Jay Bates-style Workbench

Where it all started, my first project: building my custom workbench. It’s based on a design by Jay Bates with a well board modification. And it’s a bit smaller than his because my workshop is about 8ft x 6ft…

The whole thing is made from reclaimed pine 4″x2″ laminated together, with the exception of the vise jaws, which were a couple of 3/4″ plywood offcuts. I also added a leather flap over the inner jaw, which gives work pieces a bit of protection and holds them really tightly.

The workbench top was essentially five parts: two large laminated slabs, the well board and the two angled well board ends.

The well board is another 4″x2″ resawn and laminated edge-on to bring up a book-matched grain. It’s mounted into stopped grooves in the surrounding pieces. As it’s quite thick (to take the abuse), the underside of the well board is flush with the rest of the worktop.

The legs are honking big tenons that pass straight through the worktop. The leg stretchers are all essentially half-lap joints, but I left them a bit proud then chamfered the outside edges. I added a shelf later.

The whole thing got a liberal oiling with boiled linseed oil.

I bought the old quick-release Record vise from a retired woodworking teacher. A bit of sanding and a scrub with a wire brush, then some judicious oiling and it was as good as new.