Multi-Function Workbench

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Blog entry by DanTheLumberJockMan posted 09-08-2008 04:06 PM 12532 reads 14 times favorited 10 comments Add to Favorites Watch

It all starts with a sheet of plywood

It all starts out with a sheet of plywood

From there I added the toe kick area

Add the toe kick area

The base is put together almost exclusively with pocket screws and glue

Pocket screws everywhere

Then the four sides are added to form a box and the fan was installed. I was lucky to find this squirrel cage fan on Craigs List for $20

A $20 fan I found on Craigs List

Here is the outlet side

The fan outlet

Then I added these guides which create a funnel shaped section inside the bench. Air and dust gets sucked in through holes in the top, down the angled shelves, through the two filters and clean air exits the side of the bench.

The squirrel cage fan and filters

Here, one of the angled shelves has been installed

The filters in place

And here is a better look at the entire funneling system (one of the shelves is still missing in this photo). Woops, I glued a couple boards in the wrong location and had to pry them off. Good thing it’s on the inside.

The angled shelves for the downdraft

I added some feet to the bottom. The white ones are temporary and were later replaced with wheels. You can also see in this photo that I’m just about to cut the opening for the drawers.

The feet

I made a couple of drawers out of 1/2” plywood. Again, just pocket screwed together. But the pocket screws are on the outsides of the front and back of the drawer. Once the drawer front is installed, nobody will ever seen them.

The drawers added

Now for a little electrical. There is a double outlet on the front and another outlet and a switch on the side to turn on the fan.

Gotta have electricity

I just used a standard vent cover for the outlet

Just an ordinary duct vent cover

Time for the top. I purchased this 1 3/4” maple top from Woodcraft

Look Ma, no holes  (yet)

It’s fastened to the bench with aluminum angle bracket I picked up at Dixieline.

maple top held on with angle bracket

Now you can see why the bench itself is rather skinny. The top overhangs in the back a good 8” or so to make room for the saw motor. I also had to route out some of the underside to make room for the motor to swing up for 45 degree cuts.

Clearance for the saw motor

The roll of paper at the end of the bench sure comes in handy. I’m not going to baby this workbench, but I don’t want it covered with stain and poly either.

The roll of paper comes in handy

And here is the finished product. It’s a very solid workbench, a great clamping station, the downdraft works amazingly well and very quietly, being able to plug power tools in is a real convenience. What would I change? The only thing I can think of is a way to make the height adjustable. Because my garage floor is so uneven, I either have to find just the right spot for the bench and saw, or shim the saw. But since I don’t plan on moving either around much it isn’t a big deal.

The finished workbench

I started this idea with this article . Then I incorporated ideas I found in books, magazines and online.

-- Dan, San Diego, CA

10 comments so far

View Robb's profile


660 posts in 3931 days

#1 posted 09-08-2008 06:12 PM

That’s a sweet looking bench! Great job!

-- Robb

View Garyb6's profile


306 posts in 3627 days

#2 posted 09-08-2008 06:31 PM

Great job! You’ve have some great ideas I may borrow. Thanks.

-- Garyb6, “True simplicity does not reveal the tremendous effort it requires.” - Somerset Maugham

View Grant Davis's profile

Grant Davis

770 posts in 3905 days

#3 posted 09-08-2008 09:06 PM

EXCELLENT, that is a great idea

-- Grant...."GO BUCKEYES"

View SCOTSMAN's profile


5849 posts in 3582 days

#4 posted 09-08-2008 09:17 PM

A bench like that would be of no use to you please send it to me right away and I’ll take it off your hands free of
Seriously a great idea I have been wanting to make a downdraft table for yonks this is a beauty well done.Actually I have a couple of those fans I removed from an industrial water central heating system and I was thinking of naking another dust extractor ceiling type .Thanks for the pics please tell me how you managed to do more than three pictures on this blog I can’t seem to quite get it kind regards Alistair

-- excuse my typing as I have a form of parkinsons disease

View DanTheLumberJockMan's profile


26 posts in 3607 days

#5 posted 09-08-2008 11:43 PM

Hey Scotsman, the bench is in the mail :)

What I did to create the blog is first post all the pictures on PhotoBucket. Then when you’re writing your blog, where ever you want a picture to appear:

1. Go to PhotoBucket
2. Under the picture you want, click where it says “HTML Code”. This will copy the link to the picture into your clipboard.
3. Go back to the blog you’re writing and paste in the HTML Code by pressing Ctrl-V. You can paste in as many pictures as you want. Of course, while you’re writing the blog, all you’ll see is a bunch of funky text. But when you save it or preview it, you’ll see the pictures.

Let me know if you need more help with this.


-- Dan, San Diego, CA

View JerrySats's profile


237 posts in 3607 days

#6 posted 09-09-2008 01:08 AM

Nice looking bench , I like your design and choice of materials better those in the link posted . Only question I have is , how do you change the filters ?

View DanTheLumberJockMan's profile


26 posts in 3607 days

#7 posted 09-09-2008 05:54 AM

Changing the filters is a bit of a chore. The top unscrews with 8 screws, pull it off, remove one of the inner shelves and the filters pop out. I’ve found that they don’t need to be cleaned or changed too often though so this really hasn’t been an issue.

-- Dan, San Diego, CA

View marcb's profile


768 posts in 3670 days

#8 posted 09-09-2008 06:02 AM

A different idea but might be nice would be a closable hole in the back to suck in the dust coming from the saw.

View marcb's profile


768 posts in 3670 days

#9 posted 09-09-2008 07:56 PM

I should add (instead of just critique) that you made a really kicken shop tool and I am totally stealing that idea.

A down draft table is a must.

View DanTheLumberJockMan's profile


26 posts in 3607 days

#10 posted 09-10-2008 06:57 AM

Thanks Marc, well I could probably think of a few more things to add too. But I’ll look to yours to see what improvements you come up with.

-- Dan, San Diego, CA

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