A GRAND WORKBENCH
A real labor of love.
SHOP OWNER: Peter Berglund
LOCATION: Denver, CO
My bench was a labor of love, consisting of about 200 hours of careful work. I started with plans from The Workbench Page (now defunct), which I modified to allow for the drawers in the base. The top is hard maple, and the base is wormy soft maple. I love wormy soft maple - the character and figure are beautiful. The bench dogs are made from bubinga. The vise hardware came from Woodcraft Supply.
The board jack slides on splines, and is easily removable. I copied its design from the Shaker bench plans in The Workbench Book by Scott Landis. The drawers are white oak with mahogany fronts, all hand dovetailed. The web frames also are of white oak, ebonized.
The back and sides of the bench are frame and panel construction; the panels were resawn from wormy soft maple, and thicknessed and smoothed using hand planes. The bench is finished with equal parts of melted beeswax and boiled linseed oil, thinned with turpentine.
I built this scrub plane from an St James Bay rough casting, with tote and knob made of padauk.
Now in hindsight, after three and a half years of use, the first thing I'd reconsider is the tool tray. It takes a great deal of discipline, since it fills up with tools and shavings quick. I clean it out, put everything away, and chaos begins to take over again. Maybe if or when I make a wall-hung tool cabinet, it'll be easier to keep tidy.
In addition, there are times I wish for a second row of dogholes when I'm working on wide pieces. I've got a couple of those pop-up cast stops that mortise into the bench top, but haven't broken down and made the holes for them yet.
Lastly, the drawer guides suck - my first attempt at designing them. Some of the drawers get stuck if you don't push them in perfectly straight. Other than that, I love it!. . . Peter Berglund
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