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Thread: Workbench status report

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Misawa, Japan. Summers in Virginia.

    Workbench status report

    Last June I planned to build a workbench this summer at my house in western Virginia and asked several questions, many of you provided some good advice. Even Chris Schwartz provided some advice. So I wanted to provide a progress report.

    First, I found that I needed a workbench to build a workbench. I found a lumber mill that had some nice unplaned (inexpensive) lumber and went to work building the completed workbench shown. Top is 2" thick, legs and rails are 4" square, and edge trim is 1x6 that is flush with top and bottom of top rail. Turned out real nice and was very handy in constructing the 'real' woodworking workbench.

    Thank-you to the person who suggested rounding the bottom of the legs and sealing with a coat of epoxy. Worked well.

    I found a great deal on some oak timbers and began building the workbench, mostly based on Christopher Schwartz's design. Contractor said he had some 5x12 and 4x8 planed 4S timbers, so I made a plan and picked them up a week later. I had to change my plan when I discovered that the timber sizes he had given me were the real sizes and not a half inch less from planing. I still had to plane some to get rid of aging due to sitting outside for several months. Bench Legs are 5x5", as are the side rails. Front, back and top rails are 4x8.

    The mortises took some time. I hand cut two, 5 inches deep, 1x3, with great pride, and realizing that it was going to take quite a while to do them all, ordered a mortising machine. Used the machine to also cut the bolt nut holes. Still took a day and half to cut all of the mortises. Cutting two thirds the way through and then flipping each piece over to cut the mortise through. Didn't make a bad alignment errors. Pretty good at it by the time I finished.

    Bolted it all together, as you can see. Cut the 4" inch planks for the top, but my summer vacation was coming to an end as I went off to a workshop and the planer belt broke. Planning on the top being 26" wide and 75" long, although I cut the pieces 80" long. So, next summer I have the top to finish, cut out the pinch vise, and install the other vises, and then seal it all. I already have the vises for the front board vise and another for a right end vise. Still pretty happy with the result of this project and look forward to finishing it (and using it).

    Thank-you to all of you that provided some good advice. And, yes Christopher, I have a window to put it in front of!

    Science & Math School Teacher
    W.T. Sampson Unit School
    Guantanamo Bay, Cuba
    Attached Images Attached Images

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    SE PA - Central Bucks County
    Looks honkin' sturdy! Wow...what a base on that bench! Nice work.

    Oh, and welcome to SMC!!

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

  3. #3
    Sturdy. Yes and Godzilla was big.

    That thing is roughly as massive as the Rocky Mountains.

    Take care of yourself down there.
    Please consider becoming a contributing member of Sawmill Creek.
    The cost is minimal and the benefits are real. Donate

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Western NY
    That is one heck of a base...

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Palmdale CA
    Wow that is one impressive timber. Nice work. Congrats and enjoy the project.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Rutledge, GA


    For making my bench look puny. I think that bench is sturdier than my house! I like it alot... been thinking about a rebuild of my bench because it still shakes from time to time (or could that be the 12x12 building with no support under the center floor? I'll fix that with the park maintenance staff and then think about the bench!) Quality work with big wood!

    Dusty Fuller
    John Tanner State Park
    Carrollton, GA

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    east coast of florida
    Are you planning on carveing giant blocks of marble on that? I have seen car lifts look less sturdy. Very nice.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Oak Harbor, Whidbey Island, WA
    If you ever have a doubt about your car jack just push your bench under the car & you won't have a worry in the world.

    If in doubt build it stout.
    I usually find it much easier to be wrong once in while than to try to be perfect.

    My web page has a pop up. It is a free site, just close the pop up on the right side of the screen

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Plano, TX
    I don't think that bench will rock when you plane a board on it This thing is massive
    The means by which an end is reached must exemplify the value of the end itself.

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