As a new woodworker, starting last year at the ripe age of 34, I was tired of the sub-par store-bought MDF workbenches. After watching various videos on YouTube, I decided it was essential to have a trusty work surface that would not move around.
Stationed overseas with the Navy, wood selection is…shall I say—limited. Pine being the overwhelming favorite here in Spain, I set on a course to build a workbench using limited tools (basic hand tools, plunge router, corded drill, and powered miter/tablesaw combo and techniques learned from Paul Sellers, Steve Ramsey, and of course, The Wood Whisperer!
In the military, I move a lot, so I needed a bench that would last and survive 3-4 moves per decade. Without any real plans, I set to work using through tenons with chiseled mortises, draw-bored anchoring, finger joints (to extend the length of the bench top), lamination, and improvised vise engineering.
The leg assemblies are static, made of Bangkirai and Ipe. The top is 5′ long with laminated and finger-joint-extended lengths of pine. The primary vise screw was procured locally, the support is simply a square steel pipe with a mortised through-hole for a guide, and the jaw is made of Sapele. The secondary vise was re purposed from a sub-par MDF bench (and will likely be replaced in a year or so) and uses a Bangkirai jaw with a Purpleheart dog. The dog holes are 20mm with matching dogs made from dowels. The top was finished with 6 coats of varnish and the legs and jaws were treated with linseed oil.
There will likely be changes to come and upgrades to consider, but overall, as a first real woodworking project (outside of command plaques), I am very pleased. The workbench takes 30 minutes to put together and remains rock-solid while retaining the movability factor.
I greatly appreciate the training and inspiration Marc and others have provided. I hope that this project goes to show that with minimal tools, incredible lessons can be learned and a worthwhile addition to any shop can be accomplished. Thank you for looking!