Make a Mini-Workbench

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This article is from Issue 73 of Woodcraft Magazine.

A little bench can be a big help for many woodworking tasks

A traditional workbench provides a solid platform that’s convenient for many tasks that require leverage—like hand planing, for example. But a waist-high work surface isn’t ideal for other jobs that require more finesse, or a closer view of the work. I built this benchtop workbench to handle woodworking operations that aren’t as comfortable or efficient when done at standard workbench height.

My mini-bench has saved my back while enhancing control and accuracy for all kinds of layout and joinery work. When clamped to the big bench, the mini-bench becomes a sturdy platform that’s ideal for finicky routing work.

Build a strong base to support a solid maple top

The base and top of my mini-bench are made from hard maple, but other clear, dense hardwoods are also suitable. When building your own version, adjust the dimensions to put the benchtop around elbow height (photo, facing page). Since sturdiness is a virtue in any workbench, I built mine with mortise-and-tenon joinery. All the mortises were cut with a router and shop-made mortising jig. I cut the tenons to fit on my table saw, using a stack dado to remove the waste and my miter gauge to guide each workpiece. I bored several 3⁄4"-dia. holes in the top for use with bench hold-downs. Attach the top by driving screws through the oversized holes in the top rails.


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