Well, this is my trusty English Workbench in Douglas Fir. It's my first proper woodworking build, and I've since built several of the projects from this site using this bench. I smile when I think of Richard's comment from the series preview, where he mentions he could "knock one up in a weekend." This took me months to build, an hour each day, starting from rough sawn boards. And while it wasn't easy at times, it was the ideal project for introducing proper techniques. The build made it easy to transition to joinery in other projects, and provided confidence to build with only a few tools. And I made plenty of mistakes. I remade the planing brace more than once, split a couple boards with cut nails, spacing between the plank top is more than intended, and the list goes on. But it's still the perfect bench. It's solid, works perfectly, and lacks nothing. I installed a Lake Eerie 2X wooden vice, Benchcrafted planing stop in ash stock, and use a couple of Gramercy holdfasts. The bench measures 8' long and 27" wide. The top is exactly two inches thick. It's finished with two coats of Tried And True Varnish oil. I built this bench a year or two ago, and I've included pictures of it since then. I know most workbench photos show a new, untouched bench but I thought I'd show mine with a few miles on it. This series was my path to Richard and this site. I was simply looking for a sturdy workbench (that I could build without a workbench). Instead, I discovered hand tool woodworking. I know Richard doesn't care for "the sentimental rose tinted shite" but building this bench is a lesson in more than woodworking, I think.
Almost finished. Just need to leather prep the vice, drill the holes for. The holdfast and make the toothed planing stop. Been fun making it but hard graft with beech an hand tools.
It was a revelation to make this entire wood bench using hand tools. The skills I learned building this bench will be with forever. I loved I could make bench left handed.
My first piece of furniture! Hopefully not the last. Built over about 5-6 weeks with just a jack plane, block plane, ryoba saw, marking guage, knife, square, ruler, mallet, hammer, punch and one chisel. Thanks for the lessons!
Well all I can say is I had a go! Made from fence posts, floor joists and 4 x 2s, more knots than timber. What a learning experience. Loved it! I will make a smaller one but next time I will use some decent timber and hopefully my joinery will be much better. It is a solid, stable beast though!
My first woodworking project since school (a long time ago!). It took about 3 weeks of long evenings and some weekend work. I thought it was going wrong at several stages but it all came together in the end, and all the working surfaces are flat and square. My early joints were a bit hit and miss but i absolutely nailed the vice mortice - spot on square, so got it right when it counted, with just enough experience to take on that joint! The traditional wood screw vice (Lake Erie Toolworks) is a delight! I made a couple of design tweaks - as a leftie I had to decide whether to move the vice position but in the end i went for traditional left mounted, so my (right handed) sons can use it too, and it just doesn’t look ‘right’ the other way around. However i did add a second planing brace on the right trestle, so aggressive planing can be done in both directions - i also like the symmetry this gives visually. To increase the L/R flexibility, instead of Richard’s planing spike design i bought a pair of Simon James blacksmith-forged toothed dogs, which are ¾” hole mounted. They still suit the traditional feel of the bench but can be moved from one end to the other to accommodate left and right handers. The only other change i made was to add a lower central brace, which means the two upper ones work with it as a triangle – i was concerned there was a risk of my apron cupping outwards over time, due to the orientation i ended up mounting it in and noting the half-glued apron joints, so that central brace triangle should help stabilise it. I've learned a huge amount in a few weeks and wish to give great credit to Richard for his hugely insightful and highly accessible tuition style which was really transformative. I've learned a huge amount very quickly and I’m delighted with the results. Ready to take on my next project – the spoon rack. Looking forward to doing my first ever dovetails!
Knee high saw horses based on: https://www.theenglishwoodworker.com/the-saw-donkey/ . Made from reclaimed fence posts. Sacrificial top can be changed if too damaged. This was my first try at M&T joints and pegged M&Ts. It makes a good platform to built my English Workbench while I don't have a bench. Stout and sturdy - start here if a bench build is too overwhelming as a first project. I'm glad I did.
Finished my workbench in March 2020 and it's had a lot of use since, not all woodworking! here's an old shot when I first finished it. Also, while I'm not sure it was Richards original intended use for the design, I've just been building a mud kitchen for my goddaughter and decided the best base for it was...... and English style work bench! It's not quite finished but for a bunch of old pallets it's certainly has a lot of strength. I'll try to remember to post a picture of the completed beastie.
My completed english style workbench build. I used mahogany wood except for the reclaimed Ipil wood for the legs. Finished it with 2 coats of linseed oil/varnish/thinner and waxed it with beezwax/BLO. My favorite part is the big face vise with 3” diameter wooden screw, i think i did something right as it operates very smoothly without racking 🙂
That took a hell of a lot longer than I imagined. I enjoyed it, though and I've ended up with a beast of a bench I'm very happy with. Thanks for the videos!
Here is my English Workbench, I am very pleased with it and slightly amazed that I made it, I started with a very low skill level. The timber I used was mostly reclaimed from my Dad's barn, so not a square corner or flat surface anywhere, the week I optimistically allowed to build it just about sore the wood flattened and squared, 6 weeks later I had a workbench, all built by hand except for ripping the length of 9x4 in half for the legs. There is very little perfect about it so good job perfection isn't a thing and you would need something larger than a gnat to measure the inaccuracies. However thanks largely to my engineer husband and his vernier calipers the joints are good in all the right places so it stands solidly on all 4 feet and the surface and aprons are flat and square. I missed out the planing brace as it looked like a skill to far and my bench is only 5ft long, to fit in the shed, so less leverage to cause racking. I'll add holes for holding things when I know where I need them, it has been much admired by friends and relatives, one suggesting it looked strong enough to park his car on, it is a pleasure to use. I thoroughly enjoyed making it and could not have done it without you're instructive clear and entertaining videos, good job they're digital, I'd have worn holes in tapes at all the difficult bits. Thank you very much Richard and Helen