LumberJocks

Small bench for dovetails and tenons - comments?

  • Advertise with us

« back to Designing Woodworking Projects forum

Forum topic by GabeATX posted 02-14-2019 03:56 AM 636 views 0 times favorited 7 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View GabeATX's profile

GabeATX

16 posts in 1157 days


02-14-2019 03:56 AM

Hi folks, I’m dialing in a workbench design and although I’ve read a lot of great stuff here I am curious to get feedback… mainly on the rough dimensions and if I’m missing features I would regret adding. I envisioned this as a handtool and joinery station in the garage, and like the idea of it being smaller and easy to fit in.

Background
I work mostly with power tools and have two assembly-type tables on wheels at 34”. I’m doing a series of projects that will require a lot of dovetail and mortise & tenon joinery, and I’ve found that cutting dovetails on a wheeled assembly table isn’t great. Things move around, my vise isn’t good, and I would like the work to be higher.

I started to envision a simple heavy workbench using spare 2X6 Southern Yellow Pine that I had in the shop, plus some bessey pipe clamps I could hack into a Moxon vise. Cheap, easy, low risk.

Scope Creep
As I thought more about it and started milling the wood, I started to think of this bench in more complicated ways. I thought myself into buying the Benchcrafted Moxon vise hardware. The bench design is beefy, like it’s going to hang around for a while. Hmmm, split tops are pretty interesting, maybe I should grab some maple for that.

Design
It’s a slightly high and very short split top design. 38” high, 44” wide, 24” wide. I envision putting some drawers down below (but well below the bottom of the work surface), to store chisels and marking widgets and such. The legs are 5” wide and 4” deep. The top is made up of two tops (split top) that will easily fit through my planer.

The tops are held on via 1.25” wide and .5” dados that mate with a beam attached to the legs. I’m not sure if the dado should be wider than the beams, to allow for wood movement.

Joints get glued. Dowels, lag screws and/or bolts may be added to strengthen—I don’t have a feel for whether that will be necessary. I will make some 3/4” round holes for holdfasts and dogs, neither of which I use today.

The one vise will be across the span of the front (~24” of grippy area), and will open about 2.5”

Here are some sketches:

I’m open to any kind of input. I’m not convinced I need an 87” long workbench but could see building this at 60” if there’s a good reason. Thank you!


7 replies so far

View GrantA's profile

GrantA

1768 posts in 1891 days


#1 posted 02-14-2019 10:35 AM

Gabe, have you already started building? I’ll throw another suggestion out there, either as an alternative to use with your existing tables or something to use on this bench.
When I wanted to learn to cut dovetails I came across my bench on bench which is about 12” high. The top of it is up at chest level and is perfect for cutting dovetails.

View Holbs's profile

Holbs

2230 posts in 2512 days


#2 posted 02-14-2019 02:34 PM

you are looking for what’s called a “Joinery Bench”. Taller than normal workbench, small bench top, stout & strong just like a workbench, moxon vise. Primary duties are dovetailing, mortise/tenons, pounding of chisel work. I did my own joinery bench (in my project section) and one of my friends copied it, minus the moxon vise for his workshop that is actually the back porch area (southern cali folks get that luxury).

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

View GabeATX's profile

GabeATX

16 posts in 1157 days


#3 posted 02-14-2019 02:35 PM

Thanks Grant, the bench-on-bench seems like a very practical option. In my grand scheme of worktables, I’d someday like to build a beefy stationary workbench, and could repurpose the hardware from this table to build a bench-on-bench. It does seem like a smart option.

Chest high sounds high. When I bend my elbow 90 degrees, my wrist falls just about 42” ... higher and I’m lifting my arm or pulling up my shoulder when I make woodworker mime movements.

I’ve only milled the 2X6 boards so far, so I’ve got options open. I do want to build this weekend, though.

View GabeATX's profile

GabeATX

16 posts in 1157 days


#4 posted 02-14-2019 02:43 PM



you are looking for what s called a “Joinery Bench”. Taller than normal workbench, small bench top, stout & strong just like a workbench, moxon vise. I did my own joinery bench (in my project section) and one of my friends copied it, minus the moxon vise for his workshop that is actually the back porch area (southern cali folks get that luxury).

- Holbs

Holbs! Somewhere in the great expanse of Pinterest and google searches… I actually remember seeing your bench and it helped me form up my approach. Thank you. I don’t remember seeing the project notes, so I’ll go back and check those out, especially what you did for wood movement.

View Robert's profile

Robert

3516 posts in 1964 days


#5 posted 02-14-2019 05:05 PM

What you’re really looking for is an elevated vise for sawing, which a Moxon is perfectly suited for and doesn’t entail building a dedicated bench as you’ve shown.

I built the “benchtop bench” Moxon take off. I believe by Jim Miller in Fine Woodworking.

Also, check out Steve Latta’s bench top joinery bench.

-- Everything is a prototype thats why its one of a kind!!

View GabeATX's profile

GabeATX

16 posts in 1157 days


#6 posted 02-21-2019 02:05 AM

I appreciate all of the feedback. I have read more about the English/Nicholson workbench design and I’m intrigued by the idea of holding work in place with dogs/holdfasts/does feet — vs. spending time and money on hardware to build a “dream” desk. A desk-on-desk for the Moxon gear makes sense in that case. Hope to have something to show in March.

View ColonelTravis's profile

ColonelTravis

1976 posts in 2377 days


#7 posted 02-21-2019 02:18 AM

I built a moxon and eventually became bothered that I had to always move it on and off, plus it made my crowded workbench more crowded (my fault not the fault of any bench. But it is what it is.) I used the jaws for that to build a dedicated joinery bench, with a little bit of tool storage. Very glad I did.

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics

HomeRefurbers.com