Building my first workbench. #1: Planning and math.

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Blog entry by AnnaEA posted 05-19-2011 04:16 AM 1287 reads 1 time favorited 2 comments Add to Favorites Watch
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I’m getting my workshop into shape, and I need a bench. I’m going to use the general plan of Bob and Dave's Good Fast and Cheap (link to .pdf) bench because it looks like a good beginners project for me, I can adjust it easily to fit my space, and I’ll be able to afford to do it in a reasonable time frame.

The bench is built all out of laminated 2x stock, so I’ll get practice gluing up as well as the carpentry. Mortise and tenon joints on the legs, also something I’ve never done. I’m sizing the bench down to four feet, so it will fit in my shop space, and I’ll be able to source the lumber really cheaply. Between the short cuts bin at the BigBox and the odds and ends lumber at the Habitat, I should be able to avoid buying any new long stock.

I’ll need 27 48” lengths of 2×4, and 5 48” lengths of 2×8. And a lot of glue. I’m going to visit the sawmill and see if I can get hooked up with hard wood odds and ends for the bench top, but the legs will be standard dimensional SPF, and it won’t kill me if the bench top is too. I have one vise for the front, and haven’t decided if I want a vise on the end yet—I don’t have a lot of room, and I do have a tool that needs to go to the right of the bench.

Overall, my bench will be 48” long, 23.5 inches deep, and 32.5 inches tall. It will go against the long wall of my workshop, with the shop vac to the left of it, and my scroll saw to the right. I expect that I’ll be able to do most of the work on it with my hand tools, though I may break out my cordless drill for install the vise.

-- Work hard, play hard, drink good beer.

2 comments so far

View RGtools's profile


3372 posts in 2709 days

#1 posted 05-19-2011 03:07 PM

Built the same bench and it was well worth the effort. Do you self a favor though and don’t make the mistakes I did. Put the lower stretcher only 3” off of the floor or cross grain planing is going to be a lot harder on you (the stretcher on mine is right where my knee wants to go. Also I strongly advise against a tool well (especially on a scaled down bench. And last but on least don’t space your dog holes so far from the front edge of your bench as they have them, 1-2 inches is good as this allows for the much easier use of joinery planes. Have fun, it’s a great bench.

-- Make furniture that lasts as long as the tree - Ryan

View Dennisgrosen's profile


10880 posts in 3169 days

#2 posted 05-19-2011 03:16 PM

great to hear you make dust again :-)
consider to let the legs go to the front of the bench
so you can make holes in the one thats is on the other end from the vice
and have either a dovel or one of the old fasner types you bang in and loosen with a mallet
that will help you holding longer boards or panels when you working on the edge of them
you can allso make a sliding jack in stead

I look forward to see your bench

take care

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