I've built several general purpose benches over the years, many of which for general site use. This is my first attempt at a joiners bench built purely using and for hand tool use. At 6' by 2' it's not big by any means but perfect for the size of projects I intend. Inspired by Richard's French bench series it was built around a laminated redwood slab found at a local timber merchant. It was 72" by 18" and just under 3" thick. The end trestles are ex 4" redwood with drawbore mortices. As we are soon moving the stretchers are stub mortices with coach bolts for easy knock down. The tool well is redwood and ply. The vice and deadman are ash, the runner chestnut and the pin guide iroko, may seem like odd choices but the materials were easily at hand. I'm intending a lower shelf but may include drawers. The bench took a little over three days spread over a week and cost £150 including hardware. I'm looking forward to many projects using this.
My newly completed bench in my newly completed workshop. I couldn't be happier with the results, and Richards instruction and style helped a ton. A few years ago I wanted to get away from power tools, so I sold off what I could do without and started buying old stuff off eBay and restoring it. Finally got to the point that I had a room in the basement I could use for a workshop. After getting that all squared away, it was time for the workbench build. My first hand tool only project. Being able to build this bench without already having a bench was likely it's biggest selling point for me....no big laminations and such. But it also has a traditional beauty that I don't think can be denied. Since I couldn't get 8/4 pine here....we'll, I could, but the price rivaled beech and pacific coast maple. So I went to the home center and bought green doug fir construction lumber. Mostly 4x8, but also 4x6 for the legs, and some 2x boards for the trestles and bearers. The top three boards finished out about 3 1/8" thick, and I took the front apron down to around 2 1/2". While I'd have loved to go the wooden vise screw route, I was a bit worried about clamping narrow boards against the top, pulling on the apron. So I went with a twin screw, chain drive vise that attaches to the underside of the top. Works great, but was unfortunately more expensive than all the rest of the bench materials combined. The process of building it was great too. I learned a lot, and with so many trips to the sharpening stones, finally know what truly sharp is. Thanks for those videos as well! I've rambled on long enough. I simply can't thank Helen and Richard enough for putting out such great content in a way that's instructional, informative, and entertaining. Cheers to you both!
Finally finished my workbench I've been working on for about 4 months or so now. Hard to find time with a family and other stuff going on, home repairs etc. But I wanted to start working with hand tools, and what frustrated me the most about hand tools in the past was not having a way to hold them steady. I knew I needed a workbench to do some serious woodworking, so I started looking for a bench build. Most designs had a glued up top, which I didn't want to tackle since you kind of need a bench for the glue up, and a lot of clamps, which I don't have. So I narrowed it down to a couple benches, ultimately deciding on the English Workbench because : 1. it ticked all the boxes I needed, 2. it didn't need a glued up top, 3. the sample video quality and Richard's style blew away the competition, 4. Looks like they taught the basic skills needed, 5. I like the traditional look. So glad I chose this. I had barely any hand tool experience as far as joinery ( I had previously built things with table saw and pocket holes etc) I was able to build it with a pretty minimal set of tools as you can see. And I learned a TON of really good skills and joinery. A lot of little tips and tricks I never would have thought of. I did make some mistakes, but alder is cheap enough where a mistake wasn't very costly. But the best way to learn is by making those mistakes to see what works and what doesn't. I mainly followed the plans except I added the removable split top spacer to hold tools, allow for a saw/plane stop, and allow for clamping, as you can see in some of the pics. I used red alder, as that is about the cheapest wood available where I live, and much more stable than the construction grade wood at the big box stores. I slapped on several coats of BLO and turps, until it stopped absorbing anymore basically, probably 5 or 6 coats. Nice grippy surface. Used a $39 USD vise screw from Amazon, works good. Will add the Veritas pop up saw stop later. Since I shortened mine to 5' , I was having some space issues on the left with the vise parts already, didn't want to add another block of wood to that section. So far its working great, using it for working on a Ukelele kit with my daughter, and really enjoying all the clamping options. After that I'll probably crack on with the hall or side table build to build up my hand tool skills. Thanks!
My first real project, built over the course of a year. Kids (2.5 and 1 years now) , new job... not much time. No, it's not perfect and since I did change some initial design choices later on some things are a mess. Still, it's a bench, it is flat(ish), and it is mine and I built it! From construction grade spruce or fir, some pine, 180cm long, tool well (removable skinny board). I need to tweak the vise and screw guide bars - again, but I'm actually quite happy (and proud).
Hi Richard & Helen, This was my first workbench build and to be honest I was a little uncertain about how it was going to turnout. I watched the videos and studied the plans quite a bit before I started. Almost to the point of stalling, however, once I got going everything went pretty smoothly. Sure I made a few mistakes along the way but I’m happy with the result and feel like it was all a great learning experience. Thanks again! Neil North Carolina
Building this bench was hard work but worth every minute. After spending months of watching videos about building work benches I finally came across this and together with the way Richard teaches you how to Build it just so straight forward and with a bit humour which makes all the difference an the great camera work off Helen a thought well I reckon I can do that and well a good few nights after work and weekends I did ! And I even managed to get the top and aprons timbers free offthe last job I'd done for a customer 8x2 joists they worked a treat , I also wood 100% recommend the vice screw that Richard mentioned from dictum tools its pricey, £230 but amazing ! And hopefully I'll never need another. I built the bench 7ft long 26inch wide and 34inch high And it feels great I'm about 6ft tall and have 3 broken vertebrae in the middle of my back that had to be fused together in surgery and a bit of titanium scaffolding placed either side to straighten me back up and also have a battery with wires to my back implanted under my skin to stimulate the damaged nerves in my back to ease the pain , so the height was a big decision for me and so far so good 👍 I'm not sure how it's going to be if I have to cut lots of dovetails or pieces were you have to be bent over for long periods so I might have to adapt , but apart from that its probably the first and only bench I'll ever need it's a cracker solid as rock thanks Richard and Helen Ste
I ordered these wonderful screws from Richard a couple of year ago and have finally put them to use. I couldn’t be happier - these screws have immense power behind them, look gorgeous and run smooth as warm butter on toast. The English work bench series was instrumental in getting off my a**e and building it. Although I hope one day to see Richard undertake a series on the far too fashionable French bench (sorry mate). These were originally for my eventual Roubo bench but I needed a vice! So enter the Moxon-Felebien. It’s big - 9” high but I’m 5’ 8” and my bench is 29” largely for hand prepping. Also I find with my buggered back that ripping vertically or horizontally (and I’m using Japanese saws mainly) is easier on my back and ergonomically suited to eastern saws. With the huge capacity I’ll be able to use it for resawing with the frame saw I’m gonna build and ripping with my Maebiki Oga once I’ve sharpened it. Funny thing is with this vice and my giant slab sat on trestles I’m beginning to think I don’t even need a fancy bench - I just want one:-)) Thanks again to Richard and Helen for all their passion, inspiration, charisma and guidance.
My take on Richard's workbench is 2.4m long and 0.8m wide. I'm quite tall, so it's 94cm high and I have found that I like that height. The timber is a West Australian eucalypt called Karri, a whopping great tree that can grow 85m high, straight up with a spreading crown. It's used mainly for construction, but I think the timber is quite nice for furniture. The vises are from an Australian maker called HNT Gordon, and are fantastic. I can't speak highly enough of these face and tail vises. Thanks for looking, Zac.
I learned more than I could ever have imagined making this bench. Gave myself whopping awful tennis elbow using a dodgy hammer with a slightly loose head, and made every mistake in the book - sometimes while I was thinking about them even! But it’s done and I’m so happy with it... and so is the wife :)
My english bench is entirely made of 1 1/2" construction lumber. The aprons are two boards thick and the legs three boards thick. I did a bit different from Richard's plan. The aprons are seated at the bottom of the trestle's notch. To avoid problems with seasonal movement, the bearers are a tad higher than the trestles top, so the top dosen't touch the trestles. I just fitted a leg vise with a cheap metal screw from LeeValley. It's my second vise using this type of screw, it works great. I will do a second flattening soon, than a coat of tung oil, and voilà ! It's a bit on the rough side, I focused on fonction rather than look. A fun build and a solid bench for years to come. Thanks Richard and Helen for what you do, you guys rock ! Daniel Qc, Canada
This is the state of affairs with my bench build as of now: The top has to be prepared and a vise needs to be attached.
I had to move my bench together with all my tools to where I used to practice drums. The bench is ready to be used (despite the fact that it could use a planing stop and some coats of oil). For attaching the aprons and top I didn't had long enough nails... I can't resist the pun: I had to screw it up, but I think I nailed it. :)
A lot of work went into this, but the whole process was very satifying! A great project for beginners all the way up I'd say - I've only be doing this sort of thing for about a year and was able to follow along...made plenty of mistakes, but the end result is rock solid and a pleasure to use. One note - I'd install a vice like Richard uses - the Record QR one I had was a real pain to install (but worked out in the end)! A brilliant series - looking forward to the next one already (after I've made the spoon rack...for all my, er, spoons) Thanks Richard for a fun series
It was much more difficult and complicated work than I thought it will be... but the satisfaction in doing and making... that is something. My is 270 cm in width, 90cm in height, and 65cm deep. It took me four weekends to make. More than few mistakes made. Wrong measurements, resulting in gaps here and there. Not looking for twist or neglect them, resulting in problems with twisted bench frame (fortunately that twist correct itself). Doing things in the most laborious way. Now I can make all the mistakes that there are in woodworking world, with comfort of my workbench :-) I'm Polish. Around here, woodworking workbench is called "Strugnica". You can translate that as a "planing bench". On photos you can see whole proccess. Now is the time to organize all things in shop. There is a long list of items to build. Things like saw vise, sawing bench, tool shelf based on Paul Seller bookcase. And now about video series. What I really like about your series is that you not only explaining how to build, but also why it's constructed that way and not the other. For example, you talk much about top movment over time, and how all construction elements are design to minimise that movement. Or when you talked about workbench height. You explain this with very concrete arguments for both low and high workbench. And you left the decision to others what they need. Another thing is that you go step by step, exactly, not skiping any obvious thing. I do not recall the moment in which I miss some information that I needed. What I like is that you are focusing on getting job done. I mean live for this, you have to be efficient. There is a lot information about how to make thing beautiful. But how to make thing efficiently... that is a valuable information. So, please continue this in your videos. -- Pozdrawiam Aleksander Stacherski