Workbench: Episode 2

Workbench Episode 2 Keyframe

This is an episode in a free series. Want to watch it? It is free to do so, you just need to log into the site and you can enjoy this video and many other videos we think you will love.

Using the benchtop as a surface, the aprons are planed flat and square. Then they are laminated and set aside before the legs are cut to length and planed square.

Click here to view Frequently Asked Questions

Posted in , ,


  1. Ben Handyman on 17 November 2017 at 10:21 am

    Thank you very much for the detailed video’s about the workbench.
    This weekend I am going to buy the wood for my version of the workbench. I can’t wait for the rest of these videos, but I have plenty enough video material from the youtube series ‘How to build a workbench’.
    Best Ben

  2. Trevor Hosken on 17 November 2017 at 11:40 am

    Like all your videos I learn something every time I watch despite my working in wood for a long time. God bless you. Trevor Hosken

  3. Dr. Ron Goldstein on 17 November 2017 at 12:45 pm

    It is so nice to learn from Paul
    I follow the last workbench – i love the build

  4. James Goodey on 17 November 2017 at 1:03 pm

    I love that you’ve added the sped up parts of the video, it makes a big difference including those.

    • Alan on 18 November 2017 at 6:23 pm

      Is it really sped up? Spot the differences with Part 1.

  5. William Burk on 17 November 2017 at 1:05 pm

    Thank you for the great videos , I can’t wait to get started on my workbench very soon. You have been an inspiration to me to move more toward a less dust more skill kind of woodworking and with the added bonus of Gym free exercise .

  6. Anthony DeRosa on 17 November 2017 at 1:32 pm

    Thank you Mr. Seller’s. I cannot begin to tell you how much this inspires me. God bless you and your’s. Can’t wait for episode 3. Happy holidays!

  7. steve Eastwood on 17 November 2017 at 1:48 pm

    Great video, enjoing all so far, like the use and positioning of the tressel.
    Keep up the ood work / enjoyment.

  8. mark patrick on 17 November 2017 at 3:26 pm

    I have seen old workbenches that were absolutely worn out.
    I presume the original owners worked on them as long as they could.

    It seems like Mr. Paul and other skilled craftsmen could do the same it they wanted to or needed to.

    I think I over stress on my obsession for dead assembly flat bench top.
    The tops he planes are near that.
    I guess my anxiety to start is my need for perfection.
    But I forget that pretty good will be good enough if I just do the best I can.
    If It is not to his standards, I still need to make one just for the experience alone.

    2×4 are at a minimal cost.
    4×4 are available.

    It’s time to get started.


  9. gwidera on 17 November 2017 at 4:04 pm

    Great videos. I’m interested in building a mobile clamp rack and was wondering if you had plans for the one in you video?

  10. tas on 17 November 2017 at 4:56 pm

    Dear Paul,
    Thanks for the second episode! Its currently downloading! Cant wait to watch it!
    Im so anxious its like waiting for a new episode of Game of Thrones!! haha!


  11. Nicholas Newble on 17 November 2017 at 5:02 pm

    Another excellent video, I now know what tomorrow is going to be spent doing! I had already laminated the top following Part 1, so all ready to go.
    I notice that the leg timber I bought has already bowed a bit too so plenty of squaring to be done.

  12. Richard Turner on 17 November 2017 at 5:04 pm

    Thanks for the motivation. I have recently traded in my career in IT to place my hands on wood to earn a crust. Best decision ever made. The best part is doing this is working with hand tools and for the furniture I build, far more rewarding than the dreaded machine and must have gadgets. I have followed Paul’s approach and methods and they work for me, I am as we speak building the workbench. I want to add the draw units at the end of the bench and under cabinet storage, Paul do you have any idea’s on what works best, approach etc for this, thanks Richard

  13. Christian Aigner on 17 November 2017 at 5:11 pm

    I enjoyed every project so far and this one is no exception. Thanks so much!

    Would be nice to see a wall clock in the background when you show the time lapse sections. It would illustrate how much time passed by during the time lapse.

  14. Alexander Shekhov on 17 November 2017 at 5:49 pm

    отличное видео!! очень уважаю вас за золотые руки и простой подход к делу без излишеств! буду делать себе верстак именно по вашей технологии!

  15. Ben Fisher on 17 November 2017 at 5:51 pm

    Wait, didn’t you start with rounded 2×4’s? How did you get them down flat? My ’rounded’ lumber available at the hardware stores would take me like a week of planing to get that rounding removed.

    • jakegevorgian on 18 November 2017 at 6:59 am

      I think that Paul used old stock two by four studs. I’ve a few laying around in my garage and they don’t have rounded edges. But the new stock has an ugly radius. It’ll be totally okay to rip that down on the table saw or a power planer. I don’t think Paul is all against Power Tools…so if you think time is short, it’s fine to machine it. The only difference is that when you use the plane you begin to feel how it cuts and you start to see ways to do shortcuts. For example, it’ll sound terrible, but if you really want to get down to a thickness fast, just plane it against the grain (oh my god, that sounds terrible) but it really works…just note to keep a bit of thickness for final with the grain planing to smooth out all the tear outs.

    • Nicholas Newble on 18 November 2017 at 9:21 am

      For the new style workbench Paul is suggesting using the most easily available (in the UK at least) and cheapest CLS stud timber at a nominal 2 x 3 (50mm x 75mm) size, the actual size of these is 1 1/2 (38mm) x 2 1/2 (63mm) and is why eight are needed to get the benchtop width of 12 inches / 300mm.

      Finding out that there are FOUR different finished sizes of supposedly 3 x 2 timber was an enlightening experience, to say the least! And yes, I ended up with the wrong one so have had to do a lot of planing.

      Stud / CLS: Nominal 50mm x 75mm, finished size 38mm x 63mm
      Scant: Nominal 50mm x 75mm, finished size 43mm x 69mm
      Rough Sawn: Nominal 50mm x 75mm, finished size 47mm x 75mm
      PSE / PAR: Nominal 50mm x 75mm, finished size 44mm x 69mm

    • Ron Dyck on 18 November 2017 at 9:25 pm

      For the underside the rounding doesn’t matter. For the top side, you will be taking off a fair amount during leveling and taking out any twist after glue up. Also, make and use a scrub plane, Working diagonally across the top with a scrub plane is a great way to remove a lot of wood quickly.

    • Philip Adams on 20 November 2017 at 12:59 pm

      Hi Ben,
      Paul’s wood did have a radius on the edges. Some of this has been removed during the flattening process. You can see there is still some evidence of the rounds when Paul is using it as a surface for planing on.

      Paul will refine this later to remove any remaining rounds and to plane it flush with the apron.
      Best, Phil

    • Blacklabretriever on 17 December 2017 at 10:02 pm

      In the U.S., you would have a hard time getting to those dimensions, so I think I’m just going to use actual 1 1/2 x 3 1/2, cut off the roundover, and figure I’ll end up with about 3 1/8 x 1 1/2. Don’t see any sense in cutting off and throwing away good wood when it will just give me a more solid top. Are there any problems with doing this?

    • Terrence OBrien on 26 March 2019 at 9:21 pm

      Today I finished my bench top. I made it from 2×4 pine from the local Lowes in the US. They definitely had big rounded edges. I used hand planes, no table saw or band saw. I had previously built the same trestles Paul uses.

      Before glue, I test planed each board to determine how the grain ran. Then I aligned them with grains all running one way. I think that was a huge help in planing. I started with a #5 Stanley plane going across the board, at a 45 degree angle with the grain. I angled the plane a bit further so it sliced. Went from one end to the other. Repeat. Repeat. That hogged off lots of wood. The big chasms formed by the rounded boards gradually disappeared. Then the glue between the boards disappeared. Eventually, it was pretty flat.

      I paid no attention to maintaining even thickness, just repeated the same 45 degree pattern over and over. After the #5, the difference in thickness from one edge to the other was 1/10 inch. End to end, it was a bit less.

      Then I put it on two concrete blocks on the floor, straddled it, sat on it, and went with the grain from one end to the other. This allows lots of horizontal pressure, with nearly zero downward pressure. Long stretches starting at one end and backing up along the top. (Remember Paul’s demonstration of pulling a plane with a cord? This is the same effect.)

      Last, I used a #4 Stanley, and it all worked well. I did both sides, spending a total of four hours planing.

  16. Julio T. on 17 November 2017 at 6:15 pm

    Following the previous series about workbench building has taken me to make the one I had at home now, but I’m following this new series with more interest yet!

    It’s always interesting watching you making real woodworking. I was tired to watch videos and blogs of people with all kind of sophisticated machines, but these ones are really a nice thing to watch. It’s, like you say, real woodworking for real woodworkers.

    Thank you very much, Paul and team.

    • jakegevorgian on 18 November 2017 at 7:02 am

      It’ll be more interesting to use a harbor freight cheap saw and cheap plane :)) I think that would have made these series even more interesting. Really, any hand tool can be refined and put to work if need be 🙂 cheers

      • ballinger on 18 November 2017 at 11:32 pm

        His spear and Jackson saws are really very affordable at £20 each, most ‘cheap saws’ are hard points and not resharpenable so not of much use. But I get the gist of what you’re saying.

  17. Frank Mcinroy on 17 November 2017 at 6:55 pm

    Great to see you using your eye to check the straightness of the pieces and the tape measure to check if parallel , being an engineer I always have a long straight edge to hand approx 4ft , it’s a piece of ally sheet about 3″ wide 16 gauge thick which was a offcut from the guillotine.
    I use it all the time and find useful to check from corner to corner diagonal to check for twist as well as winding sticks on wide boards.
    It’s a real pleasure to see hand tools being used , the lost art of hand and eye coordination.

  18. ruben verschueren on 17 November 2017 at 7:15 pm

    Any thoughts on this bench design versus a roubo style?

    • jakegevorgian on 18 November 2017 at 6:51 am

      Both benches are great. This one is can be disassembled and moved to a job site with an ease. This one also has quite ridgit areas, like the aprons that really help on some tasks. I think Roubo style workbench is great for display, as you don’t want to ding it—that’s why they use hardwoods for making it, but this bench really is designed to get abused (in a good way) also note that this bench can be made with soft woods (the idea is to use a soft wood so that when working with a different wood species (soft or hard) the product doesn’t get damaged by the hardness of the workbench. Just my opinion as I have one of these…

  19. Phillip DeSpain on 17 November 2017 at 8:42 pm

    I truly wish I had the energy you show as you use the plane on the lumber you work with. Truly amazing to watch

    Thank you
    Phillip DeSpain
    Campbellsville, Kentucky

  20. Tim Royal on 17 November 2017 at 10:03 pm

    Great video, always the great teacher. Thank you for sharing Paul! I actually find it is easier to get a nice jack plane here in the USA (I have 3- a 5, a 605 and a Miller Falls Craftsman #5). I only have one number Stanley number 4 and I have it set as a fine smoother. A decent number 4 is just harder to find unless you go on EBay, which I find too costly, but then I won’t spend more than $40 on a decent plane.

    • Ron Dyck on 18 November 2017 at 9:38 pm

      It must depend on location. Here (Victoria, B.C. Canada) #4’s are far more common than #5’s. I found most of mine at the local Habitat for Humanity – Restore, also try Craigslist and Antique stores. The most I have paid was $30.

  21. Mac McC on 17 November 2017 at 10:43 pm

    Already using the workbench top is a great way to get started. You must have really been tired after seeing how fast you were working there the last minute – haha.
    With all of the measuring and checking you did, may I ask why you didn’t use a long straight edge to check either the table top or legs from end to end? Thank you Paul !!

    • ballinger on 18 November 2017 at 11:38 pm

      Good question, maybe because it’s so fast to place winding sticks. I think as well that most people could make winding sticks easily and have a tape and square to hand. Where I for one don’t have a long straight edge. I’ve never seen him use one for this task, it’s always been by eye or with winding sticks and the side of his plane.

    • Philip Adams on 20 November 2017 at 1:03 pm

      Hello Mac (and Michael),
      Putting a straight edge on a long piece of wood is not a method we often use for checking for twist or straightness. It is hard to get an accurate registration and clear read on what is going on. Using winding sticks and sighting down the piece gets you where you need to be.
      Thanks, Phil

      • Erin on 26 November 2017 at 3:29 pm

        That’s interseresting Philip. I used a straight edge a lot when working on my top, but now that I’m starting my aprons and legs, I’m going to work on developing my other senses. Thanks for the reply.

  22. skraburski on 17 November 2017 at 11:14 pm

    Hi. Thanks for this episode. Althought I’ve watched the old series on youtube couple times I’m always awaitint new episodes 🙂 This time I’ve started working on my workbench but have a question. Wouldn’t it be better to make legs from two pieces of wood glued up? Due to size of my stock I’ll oversize some dimensions (i.e. legs), do you think that’s ok?

    Best Regards

    • Philip Adams on 20 November 2017 at 1:12 pm

      Hello Lukasz,
      You certainly can make the legs from two parts if you are careful to orient the mortise, but there is no particular benefit.

      As far as having oversized components, you can either cut them to mentioned sized and follow along exactly. Or you can use different sizes, which means you will have to think through any possible changes you would have to make to other elements of the bench.
      Hopefully that is helpful.

  23. Brian Miller on 18 November 2017 at 12:20 am

    Thanks for all the asides, tips and comments as you were working. Great, great info only found here thru your experience. Very grateful to you for passing it on to us. I am really getting fired up.

  24. Luiz Castro on 18 November 2017 at 1:41 am

    Nice video. Thank you Mr. Seller’s.

    Luiz Castro
    Belo Horizonte, Brazil

  25. Rod Senn on 18 November 2017 at 2:22 am

    Really like your choice in music ! And the new intro. It matches quite well IMO….


  26. Ted Sherman on 18 November 2017 at 2:47 am

    I just love these–wonderfully produced and so relaxing to watch. I have to ask: what is the music used in between scenes? Is that one of your sons? Is it available to purchase? It’s lovely.

  27. bytesplice on 18 November 2017 at 4:09 am

    I like the scale of this bench compared to the YouTube series, and the new ‘garage’ set is very convincing, save the mallet strikes at 17:40 result in concert hall echos (you might consider hanging some tapestries on the wall behind the camera crew.

  28. Tom McCann on 18 November 2017 at 4:22 am

    I guess I never realized how un-smooth dimensioned lumber is. Knowing that alone will improve my work.

  29. Lee Turner on 18 November 2017 at 8:45 am

    Really enjoying the video series so far, enjoyed your previous bench build too. Glad to see the time lapse video included. It’s also good to see you overcome workpiece holding problems too. Can’t wait to see the next episode and to eventually start my own build. I’ve already downloaded the plans and cut list. Great quality videos and instruction as always. Thank you for sharing with us all.

  30. Darren on 18 November 2017 at 11:40 am

    The tip of rotating one of the saw horses is fantastic, so helpful.


  31. Peter Gaffney on 18 November 2017 at 5:22 pm

    What do you do with all the shavings that end up on your floor? Do you re-purpose them or place them straight in the refuse bin? I ask because I started using some of mine in my flowerbed as a ground cover to prevent weeds. Looks nice with bits of pine and mahogany and others mixed in. I love your videos and they make me feel like I can do these projects despite my lack of experience! A real joy, cheers.


    • ballinger on 18 November 2017 at 11:42 pm

      They’re great for lighting a fire 👍

    • Darren Page-Thomas on 20 November 2017 at 8:34 am

      Yeah, I’ve only got a small collection so far from making a dining table (my first project so its rough) and I’ve been using them to great effect when getting the wood stove going since we started getting some cold snaps in the last week.

    • Erin on 26 November 2017 at 3:32 pm

      I have a neighbor who keeps chickens, and he is glad to receive my shavings.

    • Andrei Volkau on 2 April 2018 at 6:21 am

      Hello! Pine shavings and sawdust are good for mulching American blueberries. They raise the acidity of the soil.

  32. Greg Trim. on 19 November 2017 at 4:48 pm

    I enjoy all of these build videos.
    I built a Nicholson type work bench using the knowledge gained from the first build series that Paul put out.
    I still find myself using a mix of power tools with my hand tools but I use the hand tools so much more now.

  33. Samuel Gregoire on 20 November 2017 at 2:16 am

    love your work ! you are a real inspiration ! Can’t wait for episode 3 !

    Thank you for sharing your knowledge with the world.


  34. Darren Page-Thomas on 20 November 2017 at 8:41 am

    Another great episode with some useful little tips dotted throughout. Nice seeing what you’re doing compared to the original bench videos which I must have now seen 3 times through.

    I’ve been on a bit of an eBay spree in the last few weeks and have obtained a Record 071 Router, Record 044 Plough, Stanley 78 Filletster, and an old Record 52 1/2 ready to get started on this soon. That a vintage Marples sliding bevel, Stanley 80 cabinet scraper an old combination gauge also fell in to my basket is just coincidence! Also treated myself to a new Joseph Marples combi gauge too. A beautiful tool and still made in England to boot!

  35. steve on 25 November 2017 at 9:36 am

    Hello Paul.
    Great video. I am building the bench according to the instructions in ‘Working Wood 1&2’. The legs are going to be glued and screwed (or bolted ) to the aprons. I noticed you use wedges on the plans is the original system OK ?

  36. Philip Adams on 28 November 2017 at 9:48 am

    Hello Steve,
    The original system works fine, but this system allows it to be disassembles and more importantly, the wedges allow you to tighten the joint when there is an movement. Paul would advise wedges even if you do glue the legs in place, but either works.

  37. Tom Davies on 28 November 2017 at 12:42 pm

    Does this design have fixings to stop shearing movement of the legs?

    • Philip Adams on 29 November 2017 at 3:57 pm

      Hello Tom,
      It has housings in the apron for the legs, which are then wedged tight. There is a bolt through each leg and the apron and a screw at the top of the apron into the top of each leg. The drawings linked to on the info page show some of this.
      Hope that helps.

      • Tom Davies on 15 December 2017 at 11:34 am

        But I don’t see any fixings to stop shearing/twisting of the bench (not sure what the right term is)? ie imagine one person stood at one corner of the bench, pushing along its length, with another person at the opposite corner, also pushing along the length of the table, in the opposite direction. Wouldn’t the bench get twisted into a rhombus shape, with no fixings to prevent this? Or are the housing dadoes in the aprons enough to resist this?

        • Philip Adams on 15 December 2017 at 1:45 pm

          That is the exact purpose of the housings and wide aprons, to prevent twist.

  38. Chris Hobbs on 12 December 2017 at 7:13 pm

    Is there any reason I couldn’t use 2x12s for the aprons rather than gluing up narrower boards? They might end up slightly narrower than the finished size called out in the plans. Doesn’t look like that would impact the bench much.

    Thanks for the videos, looking forward to getting some honey-do’s finished up than tackling this build.

    • Philip Adams on 13 December 2017 at 3:03 pm

      Hello Chris,
      No reason not to use 2″x12″ for the apron. If your apron ends up narrower, you do have to watch out that there is enough apron to bolt to the legs below the rails.

  39. Robert Foster on 18 December 2018 at 7:26 am

    I’m having trouble finding kiln dried wood, primarily Douglas Fir, in anything other than 2x4s here in Southern California. The big box stores, Lowes and Home Depot carry the larger dimensioned lumber but it isn’t kiln dried. Most of what I look at ; 2×6, 2×12, 4×4, 4×6 looks clean and straight but what will it work well if I use it for the bench? I can laminate the KD 2x4s I have found but it would be nice to use the full size pieces.
    Any advice?
    Thank you.

    • Izzy Berger on 20 December 2018 at 12:41 pm

      Hi Robert,

      I asked your question to Paul and he said that any wood sold in a big box store is kiln dried before being sold but often the storage conditions before point of sale can be poor and that’s why lumber from these places usually has a much higher moisture content when bought. Ideally you should buy the wood and let it dry in your own workshop before working it.


      • Robert Foster on 30 December 2018 at 8:02 pm

        Thank you for asking, that makes my search much easier and helps a lot.
        I’m on school holiday and this is my week to buy the wood and get the bench started.
        Again – thank you and Happy new Year!

  40. jeffdustin on 28 April 2019 at 9:06 am

    A couple of questions…can you build this bench with only drawbores and no glue? What if the top was a wide plank, similar to an apron instead of gluing the strips of wood together, or could you glue the narrow side edges of 2×6 or similar wood to build the top of the bench? Wouldn’t it use less wood if you glued up the sides of 2×8 or 2×10 or whatever wide boards you have to make the top?

    • Izzy Berger on 30 April 2019 at 3:11 pm

      Hi Jeff,

      Paul has been away so I passed your question on to Joseph and he said:

      Yes, you can build it without glue. There are lots of other configuration possibilities but this is the one Paul has tried and is happy with.

      Kind Regards,

      • Benoît Van Noten on 1 May 2019 at 8:35 am

        One of the features of Paul’s workbench is :
        – the front apron is glued to the workbench-top which makes a rigid L-beam which resist twisting.

      • jeffdustin on 6 May 2019 at 1:04 pm

        Please just tell me to stop asking questions! I am utterly fascinated with the words why and how! Thank you Izzy and Joseph for your patience!

        I remember Paul commenting that projects that are glued together eventually come unglued someday…that “stuck” with me. Lol.

    • Reece on 6 May 2019 at 4:24 pm

      Disclaimer: I have not built a workbench yet. My thoughts on using wide boards for the top. 1) They WILL cup, so you will have to flatten your workbench more often. Depending on where you live you could have to do it once in the summer and once in the winter. 2) the top is suppose to be 3″ thick where are you going to get 3″ boards. 3) I plan on buying the widest and longest(14′ or 16′) 2x?? that I can find and then cutting it into 3″ wide boards for the top. The reason is that these bigger boards generally have fewer knots and you can cherry pick them so that the 3″ boards you get are mostly “quarter-sawn” boards.

      • mark leatherland on 8 March 2020 at 8:33 pm

        Great video! I enjoyed the sped up bit at the end showing Paul planing and trueing up the legs. You can see the efficiency and economy of movement in his Labour which allowed him to beast that job out in one hit. My imediate thought was ‘this man is a machine’ which is kind of ironic knowing Paul’s feelings about woodworking machines – no offence Paul. 😉

  41. Blaise Garant on 25 April 2020 at 3:12 am

    Hello Mr Sellers,

    First I great thank you for your general explanations in all of your videos. I’ve been watching them for quite some time and having not touch a piece a wood before in my life, you gave me the inspiration and self confidence to try and I’m building my workbench right now.

    I have a question regarding your technique to square the short edge of the hapron that you explained in a few other videos. You start on one extremity and move backward as you are able to get full shaves. My problem is that by doing so, although square, the starting extremity always ends up lower than the rest of the board. What am I doing wrong? Also, being in that situation right now, I guess my only solution is to plane the rest of the board even to the lower part. What should I look out for?

    Best regards and thanks again.

    • Jon on 25 April 2020 at 12:24 pm

      Hi Blaise: I’m a novice too, but I went through similar problems. Notice how few strokes Paul takes before measuring. I sometimes get over enthused and don’t want to stop- next thing I notice I’m out of parallel or square.

      Also, notice how fine and consistent his shavings are. That’s because his planes are always extremely sharp. Many problems get better with sharp.

      Notice how he adjusts after he measures. He’s working quickly in these videos and there’s a ton of subtle adjustments he makes. Including sometimes starting at either end or in the middle depending on what he’s trying to correct. Also, notice how he’s adjusting the depth of cut. A lot depends on learning how your individual plane responds.

      One of the really nice things about making the workbench is that there’s a ton of practice on big pieces of (hopefully) inexpensive wood. Paul says quite a few times “it’s a workbench”, meaning, I think, that it doesn’t have to be perfect, just functional and solid. Of course, tolerable for Paul is at the limits of my skills! But nothing beats practice for learning to dimension.

      Slow down. Skills take time and nothing ensures problems like focusing on getting done now. Hurrying always means making problems worse. Paul is fast because he already has skill.

      I’m in the middle of my workbench build too, and I have to learn these lessons over and over.

      Enjoy the process!

    • Izzy Berger on 30 April 2020 at 4:19 pm


      Paul says:

      This is very common at the start of woodworking and using hand planes. We lack the confidence to land the plane and to lift off and the only way to gain that confidence is by constant self correction. What that means is you will have to consistently check yourself by measuring and occasionally take a double shaving on the high spot to keep yourself parallel. This avoids a massive paralleling of the board at the end.

      Kind Regards,

    • Blaise Garant on 3 May 2020 at 3:09 pm

      Thank you both. Back to planing! 🙂

Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.