Here’s Another Great Workbench Idea – May 2018

Our latest Lake Erie Toolworks Worbench Idea comes to us from Michael H. who hails from the town of Westford in the Green Mountain State of Vermont.  Michael has built a multi-functional dream of a workbench that serves as a workbench, router table, saw out-feed table, layout, assembly and edge joining table. Now try saying that again three times real fast.  She’s a beauty and we know you’ll all appreciate this latest Workbench Idea.

Lake Erie Toolworks, Roubo Workbench, Leg Vise, Leg Vice, Wood Vise, Wood Vice, Vise, Vice

Lake Erie Toolworks, Roubo Workbench, Leg Vise, Leg Vice, Wood Vise, Wood Vice, Vise, Vice

Lake Erie Toolworks, Roubo Workbench, Leg Vise, Leg Vice, Wood Vise, Wood Vice, Vise, Vice

Lake Erie Toolworks, Roubo Workbench, Leg Vise, Leg Vice, Wood Vise, Wood Vice, Vise, Vice

Lake Erie Toolworks, Roubo Workbench, Leg Vise, Leg Vice, Wood Vise, Wood Vice, Vise, Vice

This project started with the purchase of a new SawStop Table saw and when I discovered my very old outfeed table was the wrong height and the miter guides were the wrong width.  I wanted something much sturdier than my old table; I wanted to make better use of the space beneath the table (cabinet to follow), and I wanted a leg vice to compliment the shoulder and end vice on my 35+ year old (and also needing to be replaced) workbench.

A lot of my work is frame and panel so I am often ripping rails & stiles and wanting to re-joint between passes on the table saw.  I reasoned that I could throw a board into a leg vice and run a jack plane over it faster than I could go to the dust collector, open and close blast gates, go to the jointer, run the piece and then retrace my steps.

So, I thought, while I’m at it why not build in a new, more versatile, better dust collecting router set up.  So now I have this bench – an outfeed table, an assembly table, and edge jointing table, and super-duper router set-up. The design started with the Benchcraftted Classic bench design.  I made it 4” wider, spread the legs to accommodate the router and eventual storage cabinet.  Then I added a bridge piece between the bench and the saw to span across the bottom dust collection hose and give myself 48” behind the saw blade.

The bench is made almost entirely from 8/4 poplar.  After I got the top together I discovered I had managed to turn the thing around and had framed in the router opening on the wrong end (mistake #1), so I ripped it apart and re-glued it, but in my haste lost control of the process and had no way to flatten it (mistake #2) so I ripped it apart and re-glued it, again.  Three times a charm, except then it wasn’t as wide as I wanted and I was out of poplar.  I found a piece of cherry that had been living in my shop for a long, long time and it became eye candy trim.  The bench plans called for cutting the mortises in the top and then fitting the base to it.   This required getting all 12 mortise & tenon joints in three dimensions all to come together at once.  I was amazed when it happened!  In a do over I’d build the base and then transfer markings to the top.  I also took the directions to make the holes in the leg & chop 2 9/16″ too literally.  This left only 1/32” of clearance on the radius and made the installation quite demanding.  In a do over I’d go to 2 3/4.  I haven’t yet figured out where I want the holes in the deadman, so haven’t drilled them.

Unlike a “real” work bench I wanted this to be slippery, so I finished it with three coats of good tung oil and then waxed it.  I only leather lined the chop, not the leg.  The casters are from Woodcraft and settle onto a firm base. They provide leveling and easily screw up to a wheel when movement is necessary.

Thanks for reading.  Michael H. – Westford, VT


Roubo Workbench Build – Part 2 of 2 from Crafted Workshop

The Roubo Workbench Build (Part 2 of 2) is now complete and has been posted online by Johnny Brooke from Crafted Workshop.  The overall video and direction provided by Johnny for both Parts 1 and 2 of this very informative series are fantastic.

While Part 1 of this video series covered the workbench top and wagon vise installation, Part 2 focuses on the leg & stretcher portion of the Roubo Workbench along with the leg vise and chop build and installation.  The end product – an amazing and very functional workbench.  The plans are also available for purchase on the Crafted Workshop website as well.

Great job Johnny!

Roubo Workbench, Wagon Vise, Leg Vise, Wooden Vise, Crafted Workshop


Red Oak Roubo Workbench Kits – That’s the Ticket

As you decide which workbench style is right for you and if a Roubo is where you are headed, we suggest you take a look at our good friends from Re-Co Bklyn to consider their green Red Oak Roubo Workbench Kits.

These green (partially air dried) Red Oak workbench kits feature a slab bench top, legs, stretchers and chop, custom sized by you and can be shipped anywhere in the U.S. This lumber has also been harvested from reclaimed trees from the metro New York City Area.  Great for the environment and great for you.

Roubo Workbench Kit


We also know that Christopher Schwarz is a fan of Slab workbench construction, and has had great success building this type of workbench, so it must be good.  Plus it will save you the time and effort of having to glue up a workbench top – which is no small amount of work.

Frankly, the only other choice you’ll have to make here if you decide to pursue this bench kit is for which type of vise to marry up with your red oak chop to power this workbench.  If your choice happens to be a fully wooden vise screw kit, we know some people that can hook you up there.

Best regards,

Lake Erie Toolworks

Workbenches – Which Path Do I Follow?

When a woodworker makes that fateful decision to build their own workbench, the next logical step is – what style of workbench do I build?  Roubo, Nicholson, Moravian, Scandinavian, etc.

Then there’s the many other factors such as: what type of wood should I use, what type of finish do I need, how tall or wide should it be, should it be a solid permanent workbench or a knock-down transportable type, how much should it weigh, what kind of vises should I use, and the list goes on.

It also might be heresy for me to say, but a fully wooden vise screw & nut isn’t always the proper choice for every woodworker given their own personal situation. There are times & circumstances when a metal vise screw is the best way to go.

The short answer to what type of Workbench you should pursue is, IT DEPENDS.

It depends on many factors such as:

  • Hand tool work or Power tool work (or a mix)
  • How much are you looking to spend (a lot or a little)
  • Will it be stationary or do you need to transport it frequently
  • Are you building small bird houses & gifts or large ornate furniture
  • Planning to do lots of joinery (dovetails, tenons, etc.) or not much at all
  • Are you working in a small apartment or a sprawling workshop
  • etc, etc, etc.

By giving all of this a lot of honest thought and after a bunch of research using the many fine workbench building resources that are out there (Books, DVDs, Websites), you will eventually land on a workbench path that you must follow.  The key is that everyone should chart their own personal path to their own workbench nirvana.

Until then, I’d like to point you to some additional resources that you can find on our “Links/Info” section of our Lake Erie Toolworks website.  First off, we have a section called “Workbench Ideas” that has a huge number of workbench styles for you to peruse & consider on your path to personal discovery.

We also have several links for you to follow to check out Will Myer’s workbench builds for his Roubo, Nicholson and Moravian Style Workbenches.  There’s also a link to a Workbench video series from Paul Sellers that I think many of you will find very informative.

We’ll keep adding more informative detail on our “Links/Info” page of our website in the future to help you in your quest, but until then, keep on driving until you find the right exit ramp to your own ultimate Workbench destination,

Best regards,

Jeff Dombrowski – Lake Erie Toolworks


Announcing Our May 2016 Workbench Idea

Our May 2016 Workbench Idea comes to us from Dave P. from the United States.  Dave has provided us with a literal step by step approach to the construction of his tremendous Roubo Workbench.  We know that you will all enjoy this month’s workbench idea from Dave.

Lake Erie Toolworks, Roubo Workbench, Leg Vise, Wooden Vise








My new bench has been about two years in the thinking and wishing. In January I started its’ construction. A 24 inch by 8 foot top 4 inches thick was sourced from Baird Brothers Hardwood Lumber in Canfield, OH as well as the ash and poplar for the base.

The design is mostly from Chris Schwartz’s books on benches. I wanted to build it with hand tools and all the mortise and tenon joints were done by hand with saws and chisels and a mallet. The laminated maple top was a real challenge. All joints in the base were glued and every joint was pegged with oak dowels.

The Lake Erie screw and thread block were coated with 4 coats of Watco oil and then waxed. I worked about four hours per day for most of six weeks all upside down. Turning the bench over was done with an engine hoist and some slings. The bench came out just as I had hoped it would and the Lake Erie leg vise works like a charm. I’ve got a backed up list of projects to put it to good use.

A lifetime bench made all the better with the help of Lake Erie Toolworks.

Dave P. – USA

Announcing our February 2016 Workbench Idea

As we roll into February 2016, we have a great workbench idea brought to us by Hakan L. from Umea, Sweden.  This workbench features a 5″ thick hard maple top along with birch legs and also a leg and wagon vise for good measure.  We know you’ll enjoy this Scandinavian beauty.

Lake Erie Toolworks, Roubo Workbench, Leg Vise, Wagon ViseWB-Feb2016-2WebWB-Feb2016-3WebWB-Feb2016-4WebWB-Feb2016-5Web


After reading all the books about workbenches I could find and looking through a few plans, I finally built this bench in 2014.

24″ deep, 96″ long and 36″ high. Weight 450 lb.

The top is 5″ hard maple (imported from the US. Hard to come by here in Sweden). Base is birch which is readily available locally.

I have access to some great machines through my work as a cabinet maker. 36″ band saw, 20″ jointer, 24″ planer, 52″wide belt sander, and a big CNC machine to mention a few.

I’m a big advocate for hand tools and was going to cut the mortises and tenons by hand but succumbed to laziness and let the CNC do it for me.

The vise screws are from your basic kits and they are flawless. The leg vise garter is made out of 7 layers of jacaranda veneer, and I used a chain vise kit from Ancora yacht service to keep the vise parallel to the leg. There’s a linear bearing in the leg to guide the leg vise. This works great, but the shaft (being a standard cold rolled bar) is to soft and the balls in the bearing wear grooves in it.

Should have used a hardened shaft instead. The shelf is 3/4″ shiplapped birch. Each one has a dowel in the middle for steering so they are always at the same distance from each other.

Finish is 2 coats of linseed oil.


Hakan L.  – Umea, Sweden

Announcing our January 2016 Workbench Idea

As we kick off the new year for 2016, we have an amazing Roubo style workbench idea built by Ken K. from Birch Run, Michigan.  Ken has constructed a massive 600 pound bench that features 3 different vises to accommodate his woodworking needs.  What a great way to ring in the new year, extremely well done Ken.







The table top is 84’’ x 44’’ x 4-½” made from Maple. The legs are 6’’ x 6’’ x 34’’ also Maple. The runners & bench ends are made from Oak, as I ran out of the Maple. The leg vise is made from Black walnut and the leg vise leg was tapped by Lake Erie Toolworks to accept the wood screw (very well done, thank you). The end vise is a Lee Valley Twin Screw the width of the table. The other end is a Benchcrafted  tail vise.

All the lumber I cut from standing trees in Mid-Michigan three years ago in preparation for the day I got to make my very own bench. I used a Danish oil for the finish. The total weight is estimated at 600 lb’s.

Once I started the table it took about three months after work and weekend to complete. I still haven’t drilled the dog holes yet but I will soon.  All the vendors provided great instructions that made it easy to understand and install their products. I will admit I moved forward with great care to avoid any mistakes.

Ken K. – Birch Run, Michigan