The Ambidextrous Grizz-ubo Workbench

The Ambidextrous Grizz-ubo Workbench


I started this workbench in March of 2014 with locally harvested Douglas Fir that I had been drying for 18 months. I documented every part of this build from start to finish with meticulous detail.  I must be mad, or at least a glutton for punishment.

The bench was completed in April of 2015.  Should you want to build a similar bench, I am creating this page, as an index of sorts, to all the blog posts that I wrote along the way. You may find the posts aren’t in the optimal order for exactly how to build the bench, but they are in the order that I did things and wrote the posts.

Click on the titles below to read the post.

This is the lumber that I will use to build my workbench.#1.  The Bench Blog Bench

Stacking and drying the lumber and a discussion on plans for the bench build.


A little twist in this one.#2.  The Workbench Build Begins

Milling lumber.



The purple is very bright.#3.  Purple Douglas Fir?

Some odd things discovered during milling.



16 of these to rip to width. It took a little while.#4.  Milling the Lumber for my Workbench Top

More milling and some glue-up of sub-assemblies.


The four benchtop quarters and the sapele.#5. The Workbench Top Continues

Cutting Sapele edging and pin-striping for the benchtop.



I re-adjusted the fence and made the final cut.#6. Gluing-up The Workbench Top

The benchtop finally gets glued into a single slab and the ends are trimmed to length.


The one on the right looks better.#7. Sapele Breadboard Ends for the Workbench Top

I cut up a 6/4 Sapele board to make breadboard ends for the benchtop.


The tails placed next to the breadboard ends.#8. Cutting the Dovetails on the Workbench Sides

The Sapele side boards get dovetailed into the breadboard ends.


I planed down the tongue until the breadboard end fit just right.#9. Cutting the Tongues on the Workbench Top

The workbench top gets tongues that are sized to fit the breadboard ends.


With the pins cut, the breadboard ends are finished.#10. The Workbench Build Resumes

After a month of tool restoration and World Cup binge watching, I get back the workbench build.  Starting with half-blind dovetail pins on the breadboard ends.


The draw bore pegs driven in.#11. Draw-boring the Breadboard Ends

The breadboard ends get no glue, and are instead held in place with drawbore pegs.


As I feared the center pin broke off.#12. Just When It Was All Going So Well…

While gluing on the first of the two Sapele benchtop edges, I break the middle dovetail pin.


Just a few clamps applied.#13. Gluing Up the Dovetailed Side Board, Take 2

Gluing on the second side, and initial flattening with hand-planes.


With the clamp removed, its time to plane the patch flush.#14. Patching my Broken Dovetails

Cutting and fitting a couple of patches to fix the dovetail pins that I broke during glue-up.


Here's the result of a little time at the jointer and planer.#15. I’m Finally Starting on the Workbench Base

With the benchtop done, I turned my attention to the milling the parts for the workbench base.


The final profile of the stretchers.#16. Making the Stretchers for my Ambidextrous Grizz-ubo Bench

The stretchers are cut to size and glued up.


All done.#17. Cutting the Tenons on the Workbench Stretchers

The stretchers are joined to the legs with mortise and tenon joinery.  Here, the tenons are cut.


The screw measures between 29.76 and 29.99mm depending how you hold the caliper.#18. Vise advice, or lack there of

A little whining about the fact that Grizzly has no instructions available for the vises that I plan to install on the bench.


With all four corners started, I finished the cut with my panel saw.#19. The Workbench Base Slowly Continues

Cutting one end of the legs square and laying out the mortises.


I did the same to pare the side walls.#20. Cutting the Mortises in the Workbench Legs

The title says it all.


With all the tenons mitered, I did a test fit.#21. Fitting the Draw-bored Mortise and Tenons

Fitting all the joinery and drilling the off-set draw-bore holes.


Marking tools.#22. Designing, Laying out, and Cutting Double Tenons to Attach the Workbench Top – Part 1


Double tenons cut on all four legs.#23. Designing, Laying out, and Cutting Double Tenons to Attach the Workbench Top – Part 2

All the double tenons are cut.

Success, the base assembled with no problems.#24. The Workbench Base Finally Comes Together

Glue up time.


A much better fit.#25. Making the Boards for the Workbench Shelf

Milling the lumber and cutting the tongue and groove joinery for the workbench base shelf.


I was happy with how well this fit.#26. Fitting the Boards for the Workbench Shelf

More joinery is cut and the boards are installed in the base.


Laying out the pieces for best appearance.#27. A Frame and Panel Lid for the Workbench Base – Part 1

Selecting and milling the lumber for the frame and panel lid.  joinery is started.


Time to fine tune the fit of each joint.#28. A Frame and Panel Lid for the Workbench Base – Part 2

Mortise and tenon joinery is complete.


Back to the clamps and cauls to finish the glue-up.#29. A Frame and Panel Lid for the Workbench Base – Part 3

Gluing up the panels and making the wedges.


I clamped the lid to the benchtop to plane the frame.#30. A Frame and Panel Lid for the Workbench Base – Part 4

Gluing up the frame and panel lid, wedging, and trimming.


The other side.#31. A Frame and Panel Lid for the Workbench Base – Part 5

Filling the gap between the lid and the stretchers.


The screws installed.#32. A Frame and Panel Lid for the Workbench Base – Part 6

Installing the ring pull.


Gas Spring installation discovered in a Plate 11 workbench. From Andre Roubo’s "L’Art Du Menuisier.”#33. Historical Accuracy

Roubo Gas Springs?


The installed gas spring.#34. A Frame and Panel Lid for the Workbench Base – Part 7

Hinge and gas spring installation.


I put on three coats of Watch Danish Oil on the underside of the workbench base.#35. A Quick Update On My Workbench Build

Applying finish to the underside of the bench.




All my vise parts ready for paint.#36. Refinishing New Vise Hardware

I was not happy with the fit and finish of the Grizzly Vises as they came out of the box.  I stripped and refinished them.


Finished face vise chop template.#37. Making the Vise Chops – Part 1

Design, template, and gluing up the blanks.



All four vise chops in their final shape.#38. Making the Vise Chops – Part 2

The blanks are cut out and shaped.



Using the paper templates, I marked the hole centers on some ¾" plywood and did a test run.#39. Drilling the Holes in the Vise Chops

Making a template to accurately drill the holes for the vise chops.


These came out quite crisp.#40 .Making the Vise Skirts

These cover the vise hardware under the benchtop and provide extra support for the guide rods.


The tail vise configuration.#41. Installing the Vises on my Ambidextrous Grizz-ubo Bench

All four vises get bolted in place.


With the handles sanded, I prepared to add a coat of danish oil.#42. Staining Vise Handles, Cutting Grooves for the Deadmen, a Dying Router, and a Big Screw-up.

Title says it all for this one.

I heated the Danish Oil in a water filled crock pot.#43. Hot Danish Oil

Cooking up some finish for the vise chops.




Cooking up a wax mix.#44. Cooking Up a Hot Wax Mixture

A hot wax concoction to seal and lube the holes in the vise chops.


This was easy! #45. Applying Wax to the Vise Handles

Applying a wax mixture while the handle spins in the lathe.


A long time later... all eight mortises are chopped half way through the benchtop.#46. Chopping the Leg Mortises in the Workbench Top

Starting the mortises from the under side of the benchtop.


With 30lb gas springs, the lid stays open.#47. Historically Accurate Gas Springs: The Sequel

Changing the 20lb gas springs for 30lb springs fixed the lid problem.


I heated the Danish Oil to about 170°.#48.  Starting the Finishing Process on the Ambidextrous Grizz-Ubo Workbench

Hot danish oil goes on the underside of the benchtop and also the base.


Two coats... and done.

#49. Waxing Philosophical on Vise Chops

Completing the finish on the vise chops.



All four rubber shoes applied and done.#50. The Grizz-ubo Bench Gets Some Shoes

Rubber tire inner-tubes glued to the bottom of the legs.


1st mortise widened on both sides.#51. Completing the Leg Mortises in the Workbench Top

The through mortises are flared out on the top side for later wedging.


I cut the wedges with my Lie-Neilsen dovetail saw.#52. Oak Wedges for the Benchtop Through Mortise and Tenon Joints

Making wedges for the wedged mortise and tenon joinery.


Plenty of squeeze-out. Always a good sign.#53. The Grizz-ubo Bench Finally Comes Together

The most stressful moment of the bench build. Attaching the top to the base.


There's a very slight gap, but its less than a 64th.#54.  Vise Squad

Fitting and fine tuning the vise skirts.



I used both my No. 4 and No. 5 Stanley planes.#55. Fine Tuning the Vises

Planing the vise chops for a perfect fit.



I started by taking diagonal passes across the bench at a 45-degree angle.#56. Flattening the Top of the Ambidextrous Grizz-ubo Workbench

Hand planing the top of this massive workbench.


Testing the fit.#57. Making the Sliding Deadmen for My Workbench – Part 1

Glue-up, milling and joinery.


The finished sliding deadman installed on the bench. #58.  Making the Sliding Deadmen for My Workbench – Part 2

Adding some design style and the peg holes.




All 84 holes done.#59. My Dog (Hole) Days are Over

All 84 dog holes are drilled.



Applying hot danish oil to the benchtop.#60. Applying Finish to the Workbench Top

More hot danish oil.


I know that these are supposed to be function over looks, but wow, they came out looking great.#61. How to Make Round Benchdogs – A Pictorial

I made my benchdogs from Sapele.


Lining it up.#62. A Quick Update on Making Benchdogs

A tip on using the drill press quill to press-in the bullet catches.


I also used the scalpel to trim around the edge.#63.  Lining the Vise Chops with Leather

I bought a half hide of book-binders leather to line the vises.


I wonder how long it will stay looking like this?#64. The Ambidextrous Grizz-ubo Workbench – The Unveiling

Completed at last.



I hope that this index proves helpful in navigating all the blog posts in this project.


– Jonathan White