Introduction: Making a Saw Bench

About: I have been working with wood since I could stumble into the shop with my dad. About a year ago I moved into a house with no space for a full shop so I decided to take up all hand tool wood working. That start…

This is a tool I have wanted to make for a long time. I make making longer rip cuts with a hand saw so much easier, and gives a convenient place to sit in the shop. It can also be used for comfortably chop with a chisel while sitting down.

This one was made from white oak but you could use most any wood would want. You could build it out of pine, but it is a bit thin for that wood. I chose to use White Oak, but most any hardwood would work fine. (Red oak, maple, alder, ash. Etc.)

The Bench should be the distance of the ground to your Knee cap for most people that is about chair height. I made mine about 3' long and 14" wide. but the normal bench is only about 12" wide. I just like a bit more myself.

Supplies Needed

White Oak - about 14 Board foot

1/4” Oak dowel -

wood glue -

Finish -

Tools Used

Panel saw:

#4 Hand plane:

Scrub or foreplane:


Marking Gauge:

Bevel up Low angle plane:

Marking knife:


Bit set:

Block Plane:

Flush Cut Saw:

Dovetail Saw:


Hold Fast:


Step 1: Dimension Lumber

Start by laying out your lumber and choosing where you want to take each piece from.

Next, rough cut all the pieces to length about 1/2” -1” longer than they need to be so you can trim them up later.

Then you can rip them to width. I like to leave them 1/16” wide then plane it to exact measurements.

Next, bring them to the final thickness. In this case, everything should be 3/4” thick. Here is a full video showing that step in detail HERE.

The last step here is to trim them to exact length. I do this with a hand saw and the shooting board.

Now that all the boards are the correct size we can get on to the joinery!

Step 2: Cut the Feet

Next, we need to cut out the recesses in the 4 foot pieces. These should each be half the thickness of the legs.

To do this, I cut the shoulders down with a back saw on either side of what needs to be removed.

Then, I remove the majority of the waste with a chisel, getting close to the depth that we need to cut.

Last, I will come in with a router plane to bring everything to the final depth.

Step 3: Glue TheFeet

Next, we need to sandwich the two legs with the feet we created. this will give us 2 leg sets for eather end of the bench.

This glue up is fairly straight forward. You set each of the legs into the slots created with the feet and liberally apply glue. I use a pile of C-clamps to squeeze it together, but you can use whatever clamps you have on hand.

Step 4: Cut the Stretchers

The stretchers connect the two pairs of legs and are joined with a dovetail. Do not wory if you have never done dovetails this is a really easy one.

I start by cutting the tails in the ends of the stretchers. I really do not care about the shape of these tails as long as they are bigger on the ends they will work fine. I will cut down at an angle to the base line, then, cut in along the baseline to the angled cut. There is a dovetail.

Now, I set the stretcher tail on the leg and transfer the marks of the exact shape of the tail to the edge of the leg. Next, I will cut down along those lines to the depth of the cut, and with a chisel, I will remove the waste between the cuts. Next, you can test the stretcher in the joint and make changes where you need to make it fit well.

Step 5: Glue the Frame

With the stretchers fitting well, it is as simple as adding glue and sliding all your dovetails together. Then add a clamp to hold all the joints overnight.

Step 6: Join the Jops

Now it is starting to look like a bench. I make a story stick to make the same marks on the tops of all the legs. These are where the tenons will be cut.

Then, I can use a dovetail saw to cut down to the baseline on the sides of all the tenons.

Next, I chop out the waste between the finger tenons. I like to stay away from the line as long as possible so the last cut runs along that marking gauge line.

Then, to transfer the marks to the tops I set the whole bench, tops and all, upside down and use a marking knife to transfer the marks from the tenons to the bottoms of the tops.

Last, we can use a chisel and remove the waste for the mortises. Occasionally, test and make adjustments as needed for a nice tight fit.

Step 7: Final Touches

After the top has been fitted, I add glue to the M&T joints. But, I also like to add dowels through the top into the skirt. This helps keep it rigid. I will do this with a bit and brace to drill out a 1/4” hole 2” deep. Then, I drive in a dowel with some glue, then cut it flush with a flush cut saw.

Step 8: FINISH IT!!

I like to hit all the corners with a block plane to champher all the corners soft to the touch. Also, use a plane and card scraper to clean all the joints and bring them all flush.

For a finish, I used Waterlox for 4 coats sanding between them, but you could use most any finish you want as it is just a shop tool this is a great chance to experiment and try something new.

And there you have a fully functional saw bench ready for service