Members' Gallery - Share Your Builds

Beech Englias workbench

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.

English workbench in Douglas Fir

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.

Don's workbench

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!

Garys Workbench May 2021

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!

Jef's English Workbench - with some leftie design tweaks

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!

Saw Horses

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.

More workbenches!

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 English workbench.

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 🙂

Finally finished

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!

Katherine's bench

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

Planing brace

This was the toughest joint so far and I well and truly made a meal of it. Everything was going great until I had to free-hand saw the dovetail shoulder on that 45-degree angle. I went and cut it about 47-degree. I could see as soon as I started the cut that I was going off the line. I ploughed on thinking I might as well make it a neat cut even if it is at the wrong angle. I decided I would fix it by changing the angle of the whole joint as I'd not cut the leg bit yet. By this time I had bought a shoulder plane and that came in very handy. So now when I come to cut the apron joint for the brace, It won't be 45 degrees - I'll worry about that later! I was all happy with my bodge until a little bit of the shoulder then chipped off. That rounded off a bad day!

Trestles

When Richard knocked his bottom rail in it was great that the legs bent in slightly for him. This made it easy to tightly fit the top rail as it was sort of pincered in place. That didn't happen for me. I should have checked the straightness of the legs. I found they were slightly bowed out. So even after knocking them together the top rail was not nice and tight. I had to use clamps to do the dry fit so the top rail didn't fall out and get damaged.

Notch for the apron in the leg

I read a forum post of someone doing the English workbench build and they made a mistake I was about to make before I read the post. That was cutting the notch out for the apron on the legs. If your boards aren't "bloody big" boards like Richards's, then you have to adjust the size of your top rail. You need to make sure the top rail plus the width of the bearer is smaller than the width of your boards. If it is bigger you'll have a gap. It won't be seen but you'll know it is there!

Legs

My biggest mistake on the legs was not flattening the sides of the legs before cutting the joints into them. The side where the shoulder of the rail joint sits was slightly out so the joint was extremely tight on that side. At first, I tried planing the top of the rail to ease them in. Luckily I checked the legs for squareness before planing too much off. I had to square that inside face then after cutting the joint into the legs.

Rails

I found the 2 hardest parts of the rails to be first getting the shoulder cut straight. Even 1/2mm out and it looks naff. To fix this I made a cutting guide with magnets to get them straight. Hopefully, I'll get better at just cutting them straight from the saw. I don't have a shoulder plane to help either. Secondly getting the dovetail bit flat and level. On practice attempts I found mine to be lumpy. After a few goes, I realised that I needed to make longer, lighter strokes with the chisel.

First Trestle

Not perfect, but I'm happy with the result. On to the rest.

English workbench

Still got a few holes for the holdfast and a planing stop to fit at some point (if I get round to it!), but otherwise finished. Great series, and a fabulous no nonsense workbench. Thanks Richard!