The Joinery Bench, Best Idea in 200 Years

If you are a regular reader then you know we’re into workbenches at Popular Woodworking Magazine. We’ve printed several articles on benches, bench design and using benches effectively over the past few years. Our fearless leader, Christopher Schwarz, has written the definitive book on the subject and is knee-deep in yet another workbench build. With all of that, you might think there isn’t much new to say on the subject. Enter reader Tim Williams of North Carolina, and his idea for a specialized bench devoted to joinery.

Here is Tim’s description: I am a professional cabinet maker, woodworker and instructor at the Asheville Woodworking School in Asheville North Carolina.
In recent preparation for a hand cut dovetail demonstration I spent hours hunched over my “Schwarz approved” workbench to find I had developed a pronounced curvature of the spine that I call ” Dovetail Igoritis” ( what hump?).
That’s when it dawned on me, what if I had a bench that was a suitable height for hand joinery! Then I realized given my space constraints that it would have to be diminutive enough to not over take my “shop” if you can call it that. It would only need to be large enough for mainly hand joinery.
So i am sending you a couple of photos of what i came up with. The bench is 38″ tall, 34″wide and 24″ deep with a 6″ wide 4″ deep tool tray. Random 3/4″ dog holes (kept just under “swiss cheese” status) for various accessories with an integrated slot for holding my saws and chisels while cutting and paring, that doubles as a planing stop.
The legs are LVL ( thanks guys!) in an offset x configuration with an 8/4 stretcher that has a couple of dog holes for storing holdfasts and such.
The top is 2-1/2″ thick with a 4″ apron in cherry and white ash. The main workholding is done with an all wood twin screw vise that has a mere 15″ between the screws (my regular bench has 33″).
I hope you enjoy this creation or abomination depending on your point of view,  as my back is slowly starting to straighten up again I find myself using this bench alot more than my standard bench.

This bench provoked a lot of comments over on Chris’ blog, and a lengthy discussion on the WoodNet forum. Tim also has a blog of his own: WoodTherapy Blog

Thanks again to Tim for sharing,

- Bob Lang

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