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Thread: Finished my Anarchist's Workbench

  1. #1

    Finished my Anarchist's Workbench

    I built an Anarchist's Workbench pretty much by the book. I kept careful track of all my time doing actual work on it, which did not include time to pickup materials. It took me 130 hours over six weeks. The book said expect 40-50 hours using power tools, which I did.

    I have a cabinet table saw, a big jointer, a small thicknesser, a bandsaw, a drill press, and a router, all of which got used.

    The finished workbench is right at 8' long, 22 1/2" wide, and 35" tall. I'm 6' 1". The top is 5" thick and the legs are 5"x5". It weighs just under 400lbs.

    The only variations from the book were:
    • Glide vise instead of Classic
    • Solo Criss-Cross instead of the Retro
    • SYP chop instead of maple
    • Nails instead of screws to attach the shelf boards
    • Epoxy instead of hide glue on the joints


    Cost:
    • $275 - SYP from Menards
    • $455 - Glide vise and Criss-Cross from Benchcrafted
    • $55 - Plane stop from Crucible
    • ~$100 - glue, acetone, ingredients for "shop finish"
    • ~$20 - sandpaper
    • $9 - cut nails for the shelf boards
    • ~$1M - new clamps, planes, chisels, Forstner bits, auger bits, dowel jig, god knows what else I own now because of this project


    I'm still a beginning woodworker. I've made many picture frames, a few boxes, the cabinets in my shop, and several very basic tables. This project was probably right at the top of my skill level. I'm extremely happy with how it came out, but I made plenty of mistakes along the way. I think I'd be able to build another one in something like half the time.

    I made two bonehead visible mistakes. After building one of the legs, I started the final length cut a little too high up. I caught it about a third of the way through, and patched the kerf. I also bored the holdfast holes in the right leg 1 1/4" instead of 1". I patched with 1 1/4" pine dowel, and bored 1" holes through it.

    The Benchcrafted hardware is very impressive. I find it weird that they ship the Glide with aluminum knobs, and don't offer an option without knobs for those who want to make their own (which seems like it would be literally everyone buying super expensive vise hardware). Even more so because they offer their swing away seat without the wooden seat for those who want to make their own. I made mine from some scrap cherry block. I don't have a lathe, so I chopped them out rough, then chucked them in the drill press.

    Anyway, here's the finished project. I have a few pictures of the construction process that I can add later if anyone is interested.

    Thanks for looking. If you're thinking of making your own, hopefully this will be some help. It was a fun project and I'm really happy with the result.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by Patrick McKenna; 06-21-2023 at 6:50 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Michiana
    Posts
    2,965
    Beginning or not, you did a great job on the bench!
    Sharp solves all manner of problems.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Location
    NE Florida
    Posts
    279
    Very nice...130 hrs sounds about right to me. No way I could build that in 50 hours.
    Chris

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2019
    Location
    Mid-Michigan
    Posts
    251
    Nice work. I too would like to build one of these someday. I guarantee I'd take 130+ hours.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    SE PA - Central Bucks County
    Posts
    64,744
    That's a fine looking bench! Bravo on a really nice build!!
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    In the foothills of the Sandia Mountains
    Posts
    16,523
    Beautiful bench and stout as hell!
    Please help support the Creek.


    "I am enclosing two tickets to the first night of my new play; bring a
    friend...if you have one."
    --George Bernard Shaw to Winston Churchill

    "Cannot possibly attend first night, will attend second..if there is
    one."
    --Winston Churchill, in response


  7. #7
    Thanks for all the kind words. Here are pictures of the patched over-sized leg holdfast holes, and the patch of the bad cut in the bottom of the rear leg. I also burned the year into the back of the vise leg to help out the great-great-grandkids.

    Only thing left is hooks or pegs for mallet, brush, etc, but I'll wait till it's seen some use so I have a better idea of the best locations. I'm also open to adding the tool rack from the book later on.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2016
    Location
    Florida
    Posts
    1,938
    Having just built my own bench recently, I think you did a great job Patrick. Mine was my first real workbench build and it has taken me over 6 months from initial material purchase to where I'm at now. I still need to build my lower shelf a center filler. I built the Wood Whisper Hybrid Bench which is a smaller split top roubo style bench.

    Yours looks great and it looks like a great space to use it in. Thanks for sharing.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    So Cal
    Posts
    3,589
    I like your bench too nice work. Remember itís a work bench a tool not a piece of furniture.Dont be afraid to beat the crap out of it.
    What itís made from pine or fir?
    Aj

  10. #10
    Thanks, Aj, it's a good reminder. The vise handles are cherry and the drawbore pins are white oak. Everything else is southern yellow pine.

  11. #11
    That thing is a beast...............a very gorgeous beast!

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Mar 2016
    Location
    Florida
    Posts
    1,938
    Out of curiosity does anyone that used SYP for their bench ever have any problems from the pitch causing stickiness over time? I know if its kiln dried with the pitch set that it should be crystalized and no longer fluid, but I'm just wondering because I've had spots on boards that were KD that were not set. Thinking about using it for the base frame for my other bench in place of the metal angle iron frame that's currently there.
    Last edited by Greg Parrish; 06-22-2023 at 10:50 AM.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Nov 2021
    Location
    Mid West and North East USA
    Posts
    2,423
    Good job! A nice bunch of SYP, carefully selected. Yellow Pine gets better and better with age. I have made some similar SYP laminations from 2x lumber. A 25 inch counter has only shrunken 5/16 inch, which is less than I expected.
    Best Regards, Maurice

  14. #14
    For what it's worth, on this bench, I had the boards acclimating in my shop for a couple of months before milling. When I milled them, there were definitely a couple of pitchy spots, but by the time everything was assembled, nothing is sticky now. Too early to say with this bench, of course, but I've built a few tables from KD SPF that were super pitchy. They're many years old and haven't had an issue in that time.

    This was my first time working with SYP. The boards definitely had a very slight "oily" feeling. I was careful to wipe everything down with acetone before glue-ups. When I was sorting and arranging, there were also a couple of spots that I was careful not to include because they were super pitchy.

    Example:
    Attached Images Attached Images

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Mar 2016
    Location
    Florida
    Posts
    1,938
    Patrick. Thanks for sharing. That's pretty much what I was curious about.


    Quote Originally Posted by Patrick McKenna View Post
    For what it's worth, on this bench, I had the boards acclimating in my shop for a couple of months before milling. When I milled them, there were definitely a couple of pitchy spots, but by the time everything was assembled, nothing is sticky now. Too early to say with this bench, of course, but I've built a few tables from KD SPF that were super pitchy. They're many years old and haven't had an issue in that time.

    This was my first time working with SYP. The boards definitely had a very slight "oily" feeling. I was careful to wipe everything down with acetone before glue-ups. When I was sorting and arranging, there were also a couple of spots that I was careful not to include because they were super pitchy.

    Example:

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