Home > Woodworking > Building Jeff Miller’s – “A Benchtop Bench”

Building Jeff Miller’s – “A Benchtop Bench”

The idea of building a benchtop bench has been on my mind for a while now. I’ve seen a few variations on a bench of this type; Steve Latta published a mini-bench or Fine Woodworking which looked OK. With this design there is a tail vise and the legs are flush with the top for clamping work to it’s sides.

FWW Minibench

Fine Woodworking Mini-workbench – Steve Latta

I really like the side clamping option of this design but I wasn’t excited about purchasing a tail vise when I already have that capability. The Latta bench looked a little easier to build than the design I selected which was published by Jeff Miller also in Fine Woodworking Mar/April 2008. I selected this bench for it’s home made twin screw Moxon style vise using inexpensive veneer press screws.

Jeff Miller - A Benchtop Bench

Fine Woodworking – A Benchtop Bench – Jeff Miller

Either design offers the advantage of raising your pieces for easier detail work such as carving, routing and joinery. I’ve wanted a twin screw style vise like this for marking and practicing dovetails and I had purchased the screws several months ago.

Shop Fox - Veneer Clamps

Shop Fox – Veneer Clamps

The bench will be made from Home Depot 2×4’s. Not very exotic but very economical. They only cost $3 each so I brought home 7 just to be sure I had enough knot-free areas for the build.

Milling the lumber was performed crudely as I still lack a planer and jointer. Table saw, band saw and hand planes had to serve the work. By the end of the day Sunday I had the top glued-up, the stretchers and all the trestle pieces milled and cut to rough length.

Trestle pieces rough cut.

Trestle pieces rough cut.

Top glued up.

Benchtop bench top glued up. (say that three times fast)

With a bit of creativity and elbow grease, I was able to resaw the 2×4’s into trestle components.

Ready for joinery

Checking to make sure I have all the pieces. Next will be the mortise and tenons for the trestle and stretchers.

Making sure I have all the bench pieces

All the basic bench pieces have been milled.

So the next session will for joining the trestles and stretchers. I’m still deciding what wood to use for the jaw chucks. At this point I ‘m considering oak faces laminated over pine.

Once the tenons are cut the height will be reduced by 3″ but I’m still wondering if the bench will be “too” tall for my height. Now is the time (before cutting the tenons) to determine if I should lower it or not. If I go with the plan the overall height will be just over 12″. Really wish I could think of a design that would allow me to easily adjust the height but will likely just mock it up at various heights and make my best guess.

“Thanks for checking in with the Turtlecove Workshop”



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