Benchtop Curing After Being Joined
  The finished size of the benchtop is 93" in width X 34" in depth X 1.25" in thickness. The top is constructed of Bazilian Cherry and Chichipota that was milled from larger lumber into selected sizes.
Cabinet and Benchtop Come Together for First Time
  After installation of the casters (two solid + 2 swivel with locks), the 3/4" maple plywood with solid 3/4" maple face frame - double sided could be moved with some ease to various workstations on the main floor of the shop. In this photo, the drawers, doors and faceframe panels have yet to be built or installed.

3" Spacer
  This 3" spacer is used to connect the benchtop to the lower case. The inclusion of this spacer allows for mounting of two vices without hinderance of the main box that supports the entire unit.

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 Biscuit Joinery
  The alignment of the three sub-parts into one major slab of hardwood would have been a very difficult job if not for the biscuit joinery tool and #20 biscuits that both added strength to the joint and kept the three small slabs in-line with each other while the clamps were applied and the glue cured.
 Critical Accuracy of Benchtop
  Cutting with saws either by hand or powered did not do the precise job that a large router with a .5" shank three carbide cutter head would do with a 'trailing board' to follow on the bottom side. The measurement of this large slab was within 1/16" of being square.
A Little Sun and Warm Air Helps the Curing Process
  The entire project was rolled outdoors into the fresh air to help with the drying process. Three days were allowed for curing before moving of the final slab was done.

A Little Extra Help
  To avoid bothering other shop personnel and saving my back in moving this slab of hardwood that was estimated to weigh near 150 pounds, a 10K lift truck was used to move the final project around and up into the air to provide for an easy working height.

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 Faceframe
  This view of the workbench provides an idea of the final design. Drawers of 5", 7" and 8.5" depth on both sides of a large storage area should give plenty of storage for hand and power tools. A Jorgensen 10" face vice will be mounted on the left overhang and a Veritas Twin-Screw vice will be mounted on the far right of the front of the bench. At this time, the entire project is estimated to weigh near 400 pounds.
A Solid Line of Yellow Glue
  A double coat of 'TiteBond' on both sides of the joint was applied plus #20 biscuits were added every 8" the length of the two major joints. The shop's entire collection of pipe clamps over 4' length were used in the final glue-up.
 Jorgensen Bench Vice Connection
  The 10" wide Jorgensen was chosen both for its capacity and the quick disconnect for easy sizing of the jaws on the project. The attachment of the vice was quite easy once the large block of solid material was created and attached to the underside of the benchtop. A Skilsaw made the initial cuts that outlined the boundaries of the connection area. Then a 16" electric chainsaw was used to shape the cut into the large block of glued-up plywood.

 More on the Jorgensen!
  This view of the connection between the Jorgensen bench vise and the left overhang of the workbench top shows more of the layout. A great deal of use of the forklift truck was made to hold such heavy objects in place while measurements were made or drilling was needed.

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Still More on the Jorgensen
  This view of the front bench vise shows the jaws to be modified with a slab of Brazilian Cherry with a lamination of Maple all of which is then screwed to the jaw face for a stable gripping action.
 The Veritas Twin-Screw Vice
  A dream workbench should have two basic complimentary vices - a face vice and and end vice. The Veritas Twin Screw Vice was chosen because of its capacity and durability.
 The Veritas Twin-Screw Vice Bench Connections
  The Veritas Vice attaches to the bench top via two large (1.5") steel screw plates attached with eight #16 X 2" screws. More stability is provided with a quadrupled end caps between the case and the top. A great deal of work went into getting a close alignment of all four layers of material in order for the threaded steel rods to correctly work.

 The Skirt of Brazilian Cherry + Jaw Faces
  A skirt of Brazilian Cherry wraps the entire perimeter of the workbench. A cabinet screws were counter sunk in preparation for the insertion of matching wooden plugs and then carefully sanding each plug to the correct height.

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 The Veritas Jaw Faces
  The workbench has been in use almost from the day that the top, center and bottom sections were connected. Here we see a Porter-Cable OmniJig mounted in the Jorgensen face vice. The top of the workbench has been covered with a heavy layer of fiberboard to protect the finish from damage while the rest of the bottom of the workbench is completed.
 
The First Bath

"The Bench" just received its first bath of a mixture of 50% mineral spirits and the balance in Tung Oil. Such a mixture was applied so that the maximum penetration could be achieved.

The rich color of the Chichipota (light to dark chocolate browns) as compared to the Brazilian Cherry is both striking and complimentary.

 
 Matching Plugs All screws are countersunk at least .25" providing for the placement of a tapered plug cut from the same material. The plugs were glued in place and cut with a plug saw (a saw with teeth-set only on one side for flush cutting of plugs).

 
Top Is Soaking The bench top has been wiped first with clean cloth soaked in mineral spirits to remove all dust. Then the same white towel was used with the 50-50 mixture of thinner and oil. The top was continually wiped with a wet towel for nearly thirty minutes.

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View of Veritas Vice End The bottom of the bench top has been sheathed in .25" maple plywood to protect the mechanisms for the two vices. This sheithing also allows for easy application of small pressure clamps around the entire perimeter of the benchtop.
 
Jorgensen Vice Underlayment The .25" maple plywood was cut from a cardboard templet with some degree of difficulty. The .25" plywood is secured with several screws for easy removal for cleaning and ease of replacement if broken due to excessive pressure applied with bar clamps. The view is now clean.
 
New Casters I was disappointed with the 'new' old 4" hard-rubber casters that were originally purchased for the workbench from Orchard Supply Hardware. The new 5" polypropolene casters were recently purchased from the WoodCraft Store in San Carlos, CA. The lockable two units have an unique locking mechanism far superior to anything found on the open market.
 
Bench Dogs Two sets of 3/4" bench-dog holes were bored through the 2" benchtop. Two sets of Veritas brass 'dogs' were purchased to allow for a variety of holding positions.
 
Drawer Slides Accuride Universal 20" slides were used on all six drawers. Accuride units allow for full extension and will hold up to 150 pounds. The installation time took near six hours or one hour per drawer.
  
Dovetail Joinery All workbench drawers were constructed of solid maple hardwood planed down to 5/8" thickness. All joinery was construction of dovetails using our new Porter-Cable 16" Omni-Jig and Bosch router. The drawer bottoms of 1/4" maple plywood was routed flush with the bottom edge.
  
Drawer Slides Accuride Universal 20" slides were used on all six drawers. Accuride units allow for full extension and will hold up to 150 pounds. The installation time took near six hours or one hour per drawer.
 
Bulkheads Three 3/4 maple plywood 'bulkheads' were constructed approximately 7" inside the side opposite the drawers. The drawers were downsized to 20" depth to provide this storage area that will be devoted to small power tools stored on individual racks. This side of the workbench is covered with full maple raised panels.
 
Polisher/Buffer The blue Makita 7" polisher/buffer was used to apply the final finish to this workbench top. A diluted Tung oil was first applied, then wiped - a second coat of straight tung oil was then used, the excess was wiped off. Several rub-downs with OOOO steelwood were completed. When the surface felt dry, a liberal coat of dark finishing wax was applied and buffed to a low luster. Two major applications of wax was applied, allowed to dry and then buffed.
 
The Jorgensen Side Vice The Jorgensen side vice in its original configuration could hold a project some 10" in length. With the maple and Brazilian cherry inserts now used, the jaw opening has been reduced to 8" inches - still plenty big enough for most objects that may need repair or work done.
 
Tung Oil Vs. Lacquer At the first visit of the WoodCraft store in San Carlos for workbench top finishes, lacquer was my only choice. After many hours of debate with myself a far reaching decision was forthcoming - tung oil, followed by a liberal dose of rubdown and circular sheepskins rugs.
 
The Final Bench Color and Finish Chichipota and Brazilian cherry are now living a full and distinguished career in the workshop of Almaden Custom Woodworking. Many full wax rubdowns are planned for this workbench. Plus, the workbench has already been spoken for by a family member and several friends.
The Finished Project is Within Sight!!! It has been almost a year since this project was first designed. Twelve months and several hundred dollars later, it is near completion. The full maple drawer fronts, doors and panels still need to be installed. Special trim cut from the Brazilian cherry will be used to accent the maple case. Special blocks of BC will be made into finger pulls or drawer pulls for the lower case.

 

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The Final Bench Color and Finish Chichipota and Brazilian cherry are now living a full and distinguished career in the workshop of Almaden Custom Woodworking. Many full wax rubdowns are planned for this workbench. Plus, the workbench has already been spoken for by a family member and several friends.

 
The Budget An Excel spreadsheet was used to keep track of the purchases over the past twelve months. No major surprises were experienced in the project.
 
Hold It! Plans Change

In the final analysis, chichipota and Bazilian cherry did not like a wax finish over tung oil. Every thing was removed with steel wool and light orbital sanding with 220 grit discs.

The tung oil would not soak in or stop bleeding out. Constant wiping with towels, application of extreme heat to dry out the tung oil was applied. Nothing worked. The chichipota would become dull after thirty minutes. It looked great right after an application of wax but then it would become dull.

 

Top Refinished & Cabinet Topped Off

The workbench top was cleaned of the tung oil and finished with wipeable polyurthene. The top is now finished to my specifications. The cabinet case was conditioned with Minwax Conditioner, covered with Minwax combination stain and polyurethene. I did not like the color so a Minwax dark walnut stain was added.
 
Cabinet Case Finished The cabinet case was sealed with a 'conditioner' to avoid full absorbtion of new material. A polyurethene finish that also contained a stain. The finished project was to pinkish in color. A dark walnut stain was added, sealed with two coats of lacquer sealer, sanded and finally topped with two coats of special lacquer. The cabinet was lightly sanded between each coat.
 
Drawers Are Finished The six drawers of 5/8" solid cherry have a conditioner, dark walnut stain and four coats of lacquer for their final appearance. All hardware had to be removed before the finish process came to a conclusion. All parts were 'dry-fitted' and then dismantled.
 
Cabinet Doors Hide Storage Area Opposite the drawers on the other side of the workbench is three distinct areas that are seven inches deep by the same dimensions as the opposite side of the bench. The purpose of these shallow storage areas are for shelving to support small power tools and parts bins for nails, screws and assorted workshop parts.
 

Cabinet and Workbench Top Compliment Each Other

It had been a design goal to have the supporting cabinet base and workbench top to compliment each other in terms of colors. The final color of the supporting cabinet is finished with a near glaze type appearance maybe duplicating years of application of a heavy wax to all the wood surfaces of the bench as might have been done in the distant past.
 
Sales File - Left Photo This front right side photo shows the Veritas twin screw vice, the benchtop, matching panels covering sides and ends.The darkened pecan finish was done to duplicate years of waxing near a glaze finish.
 
Sales File - Center Photo Opposite the drawers on the other side of the workbench are the three shallow storage areas are for power/handtools and part bins for nails, screws and assorted workshop clutter..
 
Sales File - Right Photo This photo shows the detail given to the door and drawer handle devices. The backing plates are constructed of 3/16" Brazilian cherry - then finely sanded and coated with the same finish as the benchtop. All drawers and doors are given the same treatment..
 
Duane, Ryan & Ramon

I credit these three gentlemen with giving me the knowledge and interest in continuing the project through many of the tedious moments.

There are only the drawers to mount and align. The project should be done by noon, Wednesday, November 27 - some thirteen months after the original drawing was done of the project.

 

Great Support

Duane, Ryan and Ramon have been great help in the construction of this 'dream' project. Duane is the owner of Acanthus Cabinetry, Ryan is Duane's son and works for the shop. Ramon is a part-time employee as a cabinetmaker for Mr. Kegley.

 A great amount of advice and physical help has been given by the owner of Acanthus Custom Cabinetry - Duane Kegley - and his employee - Ramon Franseca and Duane's son - Ryan. My gratitude for their help and guidance.

 

Lou Williams - "One Proud Dream Workbench Owner"

Last Update -Sunday, December 3, 2006 @ 7:30 PM