A Workbench 30 Years in the Making
Hand-tool expert designs his second bench, based on everything he’s learned
Synopsis: There is 30 years of woodworking experience built into this bench, with its large top, solid base, and multiple ways to hold work. That’s because Garrett Hack has been thinking about what he’d put into a new workbench almost since he built his first one. This version has a beefy trestle-style base constructed with mortise-and-tenon joints, a sturdy tongue-and-groove top with big breadboard ends, and lots of ways to hold work: a front vise and a tail vise, used in tandem with benchdogs and a holdfast, and a sliding stop at one end.
From Fine Woodworking #209
Take a tour of the bench and its features in a companion video
When I built my first bench well over 30 years ago, I had limited furniture-making experience, so I adapted the design from some benches I had used in various classes. That first bench has been a solid friend in the shop for many years. But as my experience level increased, I kept a mental list of improvements I’d make if I were to build a new one. I recently said as much in a lecture at Colonial Williamsburg, and Fine Woodworking decided to pay me to stop procrastinating.
Over the years, I’ve developed a love of hand tools. I use them in every aspect of furniture making, and details made with these elegant tools are a signature of my work. so my first priority was to make the new bench better suited to my hand-tool habits.
What makes a bench work In building this bench, I wanted a tool that would withstand the daily stresses heaped upon it, and the materials and design reflect that approach. A bench can be fashioned with humble materials (any dense and stable hardwood will do) and basic joinery and work very well.
Get the Full-Size Plan
Digital plans, a cutlist, and a SketchUp drawing for this project are available in the Fine Woodworking store.