Step 7: The Base, step four - Trestle rod holes

Now that we have parts, we'll take some of them -- two legs and two short stretchers -- and make our first trestle.

Matching up the parts

Not every part and not every cut will be perfect. Match up your parts so that the less-than-perfect parts are in less-than-critical locations.

The top is supported by the top ends of the legs and the top sides of the top stretchers. Stand your legs on end on a flat surface (like my door) and see if they wobble. If you have an end that isn't quite stable, use it as a foot, where the leveler will make it's flaws unimportant. Check the top edge of each stretcher for straightness. If one has a bit of a bow, use it for a lower stretcher. It's less critical that the shelf be well supported along its length.

Do a trial layout to see how the parts fit together. Label each part to indicate which part joins with which.

Mark the holes

The holes we want to mark are the holes through which the threaded rod connecting the two legs will run. This threaded rod will run through the 3/8" groove along the bottom of the short stretchers,. The hole for the upper stretcher has to be positioned so that when the rod is running through this groove, the top of the short stretcher is even with the top of the legs. The most precise way I've found for marking the position of this hole is to use a dowel center. Fit the dowel center into the bottom groove, line up the stretcher, and bang on the end with a rubber mallet. The dowel center will leave a mark indicating the center of the hole.

The precise position of the lower stretcher is less critical. I marked out a position 8" from the end of the legs.

Drill the holes

In the "Getting Started with Woodworking" video, the holes through the 4x4's were drilled from the back. That is, they start on the side opposite the precisely-positioned mark, and drill through to hit it. If they can do this, more power to them, but I can't drill through 3-1/2" of wood to emerge at a precise mark without a drill press - and not always then.

I drilled from the mark. That way I could ensure that the hole was where it was supposed to be, on the side where the position was critical. I have two 3/8" bits -- a brad point bit that came with my doweling set, and a perfectly ordinary 3/8" twist bit. Brad-point bits are far more precise than twist bits -- they're more likely to start where you want them to, and they're more likely to stay straight. My problem is that my brad-point bit wasn't long enough to go through 3-1/2" of wood. So I started each hole with the brad-point bit, then finished it off with the twist bit. I clamped a piece of ply on the back, to reduce tear-out.

When the holes were complete, I flipped the legs and drilled the countersinks with a 1" Forstner bit. Trying to drill a countersink when the center was already drilled would be impossible with a spade bit or an auger, but Forstner bits are guided by their edges, not their center, so they can handle this job. On thing about Forstners, though -- they have a tendency to skitter around a bit when starting, before they bite. An easy fix for this is to drill a hole through a piece of ply, and to clamp that to your work, creating a jig that will prevent the bit from drilling in the wrong spot.

The countersinks should be deep enough to hold a nut and washer, plus a little bit.
This may be a silly question or something no one has thought of but I need to ask...I am left handed and use most of my tools left handed. Would you recommend building it in a "mirror" fashion?
Absolutely. And it's not a silly question. Most left-handed woodworkers set their vises up reversed - tail vise on the left and face vise on the right.
<p>Thank you for the excellent instructable. I had a little extra funds and short on time so I skipped the edging and went with two ikea beech countertops. Vise jaws were old oak stair treads doubled up. Two coats of natural Danish oil. I am pretty happy with it, can't wait to start on some projects.</p><p>Lessons learned: Watch out for knots! Also countertop seems a bit thinner at the front and back not great for using the entire depth. Next time I would go with the 2&quot; prefinished hardwood workbench top they sell at lee valley. Same price, not quite as thick though, and they don't deliver. They also just added a nice bushing/bit set for making your own jig to drill the holes. I will probably move the flip down casters to the outside of the leg and higher up they don't get enough leverage to lift the table easily where they are. Also bolt through the leg don't use the little screws they give you.<br><br>I make a sketchup file for the workbench here: </p><p><a href="https://3dwarehouse.sketchup.com/model.html?id=ufc9f7839-a28b-47a0-b8a7-51fd47c02377" rel="nofollow">https://3dwarehouse.sketchup.com/model.html?id=ufc9f7839-a28b-47a0-b8a7-51fd47c02377</a></p>
Looks amazing. I'd like to go for a solid hardwood top too. How did you laminate the two pieces of beech? Glue, screws, both? If you used screws, did you pre-drill larger holes on the bottom slab to allow for movement? Or is this defeated by the glue? Thanks!
<p>I lined up the top and bottom pieces, and drilled the holes using an upcut spiral bit on my router before gluing. It wasn't long enough to go all the way through the second layer so I had to take a second pass to finish up the holes on the bottom. Then I used dowels in the holes to perfectly line up the pieces and used bolts with big washers through the holes to clamp them together while gluing, then routed the edges flush. Make sure if the counters are bowed you want the gap in the middle not the edges. One problem I had is the counters are tapered at the edges and I only took 1/8&quot; off which was not enough so I wound up with a little gap I had to fill with glue before routing the edges. I used yellow glue so it matches pretty good and looks like it's supposed to be there.</p>
<p>Thanks, very helpful. Nice tip with the dowels and bolts. I was worrying about the two slabs contracting/expanding independently, but I guess that by gluing the two slabs any width-ways expansion will happen as a single block of wood. And that can be accommodated by the slight play in the table-top S fasteners.</p>
<p>You could also band the edges like the original plan and avoid the problem entirely but I was being lazy it seemed like a lot of extra work for just a workbench.</p>
<p>Hi Jdege,</p><p>How does a front vice differs from an end vice : In Mechanism or In Size ?</p><p> Regards,</p><p>Ritesh</p>
<p>The only difference between the two vice mechanisms is the distance between the screws. The end vice has them placed farther apart.</p>
<p>Thanks!</p><p> Gr8 help!</p><p>However, I am finding it tough to get them india..may be I have to wait.</p>
This is professional works ! Thank you Jdege ! Please do one foe me... ^~^
<p>Hi Jdege,</p><p>I don't see anywhere you mentioned the over all length of the bench top. A piece of 1 1/2&quot; x 25&quot; x 8' glued edge oak at Lumber Liquidators costs $192 including tax. Two piece is almost $400! Would that be better if I use two IKEA 1 1/4&quot; x 25&quot; x 74&quot; solid Beech ($99 each plus tax) on top of a layer of 3/4&quot; Birch plywood. That would be 3 1/4&quot; over all. </p>
<p>I was at IKEA in Philadelphia today. There is no 1 1/2&quot; glued edge beech counter top. They only have either 1 1/8&quot; solid wood or 1 1/2&quot; beech over particleboard.</p>
Yep. They discontinued it a year or so ago.<br><br>Try Lumber Liquidators. They sell butcher block countertop, and might have a store close enough that you could avoid shipping.
<p>Thanks so much to share step by step to build workbench</p><p><a href="http://tedswoodworkingprojectplans.blogspot.com/" rel="nofollow">http://tedswoodworkingprojectplans.blogspot.com/</a></p>
<p>This makes me want to buy a house just so I can build a workbench!!! </p>
<p>I must say you are one of my favourite woodworking. You are doing a very good job at filming, presenting, and woodworking. And plans are nicely done an free.</p><p><a href="http://tedswoodworkingprojectplans.blogspot.com" rel="nofollow">http://tedswoodworkingprojectplans.blogspot.com</a></p>
<p>Hey Jdege!</p><p>Greetings from India!</p><p>Thanks for your detailed work description, they are very helpful. Can you please help me with the dimensions of the vices(jaw width and jaw openings) or post their model numbers!</p><p>P.S : I am brand new to woodworking, but surly build this workbench</p><p>Regards,</p><p>Ritesh</p>
I used Rockler's quick release front vise and end vise. There are links in the I'ble.<br><br>I'd suggest that you have the vices in hand before you start, rather than trying to fit by measurements.
<p>Almost complete with mine, will post a photo when I've had a chance to apply some finish to it. I have to say that I've never worked with MDF before, and I hope to never again for a similar application. In retrospect, it would have been work the money to just buy hardwood to avoid the stress.</p><p>I'll share the vise that I'm using since I'm not sure anyone else has pointed it out (http://www.amazon.com/Woodstock-D4026-Cabinet-Makers-Vise/dp/B005W16LVE/ref=sr_1_5?s=hi&amp;ie=UTF8&amp;qid=1426440611&amp;sr=1-5&amp;keywords=woodworking+vise+for+workbench) for ~70 buck you get an awesome vise, well-machines, that you just have to add lag bolts/ #12 screws, and a dowel to and it's functional. I'm using it for the front vise, but I think it would be viable on the end too with a large wooden jaw.;</p>
The plans I was working from used MDF for the top. I would not, even as a later under hardwood, if I were to make this again. I'd double up on counter top, or by a purpose made bench top. (Ikea has discontinued the countertop I'd used. The replacement is hardwood over particle board, which I don't think is suitable for a kitchen, let alone a workbench.)
How much did it cost you overall? As like an estimate?
Didn't really keep track. The vises were somewhere around $200 each, the countertop was about the same. The rest of the lumber and hardware was under $100.
<p>Question: I'm new to this and thinking about tackling the project: did you consider using two dowel centers at the same time when marking the legs rather than one in each position, one at a time - did you have a reason to avoid doing it that way?</p>
Asa Christiana's design only had one dowel for each stretcher. I had started out that way, when I found Sam Allen's book, which used two. I thought that was a good idea, and went back and added the second.<br> <br> I don't see any reason why marking both holes at the same time wouldn't work.
<p>Any specific reason to make the end vise area flush with the base dimensions other than additional stability for the end vise?</p><p>In Asa's workbench, although he doesn't use an end vise that end extend 2-4&quot; from the base legs.</p><p>I plan to add an End vise in the future, but not right away. Just trying to figure out if I keep the 2-4&quot; overhang on that side if I'm setting myself up for worse end vise solution when the time comes.</p>
I never really considered doing anything else. Most of the end vises I've seen were full-width. What I was thinking, when I decided to add the end vise, was how useful it would be to be able to clamp large panels with the bench dogs. And for that, you want to have bench dog holes that are widely separated. <br><br>When I'm just clamping something, I use the front vice more often than the end. The end vise I more often use with the bench doGs.
<p>Appreciate the effort on the post. With reference to the Sam Allen tabletop design (3 sheets MDF and hardboard), what's the best approach to laminate all the layers? </p><p>Should you screw &amp; glue through 3 layers of MDF from the bottom up, then screw the hardboard from the top? Or is there a better route?</p>
I'd screw through the third layer into the two. I can see no advantage to screwing through twice as much material.
If I had a vacuum press, I'd just glue and press. Since I don't, I'd glue and screw two layers together, then remove the screws and glue and screw the third. I'd not fasten the hardboard at all, I'd just hold it in place with edge banding<br><br>Clamp a slightly oversized piece of hardboard to the top, then route the edge so it's a perfect fit. Then screw strip of hardboard around the edges, so that they are slightly proud, then route them flush. The hardboard top should be sufficiently secure, just sitting loose, constrained by the edge banding.<br><br>I'm in the process of constructing an assembly table that will use this technique to build a sacrificial hardboard top. I'll have an I'ble posted in a couple of weeks.
<p>Thanks for walking through the 3 layer lamination idea. I had planned to go 3 layer with the floating hardboard and oak for the edgebanding - so you helped to confirm that. </p><p>So, after the initial 2-layer glue and screw, do you then screw again through the 2 layers (now one) into the 3rd with glue. Or, just glue the 2 layers part into the 3rd and call it a day?</p>
<p>I just pulled out my copy of Sam Allen's book (<a rel="nofollow">http://www.amazon.com/Making-Workbenches-Planning-...</a></p><p>In it, he suggests using nails to provide clamping pressure between the layers of MDF, and using contact cement to hold the hardboard top in place.</p>
<p>Sorry, just noticed that link was to a newer book. The Sam Allen book I have, that contains the plans that inspired Asa's, that inspired mine, was: </p><p><a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1561585947/ref=pd_lpo_sbs_dp_ss_1?pf_rd_p=1944687462&pf_rd_s=lpo-top-stripe-1&pf_rd_t=201&pf_rd_i=1402741936&pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_r=1Q9N2NSH51KKMA9NQEHT" rel="nofollow">http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1561585947/ref=pd...</a></p><p>The older book was from 2004, the newer from 2008. I don't know whether the later book includes plans for the same workbench as the old.</p>
<p>great tutorial for building a real <a href="https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=772440499514329&id=674515182640195" rel="nofollow">Woodworking Bench Vise Made In USA</a></p><p>thank you</p>
Thanks so much for the great instructable. Just finished mine, can't wait to put out to use.
<p>I skipped the 2 layers of MDF and just mounted a work top on top (got this off ebay - new, 2m 40mm solid beech for 70 quid, delivered!)</p><p>Used sapele for the vice jaws (it has an end vice now too but hadn't installed that when I took this.) Couldn't find S-Clamps over here so made some buttons using leftover sapele to attach the top.</p><p>Including both vices (veritas, but one was second hand off gumtree), cost &pound;330 quid!</p><p>So far have built a shoji/cinema projector screen. Next up - bookshelves! Wahoo!</p>
<p>In fact - it was less than that - only cost &pound;266 in total!</p>
<p>Awesome! I hope to build this some day.</p>
Well, I finally have it almost finished, a couple of more coats of Danish oil and the shelf and it will be done. Bowling alley lane cut down to 7 ft by 3 ft, some stringers for the side rails are from the Detroit car show, 8 ft by 8 inches by 1 1/2 inch maple veneered plywood that I cut down to 4 inches wide, like little beams. The levelers are heavy duty for pinball machines (Ebay). Thanks again for the instructions.
<p>Geez. Is it a workbench or a dining room table for a queen?</p><p>Well, I guess even if your projects fail, at least you will always have something beautiful to look at in the workshop...</p>
Thanks jdege. Although you can't see them very well, there are 93 holes in the table, 4 rows of 22 plus an additional 9 in between those on the side vise end. Three holes in the side vise jaw, 4 in the end vise jaw. There are 4 holes on the side vise leg and another 5 on the leg at the end vise leg, total of 109. Oh yeah, the jaws are bloodwood.
Nice job.
<p>FYI this looks like maybe an easier way to do the dog holes, using a spiral up-cut router bit: </p><p><a href="http://www.popularwoodworking.com/video/workbench_dog_holes" rel="nofollow">http://www.popularwoodworking.com/video/workbench_dog_holes</a></p>
<p>Hey there - I love the instructable, so much detail. Thanks for putting it together!</p><p>I have a question about the grooves in the long and short stretchers:</p><p>If the top grooves for both are both 7/16&quot; in from the edge, wouldn't the threaded rods collide in the legs, since they both go all the way through?</p><p>Thanks! hope I get a reply this far in :)</p>
<p>Nevermind! figured it out by looking at the picture. That's why the threaded rods are grooved on the bottom for the short stretchers. I had thought threaded rods went through both grooves; now I get that the grooves &quot;on top&quot; are for the s-clips.</p>
<p>Very impressive job's </p>
gotta check out SA's book and AC's video for comps,but this work of yours has me second guessing tapered wedge tenons and bed bolts for sure...man you are indelible
I am a Builder (Seabee) in the Military deployed to Afghanistan. I found you site I love this site I have my own work shop at home can not wait to start building&nbsp;again. &nbsp;While deployed we have used some of&nbsp; your projects. Thank you for this site.&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;
My goodness, I'm exhausted just reading this. Can't wait to get out and try it myself tho. Great job, man. Mad props.

About This Instructable


2,179 favorites


More by jdege: Making Kombucha, the easy way An assembly table from a hollow core door French cleats for tool storage
Add instructable to: