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Grab your glue bottle and some clamps to fasten the spacers to the interior surfaces of the inside column sides. For smooth movement, it’s also important to clean up any glue residue that squeezes out on the inside of the channels. A quick look at the plans shows how the foot segments and support arms are made by laminating two layers of 1″-thick material to form solid blanks. When all this work is done, apply an even coat of glue to the blanks and clamp the parts together in pairs.
When the blanks are dry, lay out decorative tapers and rounded corners at the locations shown in the plans. Round clamp knobs with threaded inserts lock the support arm assemblies in place when adjusting the tabletop’s height.
After marking the insert locations, remove the extension arms and prepare for installation of the insert parts. Now, for the tricky part: marking the corresponding hole positions on the bottom of the tabletop.
Before positioning the tabletop on the support arms to mark drilling locations, make sure the legs are square to the support rib.
I applied a coat of red mahogany gel stain, followed by four coats of wipe-on polyurethane.
From simple shop-made tools to fancy, elaborate highly-engineered cast iron behemoths, there is a work holding contraption that can immobilize your work for just about every taste, preference and price point. This week, we’re looking to see how many vises are on the main workbench in your shop. Sadly, my workbench is a hollow-core door lying on 2 sawhorses so no vise for me at the moment. I have a big machinists vise on my wall bench, and a small cheap woodworking vise on my mobile assembly table. Each of WOOD's step-by-step plans has been tested in our very own shop to prove the accuracy of all instructions, illustrations, and dimensions. Each issue, we design a Basic-Built project that can be completed with a few tools and beginner skills. Jewelry box plans, wooden toys, beautiful clocks, and more -- find the perfect gifts for friends and family. Our top furniture plans include designs for the kitchen, bedroom, dining room, and office in a range of popular styles. Post your projects & plansShare your projects and plans with others in the Start Woodworking community.
I had wanted to build a sturdy workbench for some time but was put off by the cost and complexity of a traditional hardwood bench.
An advantage of this design is that the piece can be built without a planer or jointer, perfect for someone just getting started in woodworking.
This project originally appeared in the Tools & Shops 2006 issue of Fine Woodworking (FWW #181). Design the bench, create a cut plan, and beginBench dimensionsFinalize your design: This method of construction can be adapted to almost any size and type of benchbench and form can be used interchangeably to refer to backless and elongated wooden seating.
Glue the three pieces of each component together, being careful not to get any glue on the tenon ends.
The benchtop should rest on the aprons, not the legs, so if the top of a leg is higher than the apron tenon, trim it flush. If you are not using pocket screws to attach the top, prepare a couple of 2-in.-square battens with countersunk holes in two directions. To protect the soft edge of the MDF top, I screwed a solid wood edging around the entire benchtop, leaving a gap for the vise. Abel Mann writes: My spouse and I absolutely love your blog and find almost all of your post’s to be just what I’m looking for.
In the 1700s, a French craftsman named Andre Jacob Roubo took the time to record his vast woodworking knowledge, presumably for the benefit of future generations.
The traditional bench-mounted vise, protruding as it does from the worksurface, is always in the way when you're not using it.
This ought to be a standard ID school problem presented to first-year students: You've got a heavy, bulky piece of machinery that needs to rest on a stable base.
I absolutely hate my plastic sawhorses, but for my DIY needs and space-tight apartment living, the ability to fold flat is more important than a high weight capacity. Once or twice a year we see redesigns of hand tools, like Craftsman's recent announcement of pliers updated with LEDs. As you can see from the plans, the lower sections of the legs are made of wide columns attached to long foot segments with mortise-and-tenon joints. Before the glue has set, make sure the spacers are flush with the outside edges along their entire length.
After the clamps are removed, install a dado blade in your tablesaw to notch out the rear edges of the columns. Glue and clamp the column tenons in place with 2″-long tongues protruding from the bottoms of the channel slots.
I designed them this way so the tablesaw could be used to notch out the mortises that will house the column tenons and extension arms.
Make the necessary cuts to shape the parts, then sand the edges to clean up the tool marks left behind by the saw blade. The knobs tighten into flanged, threaded inserts installed in the inward faces of the extension arms.
Use these holes as guides to mark locations for the threaded inserts in the column spacers. After rejointing the edge of the remaining material, repeat the entire process to create more strips.
Cut the rib to size, then form a 11?2″-radius decorative curve on both ends with the bandsaw or a jigsaw.
This setup makes it easy to remove the tabletop when you’re on the move or want to adjust its height.

I sanded with 400-grit paper between coats of polyurethane to achieve a silky smooth finish. Create dimples on the extension arms with the tip of a drill bit to mark the locations of the flanged, threaded inserts.
Do you have a vise in every corner of your bench, or do you rely on other work holding devices?
I knew that such benches derive much of their strength and rigidity from the mortises and tenons that join the framework, and I wondered if there was a way to combine this joinery with the inherent strength, rigidity, and dimensional accuracy of plywood.
For under $250 including a vise, I have a bench with the rigidity I desired without breaking the bank. Originally a bench may have been freestanding and movable, whereas a form referred to a bench fixed to the wall. Turn the assembly on edge so that the plies are facing up and insert one end in the apron jig. Be sure to check that the frame is square by measuring the diagonals between opposite corners; adjust until the distances are even, then tighten the clamps. His resultant work, L'Art du Menuisier (loosely translated, "The Art of the Joiner") was a three-volume set containing over 300 illustration plates.In 2008 woodworkers Christopher Schwarz and Bjenk Ellefsen of Lost Art Press admirably took on the Herculean task of translating the work into English. Less common are attempted redesigns of fasteners, which we haven't seen since GRK's "W-Cut" no-pilot-hole-needed screws from 2008.
The interior of the columns are hollow to form channels for the extension arms that allow the tabletop to be raised and lowered. If these parts are misaligned, the width of the channel won’t be uniform from top to bottom, which could cause the extension arms to bind as they move.
These notches are for the ends of the horizontal cross brace that will stretch between the leg assemblies. This step should provide just enough clearance to prevent binding in the channels and allow for the finish that will be applied later on. The tablesaw method is much easier and quicker than traditional mortising techniques involving time-consuming work with hand chisels. Before you work on the blanks, make test-cuts on scrap and clamp together the two halves to check the fit with the corresponding tongues.
Remove the cross brace, then drill the holes for the flanges and the pilot holes for the threads, just like before. I like using laminate for the surface of utility tables because it’s durable and easy to clean up. The rib runs along the length of the tabletop, 6″ from the rear to keep it well out of the way of knees and chair arms. The most accurate way is to use dowel centres—metal plugs manufactured to fit in the holes for most standard dowel sizes; they have sharp points in the centre that make an impression on mating parts brought together overtop of them.
If you round the ends of the pins with sandpaper, it will make it easier to slip the dowels into the corresponding holes in the tabletop. Don’t forget to tape off the edges of the laminate before you start, as stain is difficult to remove. The design I created has a base of laminated sections of plywood and a top of plywood and medium-density fiberboard (MDF). Then turn the top over and mark the holes for the vise(s) on the bottom side so that you can drill small holes through. If you plan to use this bench primarily for glue-ups or finishing, a good choice would be to laminate the top; otherwise, apply a clear finish or just leave it natural.
It's not a matter of simply plugging text into Google Translator; Roubo refers to extinct tools, and the pre-Metric French measurement system differs from anything we use today. Cantilevered support arms cap the top of the extension arms are that the removable tabletop rests on. This is an example in which following the steps in the proper order is critical; it would be impossible to complete this task on the tablesaw if the outer column side was attached first.
Before the glue dries, wrap a rag around the end of a stick to wipe up any residue from the interior.
It’s also important that the extension arms be slightly thinner than the column tenons to create sliding clearance.
The easiest way to create these notches is to nibble away at the waste material by making repeated passes over a dado blade.
Don’t drill too deeply right now—a slight dimple is all that is required to mark the spots. The edges of the tabletop are wrapped with solid-wood trim, and a support rib is mounted on the bottom to make the plywood more rigid. Apply the contact cement to both surfaces and let it dry completely before pressing the laminate into place.
Cut the trim to length with 45° mitred ends and glue the edging to the perimeter of the tabletop. You can purchase an entire set of dowel centres for just a few bucks at most tool retailers. I also recommend sanding the sides of the dowel pins to achieve a more relaxed fit, which also makes it easier to remove the tabletop when you want to adjust the height or dismantle the workstation.
After the last coat of polyurethane has cured for about a week, buff the extension arms with a little paste wax to make them glide smoothly in the column channels.
Add the shelves Stand the front and rear assemblies on their legs on a level floor, and cut two pieces of plywood to fit between the stretchers and aprons and to the desired width of the frame. You’ll need to lower the tablesaw blade a smidgen when creating the notches on the support arms. When the dust has settled, dry-fit the connecting parts one last time to make sure there are no problems that need to be sorted out before final assembly. The only limitation is that at least 8″ of the extension arms must remain in the column channels to support the tabletop adequately. Twist the inserts into place using a hex key and try locking the extension rails into position. Use a roller or the palm of your hand to make sure a uniform bond is achieved over the entire surface.
When you drill the pilot holes for the screws, you will also need to countersink the heads by 1″. You will recall that we intentionally sized the cross brace to achieve a tight fit in the column side’s pockets.

When it comes to work holding tools, there are many devices (sorry, just had to throw that one in there) woodworkers can turn to.
When the glue is dry, run both exposed-ply sides of each component through the tablesaw to clean them up.
Reinforcing the joints in this manner may not be necessary, but it is very cheap insurance that the joints will hold forever. Turn the top back over and use a spade bit to drill recesses for the bolt heads at each of the small holes. Modern-day accomplished woodworkers gamely began replicating Roubo's design, as in the drawing below.[image source][image source]YouTube tutorials went up on the subject, including this staggering 34-part series. If all is well, apply glue to the walls of the mortise openings and slip the column tenons and extension arms into place.
Now, grab your router and install a bearing-guided, flush-trim bit to trim off the excess laminate from the edges. Now that the finish is applied, you may find that the cross brace is too snug and will no longer engage in the openings. Reinforce the jointsAttach the stretchers: Stand the assembly on the floor with the stretcher pointing up. There will be space to install an end vise above the side of the benchbench and form can be used interchangeably to refer to backless and elongated wooden seating. Benchtop detail Next, add two plywood shelves, the lower one attached to the front and rear stretchers with 2-in. We thought we'd show you something that makes for more manageable viewing: A craftsman named Ryan Van Dyke walking you through the features of his finished Roubo bench (which features the Benchcrafted Tail Vise we wrote about earlier). This problem is easily solved by using a sharp chisel to pare off a thin layer of finish from the ends on the inside face. Place waxed paper under the apron mortise; apply glue to the mortise and insert an apron tenon, being sure the pocket holes are oriented properly.
At this point you can attach the top: Place it on the benchbench and form can be used interchangeably to refer to backless and elongated wooden seating. Of the multiples we've seen on YouTube, Van Dyke's video is the clearest and best-shot--but he's rendered it unembeddable. Don’t be concerned if you expose bare wood, because the ends will be concealed in the column notches.
Used to create the lower mortise on each leg, the spacer is driven out after the leg has dried. Furthermore, the term bench has acquired the additional meaning of a work surface, such as a cabinetmaker's workbench."> if desired. Click here to check it out.The latest development in the Roubo translation occurred just last week. All that remains is to reattach the leg assemblies and tabletop so you can put this resourceful workstation to good use. Because the shelves, sides, and top are screwed on, the whole benchbench and form can be used interchangeably to refer to backless and elongated wooden seating. Furthermore, the term bench has acquired the additional meaning of a work surface, such as a cabinetmaker's workbench."> frame and secure it with the pocket holes or battens. The leg stack consists of two outside slats, the lower center piece, the spacer, the upper center piece, and two more outside slats. Locate the upper and lower mortise areas and mark both mating surfaces so that you will remember not to apply glue there. Furthermore, the term bench has acquired the additional meaning of a work surface, such as a cabinetmaker's workbench."> can be disassembled for moving. Clamp the legsReveal the mortises: A simple L-shaped jig helps to lay up the legs accurately. Glues with extended open times (especially in hot, dry conditions) will make alignment of the laminations easier.
Assemble the frame sides and join them with plywood panelsFirst cutPre-cut plywood: If you decide to build a benchbench and form can be used interchangeably to refer to backless and elongated wooden seating. Using both sides of the jig, keep the ends and edges of each slat in perfect alignment and the center slats pressed tightly against the spacer as you apply clamping pressure. Have your plywood seller make the first (above) and second cuts (below) as shown to ease handling the material. Reveal the mortisesClean up the edges: Placing waxed paper on your worktable will protect the wood surface.
When the glue has dried, knock out the spacer block with a mallet and a thin piece of wood to reveal the mortise. Use sandpaper to slightly chamfer the bottom edges of the finished legs to prevent splintering of the outer veneer if the benchbench and form can be used interchangeably to refer to backless and elongated wooden seating. Furthermore, the term bench has acquired the additional meaning of a work surface, such as a cabinetmaker's workbench."> is dragged across the floor. You always will get some tearout when you cut plywood: This can be minimized with a zero-clearance insert on the tablesaw, but in any case rip with the show side of the plywood up. Assemble frame sidesReinforce the joints: Start by dry-fitting the tenon on each end of a stretcher into its respective mortise.
If you do get some tearout, lightly sand away any splinters and keep the tearout side inward when assembling the components. Pocket holesDrill out the pocket holes: The last step before laminating the components is to drill pocket holes every 6 in.
Use a carpenter’s square to bring the stretcher and leg to exactly 90°, and tighten the clamp. Glue-up and tenon workAssemble and glue stretchers and aprons: Even with glue that has a moderate amount of open time, you must work quickly, so do a dry run first and have all components in order.
Remove the excess glue with a damp cloth, put the joint aside to set, and assemble the second leg and stretcher. I apply the glue to all mating surfaces with a disposable brush that has the bristles trimmed, but a roller would work.

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