a lot of thought into making a workbench that is very functional for
traditional woodworking. In doing so, I investigated various
books and references on the topic and tried to combine as many of the
features that I felt I needed into my design. I
beefy understructure for taking planing forces, dog holes that could
double for holdfasts in the top and down at least one side,
quick-acting vises located for jointing and sawing, an overhang
along one side for clamping, a beefy top for
and knockdown assembly since it may need to be moved out of our
basement someday. I made a few layouts in AutoCAD but largely
worked out the details as I went along. The following images
provide insight into the general construction process.
Part 1, Understructure
Started with 4x6 and 4x4 spruce beams for the understructure.
First I rough
cut the legs and chopped the mortises into them for the crossmembers
and stringers. Tenons were then cut into one end of each leg for
mating with the base crossmembers. Also, I added mortises in the base crossmembers for
the leg tenons and cut tenons in the upper crossmembers for mating
with the legs. I relieved the center bottom regions of the
crossmembers so that the workbench would rest on "feet" to increase
two leg trusses were then assembled with adhesive. You can
that the rear legs were pre-drilled with 3/4 inch round dog/holdfast
the ends of the stringers were layed out, the wedge tenons were cut and
work was started on the large tenons. I purposely left a lot
material beyond the wedge tenons to ensure that shear out would not be
a later be a problem. I also wanted the stringer tenon
to seat firmly against the legs to help prevent racking so left
pronounced tenon shoulders all the way around. Also oriented
4x6 stringer beams such that they provided maximum resistance to
The tenons were all cut with a rip-handsaw. A finished
stringer is shown in the background.
The tenons were cleaned up with shoulder planes and a Stanley 289.
image shows the legs trusses assembled with the stringers using the
wedges. The design allows removal of the stringers for easier moving.
Also, if necessary in the future the wedges can be further
tightened as the joints loosen with time and hard workbench use.
I used reversed double wedges so that the wedge mortises
cut with parallel sides.
view of the assembled understructure showing the "rear" which is set up
with dog/holdfast holes to aid holding wide board and doors for
jointing. Not shown are two dowels that were installed in the
top of the upper crossmembers very near the two "front" legs that locate the workbench top.
To Part 2, Workbench Top
back to Workbench