I’m taking another crack at a Stent Panel-style workbench. In truth, I am basically copying one of the Shaker workbenches from the Pleasant Hill village in Kentucky. Well, sort of. I’m skipping the skewed vise-leg and the integrated tail vise. But it will be stretcher-less, 36″ high, a shade over 7 feet long, and between 20 and 22″ deep. The front legs will be flush to the benchtop and the back legs kick out at a 13° angle. It’ll have a tripod bench slave to match.
The foundation of the workbench is a 125″ long, 13″ wide piece of 16/4 ash. From that, I was able to make four legs (approximately 3″ x 4″) and a slab top that is about 88″ long, 12.75″ wide and 3.75″ thick. I will extend the benchtop by mortising a few supports into the back edge and adding an 8/4 ash shelf. This will give me solid wood only where I need it and theoretically allow me to switch in a tool well if I ever go to the dark side.
There will be a proper leg vise (the chop for which is salvaged from another project). I broke out the wood threader and made a couple of 1.5″ hard maple screws. I have yet to decide whether to use a proper pin board parallel guide or whether to use some sort of dowel/wedge combination. I like the idea of the wedge, but I’d rather it not be loose on the floor. I wonder if a relatively-interference-fit guide rod and one of those plastic shim sets would eliminate the need for a wedge or pin board.
I also need to shape a hub and figure out a garter situation. It’s tough without a lathe, but I can probably hand carve something. Although not strictly necessary (because of my Crucible Tools holdfast and collection of does’ feet), I plan to add my Veritas inset vise to this workbench. I really like this piece of hardware and think it needs to make a comeback in my life.
By now, you’re probably asking: what is wrong with your current workbench, James? Nothing, really. But I’ve never really been happy with it. The shelf attracts clutter and I foolishly never incorporated a sliding deadman. It’s also too low for my tastes. 34″ is great for hand planing thick stock, but literally any other operation is torture on my back. I’m not as young as I used to be, after all.
And it will make me happy. And that’s the point, isn’t it?
In a couple of weeks, my old workbench will go up for sale. Including the vise, I’ll probably sell it for $900. I just want to make back the cost of the materials (including the vise). I’ll even throw in the screw-driven crochet.