Wednesday, August 5, 2009

More Benchcrafted Bench Details

In this post I'm going to cover the gross dimensions of the bench, plus some joinery and construction details.

First off, main dimensions.

Top: 7'-3" long, 24" wide, 4" thick.
- center gap: 1-5/8" wide (each top section 11-3/16")

Height: 35" (if you want to build a bench at different height, we recommend adding or subtracting length at the top of the legs, not below the bottom rail)

Benchcrafted Glide Leg Vise:

- Chop 2-1/2"+ thick x 9" wide
- Maximum capacity (chop opened to extent of screw length): 9"

Benchcrafted Wagon Vise:

- Max capacity between jaws: 11-1/4"
- Maximum capacity between dogs with vise in open most position: 75"


- Leg dimensions: 3-1/2" x 5-1/2"

- shelf: 21" wide (space between long rails--shelf rests on cleats attached to inside face of rails) x 49" long (space between short rails, shelf again rests on cleats)

- lower rail dimensions: 1-3/4" x 4" long rails are knockdown joint to legs, short rails are drawbored M & T to legs

- upper rail dimensions: 1-3/4" x 3-1/4" drawbored M & T to legs

In this pic you can see the 1" long tenons which join the tops to the base. These fit without play, into mortises in each top section. They serve to keep the top from moving about during heavy use, and prevent the base from racking. Four lag screws (two in each top section) driven through both upper short rails fasten the top tightly to the base.

The holes for the lag screws are positioned so they fall in the middle of each top section (about 5-1/2" in from the edges of the top).

We use and recommend 1/2" Spax Lag screws. These are made in Germany and are of the highest quality, with high shear strength and deep, crisp threads, unlike the Chinese fasteners available at the big home stores which most the time have very shallow, flat and widely spaced threads. We buy Spax products at our local Menards home center. They may be available locally in your area, but if not Ultimate Garage is a good source.

For info on dealing with dog holes positioned over the leg next to the tail vise, see this post.

The accessory strip that fits within the gap is made to fit sweetly between the tops without much play. It's built from two 1/2" thick strips of hardwood with four 5/8" thick blocks of hardwood laminated between the strips: two at the ends, and two positioned directly over the upper rails of the end assemblies . These two center blocks are notched (seen in the above photo) to fit around the upper rails, so when the entire strip is flipped over (it's about 4-3/8" wide total) these notches slip over the rails and the strip sits flush with the top of the bench. See photo below.

The strip prevents all but tiny tools from falling through the gap. It is also a handy place to stash tools during use, like handsaws and chisels.

With the strip in the raised position it acts as a stop for planing or if slid to the end of the bench, as a bench hook for making crosscuts. In the flush position it could also be used to secure bench fixtures like shooting boards or bench hooks.

For details on vises, please consult the installation instructions and templates provided with our vises on their respective web pages.

Glide Instructions

Tail Vise Instructions

We followed Schwarz's plan for the deadman from his Workbenches book.

If you have further questions about how to build this bench that we didn't cover here (or in the books and links in the previous post) please ask in the comments section for this post. That way all can benefit from the info.


  1. I haven't heard of a wagon vise?

  2. Interesting blog. It would be great if you can provide more details about it. Thanks you.


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