dries, it lightens up, but returns to its wet color after some finish is re-applied.

Here, the top is cleaned up with some quick scraping. Next step is sanding down a bit to clean up, then back to 220, and finishing with danish oil.
Wood Table Bench Rectangle Composite material


This board, made for the lower shelf, is almost done.
Wood Rectangle Flooring Hardwood Wood stain
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
taming ply voids in the base

This bench is unfinished but it has worked alright through winter. Winter projects are done, so Ive decided to take take it apart and bring the bench closer to completion.

The base is the focus in this phase; and its all about surfacing.

Wood Hardwood Lumber Plank Gas


And filling surface voids .. with blue.

Wood Composite material Hardwood Plank Wood stain


After some patience and a few coats of oil, it all wasn't too hard.

Table Wood Flooring Rectangle Floor


.. and has started to look snazzy.

Wood Flooring Floor Rectangle Wood stain


Product Rectangle Wood Natural material Wood stain


With that base, my focus can move to the top bits where the work gets done.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
installing a V-Twin

I waited for a while on backorder for Veritas to get a twin screw shipped out. Yet it did come a couple weeks sooner than initially estimated.

The back chop is a piece of 8/4 hickory that has been waiting for a very long time.
The front chop is from the same board, but its a little thinner because I had to plane out a lot of skew.

The original 21st century Lang bench had pieces of wood glued to the bottom of top on each side of the front leg. I chose to work the wood around the leg so that it is all one piece.

Wood Wood stain Rectangle Plank Hardwood


To wrap that, I had positioned the chop in place in front of the leg against the bench top and tacked on some scrap to use for with a pattern router bit.

Wood Automotive exterior Gas Bumper Machine tool


Wood Rectangle Wall Floor Gas


That came together a lot easier than expected.

Veritas instructs that 1.5" holes are driven through each face for the 2 screws, and partially through each for the two guide posts.

Milling Drill presses Machine tool Gas Engineering


To ensure that the chops always have their first grip on the top of the shops, the v-twin instructions require a 7/32 taper on the inner face of the front chop. This is done by running it through a planer with a shim hot melt glued to one side.

Wood Gas Engineering Machine Machine tool


After this, I followed with 4 more holes for barrel-nut bench bolts to tie it to the top. Lined it up on the top, and finished the holes into the bench top.

Wood Wood stain Hardwood Plank Composite material


After constructing their recommended dowel-in-scrap jig to find the placement to drill holes on the underside for the barrel-nuts, these were fairly simple to locate.
Table Wood Wood stain Hardwood Plank


It all assembled with no additional effort
Table Wood Plank Flooring Wood stain


20 years ago I acquired a couple hides of black upholstery leather that I have been using for projects. Its still as supple as its first day, though I don't recall how it was tanned. The chops will be lined with bits of that suede side out.

I was about to use double sided tape. but near the last moment I switched to 3M-185 spray adhesive. I carefully cleaned the leather and wood with mineral spirits, spray the 3M on the mating sides, let it set, then press it on with a J-roller.

Bumper Wood Automotive exterior Gas Automotive wheel system


I don't know how long this adhesive method will last, but I think it will do well.

After trimming i used some of the trim scraps to leather wrap a hammer handle, screwed on the vise nutz and added some screw blocks to tie it to the leg. I was thinking if the bench is disassembled, I would leave the screw blocks on the leg and remove them from the chops. This way there would be a quick reference of placement.

Wood Rectangle Table Wood stain Hardwood


I added some blocking above the screws.

Wood Wood stain Hardwood Plank Lumber


And then I line it all up well and bolt the top to the legs.
Pneumatic tool Drill Handheld power drill Hammer drill Wood


Looking at youtube demonstrations of v-twin installations, I've noticed 3 things that are often not done according to the manual because users think they aren't necessary or they have better ideas.
1 - taper the front chop 2 degrees
2 - only support the lower part of the chain loop, and down support above the line of taught
3 - add support slides under the table to support screws from veritcal skew.

I think these demonstrations breed disappointment.

Here , the screws are in with the chain.

Wood Hardwood Flooring Wood stain Lumber


Getting the three parts of the chain cover assembled with 2 hands isn't fun. Found a quick clamp helps.

Table Wood Air gun Trigger Shotgun


I chose to use a threaded insert for the suicide handle, and drill a peg hole in the center to keep the handles from flopping around while they turn.

Wood Office supplies Cylinder Gas Tool


Wood Milling Machine tool Gas Hardwood


For the thread guides, I used some Trex decking. I routed with a 1-1/8 diameter core box and installed them above the screws. Trex has a good slick surface that wears out slowly. ( The screws are 1 inch in diameter. )

Wood Bumper Tool Gas Rectangle


Building Wood Beam Wood stain Hardwood


With a flush plane on the top - we're done with this part !

Wood Hardwood Gas Lumber Wood stain


Its a nice vise.
 

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