My (unsanded, unfinished, unvarnished) version of
Bob and Dave's Good, Fast, and Cheap Bench
The "Bob and Dave" bench seems to have become something of a
standard in the woodworking community. I built mine in the summer
of 2001 and have gotten good use from it. Since Bob Key's
woodworking site is no longer up (except in archived form here),
like to do my part to ensure that the basic concept remains
available to others looking to build something similar. Bob was
right when he said that handtools are almost useless without a
proper bench. This bench isn't beautiful, but it works beautifully.
The basic layout is straight from Bob's plan: top made of 2x4's face-glued together, the legs and stretchers from glued up dimensional stock, with everything held together by mortise and tenon. I over-built a bit, using 2x6's rather than 2x4's on the short stretchers and 2x8's rather than 2x6's on the long ones. It really wasn't necessary, but the extra weight doesn't hurt.
I opted for the tool tray, and I don't regret it. There seem to be two schools of opinion on this, with one side arguing that you need a safe place to set tools, and the other side pointing out that tool trays just collect tools and wood shavings till they're full, then obstruct work. I think both sides are right. Tools and shavings (and screws, and washers, and wood chips, and scraps, and papers, and everything else) do collect there. But they're going to collect somewhere, and at least a tool tray keeps them from falling off the back.
The "dog" in the jaw raised to its highest point.
The "dog" from the bench side.
I use this bench just aboutevery day, and I'm always glad for it. There's really nothing I would change about it, though I do look forward to having an end vise (too busy making things to make one...). I'll probably make a shelf to go below, between the stretchers, or perhaps a series of removeable trays to keep the space below them accessible. I really should put some kind of finish on it.
The gorgeous woodworking benches you see made of exotic hardwood, decorated with fine joinery, and finished like a dining room table, are as impressive to me as to anyone. But every time I gouge a chunk out of my benchtop I'm relieved to be working on my pine behemoth rather than on a work of art.
Thanks, Bob. All the best.