Danny Bingham's Bench

Shaker Inspiration
Inspired by a workbench at the Hancock Shaker Village, this bench was made from six different woods.

SHOP OWNER: Danny Bingham
LOCATION: Mackinaw, IL

    Completed at last, my new workbench was inspired by a bench at the Hancock Shaker Village. I used the bench as my model. I have always liked Shaker furniture. It is one of the few furniture styles to catch my eye. In his book, "The Workbench Book", Scott Landis describes the Hancock Shaker bench. I knew when I saw the Hancock bench that I had to build one of my own. Workbench Drawers
     The top is ash, with hard maple used for the bench dog area. It's about seven feet long with the jaws closed, and is 32 inches wide. The drawers are made up of cherry fronts, poplar sides, and the dovetails are hand cut. The cherry used (other than for the front and rear skirts) was No. 2 common cherry. I was able to cut around a lot of the defects in the cherry to get almost clear pieces. The legs and rails are 3 1/4 inch poplar, painted a "Shaker Green". The end panels are cherry plywood, and the front and rear skirts are also cherry.
    The lower rail that the board jack rides in is hard maple, lag screwed to the lower rail of the bench. The holes are plugged with poplar. The dimensions of the base are 53 in wide, 29 in tall, and about 22 inches deep. The opening for the drawers is 48 inches, making each drawer section 16 in on center. Typical of most garage floors, mine has a slope from the back to the front. I put a couple of plywood shims under the front of the bench to help level it. Board Jack
 
    The leg vise is made of sycamore given to me by a friend. He also gave me the hickory for the screw. The jaw is maple. The grooves in the screw end were put there to match the grooves in the old bench screws I obtained. The handle is some white oak dowel stock I had, and the caps were turned from maple.
    The board jack is made from maple with a slight birds-eye figure to it. I made it using two pieces of maple to account for the curve in the board jack. The shape was roughed out on the bandsaw with final shaping done by hand. Tail Vise
Tail Vise
 
    I was fortunate enough to have found two 2 1/2 inch diameter bench screws at antique malls. I had initially decided to sacrifice the screw that was in worse shape to use for a leg vise. Since I couldn't cut the old screw in half, I made two tail vises. This allows boards about 20 inches wide to be clamped. There was a picture of a tail vise in "The Workbench Book" that was assembled with double dovetails. I liked the look so much I used the same technique on mine. The jaws are maple, and the side and top are cherry.

. . . Danny Bingham


 
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