I had a discussion recently with another camera geek/woodworker about shop space and workbenches. I dug up some old photos of my two benches, and now feel all nostalgic about them. So, I present them here. They’re not perfect, and were somewhat purpose-built specifically for certain woodworking tasks. But I love ’em, they’re superb for what I do, and they’re just plain cool.

My first bench is tall and works perfectly for power tool duties. Here’s a shot of the first dry fitting of the blind mortise and tenons:

The blind joints were ultimately pinned, and I added supporting rails with wedged through mortise and tenons:

The top is a 2-1/2″ thick maple block top from Bally Block. I added a woodworking vise from Lee Valley to the front, and skirted the whole thing in maple. The base is ash. Finished, and clean (for the last time):

Years after that bench was done, I got into building Windsor chairs. I needed a lower bench, with the capacity to work seats and bend parts. I built another ash bench, low enough to double as a lathe bench. I had an antique leg vise and harvested the screw from it. Another Bally top, and a Veritas twin screw vise, and I had my chairmaker’s bench:

The leg vise is a thing of beauty, and is strong
Leg vise...

The second bench is a much better general-purpose bench, ideal for hand work. The other is great for drilling and routing, and general assembly jobs where working more at eye height is preferred.

I need to clean both off again. Horizontal surfaces tend to attract clutter in my shop.


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