"Why is This Car Parked in My Shop?" Turning My One Car Garage Into A Shop #3: New FWW laminated Plywood Work bench

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Blog entry by Brad_Nailor posted 1499 days ago 2558 reads 3 times favorited 10 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 2: Kreg Top Track Production Stop/Chop Saw Outfeed Table/Fence Part 3 of "Why is This Car Parked in My Shop?" Turning My One Car Garage Into A Shop series Part 4: Wheeled stand for my new planer »

OK..So I am slowly but surely tweaking my garage into a shop..a little at a time. Before I launched into any real projects I wanted a proper work bench…the hollow core door across two plastic saw horses just wasn’t cutting it. I wanted something that was heavy duty, with thick legs like a traditional wood working bench, with mortise and tenon joinery..but I didn’t want to go through the whole learning curve..I just wanted a bench. I remembered seeing an article in FWW that was a plan for a bench exactly like that, made of layers of plywood laminated together. You use jigs and blocks to create the joinery. The top was a layer of 3/4 ply with a layer of 3/4 MDF on top and a hardwood edge to finish it off. So I bought two sheets of my favorite shop fixture materiel…3/4” birch ply at HD..50 bucks a sheet. Stripped that all up into 3 9/16” strips, then cut all my parts to length. I used a jig described in the instructions to make the tenons on the stretchers and a couple blocks with packing tape to make the mortises.

Here is a shot of the finished legs..I trimmed them with two passes per side on the table saw down to 3 1/2”

Then with everything glued up, and sized and sanded I started assembling things..

Heres the base with the sides all glued up, clamped together and squared up..

The MDF was screwed to the plywood from underneath and then the top was pocket screwed through the upper stretchers..

Then I just put on some HD 3/4” solid maple trim..I actually found a piece in the bin that was curly..I put that on the front..mitered all the corners and shot it on with brads, then screwed it on into both the ply and MDF…The finished product!

I am very happy with the result. The bench is rock solid, and the top is nice and flat. I am going to install a nice vice on the left end, and drill some holes for some round bench dogs.


10 comments so far

View tyskkvinna's profile


1308 posts in 1581 days

#1 posted 1499 days ago

looks great! very sturdy. I bet you can’t wait to use it now :)

-- Lis - Michigan - -

View a1Jim's profile


111999 posts in 2172 days

#2 posted 1499 days ago

Looks like a great bench it should hold up very well, great job

-- Custom furniture

View Wolffarmer's profile


393 posts in 1833 days

#3 posted 1499 days ago

nice bench there. I have long been considering using mdf for the surface of the one i am going to build for myself. I have an old external solid core door that I have all ready cut down. MDF on top of that and maple edging just like yours is what I been thinking about. Though i probably will not fasten the MDF down. Let it float so it can be replaced. In 2007 I built a large bench out of a full sheet of 1/2 mdf on a 2×4 frame to build the side walls of my tear drop trailer. has really stood up well even the sides that are out about 4 inches from the frame. really handy to clamp things to. Also i have screwed many things to it ( on purpose ) to keep them from moving about or some jig thingies. I figure a more traditional bench and a shelf at the bottom to store my Newton Clamps ( iron tractor weights ) will be pretty solid.


-- That was not wormy wood when I started working on it.

View Viking's profile


857 posts in 1790 days

#4 posted 1498 days ago


Nice been, should hold up well. Do you recall which issue of FWW the plan was in. Really like this idea. Do you plan to put a finish on it?

Thanks for sharing!

-- Rick Gustafson - Lost Creek Ranch - Colorado County, Texas

View CanadianWoodChuck's profile


394 posts in 2508 days

#5 posted 1498 days ago

Great looking bench Dave should give you years of service. I love practical fixtures in the shop. Enjoy

-- Canadian Wood Chuck (Bruce)

View SPalm's profile


4737 posts in 2477 days

#6 posted 1498 days ago

Nice looking little bench. I could use a couple of those.
Dang, 50 bucks a sheet.

Thanks for the post,

-- -- I'm no rocket surgeon

View PurpLev's profile


8476 posts in 2243 days

#7 posted 1498 days ago

woah! nice bench. that thing looks like it weighs a Ton. how large is the top?

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View Shawn Sealer's profile

Shawn Sealer

165 posts in 1709 days

#8 posted 1498 days ago

I’ve built this very same bench from FWW and I have to say I’ve been supper pleased with it. it,s rock solid you can view my finished bench in my shop section

-- -Shawn

View Brad_Nailor's profile


2531 posts in 2552 days

#9 posted 1489 days ago

Thanks for the nice comments. I really like the way this came out and it was pretty straight forward to make…and it’s a heck of a lot sturdier than the hollow core door across two Home Depot plastic saw horses.

Purp…the top is 72 long and 33 wide hangs over about 4 1/2” on either side so it will be easy to clamp stuff to it.


View mcoyfrog's profile


2875 posts in 2189 days

#10 posted 1455 days ago

Great blog, this should last you a long time

-- Wood and Glass they kick (well you know) Have a great day - Dug

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