I wasn't sure that I needed a sliding deadman on my workbench, but the coolness factor was too enticing. I had to build one.
Many deadmen are built from one piece of wood and are wider than the one I made. I used three pieces of wood so I wouldn't have to cut up such a wide piece of cherry.
The center post is joined to the top and bottom pieces with mortise and tenon joints; the top piece has a tongue that rides in a groove beneath the benchtop; and the bottom piece rides along a V-runner that's glued to the bottom stretcher.
Because my benchtop slides off the legs, I didn't need to plow too deep a groove for the top piece in order to be able to remove the deadman. The groove is only 1/2" deep and 3/8" wide.
You can cut these joints a number of ways—with hand or power tools—but I opted to use a variety of hand tools.
The wider the top and bottom pieces of a deadman, the less likely it is to rack as you slide it along.
But because my bench is compact—the inside width between legs is only 27"—I kept them pretty small. This way, the deadman could slide as close as possible to each of the front legs.
I've been using my bench for awhile now and am surprised to find that I actually use the deadman, so it's not the unnecessary feature I expected it to be.
But I still think it's cool.