Introduction: Sliding Deadman for Workbench

So i wanted to get more options for work holding on my woodworking workbench. Vises along with bench dog holes offer many clamping options, but adding a sliding deadman to your bench really opens up more possibilities when working with longer stock.

For this project you will need:

A completed workbench

1= 2x12 ( i used pine to match my bench but you can use whatever species you like)

A way to cut the shape ie bandsaw, jigsaw, or if you are bold, you can cut the shape with hand tools only

A Drill or drill press to drill the holes in the deadman

Layout tools and preferably a punch to accuratley mark where to drill your holes

Step 1: Make the Runner for the Deadman

With your saw blade set to 45 degrees, make 2 cuts on the edge of the board so as to create a point or V . Then take a small amount away from the top of the V so as to decrease the chances for binding down the road. Once your runner is cut, you may remove it from the rest of the "mother board" Keeping the board as one solid piece at first just makes it easier and safer to work with larger materials and not having to handle smaller stock closer to the spinning sharp blade.

Step 2: Create the Rough Shape of the Deadman

Now that the runner is complete we can focus on the star of the show, the sliding deadman itself. From your rough piece that is cut for the deadman, take the blank to the table saw and cut two 45 degree cuts in the opposite orientation of the 45s on the runner. In essense make your "V' upside down from the first cuts on the runner side. Then, cut an L shaped tenon at the top side of the deadman blank at roughly half the thickness of your material. This tenon will ride in the channel on the bottom side of the workbench top.

Step 3: Cut the Channel for the Top Side of the Deadman to Ride In

Make sure to take your time and get these measurements precise so that your deadman will slide freely along the length of the bench. Ensure the Dado will be cut in the proper place, and i havent included any measurements in this because each bench will differ and every deadman will differ, depending on materials and styles. With an edge guide on your router, start cutting the dado in several shallow passes so as to not bind the router. I also did not cut this channel to the line with the router, in order to fine tune it later with a chisel. The end of the dado closest to the leg will have to be removed using a drill and chisels, as the base plate of most routers will not allow for travel all the way into the corner.

Step 4: Start to Form the Deadman's Final Shape

Now you can begin to layout the points where the dog holes will be drilled into the deadman. It is advisable to do this before cutting out the overall shape so that it is easier to pull measurements. Then you may draw out the overall shape that you want your deadman to be. I made a measurement at the top, bottom and midpoint and just freehanded the line, but you can be FAR more accurate with this process by using more measurements or a set of french curves to layout this line. Once you have the locations for your holes, center punch them to keep the drill bit from wandering. Then you can drill out your dog holes on the drill press or with a drill and a drilling guide or jig. After the holes are complete you can cut out the rough shape that is sketched out on a bandsaw or with a jigsaw. Fine tune the shape with sanding, files, or rasps until you are happy with the look of your deadman.

Step 5: Install the Sliding Deadman and Runner

Now that you have all your parts complete, its time to install them on the bench. Place the tenon on the top side of the deadman in the dado that was routed out earlier, then slide the runner under the bottom side of the deadman and manuever it into place. You can glue the runner down, but this will permenently affix the deadman to the bench, or you can choose the route i did and screw the runner to the bench. This allows for the removal or modification of the deadman setup down the road. If you do choose screws, just make sure to counter sink the screw heads so they do not create a catch for the deadman sliding along the track.

Step 6: Add Wax for Decreased Friction

Now you can add wax to the Runner and the dado channel to make the sliding deadman slide more freely. This is optional and it should slide well enough if all of your measurements are correct but adding the wax will make for a much smoother glide in your new accessory.

Step 7: Put Your New Deadman to the Test

Place a long piece of stock with one end in your vise and the other end attached to the deadman held firm by some sort of holdfast. This allows you to have support for the work on both ends and holds it firmly to the side of the bench so you can perform many different tasks. Here i show myself taking the bark off a piece of live edge cherry and it is held securely in place so that i can do the necessary work with the draw knife.

Step 8: Go Watch the Video for More Information

I hope this tutorial is helpful for anyone out there wanting to add some versatility to their workbench. You must remember that your workbench is a jig (the largest one in the shop) and anything you can do to improve work holding just gives you more options with working with different materials. If you have any questions feel free to send me a message here or in the comments section of the video.