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Monster Bench...(Part II)

Monday, February 22nd, 2010

The majority of projects I build for my shop are completed without the use of plans or sketches; the same practice holds true for the bench that I am building. Still, the construction  of the bench had to incorporate the following design features:

  • Beefy construction using post and rail ends connected with strong stretchers for strength and rigidity.

  • Open concept beneath the work surface to accept future tool storage cabinets.

  • Maximum use of traditional woodworking joinery thereby minimizing the use of mechanical fasteners and hardware.

  • Inexpensive to build; base constructed using common dimensional lumber.

  • Glue-laminated 3" thick hardwood bench top.

  • Aesthetically pleasing yet fully functional.

The base of my new bench is constructed using dimensional lumber. The symmetrical top and bottom rails of the ends are glue-laminated and machined to a finish dimension of 4" x  5" and the 2 posts for each end, also glue-laminated, are machined to a finish dimension of 3" x  3". The ends are assembled using large mortise and tenon  joints and glue. Additionally, sacrificial feet are screwed to the bottom rails to cope with uneven floors.


The stretchers are 2" x 3" and connect the 2 ends together. For added strength and rigidity cross members of a similar dimension, both top and bottom, were added at equally spaced intervals. Mortise and tenon joinery was used throughout the assembly process. Oak dowel pins were also added at the cross members for additional security.


The ends of each rail were miter-cut to eliminate the sharp corner and the edges received a 45 chamber  for aesthetics and to prevent splintering.  The completed base measures 34" wide x 68" long. See Figures 1-7 below:


woodworking bench_01     woodworking bench_02

Figure 1                                          Figure 2


 woodworking bench_03     woodworking bench_04     woodworking bench_05

Figure 3                                          Figure 4                                          Figure 5


 woodworking bench_06     woodworking bench_07

Figure 6                                          Figure 7


The next phase of the project was to attach the base boards and add corner blocks to the top. The base boards (Figure 8), or lower shelf boards, are 2x8 dimensional lumber jointed, ripped to a standard width and planed to 1" final thickness. Before being pre-drilled and screwed to the stretchers the top edges of the shelf boards received a slight 45 chamber.


The corner blocks (Figures 9 & 10) were installed for added strength but more accurately for a place to attach the top when completed. The corner boards themselves were screwed to the cross members from the underside using 4 pocket holes and specialty screws (Figures 11 & 12). Holes will then be drilled in the center of each corner board and lag bolts will be used from the underside to secure the top to the base.


bench base boards     bench corner blocks     bench corner blocks

Figure 8                                          Figure 9                                          Figure 10


bench pocket holes     bench pocket holes

Figure 11                                          Figure 12


I have been very pleased with the construction of the bench to date. I was able to incorporate the design features mentioned above and so far cost has been minimal. Traditional mortise and tenon joinery has been used extensively throughout the bench, however, the use of screws was necessary for the shelf boards and corner blocks. Needless to say, the use of mechanical fasteners and hardware has been kept to a bare minimum.


If you have any questions or comments about this blog entry please do not hesitate to send me an e-mail. Thanks and be safe when working with tools!!!




burgie picture

Robert Burgoyne, also known as "Burgie", has been doing woodworking for nearly 30 years. He started learning at an early age in his grandfather's garage and continued while working with his father in construction. The hobby has now become a business with Creative Landscape Accents. Burgie builds  high quality woodworking projects for the outdoors and also enjoys making decorative accent pieces for inside the house. While not working in his shop doing woodworking Burgie enjoys computers, restoring his old 1964 Chevy C60 2-ton dump truck and riding his Harley-Davidson Road King throughout beautiful Colorado.



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