New Workbench

November 2002 - September 2004


Workbench, with completed tailvice
Completed

Workbench, partly built
Under construction

This is the Tage Frid design, from his book Tage Frid Teaches Woodworking: Furnituremaking. It's a classic European or Scandinavian design; a small-topped bench which is mainly a machine for clamping.

Some other ideas were taken from Taunton's essential The Workbench Book. I'll probably add a small board jack on a sliding rail, to help support work held in the shoulder vice.

Making the Bench

Benchtop

November 2002

Bench top, with vice screws
There are tail and shoulder vices, constructed of wood with bought-in steel screws. The tail vice slides are constructed in the workshop of wood.


The top is made of 2" oak, laminated from biscuit-jointed strips for stability, with a 4" deep front apron. I scaled up the size a little from Tage Frid. The solid top is now 16" deep and nearly 6' long. As well as the top visible here, the shoulder vice protrudes in front of the bench and there's a narrow tool tray behind the top.

Dogholes in the bench front apron
The front apron dogholes are designed to take commercial square-section metal dogs. They're cut by laminating the front apron from two strips, the dog holes routed as deep dados in the thicker strip.


 

Joinery

Bench end
member, cut with the pins for the double dovetail
Framing for the bench ends and vices is in 3" x 4" oak, joined by traditional double-dovetails. To highlight the dovetails, I ammonia-fumed the side members of the bench.

Bootstrapping the bench construction
I used the half-assembled bench to "bootstrap" itself, whilst I cut the joinery for the ends.

End members are held on by draw bolts
The ends are located on a tongue and groove, and held in place by more of the same drawbolts and barrel nuts I used for the underframe.


 

Underframe

January 2003

Workbench
underframe
The under-frame is made of larch, because it's cheap and I've got loads of it.

The right feet will be shorter when finished. I want to fit a sliding board jack and this will use a long support rail between the feet. I'll cut the foot down afterwards, once I've worked out the design.

Workbench
underframe
Fairly traditional construction with mortices and wedged tenons

The end frames are solid, but the stretchers are only held by stub tenons and draw bolts, to allow dismantling for transport.

Workbench, with
top placed loosely on the frame
Top is pretty much complete, most of the vices are complete. I still need to finish the tail vice.

Workbench,
from the shoulder vice end
Showing the contrast with the fumed-oak end members.

The space behind (to the left) will be filled by a tool tray and chisel-catcher. The space in front of the near end is for the shoulder vice (completed, but not yet assembled).


 

Shoulder Vice

March 2003

Shoulder vice, showing the nut
The front member of the shoulder vice carries an iron nut for the steel screw.

Shoulder vice
The main tensile force of the shoulder vice is taken by a steel rod, running from front to back. This is a change from the Tage Frid design - his runs to a concealed nut just inside the front edge. My design is stronger, but I might get problems with moisture-related movement.

Shoulder vice, assembled
Fully assembled, a small beech block is inset in the crook of the shoulder.


 

Tail Vice

September 2004

After nearly two years of interruption (and useful benchwork), I finally finished off my bench and its tail vice.

Shoulder vice
More double dovetails!

Shoulder vice
Tailvice parts, ready for assembly.

Shoulder vice
Tailvice parts being assembled.

Workbench, with completed tailvice
Completed!