My Old Bench

I have had my little shop for about three years. When I got it funds were low, so that forced the construction of the bench to be pine. I had a sturdy angle iron frame for a base. It was of sufficient weight. I dovetailed the frame together. I picked dovetails because if there was movement it would hold fast. Believe me in Mississippi there is movement. I first installed a 9 inch vice and arranged it to where it would be the full width of the bench. I later installed a quick release for dovetail cutting on the side.

It is time for a replacement. I like the Roubo style for its simplicity and functionality. But I want to make one with a bit of my personal style and needs. I plane a lot and do a good bit of joinery. I will be referring back to Bob’s blog.

 Workbench Design Considerations.  


What do you think?


What are the needs of your bench?

Please be careful. Some of the things I do are dangerous. It is not my fault if you get hurt. Use your brain, be safe.

18 Responses to My Old Bench

  1. dw says:

    Hey Dave. I built my top from elm for no other reason than it was what I had. I’ve got a leg vice, a columbian 10″ quick release and a veritas dual vice. I use my bench for everything, not just woodworking.

    A good bench is like a sole mate. Once you get one, you relish the good points, and overlook the bad.

    • davidbardin says:

      Don I love my little bench. The main thing is its to high. I use traditional wood planes witch gets me 3 inches higher than the metal bodies. The second is it just doesn’t clamp every scenario. It will stay in the shop and I to use it for everything. Its the center point of your shop. And I always love it when you stop by. Thank you!

  2. roger says:

    Can’t wait to see the new bench. Gr8 idea to give yer grd-son a bench of his own.

    • davidbardin says:

      Roger he already has a great interest in the shop. I hope he will let me show him what I know and maybe this spark he has will turn into a fire. It seems when you create something it give you the want and need to make something else. Thank you.

  3. Ted says:

    Oh boy, another bench project in the making! I look forward to this one. I’d like to build a new one myself but it’s just not in the budget any time soon. Will the new one be hard maple?

    I really like Bob’s blog… really packed with a lot of information. This one is starting to fill up nicely too. Keep up the good work.

    • davidbardin says:

      Ted I believe Tulip Popular will be the species for the top. It grips a bit better so not as much clamping force will be needed. I will be able to keep it flat much easier and hopefully it wont damage my projects if I bang the top with them. Also the popular will keep the cost way down. I want the top to be at least 3 inches thick. That will require 16/4 or laminated 4/4. If I laminate that will be some major plane action. I will have to see if the one and only hardwood dealer here can get his hands on some 16/4. The base and bottom will be construction grade pine.
      Bob has it together. I am paying attention to his suggestion on the planing of the bench. You need to ask yourself what are your needs the most.
      I hope to keep this below a couple of hundred bucks. The one I use now even with buying 2 vises was well below that. It is just not designed right. I like to try a version of a tool first. Then that gives me a real good idea of what I want. So I will buy or build cheap the first time and then if I like it go for better. Thanks for stopping by and the comments. Come again.

  4. eddieantley says:

    i like that bench ,but now you know what you need more so now , ,your skills are a lot better now , the new bench will be something to see ,as that one looks to be a work horse of one ,loved your video and music im ready to go to a concert now

    • davidbardin says:

      Hello Eddie. The bench will be simple, there is a lot to be said for the Roubo. You need to be able to clamp any board to the top, front or side of the bench with little setup. Stops and dog holes are a must. I may just use one vise and a crochet on the side. I still marvel at the workmanship I see in some of the benches out there. Look at Jeffs. It all comes to what you want and the style of woodworking you do. Thank you Eddie :>

  5. boxcarmarty says:

    Let’s have a moment of silence for the old bench. It has served us well…..

    • davidbardin says:

      Now now Marty I am not doing it in just pushing it to the side. I will be using the vise you sent me. And the other will be a wood vise. Glad to have you along Marty. And we are interested to see the outcome of your bench.

  6. JL7 says:

    Hey Dave – you can call this one “eat my dust”……hate it when that happens…it seems to me your bench has been serving you fine, but I am looking forward to seeing your twist on the Roubo! I have to say my bench build was the most significant thing I’ve built, and it carries a big sense of pride…..building stuff for the shop is my favorite pastime…….

    You know your stuff…..only you will decide what your bench is. Enjoy the challenge!


    • davidbardin says:

      Jeff watching you build your bench was an honor. It is a wonderful bench. And by the way that was Jatoba dust. Yummy.
      My bench has served me well. Clamping has been a challenge at times. I do know this. I want a softer hard wood. There is a real good chance it will be built with tulip popular. Mainly because it will be softer than my projects. So of I drop one, the bench will dent more than the project. Also I think keeping it flat will be easier. I will be flatting by hand plane. With that said there is an old school method of running a toothing plane over it for some grip.
      Thank you for the complements. I hope to reach the level of craftsmanship that you have shown in your work.
      Yes challenge is an understatement.

      • JL7 says:

        Thanks Dave…….you were a major driving force in actually getting the bench done…….I got lot’s of influence from your work and I appreciate it!

        I think your idea for the top is right on. I’ve seen the toothing plane trick and that is perfect for your stuff. I gotta dig up that video of the guy with the tiny shop and huge bench……vice on all 4 corners….and really cool. I’m sure you know the one…….anyways, he used the toothing plane…

        My bench top is just plain hard and the thought of keeping it flat scares me a bit……need to sharpen the tools..

        Bob’s design is so great…….when do you start???

        • davidbardin says:

          Jeff I know the video. That guy tied two different styles together for one large bench. And yes its in the same shoebox for a shop that I have. It does fall into style. I plane and need it to be low. The one I have now is much to high. I will go get milk crates and build a runway to do any serious handwork. Wood treks is where it is I believe. I haven’t seen any new stuff from him in a while.
          Also for my joinery I can toss my mini bench on top and get my work at eye level.
          We drive each other. You guys give me the fuel to try different things. Here for the last little while I have been on a tool kick. Now the need for baby furniture is here and woodworking needs to be a priority again.
          We learn from one another, and pass on what we know. That is the giving part of what we are.
          I am going to put some heavy thought into this one. I am starting now with the R and D.
          Thank you Jeff 😉

          • JL7 says:

            Right you are….good memory man!


            Yeah the helping each other has changed so much with the web……….really amazing how much knowledge one can amass in a bit of time…..woodworking wasn’t even in my vocabulary 4 years ago… it freaks me out a bit at times, and my friends and family as well.

            The craftsmen of the past figured it all out for us… a grand way……without google.

            Picked up an iPad the other day………it’s my new link between online and woodworking…..quite a gadget indeed!

            Looking forward to the bench and the baby furniture,,,,,,,,

            Good stuff Dave!

  7. DIYaholic says:

    Will you keep/continue to use your old bench, or will it be benched?

    You should auction it off for charity, once you are famous(er). People will be willing to pay handsomely for the “Original Super Bench”!!!

    For my bench, I need a base/legs to mount the top to. Oh yeah, I need a bench top also, plus I need to install at least one of my three bench vises!!!

    I look forward to seeing the constuction video of your bench build. That and the projects that will surely be built upon/with it!!!

    • davidbardin says:

      Randy I think I will put it on a wall in the shop and give it to my Grandson for him a place to work. And you know I will keep you guys up to speed on the new bench. Thanks for the humor. I can always count on you. Come again.

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