Joinery Bench: possible to be constructed as a knock down?

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Forum topic by Holbs posted 11-09-2017 01:52 AM 740 views 0 times favorited 4 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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2344 posts in 2801 days

11-09-2017 01:52 AM

I believe my next project (besides a outdoor doggy door and mini-remodel of under the stairs dog house) after completion of my plantation shutters will be a joinery bench. I do plan on a roubo project down the road but first I want experience in bench building and I want tons of experience with joinery and hand tools. One thing I learned about hand cut dovetails is that my current temporary bench (levrand brand) was designed for young apprentices, not for persons in their 40’s at 6’1”. Hence, a joinery bench I hope will be the answer to those issues.
However, due to the nature of a joinery bench relentless pounding and horizontal forces from dovetailing with saws and such, I am in a bind for a preliminary decision. I may sell my house & 2 car garage wood shop and would like the option to knock it down for transport or even short term solution. Having never dabbled with knock down structures before, are wedge tenons as rock solid as mortise & tenon joinery?

-- The Carpenter Bee is derived from the Ancient Greek word wood-cutter "xylokopos/ξυλοκὀπος"

4 replies so far

View jonah's profile


2121 posts in 4071 days

#1 posted 11-09-2017 03:13 AM

Wedged tenons are very, very solid if done right.

Another option is bolts. My bench is knock down (it comes apart into two leg/short stretcher assemblies, the long stretchers, and the top) and when bolted back together is rock solid. Bolts will definitely stand up to pounding, moving, and anything else you can throw at it.

View jdh122's profile


1163 posts in 3590 days

#2 posted 11-09-2017 11:26 AM

Christopher Swchwartz did an article in PopularWoodworking on just this subject. You’ll have to pay to see the article, but you can read part of the text here at

-- Jeremy, in the Acadian forests

View jmos's profile


917 posts in 3142 days

#3 posted 11-09-2017 01:51 PM

My bench is also a knock-down design, for the same reasons you mentioned, I expect that someday I’ll move and want to take it with me. Add to that it’s in a basement with limited access, and it had to come apart. I made the sides of the base as a glued unit, and then connected them with bolted on stretchers. It is rock solid.

I blogged the build if you want to see pictures.

-- John

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1046 posts in 3271 days

#4 posted 11-09-2017 02:36 PM

I have built a Paul Sellers’ type workbench in my backyard.
Then I have knocked it down to bring it in the attic on the second floor.
Four carriage bolt, four wedges and two screws.
Once the front vise is attached it will be more difficult to move but you can first unmount the vise (two lag bolts and two screws).
The wedges ensure that it will not rack even if the wood shrinks.
Paul Sellers has started a new video serie about building a workbench but I don’t know if anything in its design is different from the 2012 one (except better video)
Paul Sellers advocates a bench height higher tan other people which makes sense if you use it mostly for joinery. (you can always shorten the legs if you don’t like it).

For a workbench easy to move from one place to another, there is the moravian workbench.

Ken is taking one with him on travel and seems very satisfy of it.

-- Sylvain, Brussels, Belgium, Europe - The more I learn, the more there is to learn

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