Ryan’s PurpleHeart and Maple Workbench

Viewer Project - By Ryan Goetzmann from Skaneateles, NY
Added on September 5, 2018

This bench is primarily made of PurpleHeart. It took about four months to complete working on it in all free time. I mainly used hand tools to complete this bench. My Lie Nielsen no.8 was definitely the workhorse of this build. I modeled this bench after the Holtzapffel workbench, except I used a leg vise instead of a twin screw on the side.

It features a 5.75″ thick solid PurpleHeart top that sits on top of some massive Hard Maple Legsand PurpleHeart stretchers. I did not want to use any mechanical fasteners during, so all the joinery is drawbored mortise and tenon. The edge profiles on the legs and stretchers are handcut stopped chamfers with lambs tongues going up the ramps. The lower shelf is re-sawn PurpleHeart that floats on stretchers and was tongue and grooved. The rear vise is an old antique Sheldon Quick Release vise with a 12″ opening and 9″ wide jaw that I restored to excellent working condition, the chop is Tiger Maple and PurpleHeart with hand carved details. The leg vise is Bencrafted with a crisscross and it’s a sweet vise! The leg vise is Tiger Maple and PurpleHeart with all hand cut profiles and details. I also turned some new PurpleHeart knobs to match. The sliding deadman is Tiger Maple, and is removable if need be and utilizes some old Stanley no. 203 Bench Brackets to support panels while hand planing. I also added a Benchcrafted planing stop mortised into the bench as another hold down option while hand planing.

My bench stands 32″ high x 28″ wide x 96″ long, and weighs approximately 750-800lbs. I was able to complete this bench on my lonesome and through all the heavy lifting and hundreds of sharpening sessions. I’m super pleased with the outcome and it’s a dream to work on. When you go to the mill and 8/4 PurpleHeart is on sale for $3.66 bd/ft it’s a deal that couldn’t be passed up, but I would think twice again before having to work with that much PurpleHeart…even at that price.


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