Shop made saw benches – 3


My daughter thought it was necessary to strike a pose on the (first) finished saw bench.



I moved on to the second of the two benches to be finished. Here you can see how useful the split-top (design of my workbench) can be for operations like this. I am marking out the pins, using the tails as a template for those of you who are unsure what “operations like this” means.


Here I am fitting the dovetail joint.


The second saw bench after being glued and screwed.


This is another example of how the open end of my split-top provides additional work holding options compared to a conventional design. In the picture I am chopping off the protruding waste of the wedged through mortises.



I thought it might help to point out the few design improvements I made to the saw bench. As stated earlier in this series of posts, I used the design of Ron Herman as a starting point. I added the strips of wood as pictured to improve the grip of a holdfast as it increased the depth of the dogholes from ¾” – 1½”. It obviously also adds some strength.



I removed some wood (arch shape) from the footing to improve it’s stability on an uneven floor.



I drilled the two big holes in the end boards as grips when carrying the bench with two hands. The elongated grip hole in the top enables one to carry or move the bench with one hand. You will also notice the amount and position of holdfast holes.



I gave the finished benches a liberal treatment of a tung oil, diesel and turps mixture before the long weekend.



Now that they are done I need to move on to building a few bow saws and a frame saw.

2 thoughts on “Shop made saw benches – 3”

  1. Gerhard,

    Those look great. Nice work! What kind of wood are they made from? I really like the alternating colors on the top. Is that a heartwood/sapwood color shift or did you laminate two different species?

    All the best,


    1. Jonathan,

      I used Tasmanian Black (Acacia melanoxylon) from the Knysna forest (south coast of South Africa) close to were I grew up. As you can see from the name it is actually an invasive species there, but still quite good wood. Although it’s genetics is from Oz, it was born and bred in Africa. I don’t particularly like it, but then again I do not have the best quality in my collection. I bought it more than 14 years ago when they still had auctions in the forest. At that time I was a very junior general doctor working in a government hospital, hence did not have much dough to compete with the guys from the furniture industry. Despite being difficult to work (grain all over the place) it is very tough and therefore I prefer to use it for shop structures. I keep my stash of indigenous hardwoods from the Knysna forest for furniture, once I get to that phase.

      In terms of the colours you see, it is all heartwood. It is a good example of the wide colour variation in the Blackwood from the Knysna forest. The dark brown is by far the most common colour though. As I built these benches from bits of scrap, you will also see a couple of strips of European Beech, and Dolfhout (Pterocarpus angolensis, sometimes referred to as Bloodwood or Wild teak in English) on the inside. The Dolfhout looks very similar to the Blackwood in these pictures.

      Thanks for your comment and question. I might do a post in future on the different indigenous species in my stash.

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