My old garage had a ‘bench’ that consisted of three 2×8 boards nailed to the wall with 2×4 legs. Wobbly and nasty. When I refinished the garage into my Shop I decided to recycle some of the wood into a new bench.
A perfectly flat bench is a necessity so aligning my sawhorses with wooden shims using two parallel strings provided a level surface on which to start.
Clamped up with slight expansion joints between them, the 2×8 boards were glued to reinforcing 2x4s. These provide the structural foundation for the bench. I considered a torsion box but it would have been overkill for this project.
Notching out the new 4x4s for lap joints before chiseling out the excess.
Getting the legs all parallel true fast enough to prevent glue drying was a challenge. I kept moving from leg to leg with level and square over and over again to prevent clamps from gradually pulling things out of square.
Since I wanted to keep the bench entirely wood without metal I bored out 3/4″ holes through each butt and lap joint. I then hammered 3/4″ hardwood dowels into each joint with glue. You have to move pretty fast or the glue will set the dowels in place before you get them all the way through the holes.
I kept the entire bench on roller platforms as it was too heavy to move without assistance.
Although the bottom of the bench was flat I now had to clean up the top surface. After rotating the entire thing I filled all of the deep grooves and holes then planed and sanded the surface flat.
3 coats of heavy urethane for the legs and spars and 7 coats for the benchtop. After fully curing this gives a very hard, cleanable surface for the bench. The urethane brought out the color of the wood and made the dowel joinery stand out nicely.
The finished bench in place. Proper height for standing, no knee bashing support posts, solid as a rock and I can stand in the middle without it sagging!
This is probably the last time it will be that clear!