So I thought I would write a little story about the woodworking bench I just completed. In the past I’d been using a small front vise with some wooden vise jaws that was pretty unsatisfactory when it came time to clamp anything for sawing, planing, or sanding. It was actually embarrassing to see how wobbly it was.
I figured a proper heavy duty workbench with a large wooden front vise and a smaller tail vise, as well as a few bench dogs would fit the bill nicely.
After a little time at the “University of YouTube” reviewing other people’s triumphs and tragedies, I came up with a plan.
First I purchased a stack of standard 2×4’s from our local Lowes store. As with all lumber from the big box stores I really had to pick through a lot of sticks to find some fairly decent stock. “Well, I remember back in the day…”
I planed the surfaces smooth and flat, then I trimmed the edges down on my table saw to make for the best possible glue up.
Always a good idea to do a rehearsal before any glue gets applied. That way you know everything is gonna fit and you have your clamps all laid out.
No turning back now
This was the easiest part. Sitting around waiting of the glue to dry.
Then it was time to smooth out the top and bottom of the massive bench top. A #4 smoothing plane did most of the heavy lifting here. But certain areas got a little help from a block plane and the spokeshave.
A note of thanks here to my mother and mother-in-law and father-in-law. They all knew just what I needed for Christmas. Of course they didn’t know exactly what a Heavy-Duty Quick Release Front Vise was… But between those wonderful people and Santa it all worked out fine.
Next it was on to making the framework for the bench top to sit on. Almost all of this was made with reclaimed lumber. The 4×4 legs began their life as fence posts on a fence that was already built (very poorly) when we moved into the house. Unsurprisingly, it fell over in a wind storm several years ago. I built a new fence and the old posts served another enlistment as a makeshift firewood rack. Finally they came in from the cold, got a thorough scrubbing and sanding, and are serving proudly in their new assignment.
Before I attached the top to the base I needed to layout the placement of the vise mounting plate. For convenience this was done with the bench upside down. It worked perfectly, except for one little thing. Apparently the upside down thing threw me off became it seems that I had mounted the plate backwards and the quick release feature didn’t release… Duh!
I quickly ( and quietly) fixed that. Shush!
A big beautiful chunk of clear fir was fashioned for the front vise. I’ll be crying the first time I slice that guy with an errant stroke from my saw.
And finally the tail vise and bench dogs were installed, and within about a minute I was putting those to good use.
So the only thing I’ll say about building a big workbench like this is, “Man, building a workbench would be a lot easier if you already had a…workbench”
Thanks for following along. Kat