My bench was inherited from from Father in Law, it was his father’s, so it’s got a few years on it. But, it wasn’t a woodwork bench and was just more of a shop bench for him. I got it soon after I married my Father in Law’s daughter, since he thought I needed it for the garage. Over the years, as I got into woodworking, I doctor’d it up and tried some things I ended up liking…and hating. First, it’s only construction lumber thick (albeit ‘real’ 2x6s, they were laid flat…so only 2” thick top). I put a 3/4” thick solid wood panel on top of it (I’m guessing it’s pine by looking at it, but I don’t know…it’s not all that soft), and dadoed in some T-tracks for hold downs. I also built an extension off the left side, and tied that into a couple other coplaner height rolling tables. In the pics, you can see the T-track still on the side extension.
When using nothing but machine tools, this was ok, but once I started using hand tools in earnest, the tracks needed to go. Not a fan of any metal on the bench around open blades. So, I took out the T-tracks and filled the dadoes with wood strips, planed to match the height. Second, the bench had an old machinists vise atop it. I pulled that off (moved it to the other side of the shop where it still does awesome service), and put on a cheap face vise. I didn’t really know what I was doing, but it actually worked out ok. Eventually I wanted dog holes, so I added a bunch, which worked pretty ok in the now 2 3/4” top. Sometimes it takes an extra whack, but they hold fast! At about the same time I added a sliding deadman. Not perfect, but I did ok! I ran t-track along the face (unlike a proper woodworkers bench, the top overhangs the front stretcher like a proper table). To that I secured the deadman I made using two T-bolts and finger knobs. I made the deadman thick so it’s coplaner with the edge of the bench, as it should be for a deadman. Not long after that I added a Klein face vise. That certainly changed the game. I had to do some creative build up to make the chops function properly, but it worked out. Solid maple moving chop, but the stationary chop is pine, lined both sides with crubber. That vise is great to look at, but it’s just super functional too. I love it.
Not knowing what the hell I was doing when I started all this, I built the whole shop around having the bench up against a wall. Not ideal for hand tools, but at this point I’m not even sure how I’d redesign the shop to work with the bench in the middle. Regardless, it works well for me. The tool wall is in front and above, and I’ve got all the DeWalt 20v tools (plus some other stuff) stored below. Someday I’d really like to have a more proper woodworker’s bench, but this does ok for me…and it’s kinda hard to turn your nose up at a working bench three generations old! I bet, when I do build a proper bench, I’ll scavenge at least one of the parts from this one so it’ll live on.
Tell me about your bench!
Ryan/// ~sigh~ I blew up another bowl. Moke told me "I made the inside bigger than the outside".
My monster workbench is just a tad smaller than yours... has many feature and continually expanding. An ideal vehicle for working mouses, like C125's hard working imitation beavers,
Looking forward to the new Workbench category so I can publish a 500 page saga of it's build... and a lengthy Dancing with wolves mice video... might even build a new one to imortalise it's invasion of earth.
If your first cut is too short... Take the second cut from the longer end... LBD
Here's mine! 1870s pine pulled from the dumpster of a house renovation, beech face vise with antique hardware. Just added a tail vise after saying i didn't want one for a few years. The top is just under 4 inches thick with the top inch made to be replaceable if ever needed. It's the central part of my shop and I absolutely love it
when everyone was talking about it i looked to see if anyone had done it yet. so i went ahead with mine. hey after a couple hundred benches no ones gonna know where it came from. it was a huge thread on lj's. people take their benches seriously.
working with my hands is a joy,it gives me a sense of fulfillment,somthing so many seek and so few find.-SAM MALOOF.