Woodsmith Workbench


It's time for a new workbench in the shop. I'm not interested at this time in building a Roubo or other traditional style bench but I do want something that is sizable, heavy and sturdy. After looking around I found those things in the "Heavy-duty workbench" from woodsmith magazine.


you can get the plan free off of the Woodsmith shop TV website. I decided to make a few adjustments to the dimensions of mine, first, I like the length, I increased the height by one inch to 37 inches and I reduced the width by 5 inches to 27 inches


A stack of douglas fir ready for the build. I had to go to my lumber supplier here in Houston because the box stores do not carry it here.


I start buy cutting the leg pieces to length.


Leg pieces cut to width and jointed.


Form an L out of the leg pieces and glue together. The joint will face the long end of the bench and be covered by a filler piece later.


After the glue dries I run them over the jointer to insure the joint is flush.


Next, I cut the panels for the end assemblies to size. The plan calls for these to go all the way to the ground, I stopped mine a half inch shy to make leveling the bench easier.


Then, I pre-drill and counter sink for the screws.


Glue and screw the panels to the leg assemblies, being careful of the leg orientation and that they are flush with the top of your leg assemblies.


Here you can see how the end assemblies will make up the base.


Next, the top stretchers and the bottom shelf stretchers get cut to length and width. I also joint them to insure a flat top assembly. Here you can see the first stretcher installed, I clamp it in place drill for the holes and install the bolts.


It is important to get these flush with your leg assembly to insure a flat top assembly, being square to the leg is important as well but a slightly out of square leg to get these flush is acceptable, I think, or you can spend some time flushing this up via a hand plane later.


Here, all of the stretchers have been installed.


To finish the base off filler pieces are cut and glued in place to fit between the stretchers as well as the bottom. This gives the bench a better look but also adds weight.


Completed base, well, almost. The base needs to have all of the edges eased with a bevel bit in the router, a shelf installed on the bottom and then cleats along the top stretchers for securing the top.


Next, I installed runners to hold the top down. It is critical that these be flush with the rails so that they don't distort the top.


A runner for the bottom shelf as well. this one gets set down the thickness of a 3/4" piece of MDF so that the shelf will be flush with the bottom rails.


Bottom shelf installed, notched to fit around the legs flush to the end panels.


All the edges get chamfered. I had to remove the bolts to get clearance for the router base plate.


Next I start the top build up, it is built upside down, here the top two layers are solid MDF.


Glued and screwed together. Keeping track of the screw locations so I know where to drill for dog holes later on.


Next, two more layers of mdf, strips along the edges and end pieces that over hang the base. These add strength and weight.


Flip it over, this thing is heavy!


Using a straight edge and a small router bit, I route out one layer of the mdf.


Flip the top over and use a larger bit to flush up the remaining 3 layers.


And now some Douglas Fir trim around the top, I start with the end pieces. I had to use pipe couplers to make my pipe clamps long enough.


Before installing the edge piece that will have the vise on it, I route out a pocket for the back jaw to fit into.


Another round of chamfers and some sanding finishes up the edging.


Dog holes are created using a 3/4" drill bit and then the router to chamfer the edges.


A piece of cherry scrap for the front vise jaw.


The top and vise insert get a few coats of BLO. This bench is rock solid, I'm looking forward to many years of use out of it.