I just completed my first workbench after years of wanting one. Although it’s mostly a traditional design, it incorporates some unique features.
Tailvise – this is a combination tail vise and wagon vise. It provides the tailvise features of benchdog surface clamping and the open-jaw vice in front. But, like a wagon vise, it eliminates the big tail sticking out of the end (that I knew I’d ram my hip into). It was built from salvaged vise parts and the wheel is an old barbell weight which gives good momentum when spinning the vise closed.
Magnet clamps – embedded at each of the workbench are three rare-earth magnets that are used in combination with the clamping board (shown on top of the bench). This system efficiently holds down plastic or paper sheeting that cover the bench during painting or other messy tasks.
Front vise handle – the traditional handle was replaced by the double handle system shown. This type of handle is easier and faster to spin open/closed, but never pinches my fingers and provides all the clamping force I’ll ever need. It was easy to make on a lathe.
Caster system – The bench is mobile using parts salvaged from a tablesaw mobile base. The wheels at one end of the workbench are buried underneath and the foot lift wheel at the other end allows quick and easy changeover from mobile to fixed and back again. Although the bench weighs over 500lb, it rolls very easy, but when it’s in the fixed position, it doesn’t move. The garage door handle at the end makes it easy to move and steer.
Dogs – the dog spring system is just a hole drilled in the side with a little spring inserted followed by a dowel segment. This seemed easier than some of the more elaborate wooden or hacksaw spring designs I’ve seen. I made a dog for every doghole so all I need to do is push them up from underneath rather than looking for a dog when I need one.
I put a floor underneath the bench for temporary storage of boards and project compontents. The whole thing is made from white oak with walnut vise faces and I kept it under $250 including vises thanks to some cheap wood found on Craigslist. The finish is just boiled linseed oil.
Now it’s time to make something and perhaps get it a little dirty.