A New Workbench, Part 1, or No More Tool Chests in My Studio!

An early form of Woodworker's Bench used by the Romans consisted of a stout plank on four splayed legs.

R.A. Salaman, Dictionary of Woodworking Tools, 1975

I am a little tired of my tool chest.

As soon as I close the lid things magically appear on top of it.

I remove these items so I can rummage through the chest to find what I need.

And the stuff reappears once the lid goes back down. I think the wood working elves are having fun with me.

I work in a small studio, it's 10'x11' and is between our bedroom and kitchen. I have some storage with shelves, but I desperately need another work surface for finishing my guitars.

I spent most of last week working on building the carcass (yes, I am using the American form of the word) for a new work bench. I sawed out the tenons by hand, I drilled all the mortises with a brace and bit. While doing all that I remembered why I never got into furniture making, I really don't enjoy making squares and rectangles. When you make a guitar you work with voluptuous curves, you can't mistake the feminine shape of a classical guitar. Curves are more fun to look at and handle than sharp corners.

I found the plans for this bench at Shop Notes, click here to see the plans. I like the looks of the bench, but I found the plans to be a little over worked and who ever came up with it loves dadoes! All I really need is a flat working surface and some nice storage space. I am going to adjust the drawer sizes to fit my tools and because of limited space I will make a set of sliding doors instead of those that swing out. And no vises. There isn't enough room in my studio to have the vises that are on the plans!

Just having the unfinished plywood top down has made my work life a little easier, it is so nice to have an extra work surface. I plan on spending one day a week working on finishing the bench, I need to start assembling some guitars!

If I were ever to make another bench, one out of hardwood instead of Douglas fir, I would make a close copy of Norm Vandal's Shaker inspired bench that is in Scott Landis Workbench book. His bench makes much more sense when it comes to its construction than this one does. This one will work and serve it's purpose.

I do know that as soon as this bench is finished the tool chest gets the boot!


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