My workbench has two leg trestles.
The trestles are made from 4x6 black locust left over from a fencing
project. There are two stretchers on each leg. The top one adds support to the top. There is a single stretcher
tying the two sets of legs together, running between the bottom stretchers. The bench top is 2 x 8, the legs are
spaced 5"9 apart (material considerations, the last piece of black locust from the legs was 6'6" and I needed
some meat for tenons). Some of the tenons are pegged, but not all of them yet.
The top is four 4x6 pieces of oak,
with the 6" side on the horizontal. I cut two rows of dog holes, the first
the edge of the bench, the second on the front edge of the second piece. I spaced the first set from the right
side 12", the a bunch of 6"'s, and the last couple are at 4". I don't have an end vice, but I do a lot of wedge
clamping and this works well. The 4x6"s were drilled for threaded rod (the ONLY operation that was done
with a power tool. Spade bit and 2 extensions.), then glued and the rods put in. The top of the legs are cut
in a lap cut parallel with the front, to a depth of 2 inches and the bench top mortised to receive them. The
front ones are pegged into the top, the back ones left free to float as she shrank (and boy did she shrink). I
finished the front with a face board of 2 x 12 from an old shop (might be chestnut, hard to tell at that age).
The face board is glued then lag bolted in. And let me tell you, the current crop of lag bolts ain't worth squat
(Any one out there in the fastener industry?). You look at them funny and they snap. Pre-drilling and waxing
the threads helped, but still, I wouldn't trust my life on them.
Current vice is a leg vice with
an iron screw, eventualy when I find another wooden bench screw & nut
good shape I am going to do a Dominy style twin screw vice. The vice jaw is a 2" piece of white oak, that has
been seasoning for 3 years now (this is gonna be fun). In addition I use a holdfast and a plane stop.
Weight of the whole thing, my guess
is 300 lbs m/l. Having moved the pieces a number of times over the years,
I got a good feel for that (and the dang thing keeps getting heavier each move!). When properly assembled,
the bench, she stays put no matter how hard I hit a knot. From floor to top is 36". I'm 5'11, with 35" shirt
sleeve (good Italian knuckle dragger) so in theory a lower bench would be more comfortable. But I like this
height. and if eventually I find that it is too high, tis easier to take than replace.
I do have an antique bench which
appears to be about 30" m/l high in storage awaiting the shop. When I get
time to do some planing on both, I will post a report.
Only problem (update! this guy is
now into year 10 as of 2004), is that the center of the top is cupping
I keep scrubbing it down, but never have the time to do it right. The only other changes other than the vice, will be
a shelf for planes across the bottom and a possible 5th board on the back (now that it has shrunk to 22", I've got
some daylight at the back of the stretchers that needs to be covered.)
Finish. What else, linseed oil/beeswax polish.
Total time, nights and weekends, about 7 weeks, with most of that on the leg trestles.
HAND TOOLS USED:
Buck saw to cut the pieces to length.
18" backsaw to cut the tenons and dog holes. 2" Framing chisel for splitting
1" hand forged mortising chisel. BIG mallet. Misc chisels for cleanup of mortices, etc. Brace & bits. Empire (yep)
transitional jack for rough cleanup on all pieces. (it was cheap, re:free and worked) Wooden jack and my rosewood
bodied smoother for final planing. Drawknife for shaping pegs. BIG BEER mug.
NOW, if you really have a strong
stomach you can go here for some pics
But you are best just to click here instead!