I’ve alluded to it several times, but I finally finished over the weekend the toy workbench for my niece and nephew. Although it took much longer than expected (due to my sloth, mostly), I am unequivocally pleased with the result. At 23.5″ long, by 12.5″ deep and 23.5″ high, the piece is not exactly in proportion to a full size workbench (which was the original goal), but nonetheless will serve its purpose. If anything, it’s a bit tall for my nephew currently, who should grow into it within the next year.
Right away, I knew this project was something special when the laminated benchtop came together so easily. I took great care to S3S each piece for the lamination, so it was a snap to glue up all nine pieces at once and then flatten the slab once the glue dried.
Constructed mostly of leftover home center Douglas Fir, much of the stock that went into the bench is quartersawn or riftsawn (three legs and both stretchers being the exceptions), so it should be a pretty stable piece for a long time. The joinery throughout is solid and relatively simple:
- The legs are stub-tenoned and glued into the underside of the benchtop (drawbores felt a little extreme for a toy workbench).
- The side rails are flush (but not glued) to the underside of the benchtop and stub-tenoned and glued into the legs.
- The front and back stretchers are half-lapped to the legs and affixed with with glue and a single No. 10 wood screw.
The shelf, which after much agonizing I glued and nailed to the underside of the stretchers (shortcuts do make sense, sometimes), is off-cut pine siding (rather than Douglas Fir), planed S3S.
All in all, the toy workbench weighs about 40 lbs. It would have been heavier, but I lost some thickness on the benchtop slab on account of chopping mortises on the wrong side.
I would be greatly surprised if it’s not still around for my grand-nieces and grand-nephews. And now I have some practice for when I make the real thing.