Proper wood working bench

I had been meaning to make a proper wood working bench for years. So after lots of research and finding some good instructions on Instructables I finally started. Had a hairy moment trying to balance the large sheet of plywood on top of the car but managed to drive slowly home.

First had to make a table for the circular saw, this served as a good practice run for the larger table. The method uses long stud bolts to construct a fast and strong table frame. This feels like cheating as they aren’t old fashioned woodworking joints but then again they are the modern way so perhaps I’m just keeping up with the times. Any way they worked great, bit of routing and few turns of the ratchet spanner and they tightened up a treat.

Next came the epic work top. I had been putting this off for ages with the wood cluttering up the shed for almost a year as it looked so formidable a project. After gradually acquiring the tools and rereading the instructables instructions several times I started. First marking everything out, vice positions, the ~60 bench dog holes, screw positions, etc. Then gluing and screwing up the ply wood, drilling and gluing each layer. On with the Ikea oak kitchen work surface top (nice trick to get a cheap bit of oak) more bench dog hole drilling, counter sinking, sanding, the top weighed a ton, almost, so had to be careful moving it around.

Next came fitting the vices, these were beautiful things and the most expensive items, massive lumps of cast iron with neat back turn quick release mechanisms. Lots of measuring and re-measuring trying to ensure I drilled holes in the right place. Fitting, re fitting, shimming, trial and error, making jaws form some old oak floor boards, turning handles from ash. Attached the top to the base with a dozen ‘S’ clips to allow the two to expand differently.

Overall very pleased with the result, just need to stop wood turning and start a first project to make use of it. At least I know no one’s going to steal it, it’s too heavy to move!