Woodworking workbench build

Originally posted on imgur/reddit.

Finished picture first. Missing dowel in vise. Done all with a No. 4 plane, ryoba handsaw, some saw horses and Paul Seller’s “How to build a workbench” series. Lot’s of great tidbits and help for a beginner.

2x4 remnants and leftovers.

Pretty rough boards. Need a bit of work before joining.

Lots of planing, just getting started in this pic. Still hadn’t dialed everything in yet.


Part way through… most of the saw marks removed.

One more before pic.

And another partial progress.

Flattening one section of the jointed top. This was a lot of work since the 2x4’s were rounded on the edges it left a lot of material to remove. There were also some considerable gaps in between a few boards. I didn’t do the best job with the edge prep for those. Hindsight being 20-20 I would have spent more time planing before glue up. Lesson learned.

Legs glued up on left side. Middle tool trough/tray clamped on left. Trash can full of plane shavings just from this project. Split tops planed on bottom ready to join to tool tray.

First mortise and tenons I have ever chopped. Quite a bit of slop here. I’m mostly sure that this was measurement error on my part. I cut a couple wedges and glued them in when it came glue up time.

Still a bit of slop, but looking better. These ends look pretty bad but the shoulders were quite snug/good for all four of these.

Much more snug a little chip out on that top part. I think I had levered against that edge with my chisel. Lesson learned.

Hmm… that might be respectable.

Legs glued together with runners. With just this the table racked too much.

Side apron bolted on to prevent racking. That did the trick, used some leftover scrap trim laying around.

Looking pretty good. There is a bit of twist in the top but not as bad as it appears in this image.

A couple coats of danish oil. I skipped the steps where I filled the larger holes and gaps in the top with epoxy. Vise face using oak I had laying around.

Miscalculated the depth of things and needed more space for the vise guides/runners. Routed out a larger channel

More details from selected excerpts from the original Reddit questions;

How did you end up connecting the legs & well boards to the tops?

The top just sits on the legs. I routed a channel in the bottom of the table for the runners and legs to sit into. So it just slides of the top and drops into position. The top is quite heavy and I haven’t had any issue with it lifting off or anything like that while working.

What was your final thickness after taking off all the round overs?

Not sure exactly but 2x4 starts at roughly 1.5x3.5 so its probably somewhere between 3 and 3.25.

Can I ask about how much this project ended up costing you?

I don’t recall exactly. Like I mentioned most of the 2x4’s were leftover that were laying around I had to buy 4 or so to supplement what I had on hand. In addition to that I bought the following tools as I didn’t have them before and I was just getting started;

  • #4 bench plane $149
  • Ryoba Japanese Pull Saw $99 This thing is great, I had never used a pull saw before.
  • Glue (not nearly enough glue so I ended up getting the gallon or so later which I have a lot leftover from
  • Chisels I’ve since upgraded to narex bevel edge chisels. The dewalts are fine but as I’m getting into finer work the thick edge makes it hard to work around in tight spaces like dovetails. $30
  • Large front vise $109
  • Lots of clamps I don’t recall how much I watched for sales and tried to get them when they were on sale.
  • Lumber ~$30-40 but as I said I had lots of what I needed on hand. I would expect material cost to be closer to $200-300 if you had to get everything.

So roughly;

  • Tools: $400-500 + clamps
  • Materials: $40-60 Lumber & glue (most people will spend considerably more here)

The cost included a lot of startup costs for tools for me which will be long lasting. You could save quite a bit of money by buying used but in my local market planes are really hard to come by and hand saws are non-existent.

What is that thing on the side of the bench? It looks like a breaker bar goes through it and it turns.

It’s a front vise for holding work. I used this one https://www.woodcraft.com/products/woodriver-large-front-vise Rockler has a decent writeup here to get you started; http://www.rockler.com/how-to/woodworking-vise-advice/