Sunday, August 15, 2010

The finished workbench

Here is the finished bench, showing the installation of the vise and planing stop, both of which I put on the right side, since I am left-handed (a right-hander would put them on the left, owing to where one stands when using a hand plane):

As an aside, I thought I'd mention that I was reading an article about building benches recently, in which a right-hander said it didn't really make any difference which side the vise went on and that left-handers should just adapt. To which I reply: "Come on over here, buddy. I've got some left-handed scissors I'd like you to try out, and once you do, you can tell me again all about how it easy it is to adapt to the wrong-handed world."

Anyway. I decided to install a Jorgensen quick-release vise, shown here disassembled so that I could attach it to the underside of the benchtop more easily:

Here it is with wooden faces made from some scrap mesquite, along with the planing stop, which is made of cherry. The knob that holds the stop in place is one that I made from some scrap maple:

The planing stop when raised (and a better view of the maple knob):

This shows how the vise and bench dogs are used to hold a small panel in place for working:

There is a big debate among bench makers about whether round dog holes or square dog holes are superior.


Pick one and move on.

A shelf I made for my bench planes fits neatly over the stretchers:

The bench is a comfortable height for sitting on my favorite stool and looking out the window as I work. It is is also the perfect width so that it is easy to reach my tools on the shelf beneath the window:

One final construction note: The top is attached with two hex bolts on each end, recessed in countersunk holes. The bolts are 1/4" in diameter, and the holes through which they thread are 1/2" in diameter. This allows the wood to move seasonally. If you don't make accommodations for movement on a large expanse of wood, it can crack.

This made a nice little summer project to work on while the garden was too hot to tolerate, and if I had to change anything...well, I don't guess I would--not even the difficult bits, since they add value to the work.


  1. That is a stunning workbench.

  2. Stunning - how about in capitals - STUNNING!
    Absolutely gorgeous.

    Now at the risk of showing my ignorance would you please explain what a planing stop is and what it does?

    Thanks, Lindy

  3. planing stops and bench dogs... nice details susan! now, what project is going to be first to use and come off that bench?

  4. This is beautiful, Susan! I'm going to have to send this to Larry so he can drool over it a little.

  5. I didn't intend to publish my comment anonymously. I guess I hit the wrong button. - Susan H.

  6. Carol, Susan, and Deborah--Thanks!

    Lindy--a plaing stop is used to hold a workpiece so that you can plane it. You butt the piece up against the stop, and the action of pushing the plane in the direction of the stop keeps the workpiece in place. It's elegant and simple.

    Andrea--I have a couple of projects in mind...;-)

    Susan--Ha! I knew who it was as soon as I saw "Larry."

  7. Beautiful and completely functional, I wouldn't expect anything less.


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