A Basic Woodworking Bench That’s Quick To Make
Having a job at Fine Woodworking definitely has its perks. Aside from traveling the country to visit some of the best woodworkers of our time, we get to play-I mean work-in a sizeable, well-equipped shop, just next door to our office.
One of the best tools, aside from our monster jointer, is the beefy bench in our hand-tool room. For me, it’s been a blessing, and a crutch. It’s such a nice bench that I’ve been neglecting building one of my own for my basement shop at home. But I finally got it done.
My bench is no monster. I didn’t want a massive, heavy bench because my space is fluid-I need to move stuff around the space quite often-so I built a basic bench.
For the legs I used Doug fir 4x4s. The front stretchers and aprons are 2x4s, joined to the legs with half-laps and reinforced with glue and screws. The front and back assemblies are connected to one another with a series of 2×4 crosspieces.
The top and lower shelf were cut from one sheet of 3/4 in. thick MDF. The top is a double layer screwed and glued together. I screwed the shelf to the crosspieces. To attach top I used L-brackets-easy as pie. The entire assembly makes for a very rigid bench.
I edged the top with hardwood, installed a 7-in. quick-release vise, drilled the dog holes (see photos), and now I’m ready to roll. I still plan to add a tail vise. For that I’m going to use a small 4 in. metal vise I picked up at a tag sale, and I’ll drill a few more dog holes along the front.
Having the bench has helped me get better organized, and best of all, I have a place to handplane at home without having to jigger up ways to hold workpieces. And I got it all done for less than $100. (Confession: I did have a gift card that helped pay for the vise.)