Introduction: Workbench With Reclaimed Tabletop

Picture of Workbench With Reclaimed Tabletop

This is a sturdy workbench with adjustable feet using a recycled table top that can be replaced later on with something else.

Why make this ? It's a lot of fun to learn, experiment with some techniques and a lot cheaper than buying one.

Making it from scratch means it can done to any dimension, including height, which is extremely important for tall people like me.

This workbench present a number of features to make it both strong and visually pleasing, including 3 axis dovetails of my invention (though I do not claim to be the first to come up with it, I haven't seen that design elesewhere) and a bit of carving. There are almost no screws or nails used in the construction

To make it challenging and rewarding, this bench was made using mostly hand tools.

Step 1: Planning the Work: Blueprints and Measures

Picture of Planning the Work: Blueprints and Measures

The very heart of the project is to have some precise measurements and a clear picture of the final result.

I started by designing the 3-axis double dovetail assembly then made scale 1:1 drawings of it.

I then proceeded by designing the rest of the pieces.

It resulted in 4 legs, a set of runners for the sides (one at the top that interlocks simply with a notch and one at the bottom using the dovetails) as well as 2 middle runners (top and bottom, dovetailed)

I also planned to place a woodworking vice.

Taking in account the size of the tabletop and the way it is built, I designed a cutting plan and made estimates on how much wood I needed. A trip to the hardware store to check what standard sizes they have and I was set.

Everything is pine.

Legs are 90x90mm, bottom runners 90x45, top runners 90x30.

With the wood bought, next step is cutting it all up.

Step 2: Cutting the Top Notches

Picture of Cutting the Top Notches

The interlocking top runners are simply notched at 30mmx45mm (half the width of 90mm). This ensures the top of the bench is solidly assembled, and doesn't require dovetails unless you are really keen.

I used a handsaw and chiseled out (after drilling some helping holes) the waste.

Step 3: Cutting the Dovetails

Picture of Cutting the Dovetails

The most delicate operation of the build.

This was my first real experience with dovetails. It requires precision well below 1mm and I have not met this criteria in a lot of places but still managed to pull it out.

Again, handsaw, helping holes with a drill and chisels were used to make these. It is time consuming and a slow process but patience and care will yield great results.

Step 4: Bonus Step: Bottom Panels

Picture of Bonus Step: Bottom Panels

At this stage I pictured placing bottom panels, creating a shelf on the bottom runners. To that end, I used a vintage stanley shoulder plane to cut a groove in the bottom runners so that I can later place the panels and have them neatly flush with the edge of the runners.

Step 5: Bonus Step: Signing Your Work

Picture of Bonus Step: Signing Your Work

I like signing my work if it's of good quality. This build, with the tripe axis double dovetail, qualifies and I though I would spend some extra time on finishing the design by engraving name and date on it, like it was the custom last century.

The design was laser printed at scale one then taped on the wood, and chiseled out. Sand paper to finish, then a bit of ink and paintbrush to complete the job.

Step 6: Assemble

Picture of Assemble

The moment of truth. Even though the joints should be tested and adjusted throughout the build process, the final assembly will reveal the real success (or failure) of the build.

Every piece was prepared and assembled carefully, by pushing the joints using a flat piece of wood and a hammer. No hammering on the part directly ! Some clamps were also used to help push some of the joints.

The legs were drilled at the bottom and adjustable feet installed (salvaged from an old desk).

I then started by assembling the bottom runners to the sides, then the top runners to the same sides.

Next was the bottom runners, bottom middle runner and last the top runners.

Step 7: Bonus Step: Add a Vice

Picture of Bonus Step: Add a Vice

I bought an old wood working vice and adapted it to the bench. It was included in the build early on to make sure that it would fit.

It is an awesome complement and with careful planning, can be installed flush with the surface of the table top.

Step 8: Finally, Start Working on Some Projects

Picture of Finally, Start Working on Some Projects

This is my workbench at the moment. Made for my size, sturdy large and friendly. And good looking.

Many improvements can be made. I can finish with a stain, add a sliding holder, replace the table top with something thicker for holdfasts etc.

But for now am happy and proud with my own design and build.

Comments

Yonatan24 (author)2016-02-24

Hi, I've added your project to the "Make Your Own Workbench!" Collection

This is the link If you are interested:

https://www.instructables.com/id/Make-Your-Own-Work...

Grunambulax (author)2015-10-01

The joints are brilliant.

sickdog74 (author)2015-09-18

Those joints are amazing! Great work!

CJStephens (author)2015-09-18

Beautiful Joints! looks great!

seamster (author)2015-09-16

Those joints are phenomenal! So beautiful. Great looking finished table!

maluco (author)seamster2015-09-16

Cheers :D

RuudvandeLooij made it! (author)2015-09-16

That's a great looking workbench. I'm finishing my modular laminated plywood workbench at the moment. But that woodcarving is a great idea. I'm definitely carving my initials on my bench. Just finished the test a little smaller than the final version(s) will be. So maybe a little early for an 'I Made it!', but 'I Made it!'

maluco (author)RuudvandeLooij2015-09-16

Nice job ! Worth it I reckon.

MoTinkerGNome (author)2015-09-16

I love your dove tails. I have been looking for an interesting design to make an Island for MRS Tinkergnome and I may just have to incorporate them. Those are GORGEOUS!

maluco (author)MoTinkerGNome2015-09-16

Well, thank you for the compliment. Have fun with the build !

jbrauer (author)2015-09-16

Nice work, I like that shoulder plane, and the dovetail design. I did some white oak table skirts that have a through-tenon going one direction, then a tusk tenon at a right angle through that. But I never tried locking dovetails together like that, looks tricky.

maluco (author)jbrauer2015-09-16

It is tricky, in appearance only. Large dovetails like that are easier to cut than small ones in my opinion. Might be overly complicated, but then I looked at Japanese joinery used in temples and furniture, and it blew my mind away. Their average level of 3 axis joinery is amazing, even at small (furniture) scale. In the case of a fat workbench, it's only a bit of work but in the end it fits and holds.

BCDesign (author)2015-09-03

nice job on those joints they look great!

maluco (author)BCDesign2015-09-03

Thanks. I was told I must have had too much spare time to work on them. It took hours, especially as it was pretty much my first real dovetail experience, but it is so totally worth it.

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