Dieter Schmid's Fine Tools

Workbench built by David H., Fife, Scotland

Workbench built by David H.

David wrote: The base is beech, the top is laminated Scots Pine 105 mm thick, and the top end blocks, deadman rail and centre laminate in the vice chop are Meranti. The shelf is Spruce planks held in place with Black Walnut dowels. The top was made in two separate parts and finally assembled on the base when it was in its final position (I had to lift everything single handed). The right hand end block was draw bored onto the top tenon on the front deck with 1/2" oak dowels and glue. The back deck has elongated mortises for the legs and was dropped in place first and slid over to the left. The front complete with wagon vice and end block was then dropped into place, and the rear deck tenon was glued and the deck slid back over to the right, fitting the tenon into the mortice in the block. It was then draw bored to fix it in place. The left hand block is a simple mortice and tenon, with the tenon extending through the block to the front rather like the dovetail. This block was added after the right hand block fitting had been completed and was draw bored to both halves of the deck. Lag screws fix the top to the side rails, and the front deck is draw bored to the legs with 1/2" oak dowels (these could, if needed, be drilled out at some later stage and the whole top removed - with help in lifting). I have put a lot of holes for bench dogs and other Veritas fittings in the top to make a really flexible holding system. The frame was assembled with draw bored oak dowels and Benchcrafted bolts. If I were ever to make another one I think that I would not use the bolts but use joinery techniques instead as I found that I could move the base around on its own and the bolt system caused me a lot of problems in getting things lined up properly. Great bench - wish I had made one sooner.

Guido Henn's "two router fence" technique for cutting the slot in the vice leg can be applied to the chop as well, as I did, by gluing up the middle three laminates first, cutting the slot and then adding the last two outer laminates (the "ears") of the chop and then finishing the shaping. This is much better than making up a template. The Benchcrafted Glide mechanism is bit different from the one in Guido's (excellent) construction guide. In particular the thrust washer arrangement. Any builder need to make sure that they have all the hardware first before doing any cutting. I made extensive use of a biscuit jointer (no. 20) on all laminating operations with double rows of biscuits on the chop, legs and top laminates. This makes alignment of the parts easy and stabilises the assembly when clamping. Only very light planing was required to flatten the top after clearing the glue lines.

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