Workbench Progress

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    I’m working on a workbench of Paul’s design with some very slight modifications. His design with the aprons dadoed into the leg frames is fantastic. I rammed the bench from the end as hard as I could and could not rack it all. It’s rock solid.

    I built the entire thing out of glue up Douglas fir 2×4’s including the aprons. I just couldn’t find quality lumber in 2×12 and actually think it gives the aprons an interesting look. I extended the right side for a tail vise. The well is 7″ wide. I counter-bored the screws a bit for plugging, but had to be careful on the aprons because with the 1/2″ dado, I only counter-bored about 1/8″.

    The total bench height is 38″ and I’m 6′ tall. Someone was collecting statistics on that as I recall. It seems like it might be about an inch too tall, but I can always cut it down.

    Thanks Paul for this great design. I’ve learned a ton building it. Now to just find the time to finish it.


    Looking gooood 😉

    Nicely done Jeff 🙂

    Joseph Sellers

    Looks wonderful. Nice work!


    Really good looking bench 🙂

    Nice job!

    Located in Jönköping, Sweden.


    Thanks all. I was looking at plans for another traditional workbench and started counting up the number of power tools they required. Bandsaw, router with table, table saw, joiner, flat top saw blade, dado blade set, drill press, mortiser, three different router bits, various routing jigs, dust collection, etc. Paul’s design and techniques: Chisel, handsaw, mallet, combo square, knife, plane. Lower electric bills and a smaller gut to boot.


    That is a nice bench Jeff,

    hope to built one myself someday.

    Lopik - Netherlands





    Jeff / Dick …..Nice benches guys.


    Hi Jeff,

    I sincerely think you’ve made an excellent job of your bench.  Standing at 6’2″ I tend to prefer a taller bench and have a feeling you will too, as I find having mine set at between 38″ – 39″ in height tends to ease on back ache and stress in comparison to lower bench heights.  More positives come to light as you find yourself not having to stoop when cutting dovetails, etc., laying out work, chopping mortise, assembling finished pieces and the list goes on.  You find yourself able to relax into your work and discover the fact correctly positioned work pieces helps one shift focus from aching joints/muscles and on to more important aspects such as cutting accurately, planing freely and allowing technique to develop and flow more readily. 🙂

    IMHO A great deal of mis-information is out there regarding recommended bench heights – heavily based upon 100 yr plus benches – but many seem to forget craftsmen of old were shorter in stature (Average height was between 5’4″ – 5’7″) and bench heights followed suit regardless of whether they were using wooden, iron clad infill, or iron bodied hand planes.  Reduce my height by 7″ and a 34″ bench height would be close to ideal for me to work at,  but the likes of Chris Schwarz (At approx 6’3″) must suffer when using such low benches.  If not now, he will in future yrs.  What I’ve found over the past 46 + yrs is that if a bench top rests approximately an inch or so below your navel it will tend to be the right height for you and not too far below your centre of gravity.

    One tends to find workers with lower benches elevating their work in order to be able to manipulate materials and tools more comfortably, or placing more emphasis upon the use of bodily strength and bearing down onto their work as if trying to force.  Allow the tools to serve their intended purpose and physical exertion lessens to a relatively stress free point of relaxation.

    Some recommend users should plane from the legs and hips, but fail to recognise the fact our hands, arms and shoulders play a massive part in controlling the way the plane interacts with materials as both are manipulated beneath our guiding eyes.

    Building a marginally taller bench provides leeway to reduce it’s height if necessary and certainly saves potential problems encompassing the use of risers should it prove too short. 😉

    Food for thought and very well deserved congratulations on building a lovely looking bench Jeff 🙂




    It looks just great! congratulations!!!

    I’m plannig to make my own “Paul’s Bench” but I was wondering that my bench will be against a wall (i have no space for laying it out in room’s center), so do you think the “one top – one wellboard” design suites better? (I’m talking about the bench described in Paul’s DVD)


    Best regards to you all,



    If all round access isn’t required and you’ll only be working from one side of the bench I’d suggest using the “one top – one wellboard” design. 😉



    You are in the same situation as I was.  Little space so I made a bench using Pauls design and made it 4 feet long. It is absolutely rock solid and I am sure it will last me a long time until I have access to a bigger workshop.



    Thanks again all. Alvaro, my thinking first was to make it too tall. Easier to cut the legs down than to add wood. Also I’ve got limited space too, so I’m going with the “one-top one wellboard”. I’ve already had chisels roll off my bench and figured I’d save myself some sharpening. The big ones don’t roll, but my little 1/4″ jobby will literally roll uphill to try and find a way onto the concrete. I thinks it’s old, tired and abused and trying to take its own life. ; )


    Sounds like your old chisel was made by Lemming & Co. 😀



    Yeah, I just hope it doesn’t try to lead my other chisels off the cliff. ; )

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