Introduction

13 July 2018

I have never owned a workbench.

Or a vise, for that matter. I have always "made due" with whatever I had on hand.

In the past, I have used saw-horses with a donated rectangular oak table top for a workbench. What a wobbly mess that was. I have also used a sturdy metal table with the same oak table top as a bench. This was a huge improvement over the saw-horse contraption, but still, it was not a real workbench. I still own the oak table top and the metal table both of which will be re-cycled when the workbench project is finalized.

The major reason that I hesitated building a workbench was because we would soon be moving from Chicago back to sunny New Mexico and wanted a workbench that would be appropriate for my future shop. My shop was currently in the basement of our bungalow. The other reasons for not proceeding with the bench construction were those of design, ergonomics, features and so on. Quite naturally I wanted a workbench that would augment the type of work that I currently did and that I anticipated doing in the future. What that last statement means is that I may construct anything from an armoire, to sliding salt-cedar doors, to a Santa Fe style designer gate, to a large carved planter, to jewelry boxes, to restoration projects, to wooden spoons, to knock boxes, to ... the list goes on.

So, how do you build a workbench that would make the construction of those projects easier? I have no idea. The fact-of-the-matter is that I have somehow managed to complete all of the above-mentioned projects without an actual workbench, but this was going to change.

Determing the "correct" workbench height must also be given serious consideration. What would be the best height for planing? And - for just general woodworking? Workbench height is important, but a "correct" workbench height is probably a myth that some of us use to keep from constructing a workbench. I speak from experience.

It soon beame obvious that I was going to have to choose a height, like it or not, or I would not be able to begin the project.

And as we all know too well, life has a habit of getting in the way of doing those things that we think are important to our well being. A workbench falls nicely into this category. However, we were now safely back in the Land of Enchantment and the time had finally arrived to begin constructing my much needed workbench. Life's other demands would just have to wait until I have conquered this project.

Workbench Design

I have workbench notes a foot deep that go back to 2008 or earlier. However, amazingly enough, I only had one "master drawing" of the workbench. So, okay, it's probably been erased a trillion times, but I haven't worn the paper out yet.

workbench
IMAGE 1
This is the 24" x 36" isometric drawing paper I use. I purchased this drawing paper at Hartville Tool, but sadly, I believe they no longer offer this product.

Over the years, I purchased and read several good books on workbench design and construction, both historic and modern versions. I also came across the very nice Benchcrafted workbench. This workbench design became the foundation for my workbench design. It was stout, simplistic and gave me a benchmark design from which to design my own workbench.

Final requirements for my workbench were:

For years I felt that I did not want any "protrusions" on the "working" side of my workbench. I wanted it flat and clear and felt the twin-screw rear vise was all that I would need. However, I soon realized that if I were working on something that required clamping in the vise my useable workspace would really be limited if I were using the tail vise. I would have no useable workspace to either side of the vise for tools. All of my useable workspace would be in front of the vise. On the other hand, using the front vise for the same task (if possible), I would have useable workspace both in front of and to the right of the vise, in this case. This is why I chose to install the Veritas front vise.

At one time I really liked the leg vise, but over time, I realized that a leg vise would not be that useful to me. I felt that the front and twin-screw rear vises would better serve my woodworking needs.

However, all of these design gymnastics will come to a screeching halt once I begin to actually use my new workbench. In no time I will learn that, designwise, I've either been way off the mark or right on it or probably, somewhere in between. If I find that the front vise is not as useful as I thought it would be I'll remove it and learn from the experience. No problem.

I'm old and wise enough to know that in the real world "perfect" does not exist. Everything is a compromise and probably more often than not, the compromise turns out to be a much better solution than the original design.

Workbench Frame
I liked the BenchCraft basic design layout, but modified it to meet my own preferences. Because I added the Veritas vises the bench legs were moved closer together. The Veritas front vise required 19-inches of bench width due to jaw width, so that was the benchtop overhang I designed for.

Straying off topic for a moment: This 19-inch overhand width caused a huge issue for me because it almost made the mobile feature impossible. Because of this I had to add the "bumper" in front of the lower rail as seen in Image 2 below. I'll cover this in more detail later.

Workbench Top
I really wanted a one piece bench top, but the harsh reality was this: I prefer working alone and my math revealed that this top would weight over two-hundred pounds. Time for a prudent Plan B. The split top was the solution. I took the liberty of weighing one of the top halves - 93 lbs! I can comfortably handle that without any problem.

The other "unknown" during all of this was flattening each bench top halt. As it turned out, the width I chose for my bench was 28-inches. You have no idea what it took to settle on that width. However, as luck would have it each half ended up being 13-1/4 inches in width. I just happen to own a

Workbench Construction

chisels
IMAGE 2
Workbench progress as of 12 OCT 2018.

As of the above date, this has been quite a journey.

It was my intention to document this project on a near daily basis. That never happended and I'm not happy about that because it would have been interesting reading. Or so I think anyway. I cannot do anything about that now, so I'll do my best to bring the project up to date.

27 OCTOBER 2018
As of today the workbench in about 99% complete.

The Veritas front and rear twin-screw vises are both installed and operational. I plan to make separate project webpages out of both of these workbench vises. This information could help others anticipating these vise installs on their workbenches.

This entire project has been surreal to me. Today I looked at my workbench and could not believe me eyes. There stood the workbench I have dreamed of building for nearly twenty (20) years or so. This is mind boggling to me. It is difficult to believe that I finally have a real workbench.

It's too nice to use. I'll get over that feeling soon. I hope.

chisels
IMAGE 4
Workbench as of 3 NOV 2018..

Phasellus imperdiet, risus ut cursus ultrices, augue sem tempus nisl, sit amet euismod leo quam in ipsum. Nam sed est sit amet dui tincidunt suscipit. Integer suscipit, turpis vel dictum cursus, sapien purus porttitor diam, ac facilisis sem augue et risus. Sed in ligula. In semper augue sed nisl. Nunc eget ligula ut magna tempor fringilla. Etiam mi nibh, laoreet ut, rutrum ut, accumsan sed, arcu. Sed eu mauris eget orci dignissim lobortis. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Nam quam. Nunc venenatis urna eget mi. Praesent placerat. Suspendisse potenti. Sed odio leo, tempus ut, sollicitudin id, vehicula quis, erat. Vestibulum ante ipsum primis in faucibus orci luctus et ultrices posuere cubilia Curae; Phasellus blandit lectus ut risus. Suspendisse massa. Curabitur vulputate, est eu consequat condimentum, risus ligula egestas lacus, in dignissim nisi metus a metus.

chisels
IMAGE 5
This image shows the rig on the band saw.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Proin arcu mi, elementum at, rutrum suscipit, molestie sit amet, sapien. Nullam convallis. Suspendisse sit amet odio. Aliquam vitae ligula non magna sagittis malesuada. Vivamus congue bibendum lorem. Nullam nunc. Maecenas lectus. Donec id dui at purus dapibus rhoncus. Quisque in mi id massa interdum mattis. Suspendisse vel purus eget dui convallis posuere. Sed iaculis egestas neque. Sed turpis purus, congue ut, auctor non, convallis eget, ligula. Vestibulum ante ipsum primis in faucibus orci luctus et ultrices posuere cubilia Curae; Donec vitae tellus. Proin arcu. Morbi tempor. Vivamus congue suscipit arcu.

chisels
IMAGE 6
This image shows the rig on the band saw.

Phasellus rutrum quam ut nisi. Aliquam ornare. Ut scelerisque feugiat magna. Nullam ipsum mauris, posuere ullamcorper, laoreet et, facilisis in, arcu. Nullam pellentesque commodo orci. Aliquam erat volutpat. Nam tempus turpis mollis tellus. Suspendisse et leo at ante rhoncus condimentum. Vestibulum et elit. Phasellus sed diam. Proin vel justo a lorem semper venenatis. Cras sapien diam, consectetuer sed, consectetuer quis, mollis ut, turpis.

chisels
IMAGE 7
This image shows the rig on the band saw.

Phasellus imperdiet, risus ut cursus ultrices, augue sem tempus nisl, sit amet euismod leo quam in ipsum. Nam sed est sit amet dui tincidunt suscipit. Integer suscipit, turpis vel dictum cursus, sapien purus porttitor diam, ac facilisis sem augue et risus. Sed in ligula. In semper augue sed nisl. Nunc eget ligula ut magna tempor fringilla. Etiam mi nibh, laoreet ut, rutrum ut, accumsan sed, arcu. Sed eu mauris eget orci dignissim lobortis. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Nam quam. Nunc venenatis urna eget mi. Praesent placerat. Suspendisse potenti. Sed odio leo, tempus ut, sollicitudin id, vehicula quis, erat. Vestibulum ante ipsum primis in faucibus orci luctus et ultrices posuere cubilia Curae; Phasellus blandit lectus ut risus. Suspendisse massa. Curabitur vulputate, est eu consequat condimentum, risus ligula egestas lacus, in dignissim nisi metus a metus.

chisels
IMAGE 8
This image shows the rig on the band saw.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Proin arcu mi, elementum at, rutrum suscipit, molestie sit amet, sapien. Nullam convallis. Suspendisse sit amet odio. Aliquam vitae ligula non magna sagittis malesuada. Vivamus congue bibendum lorem. Nullam nunc. Maecenas lectus. Donec id dui at purus dapibus rhoncus. Quisque in mi id massa interdum mattis. Suspendisse vel purus eget dui convallis posuere. Sed iaculis egestas neque. Sed turpis purus, congue ut, auctor non, convallis eget, ligula. Vestibulum ante ipsum primis in faucibus orci luctus et ultrices posuere cubilia Curae; Donec vitae tellus. Proin arcu. Morbi tempor. Vivamus congue suscipit arcu.

chisels
IMAGE 9
This image shows the rig on the band saw.

Phasellus rutrum quam ut nisi. Aliquam ornare. Ut scelerisque feugiat magna. Nullam ipsum mauris, posuere ullamcorper, laoreet et, facilisis in, arcu. Nullam pellentesque commodo orci. Aliquam erat volutpat. Nam tempus turpis mollis tellus. Suspendisse et leo at ante rhoncus condimentum. Vestibulum et elit. Phasellus sed diam. Proin vel justo a lorem semper venenatis. Cras sapien diam, consectetuer sed, consectetuer quis, mollis ut, turpis.

chisels
IMAGE 10
This image shows the rig on the band saw.

Phasellus imperdiet, risus ut cursus ultrices, augue sem tempus nisl, sit amet euismod leo quam in ipsum. Nam sed est sit amet dui tincidunt suscipit. Integer suscipit, turpis vel dictum cursus, sapien purus porttitor diam, ac facilisis sem augue et risus. Sed in ligula. In semper augue sed nisl. Nunc eget ligula ut magna tempor fringilla. Etiam mi nibh, laoreet ut, rutrum ut, accumsan sed, arcu. Sed eu mauris eget orci dignissim lobortis. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Nam quam. Nunc venenatis urna eget mi. Praesent placerat. Suspendisse potenti. Sed odio leo, tempus ut, sollicitudin id, vehicula quis, erat. Vestibulum ante ipsum primis in faucibus orci luctus et ultrices posuere cubilia Curae; Phasellus blandit lectus ut risus. Suspendisse massa. Curabitur vulputate, est eu consequat condimentum, risus ligula egestas lacus, in dignissim nisi metus a metus.

chisels
IMAGE 11
This image shows the rig on the band saw.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Proin arcu mi, elementum at, rutrum suscipit, molestie sit amet, sapien. Nullam convallis. Suspendisse sit amet odio. Aliquam vitae ligula non magna sagittis malesuada. Vivamus congue bibendum lorem. Nullam nunc. Maecenas lectus. Donec id dui at purus dapibus rhoncus. Quisque in mi id massa interdum mattis. Suspendisse vel purus eget dui convallis posuere. Sed iaculis egestas neque. Sed turpis purus, congue ut, auctor non, convallis eget, ligula. Vestibulum ante ipsum primis in faucibus orci luctus et ultrices posuere cubilia Curae; Donec vitae tellus. Proin arcu. Morbi tempor. Vivamus congue suscipit arcu.

Phasellus rutrum quam ut nisi. Aliquam ornare. Ut scelerisque feugiat magna. Nullam ipsum mauris, posuere ullamcorper, laoreet et, facilisis in, arcu. Nullam pellentesque commodo orci. Aliquam erat volutpat. Nam tempus turpis mollis tellus. Suspendisse et leo at ante rhoncus condimentum. Vestibulum et elit. Phasellus sed diam. Proin vel justo a lorem semper venenatis. Cras sapien diam, consectetuer sed, consectetuer quis, mollis ut, turpis.

Phasellus imperdiet, risus ut cursus ultrices, augue sem tempus nisl, sit amet euismod leo quam in ipsum. Nam sed est sit amet dui tincidunt suscipit. Integer suscipit, turpis vel dictum cursus, sapien purus porttitor diam, ac facilisis sem augue et risus. Sed in ligula. In semper augue sed nisl. Nunc eget ligula ut magna tempor fringilla. Etiam mi nibh, laoreet ut, rutrum ut, accumsan sed, arcu. Sed eu mauris eget orci dignissim lobortis. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Nam quam. Nunc venenatis urna eget mi. Praesent placerat. Suspendisse potenti. Sed odio leo, tempus ut, sollicitudin id, vehicula quis, erat. Vestibulum ante ipsum primis in faucibus orci luctus et ultrices posuere cubilia Curae; Phasellus blandit lectus ut risus. Suspendisse massa. Curabitur vulputate, est eu consequat condimentum, risus ligula egestas lacus, in dignissim nisi metus a metus.

END!!!