I get more questions about workbenches than any other – and among those, many of them are about the LVL (Laminated Veneer Lumber) bench Christopher Schwarz and I built in 2009, that appeared in the November issue.
After more than five years in use, the top remains dead flat. It has a few dings from chisels and the like, but it had not needed flattening. in contrast, my pine “roubo” bench at home that is three or so years old has been flattened four times (and is due for another session).
The base? Well, I’d recommend southern yellow pine or some other kind of affordable “real” wood; the LVL compresses (as it’s designed to do), and that means the top has been pushed off the base by the pressure of the leg vise. I’ve added a bullet into the top of the front left leg and into the underside of the top, and that helped for a little while, but…now I just use a shim to make up the difference – an easy if somewhat vexing fix.
That said, the thing is heavy as all get out and has performed well for me. I love the sliding “deadwoman,” leg vise and quick-release tail vise, and I use this bench every day at work. Someday, if I ever get some free time, I’ll likely rebuild the base from SYP, using the same knock-down design.
Or maybe I’ll just build another bench altogether. I still have about 18 to go to catch up with Schwarz.
But, with the change in base material, this is absolutely a bench I’d recommend. So here are the plans, free. Happy Hanukkah, Merry Christmas, Happy Kwanza ,Merry Festivus, Happy Wednesday night.