…for another bench build.
Yup. With my massive French oak Roubo workbench squatting unfinished on sawbenches, I’m prepping stock for a second workbench I’m building on Monday and Tuesday for a DVD for Popular Woodworking Magazine.
The “high concept” for this bench is it’s “Pretty Woman” meets “Starship Troopers.” Wait, wrong blog. No, it’s figuring out how to build the maximum bench in the minimum time using easy-to-find materials.
This is a bench design that has been brewing in the back of my head for some time. I hear from a lot of fellow woodworkers that they would love to build a traditional workbench but don’t have a month of Sundays to do it.
So here are the design characteristics of this bench. It…
• weighs more than 300 pounds.
• has an 8’-long top made from clear European beech that is 3” thick.
• has a massive French-style undercarriage where the legs are flush to the outside of the benchtop.
• uses a single quick-release vise to handle most workholding chores (a second vise is optional).
• Knocks down for moving with a ratchet.
• costs less than any commercial bench that is worth buying
• takes only two days of shop time to build
• requires only a few simple machines and tools.
The trick to the bench is using beech kitchen countertops to make the benchtop. For this bench, I had to go deep into enemy territory. No, not Sawmill Creek. Worse. Ikea.
You don’t have to go to Ikea to make the benchtop – I have a second benchtop I made from a mahogany kitchen countertop I got from an architectural salvage place for $30. But I wanted to show the process with stuff that can be purchased easily.
Using the Ikea countertop, six 8’-long 4x4s from Home Depot and a bag of bolts from the local hardware store, the basic bench (without a vise) costs about $440 in materials.
The other thing I like about this bench is it requires a minimal toolkit to build. We’ll be building this with a benchtop table saw, a cordless drill and a few hand tools. Oh, and you won’t need any clamps. Really.
I’ll be posting photos and video on my blog at Popular Woodworking during the week so you can see how the thing comes together.
I have no clue when the DVD will come out – but they are very quick at F+W Media Inc.
This will (I hope) be my last DVD for at least a year. I’ve greatly reduced my teaching schedule for 2014 and am setting aside all these side projects (as fun as they are) to focus on writing.
— Christopher Schwarz