Steve Latta’s Inlay Bench

Latta Inlay Bench 003

In one of Steve Latta’s many inlay DVDs, he discusses the design and construction of his inlay bench.  I built mine to do federal inlay work, but I have found it to be a very useful bench for other tasks.

I picked up an 8/4 maple slab at my local hardwood dealer.  The end of the board had a split in it.  I elected to go for the extra bench length and leave it in and fill the crack with epoxy.  I figured the end of the bench won’t see a lot of hard action and the crack is mostly cosmetic.  I drilled a single row of dog holes down the centerline of the bench.  I can use the dog holes with the metal dog on the Pony vise, with holdfasts, or with a Veritas Bench Pup.

Latta Inlay Bench 004

Each pair of legs is constructed like an I-beam or an engineered joist.  I had some 2×10 lumber kicking around and I ripped some 2x6s out of the clear sections of the board.  I cut a dado down the center of each 2×6 to accept a 1″ thick OSB stair tread for the web of the beam.  I glued the leg assemblies together.  Once dry, I  attached them to the slab with 3/8″ diameter dowels.  I used six dowels per leg assembly, three in each 2×6.  I notched the bottom of each leg to allow the inlay bench to be clamped to my main bench.

Latta Inlay Bench 002


Like I said, I find this bench to be very useful for things besides inlay work.  I can clamp my Moxon vise to the bench for sawing dovetails.  It is higher than it should be, but I like that height for sawing dovetails.  Then I take the vise off and clamp boards flat for chopping and paring dovetails.

I am active in the local woodworking club and I have taken the inlay bench to club meetings to demonstrate techniques.  It is heavy, but it fits nicely in the back seat of the car.  I can then clamp the bench to one of those white plastic tables.  It isn’t ideal, but it is much easier than hauling a full sized bench around.

This is a fantastic little bench!  Even if you don’t do inlay work, it is a very handy bench to have around.


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