My Workbench





(September ’05) 

Update:  I recently finished building the storage cabinet underneath the bench.  For details of the cabinet, go here.


(August ’04) 

I’ve completed construction of my first real workbench.  The project turned out to be quite time consuming and a lot of work, but I enjoyed building it and am quite pleased with the way it turned out.  The design was influenced by multiple examples from many sources.  Of course I read the bible of workbenches, The Workbench Book, as well as plans in various woodworking magazines and I looked on the web at benches built by others.  I spent countless hours surfing the web, researching old discussions on Google and basically absorbing as much information as I could about workbench design and construction.  In the end I still went with a fairly standard design, but at least I felt comfortable knowing I arrived at that decision after careful consideration.


For those interested, I chronicled the construction process of the bench on the following pages, since I greatly appreciated those who had done so when I was doing my research.  While I viewed many people’s sites, particularly helpful (and inspiring) was that of Keith Rucker, who did a fantastic job of chronicling his build.  My pages are not as detailed as Keith’s, but for those who want to see a much more in-depth description of the construction process of my bench, click below to all the details.


Complete build process



For those who don’t want to wade through the lengthy construction process, here are a few details about my bench: 


The bench is constructed entirely of hard maple, most of which I got for free (gloat!).  Some of the details were dictated by the size of that free wood.  The main body of the top is 2” thick.  The front dog-hole block, endcaps, and rear apron are all 3˝” thick.  The top measures 30” wide by 68” long and the height of 34˝” was based on my table saw.  While the bench is not very long, the size works well in my small basement shop.  I went with vise hardware from Lee Valley for a wooden front vise and sliding tail vise.  After reviewing both sides of the square versus round debate I ended up using square dog holes, primarily because I liked the look better.  I also included a 6” wide tool tray with ramps on my bench.  The base can be disassembled for future transport and is held together with heavy-duty bench bolts, also from Lee Valley.  All told, I spent about $220 on the bench to purchase the vises, bench bolts and about 25 b.f. of maple.  I finished the bench with a coat of Waterlox, and will put on another two or three coats.


I didn’t work off of a set of plans, but started with a rough sketch of intended dimensions and then developed my own design as I went.  I enjoy working this way, although projects tend to take a bit longer as I work out the details.  I spent about 2 months of weekends working on the workbench and am quite happy with the result.  It was a very satisfying project.


Here are some additional pictures of the bench:


Top View                                                                                            The Base



Tail Vise                                                                                             Front Vise



Dovetails at Left Endcap (my first hand-cut dovetails)                  Dovetails at Rear Apron







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