stevenbunn Sat, 02/07/2015 - 09:01


Every month wood-working magazines feature another article describing the construction of a work-bench. The variety is astounding even mind blowing. Many of the designs are eye catching, and more than once I've almost, almost started to consider building one of these beauties. The thing that always holds me back is the reality that I have already built eight, maybe nine, work-benches in my life, and six of them are sitting in my shop. Enough is enough.


Then I read Steve Latta's article “Minibench Works Wonders,” in the December issue of Fine Woodworking magazine. In his article Latta describes building a small bench that clamps to the work surface of his work-bench. This raises the work to a more convenient height for doing intricate detail work on small work parts. I make a number of miniature Windsor chairs every year. And I often have found myself uncomfortably bent over as I carve the saddle of a miniature's seat on my regular work-bench or assemble the small chairs. Latta's design was not only appealing, it actually addressed a real problem I had not found an answer for myself. I copied the article and set it aside, concentrating instead on paying work. Still, the little bench had grabbed my interest. I found myself rummaging through  the scrap wood pile, looking for cut-offs that would be suitable for the parts Latta's bench required. My one design constraint was monetary. I wanted to build my version of the bench as cheaply as possible. Using scrap wood, and forgoing the purchase of an expensive bench vise, (the days of cheap Taiwanese vises appears to be a thing of the past) I built the small bench pictured here. I ended up spending less than $20.00. I limited my purchases to a set of Rockler plastic bench dogs and a length of 5/16-inch diameter metal rod, used to make the guide bars on the wooden vise.

 I added a Roubo style crooked planing stop to the front edge of the bench, and drilled ranked holes in the front legs allowing loose fitting wooden pins to be adjusted to support edge planing stock. Is this carrying things to far? Maybe. We'll see after I use the minibench a while.