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Traditional Workbench 2

Traditional Workbench 2

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Building a Traditional Workbench
By Keith S. Rucker 
e-mail:krucker@friendlycity.net
 
This work can be found on the Internet at:http://pages.friendlycity.net/~krucker/Bench/index.htm Copyright © 2000 by Keith S. Rucker, All rights reserved.This work may be freely reproduced for personal and or educational purposes as long as it is reproduced in its entirety and nothing,including this copyright, is omitted. However, this work may not be published (in any media) without the written consent of theauthor.
 
 2
Table of Contents
Table of Contents..........................................................................................................................................2
 
Introduction...................................................................................................................................................3
 
The Design....................................................................................................................................................4
 
The Top Design........................................................................................................................................5 
 
Bill of Materials - Top................................................................................................................................6 
 
The Base Design...........................................................................................................................................7
 
The Lumber...................................................................................................................................................8
 
Milling the Lumber.........................................................................................................................................9
 
The Top Slab...............................................................................................................................................11
 
The Dog-Hole Back.....................................................................................................................................12
 
Mathematical Calculations:.....................................................................................................................14
 
Making the Dog-Hole Strip..........................................................................................................................16
 
Making the Dog-Holes............................................................................................................................17 
 
Cutting the Notch....................................................................................................................................19
 
Cutting the Dovetail Pin..........................................................................................................................19
 
Gluing the Dog-Hole Strip to the Top.....................................................................................................20 
 
The Dog Hole Slot Cover........................................................................................................................21
 
The End Caps.............................................................................................................................................22
 
The Left End-Cap...................................................................................................................................22 
 
The Right End Cap.................................................................................................................................23
 
Mounting the End Caps..........................................................................................................................24
 
The Tool Till................................................................................................................................................25
 
The Tool Till Apron.................................................................................................................................25 
 
Tool Till Bottom.......................................................................................................................................26 
 
The Ramps.............................................................................................................................................27 
 
The Bottom Spacers...................................................................................................................................28
 
The Front Vise.............................................................................................................................................29
 
Front Vise Spacer Block.........................................................................................................................29
 
The Front Vise Face Block.....................................................................................................................30 
 
Boring the holes in the Face Block.........................................................................................................30 
 
Boring the holes in the bench.................................................................................................................31
 
Preparing the Bench Face......................................................................................................................32 
 
Installing the Vise Hardware...................................................................................................................33
 
The End Vise...............................................................................................................................................35
 
The Face Piece.......................................................................................................................................35 
 
The Front Jaw.........................................................................................................................................36 
 
The Rear Jaw..........................................................................................................................................38 
 
The Back Runner....................................................................................................................................38 
 
 Assembling the End Vise........................................................................................................................38 
 
Fitting it up..............................................................................................................................................39
 
The Dog-Hole Cover...............................................................................................................................41
 
The Guide Block.....................................................................................................................................42 
 
The Bench Runner..................................................................................................................................44
 
The Front Guide Block............................................................................................................................44
 
Mounting the Top Caps..........................................................................................................................47 
 
The Base.....................................................................................................................................................51
 
Flattening the Top.......................................................................................................................................55
 
Finishing the Top.........................................................................................................................................56
 
Details.........................................................................................................................................................57
 
 
 3
Introduction
If you are going to use hand tools in your woodworking, perhaps the most important tool to haveis not the tools themselves but a good bench to do your work on. When I first started to set upmy shop, I had only been out of school for a little over a year, been married a little less than ayear and had just bought a new home. To help spell my situation out, we were poor. Eventhough the finances were not the best in the world, I began to accumulate a few basic tools andbegan making some of the much needed furniture in my new home. My first workbench waspretty simple. When we first moved into our new home, the previous owners had left behind acrudely made puppet stage, which was actually just several 2x4's screwed together and paintedwhite. Having no need for a puppet stage in my new "shop" (the two car garage on the front of my house), I disassembled the puppet stage and reassembled the lumber into the frame of abench. Nothing fancy here mind you, I just made a basic frame and put it all together withscrews. The top was made from some scrap 2x6's that were in the burn pile of a new housethat was being built down the street from mine (I did ask the contractor before taking them).The 2x6's were again screwed down top and presto, I had a bench. A couple of scrap pieces of plywood made a shelf underneath to stack junk on. A couple of years later, a front vise wasbought and added to the bench.
 
It was not a pretty bench and it was not really a great bench, but it was the only bench I had. Asmy woodworking improved and I started using more and more hand tools, I started to realizethat my thrown together bench was not good enough. Planing was particularly a pain. First,there was no good way to hold a board while planing. I screwed a couple of stops on the end of the bench for boards to hold against while planing but there was nothing on the other side tohold it tight. And, when I was planing, the whole bench racked back and forth resulting in muchwasted energy. The more work I did on this bench the more I realized I needed a new one.Shortly before my daughter was born (July 1997), I ordered a copy of "The Workbench Book" byScott Landis. The book arrived just a few days before my daughter did so as I was spending alot of time in the hospital waiting to go home with my new little bundle of joy, I spent many anhour reading my new book (Hannah, my newborn daughter, spent most of this time sleepinganyway so I had to do something to keep my busy). I must have read that entire book cover tocover at least twice before going home.
 
I spent the next three years thinking about my bench and saving what I could so that I couldbuild one right. After three years of planning, I finally came up with a bench I think I will like.During that time, I had the opportunity to actually do work on several different types of benchesto see what I liked and didn't like. The result of all of my pondering on the subject was to build apretty traditional bench. The following collection of pages is a continuing saga of the step bystop process I went though to get it done. As I go along, I will discuss what I have learned alongthe way so that if you ever decide to build a bench, hopefully you can learn from my mistakes.
 

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