SHOP PROJECT A HEAVY-DUTY WORKBENCH - Woodworking HEAVY-DUTY WORKBENCH A large, heavy-duty workbench that’s easy to build. Combining traditional joinery and modern materials is the key. SHOP

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<ul><li><p>A HEAVY-DUTY WORKBENCHA large, heavy-duty workbench thats easy to build. Combining traditional joinery and modern materials is the key.</p><p>SHOPPROJECT</p><p>lthough the size of this bench iswhat you first notice (its nearly</p><p>eight feet long and three feet wide, notincluding the vise), its really the con-struction that makes it interesting.Its a blend of old and new technology. </p><p>The base is built of heavy, solidlumber, using traditional mortiseand tenon joinery. But the top isconstructed primarily of MDF(medium- density fiberboard). So as</p><p>well as being flat and stable, it hasthe additional benefit of being quickand easy to make (unlike a top thatis glued up from solid wood).</p><p>Another nice feature are the rowsof dog holes along the front and leftside of the bench. Combined with afew simple accessories (which aredescribed on page 13), these make iteasy to hold a workpiece while rout-ing,sanding,orplaning.</p><p>OPTIONAL STORAGE. As great as thisworkbench is to work on, you canmake it even better by adding someoptional storage units underneath(see inset photo below). With thebank of drawers, the cupboards ateach end, and the open shelving atthe back, you wont be running outof space anytime soon. You canread the story behind these stor-age units on page 14.</p><p>Tired of looking for your tools? Theyll always be within reach if </p><p>you build this slide-in storage unit. Turn to page 14 for complete plans.</p><p>&gt;</p><p>6 Woodsmith No. 133</p><p>A</p></li><li><p>No. 133 Woodsmith 7</p><p>NOTE:Base frame isconstructed ofsolid maple. Shelvesare " plywood#/4</p><p>Sturdy benchlegs are glued upfrom 1 " thickmaple boards</p><p>!/2</p><p>Front row of dog holesdesigned for use with benchdogs and other accessories,</p><p>see page 13.</p><p>Three layers of MDF arelaminated to create a top thatis flat, stable, and durable</p><p>Tenons are pinnedwith dowels foradded strength</p><p>Corner blocksreinforce jointsto prevent racking</p><p>!/4" hardboard splineshelp align top and aprons</p><p>Heavy-duty castiron vise is "mortised"into front apron.For more onmounting a vise,see page 20.</p><p>Double row of dogholes works with dogholes drilled in vise face</p><p>RIGHTAPRON</p><p>ENDRAIL</p><p>NOTE:For three handy storageoptions, including a largeunder bench storage unit,turn to page 14</p><p>CENTERSHELF</p><p>LOWERFRONT RAIL</p><p>ENDSHELF</p><p>Dowelplug</p><p>Plywood shelvesrest on cleats</p><p>Stretchers stabilizelong front &amp; back rails</p><p>OVERALL DIMENSIONS: 94L x 42#/4D x 35H </p><p>A Legs (4) 3 x 3 - 32#/4B Upper End Rails (2) 1!/2 x 3#/4 - 26!/2C Lower End Rails (2) 1!/2 x 4!/2 - 26!/2D Upr. Fr./Bk. Rails (2) 1!/2 x 3#/4 - 68!/2E Lwr. Fr./Bk. Rails (2) 1!/2 x 4!/2 - 68!/2F Upper Stretchers (2) 1!/2 x 3#/4 - 27G Lower Stretchers (2) 1!/2 x 4!/2 - 27H Corner Blocks (8) 1!/2 x 2!/2 - 7!/2I Shelf Cleats (4) 1!/2 x #/4 - 26!/2J Ctr. Shelf (1) #/4 ply. - 26&amp;/16 x 32&amp;/16K End Shelves (2) #/4 ply. - 26&amp;/16 x 16&amp;/16</p><p>L Top Layers (2)* #/4 MDF - 33 x 91M Support Block (1) 1!/2 x 6 - 15N Top End Pieces (2) #/4 MDF - 15 x 21O Top Frt. Piece (1) #/4 MDF - 6 x 76P Top Bk. Piece (1) #/4 MDF - 6 x 91Q Top Ctr. Pieces (2) #/4 MDF - 6 x 21R Front Apron (1) 1!/2 x 3!/2 - 92!/2S Back Apron (1) 1!/2 x 3!/2 - 91T Left Apron (1) 1!/2 x 3!/2 - 34!/4U Right Apron (1) 1!/2 x 3!/2 - 35!/2V Face Block (1) 3 x 4!/2 - 18</p><p>*Note: One top layer starts out oversized.</p><p>W Top Cleats (2) #/4 MDF - 1!/2 x 26&amp;/16 (50) #8 x 1!/4" Fh Woodscrews (12) #8 x 1!/2" Fh Woodscrews (48) #8 x 2!/2" Fh Woodscrews (4) #14 x 2" Fh Woodscrews (2) %/16" x 4!/2" Hex Head Bolts (2) %/16" Lock Nuts (4) %/16" Flat Washers (1) Woodworking Vise (1) #/8"-dia. Hardwood Dowel (48" long) (1) !/4" Hardboard (1" x 240 ln. in.)</p><p>MATERIALS, SUPPLIES &amp; CUTTING DIAGRAM</p></li><li><p>8 Woodsmith No. 133</p><p>When it comes to building a work-bench, the base has to meet tworequirements. It needs to be strong.And it needs to be stable. I decidedto use hard maple for the basebecause of its strength and theadded mass it gives the bench. Buta good, less expensive substitutewould be two-by framing lumber.(I would suggest Douglas fir.) </p><p>LEGS. The first step in building thebase of this bench is to make thelegs. As you can see in Fig. 1, eachleg (A) is glued up from two piecesof 11/2"-thick stock. I ripped thesepieces slightly wider than the fin-ished width of the legs. This way,you dont have to worry about keep-ing the two pieces exactly alignedwhen gluing them up. After squar-ing up each blank, you can cut thelegs to final length (323/4").</p><p>MORTISES. Large mortise and tenonjoints are used to join the rails of thebench with the legs. Before makingthe mortises, I laid them all out onthe legs, like the drawing in the leftmargin shows. The important thingto notice when laying out the mor-tises is that the legs arent identi-cal. The right-hand legs and left-hand legs mirror each other. Thisway, the jointline wont show fromthe front of the bench (Fig. 1a).</p><p>After the mortises are laid out,you can begin drilling out the waste.I did this on a drill press, using aForstner bit. Drilling overlappingholes removes most of the waste,and what little is left behind can bequickly removed with a chisel. You</p><p>can see in the drawing at the leftthat the mortises at the top of eachleg are open on one end. This way,you wont have to worry aboutblowing out the mortise at the topof the legs during assembly.</p><p>To complete the legs, a 3/16"roundover is routed along the edgesof each leg and on the bottom. Then</p><p>a 1/2" stopped chamfer is routed onthe outside corner of each leg.</p><p>RAILS. The legs are connectedby two sets of rails at the top andbottom. I started by making theend rails. (All the rails are madefrom 11/2"-thick stock.) Youll needtwo upper end rails (B) and twolower end rails (C). After cuttingthe rails to size, you can cut tenonson the ends to match the mortisesin the legs, as shown in Figs. 1band 1c. Since each tenon has 1/4"shoulders, one set up on the tablesaw is all you need, as shown in Fig.2. Note that the tenons on theupper rails are bare-faced tomatch the open mortises at the topof each leg. Finally, the two ends ofthe base can be glued up.</p><p>FRONT/REAR RAILS. Except for theirlength, the rails at the front and rearof the bench are practically identicalto the end rails (Fig. 3). The upperfront/back rails (D) and lower</p><p>3"</p><p>3!/2"</p><p>5!/4"</p><p>1%/16"</p><p>!/2"</p><p>!/2"</p><p>1"</p><p>4"</p><p>MORTISELAYOUT</p><p>CB</p><p>Dado bladeAux. fence</p><p>Rip fenceused as stop</p><p>2ENDVIEW</p><p>CB</p><p>1!/4"</p><p>!/4"</p><p>Dadoblade</p><p>a.</p><p>ENDVIEW C</p><p>BNOTE: Onupper railcut bottomshoulder only</p><p>Dadoblade</p><p>!/4"</p><p>b.</p><p>Base</p><p>C</p><p>C</p><p>B</p><p>B</p><p>A</p><p>A</p><p>A</p><p>A</p><p>!/2" chamfer</p><p>#/16" round-overs</p><p>26!/2"</p><p>24"</p><p>24"</p><p>32 "#/4</p><p>4 "!/2</p><p>3 "#/4</p><p>5"</p><p>3" 3"</p><p>3 "#/4</p><p>UPPEREND RAIL</p><p>LEG</p><p>LEG</p><p>LOWEREND RAIL</p><p>NOTE: Legs areglued up fromtwo pieces of1 "-thick stock.Rails are cut from1 -thick stock</p><p>!/2</p><p>!/2"</p><p>NOTE:Make allmortises</p><p>1 "-deep%/16</p><p>NOTE:Leave top</p><p>edges of legssquare</p><p>NOTE: Roundover edges andbottom of legs</p><p>NOTE: Rout roundoversfirst, then rout stopped chamfers</p><p>TOPVIEW</p><p>A A</p><p>AA</p><p>1 "!/23"</p><p>1 "!/2</p><p>1"</p><p>1"NOTE:Legs aremirroredpairs toeach other</p><p>roundover#/16"</p><p>B</p><p>3 "!/23 "#/4</p><p>1"</p><p>!/4"</p><p>NOTE: Noshoulderat top oftenon</p><p>a.</p><p>b.</p><p>1</p><p>C</p><p>4 "!/2</p><p>4"</p><p>1 "!/4</p><p>!/4"</p><p>!/4"NOTE: "</p><p>shoulder onall four sides</p><p>of tenon</p><p>!/4</p><p>c.</p></li><li><p>No. 133 Woodsmith 9</p><p>front/back rails (E) are cut to size,and tenons are cut on the ends.These tenons are identical to theones cut on the end rails. (For a tipon cutting tenons on long work-pieces, see page 21.)</p><p>Before assembling the ends andrails, theres one other detail to takecare of. To hold some stretchersthat will be added between the frontand back rails, a couple of shallowdadoes are cut on the inside face ofeach rail, as shown in Fig. 3. Oncethis is done, the rails and ends of thebench can all be glued together.</p><p>STRETCHERS. The stretchers (F, G)that I just mentioned are cut to sizefrom 11/2"-thick stock. Stub tenonsare cut on the ends of the stretch-ers, and then after brushing a littleglue on the tenons, each stretcher isslipped in between the front andback rails. A few screws help to holdthe stretchers in place.</p><p>Once the stretchers are screwedin place, the screws can be plugged(Fig. 3b). While youre at it, goahead and drill holes in the legs andpin the tenons with 3/8"-dia. dowels(Fig. 3c). I sanded a slight chamferon the exposed ends of the plugs(and pins), then glued them in placeso they stood slightly proud of thesurface (about 1/16").</p><p>CORNER BRACES. Each corner of thebase is reinforced with a couple ofcorner blocks (H) (Fig. 4). In addi-tion to beefing up the corners, the</p><p>lower blocks serve an extra pur-pose. They provide support forsome shelves that are added next.</p><p>SHELVES. Shelves are fitted into thebottom of the bench for storing toolsand equipment. Or if youre going toadd the optional storage units, theshelvesprovidea flat, solidbase.</p><p>The shelves rest on cleats (I) that</p><p>are glued and screwed to the lowerstretchers (Fig. 4). Once these arein place, you can cut a center shelf(J) and two end shelves (K) from3/4" plywood. The center shelf issimply cut to size and dropped inplace. But the two end shelveshave to be notched in the cornersto fit around the legs of the bench.</p><p>2!/4"</p><p>#/4"</p><p>#/4"</p><p>#/4"</p><p>5#/4"</p><p>3"</p><p>#/8"</p><p>#/4"</p><p>Drill- dia.</p><p>hole,1deep</p><p>DOWEL PINLAYOUT</p><p>G</p><p>G</p><p>F</p><p>F</p><p>E</p><p>E</p><p>D</p><p>DHard-wooddowels</p><p>1"-wide,"-deep dadoes!/4</p><p>#8 x 2Fh woodscrews</p><p>!/2"</p><p>3 "#/4</p><p>4 "!/2</p><p>15 "!/2</p><p>15 "!/2</p><p>#/4"</p><p>27"</p><p>68 "!/2</p><p>3 "#/4</p><p>1"</p><p>1"3 "#/4</p><p>UPPER BACKRAIL</p><p>LOWER BACKRAIL</p><p>UPPERFRONT RAIL</p><p>LOWERFRONT RAIL</p><p>UPPERSTRETCHER</p><p>LOWERSTRETCHER</p><p>NOTE: All tenonsare pinned withdowels after endassemblies areglued to rails</p><p>66" 1 "!/4</p><p>4 "!/2</p><p>!/4"</p><p>1!/2"</p><p>!/4"</p><p>1"</p><p>GFSTRETCHERS</p><p>a.</p><p>#/4"</p><p>!/16"</p><p>#/4"</p><p>A</p><p>SIDE SECTIONVIEW</p><p>FD</p><p>#8 x 2Fh woodscrew</p><p>!/2"</p><p>b.</p><p>K</p><p>K</p><p>J</p><p>I</p><p>H</p><p>Notcharoundlegs</p><p>26 "&amp;/16</p><p>16 "&amp;/16 26 "&amp;/16</p><p>2 "!/2</p><p>#/4"ply.</p><p>1 "!/2</p><p>32 "&amp;/16</p><p>CORNERBLOCK</p><p>CLEAT</p><p>CENTERSHELF END</p><p>SHELF</p><p>NOTE: Shelvesare " plywood#/4</p><p>7 "!/2</p><p>( x - 26 ")!/21 " "!/2 #/4</p><p>NOTE: Corner blocksmade from 1 -thick stock!/2"</p><p>4</p><p>FRONT SECTION VIEW</p><p>I IG</p><p>#8 X 1 "Fh wood-screw</p><p>!/2</p><p>b.</p><p>#/4"</p><p>#/4"</p><p>2!/4"</p><p>A</p><p>BD</p><p>#/8!#/16</p><p>"-dia. dowel1 " long</p><p>!/32"chamfer</p><p>c.</p><p>HE</p><p>C</p><p>#8 x 2 "Fh wood-screw</p><p>!/2</p><p>#/4"ply.</p><p>a.</p><p>3</p></li><li><p>10 Woodsmith No. 133</p><p>NOTE: Top is shownupside-down</p><p>SECONDLAYER</p><p>FIRSTLAYER</p><p>L</p><p>L</p><p>MSUPPORTBLOCK</p><p>91!/4"</p><p>91"</p><p>33!/4"</p><p>2!/4"</p><p>1!/4"</p><p>1!/2"</p><p>1!/4"</p><p>9#/4"</p><p>6!/8"</p><p>6"15!/8"</p><p>15"</p><p>33"</p><p>#8 x 1 "Fh wood-</p><p>screw</p><p>!/4</p><p>NOTE: Don'tplace screws inshaded areas</p><p>NOTE: Top is shownupside-down</p><p>SECONDLAYER</p><p>FIRSTLAYER</p><p>L</p><p>L</p><p>MSUPPORTBLOCK</p><p>91!/4"</p><p>91"</p><p>33!/4"</p><p>2!/4"</p><p>1!/4"</p><p>1!/2"</p><p>1!/4"</p><p>9#/4"</p><p>6!/8"</p><p>6"15!/8"</p><p>15"</p><p>33"</p><p>#8 x 1 "Fh wood-</p><p>screw</p><p>!/4</p><p>NOTE: Don'tplace screws inshaded areas</p><p>6</p><p>P</p><p>N</p><p>No screws shouldbe placed inshaded areas</p><p>#8 x 1 "Fh woodscrew</p><p>!/4</p><p>21"</p><p>21"</p><p>91"</p><p>30"</p><p>19"</p><p>15"6"</p><p>30"</p><p>6"</p><p>6"</p><p>ON</p><p>NOTE: Top is shownupside-down</p><p>Q</p><p>Q</p><p>TOP FRONT PIECE(76"-long)</p><p>P</p><p>N</p><p>No screws shouldbe placed inshaded areas</p><p>#8 x 1 "Fh woodscrew</p><p>!/4</p><p>21"</p><p>21"</p><p>91"</p><p>30"</p><p>19"</p><p>15"6"</p><p>6"30"</p><p>6"</p><p>6"</p><p>ON</p><p>Q</p><p>Q</p><p>TOP FRONT PIECE(76"-long)</p><p>7</p><p>Flush trimbit</p><p>Trim second layerflush with first</p><p>a.</p><p>Q</p><p>Q</p><p>P</p><p>O</p><p>N</p><p>M</p><p>L</p><p>L</p><p>Notch forsupport block</p><p>TOP ENDPIECE</p><p>SUPPORTBLOCK</p><p>TOP CENTERPIECE</p><p>FIRST TOPLAYER</p><p>SECOND TOPLAYER</p><p>TOP BACKPIECE</p><p>TOPFRONTPIECE</p><p>NOTE: All pieces (exceptsupport block) are " MDF#/4</p><p>NOTE: Supportblock is cut from1 "-thick solidhardwood toprovide somethingfor screws to "bite"into when mount-ing the vise.</p><p>!/2</p><p>5</p><p>It goes without saying that the top ofa workbench needs to be strong andsturdy to stand up to all the abuse itwill receive. But it also needs to beflat. I rely on the top of my workbenchas a reference when assembling aproject or dimensioning stock. So itsimportant that the top be perfectlyflat and stay that way.</p><p>Although solid wood is a moretraditional choice for bench tops, Idecided to use MDF. Its heavy,tough, and very flat. And unlikesolid wood, you dont have to worryabout MDF twisting or warping outof shape over time. Plus as an addedbenefit, MDF is a whole lot lessexpensive than solid wood.</p><p>In order to beef up the thick-ness, I built up the top out of threeseparate layers of MDF, as youcan see in Fig. 5 above. This makes</p><p>the top plenty thick for mounting avise and for holding bench dogs.</p><p>To make the top, start by cuttingthe first top layer (L) to finishedsize (Fig. 6). Then before addingthe second layer, I glued a hard-wood support block (M) to the cor-ner where the vise will get mounted.(This block will give the screwssomething to bite into when youremounting the vise later.) However,as you can see in Fig. 6, the toppiece is upside-down when you gluethis block in place. (Thats why theblock is shown in the right corner.)</p><p>SECOND LAYER. The second layer (L)ends up the same size as the firstlayer. But trying to keep two large,identically-sized workpieces alignedwhen gluing them together can betricky. So I cut the second layerslightly oversize (1/4" in both length</p><p>and width). After its glued to thefirst layer, it will be trimmed flush.</p><p>In addition to making the secondlayer oversized, a notch needs to becut in one corner to allow it to fitaround the hardwood block thatsglued to the first layer. This can bedone with a sabre saw or a handsaw, and you dont need to be toofussy with the fit. (My notch was 1/8"larger than the block.)</p><p>Once the notch is cut out, the twolayers can be glued and screwedtogether. I used yellow woodwork-ing glue, spreading it on the largesurfaces with a 3" paint roller.</p><p>The screws help to hold the MDFlayers together while the glue setsup. Theres just one thing to beaware of when youre adding thescrews. Later on, youll be drillingdog holes in the top of the bench,</p><p>Top</p><p>{ Hard maple apronswrap around threelayers of MDF toprotect the hard,flat work surface.</p></li><li><p>No. 133 Woodsmith 11</p><p>and you dont want to accidentallydrill into a screw. So I laid outsome no screw zones tomake sure this wouldntbe a problem (Fig. 6).</p><p>Once the two layers arelaminated together, you cantrim the second layer flush withthe first using a router and a flushtrim bit (Fig. 6a).</p><p>THIRD LAYER. If you take a look atFig. 7, youll see that the thirdlayer is really made up of six sepa-rate pieces of MDF. Youll need twoend pieces (N), a front piece (O), aback piece (P), and two centerpieces (Q). Once these pieces arecut to exact size, they can be gluedand screwed to the second layer.</p><p>APRONS. To protect and concealthe edges of the MDF, the top iswrapped with 11/2"-thick hardwoodaprons (R, S, T, U) on all foursides. If you look closely at Fig. 8,youll see that each apron is a littledifferent. To begin with, the endsof the right apron and one end ofthe left apron are rounded over(Fig. 8a). (This roundover will alsobe created on the face block thatwill be added to the vise.)</p><p>Second, a pocket is routed inthe back face of the front apron toaccommodate the back jaw of thebench vise (Fig. 8b). (The size ofthis pocket will depend upon thevise you are using, see page 20.) </p><p>After routing the pocket, you canrout a groove around the top of thebench as well as on the aprons (Fig.9). These grooves will hold splinesthat help align the aprons with thetop of the bench. A router and a slotcutter is all you need to make thegrooves. But note that the groovesin the aprons are stopped short ofthe exposed ends (Figs. 9 and 10).</p><p>SPLINES. Once the grooves havebeen routed, you can glue theaprons to the top using splines cutinto strips from a sheet of 1/4" hard-board. Clamping the front andback aprons in place is no prob-lem. But clamping across thelength of the bench...</p></li></ul>