If this is your first visit, be sure to check out the FAQ by clicking the link above. I think for every big box store pile I go through I’m doing good to find 2 boards or so out of a few hundred that I may be able to use, but despite saying they kiln dry the moisture content is well over 14% usually and the stuff moves on me… their Southern Yellow is even worse, if not at least laminated to another board immediately it will try to turn into an S on me. =) Never giving up hope though.
If you want the top of the Workbench to be flush with the frame underneath it (which you will be building in Steps 8 and 9), each brace should be equal to the width of the bench top minus the width of two 2x4s; however, if you’d like the frame to jut slightly out from underneath the bench top, which can be useful for storing clamps, for example, cut the braces to same length as the width of the bench top.
Situating the vise face flush to a continuous apron seems to make sense and in fact most everyone does it. Usually they do it because they never tried leaving the vise forward by about 1 1/2″ including the wooden drawer liner and then use the vise for about a month or so to get used to it. If they did, I doubt that they would go back to a flush vice.
Portability of a bench has advantages and disadvantages, the ideal bench is heavy, this is a good thing when you are working on it, but not when you wish to move it. Castors can be added to all legs to make it really easy to move around, however it may also tend to move around while working on it. Stability can be attained by the use of locking castors, or only putting castors on one end but this means the heavy other end must be lifted.
We used a laburnum tree to push against and I think it took the three of us about an hour to surface plane the large flat faces ready for gluing up the laminated tops. Take the time to build it right, and you’ll never wish you had a better workbench again. Then I used lots of clamps along the edges to make certain I got a good bond with no gaps. The best top I have seen is the one my dad just got for the benchs in his new house. I found a screaming deal on some odd cuts of maple that were just perfect for a bench.
My bench has two laminated sections, on each long length, which allows for a well in the middle. Even wood glue that drips onto it comes off easily with a scraper of after a short soak with a wet rag. I then used the router with a 1/2-inch round-over bit to round the edges of the workbench. In shops with power tools workbenches are often built to do double duty as table saw or planer out-feed tables.
The 12” laminated bench tops are more than adequate for all work and any wider will span to the other side. You might want to double check to make sure that the glue joint is square 90 deg before glue up. Yes clamps will be fine, no need for spline. Hope this ramling might be of use to anyone making it. I love old tools, my wife regularly tells me that I own too many, but I also love solving problems for 0 cost.
A traditional leg vises excel at clamping longer work horizontally (especially when used with a board jack) and they have a very generous working depth from the bench top to the screw, typically around 10 inches. Grind the bottom of the countertop (the top of the mold that is facing up) until level and smooth. Once it does, lay strips of thin scrap material or dowels on top of the substrate to act as spacers for positioning the laminate. Woodworking tutorials often suggest building a workbench as a first project, then offer plans for masterpieces costing hundreds of dollars and countless hours to build. Pay close attention to your marking lines and make sure your square is never far from hand.
You’ll discover as you work on objects on your workbench that if the workbench is too high, your shoulder will raise up to an uncomfortable height, and you’ll lose leverage. Another option is to use dimensional framing lumber, rather than maple or oak, and make a solid wood top. Best of all, you can make this bench in a weekend, to your own dimensions, and you don’t need a ton of tools. When you’re done, you will have a top brace at the top of one side of each leg pair and a bottom brace near the bottom of the other side of each leg pair.
Either way, a single fence setting and a spacer block is used to cut each corresponding joint exactly the same width and in exactly the same place on each leg. David Randall had a workbench design problem that a lot of woodworkers have: Very little workspace. Since it’s inexpensive and a great beginners bench , I’ve added photos and a small article on Workbench 1.0, my first woodworking bench.
Use 2-by-4s to reinforce the underside of the bench top immediately on each side of the tub’s intended location. The US lumber industry shortens each 2×4 by half an inch on either side for various reasons (shrinkage, smoothing). Popular Woodworking has a very good deal that includes Chris Schwarz’ Workbench and Workbench Design Books, plus 3 workbench plan CDs and a great poster in a bundle. The bench is ambitious, but it can be built by a home craftsman who owns a small table saw and a benchtop planer. I went ahead and lined up the front face of the table top and bench frame and screwed in the front two lag bolts.
It’s you using it, not some guy making a nice living off of telling you how he thinks you should do it. One size does not fit all. I would be using my workbench for numerous outdoor wood/gardening projects so the top would have to be very sturdy and not affected by my wife’s flower pot projects. Make sure the area underneath countertop is supported by several wood crossbeams. Before assembly, use a tablesaw or a router and straightedge to cut the top layer accurately to final size.
Another interesting new portable workbench: The Skil X-Bench Workstation This one has many optional features that might be of interest to woodworkers. It didn’t take much work to get a smooth painted finish because the particle board I bought came from the factory with top and bottom surfaces that were almost as smooth as glass. The design is based on this video from Start Woodworking , which is derived from a plan in the book, Making Workbenches by Sam Allen. Cost is the primary reason why I didn’t a use a laminate counter top for this bench. Although, I will be putting another piece of particle board underneath it to make it stronger and heavier.
A weekend or professional carpenter who just likes to get his hands dirty is more concerned with function than style and would rather spend the money on his next refinishing project than a new bench top. In all of my life working in different workshops, we only ever used one bench height and it was the same for planing and making joints. I was able to purchase a solid slab unfinished wood door from Home Depot for $69 – not used but also not hundreds of dollars for an unfinished door like other places were quoting me!
You can make the bench taller, try it for a week and cut some off the legs if you feel doubtful at all. If you have a thick bench top, consider bolting from the bottom up; this will keep the bench top smooth and bolt-free. Long rails will make this happen, and recruiting a helper will make this step much easier. If you’ll be using your bench for gluing or finishing wood, consider securing a replaceable layer of 1/4-inch plywood on top of the top boards. Another option for the top (for a woodworking bench), is to use 2×4’s standing on edge, and glued together on the wide faces. Wood is commonly mixed around by the customers by accident or cut into smaller lengths and placed back on the rack.
Your work table looks good for the type of stuff you are doing on it, but I guess welding doesn’t really require much work holding or is served by the metal working-kind of vices made of full metal vs. carpentry vices with wooden jaws. I like the smoothness of MDF but if money was not a problem I would opt for Plywood but having said that, I have a bench with just particle board top and it has stood up quite well to the abuse I have given it over the last 8 years. Lie-Nielsen manufacturer of some of the best handtools made today now offers a really well made workbench and excellent quality bench hardware for the builder.
I bought the 10mm studding from an aircon ducting place on ebay, built the top from two sheets of 25mm mdf from B&Poo and lipped with hardwood. So after all the glue was dry I used a router with a flush cut bit to make them even. To make it cost less you could substitute the softwood top for an MDF double layer plus some tempered hardboard. Make certain that they are dry to around 10-12% +-. Lamination gives a little greater rigidity and stability, but spruce is a stable wood when dried properly so it will work.
You can build the top of your workbench with 3/4-inch plywood or solid 2-by-6, 2-by-8 or 2-by-10 planks. Also, this has the benefit of making the edges straight so they will join together with out cracks(hopefully). You also don’t need to cut any of the boards lengthwise to get a specific workbench top width. I installed two cheap metal vises, slapped a coat of poly on the top and called it done. This is why I suggest drilling the top holes after you have the table top all together. If you want a really durable workbench top, you can add a layer of oak flooring to the top of the workbench.
Lumber yards will have to order it so you can’t ‘pick’ out your examples but I’ve found that they look for clear boards when making the beams. I would use a sheet of 18mm or thicker mdf, nice smooth top to work on, if it gets too worn you just drop a 6mm sheet on top to give a new surface. I would prefer to make the bench top out of untreated lumber but that is all there is for 4x4s at my Home Depot.
Rebekah Compton writes: Building your first workbench can be quite a challenge for the beginning woodworker, but this tutorial is detailed enough to make the process easy to understand. A quick unofficial survey of Tweeting woodworkers from Southern California to Quebec Canada shows hard maple ranging in price from $4-$10 a board foot! I think the whole issue regarding bench is totally subjective as Paul suggests, if you are 5 11 and built like paul then 38 inches is right, if you are like me and have a bad back and are 6 2, i just completed my latest bench top at a height of 46 inches, it is fabulous as i do not have to bend…….