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A slab top for the Japanese Workbench


These days my life revolves around the lastest addition to the farm, our daughter.

I spent the last few months franticly finishing some renovations so she didn’t grow up in a construction zone. Right before she was born I finally got around to finishing up my Japanese Workbench that I started over a year ago.

I finally procured a large slab of ash a couple months ago 12″ wide 12/4. It took some working getting it flat and square (dont even think about trying to pass a slab this big over a little 6″ jointer). This was a case of you must take the tool to the wood!

After it was square and flat I dovetailed a slot into the bottom to hook against the saw horse. I originally planned on dovetailing a slot in the top that I could slide a planing stop into as needed, but after much consideration I ended up stealing and idea from western benches. I just drilled 2 3/4″ dog hols in the top and popped in a couple of Ash bench dogs from Time Warp Tool Works – Thanks Chris!

They make it far more convenient to just pop up a planing stop as needed!

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  1. stephan
    June 2nd, 2013 at 19:49 | #1

    Nik, I have been thinking about the exact same thing – a japanese plaining beam , except with dogs. But I am a bit concerned about stability. Can you comment on how high your bench is, how long the beam is, and whether the beam tips or jumps during planing or chopping mortises ? (Did the dimensions vary from Jays plan ?)


  2. Nik Brown
    June 4th, 2013 at 01:25 | #2

    I kept the dimensions very close to Jay’s plan. The horses are about 28″ tall. Then add around 2.75″ for the beam. The beam is about 7′ long. It’s got some serious mass! Not as much as my western bench that is 8′ long and 24″ deep and 4″ thick….. but more than enough to be stable under heavy pounding!

    One end is braced against the wall and the dovetailed hook prevents movement in the other direction. I had a little problem with it sliding back and forth on the horse put I just folded a small piece of 80grit sandpaper in half and threw it between the beam and the horse, solved that problem!

  1. June 2nd, 2013 at 01:42 | #1