A few questions from a new guy

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Blog entry by Derec posted 01-08-2013 10:29 AM 1908 reads 0 times favorited 12 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Hi everyone,

I have been checking the site out for the past few days and have seen some great projects, and gathering ideas for some future projects that I would like to attempt myself.

One of the first projects I would like to tackle is building a garage workbench; and this is where my first question stems from. I like the idea of a rolling workbench where I can bring the work out into the driveway and have more space for larger projects. But I also like the idea of having a wall-mounted workbench where I can have free space under the bench.

I would like to get opinions on which bench people like more.

My next question is, where is the best place on the internet to find plans for projects? Again I would just like opinions so I can check the site out find new projects for my new retirement hobby.


-- Derec

12 comments so far

View Chris Moellering's profile

Chris Moellering

227 posts in 2644 days

#1 posted 01-08-2013 11:19 AM

Well, the great thing about rolling workbenches is they roll. That is also the bad thing about them….it is hard to make one that can roll put will then stay put while you’re working on it.

I’d suggest some sort of sawhorse setup as a second work table. Some folding sawhorses (you can make these) with a top. I have a semi-portable workbench that generally stays put against the wall in my garage. I find my portable table saw also doubles as workspace a lot.

I find lots of ideas for projects right here on LJ…I usually end up making my own plans however because I like this about A, that about B, but maybe I need it to fit next to C….. you get the idea. For me, figuring out how to make whatever it is is half the fun. But i know there are sites out there that are more than willing to sell you plans for all sorts of things.

Enjoy, glad to have you here.

-- Grace & peace, Chris+

View camps764's profile


867 posts in 2356 days

#2 posted 01-08-2013 01:25 PM


Welcome! Great questions.

I’ve been in the planning stages of building a real, woodworker’s workbench for a while. I currently have a wall mounted bench with storage underneath like you’ve asked about. As a general garage workbench it’s great, as a woodworking bench it has some pros and cons. I like that it is rock solid, but hate that I can’t access all four sides – one end and the back side are attached to the wall. It’s also nice and deep, allowing scroll saw and belt sander storage pushed back out of the way, but the depth makes it awkward to reach things sometimes. Changing out or adjusting the top is also a hassle – near impossible. It started out nice and flat – a must for assembly and other accurate set up work – but gradually ended up with high and low spots.

As a result, I want to build a stand alone bench, not on wheels. As Chris already mentioned, the wheel benches are hard to keep still – which is dangerous at the worst, irritating in the least.

Cruising LJ’s you will get a good taste for what people have – check out the workshops section to get ideas.

Popular woodworking has a lot of books on bench building – among other things. I will actually be tackling a bench project from the New Yankee Workshop in my blog series in the coming weeks and months.

You second question: Chris nailed it by doing things your own way. However, if you want additional plans or ideas a digital subscription to Fine Woodworking isn’t a bad idea. They have all kinds of plans for members, digital articles from the magazines.

If you have other questions let me know…this site is full of awesome folks who are very knowledgeable.

-- Steve

View JoeinGa's profile


7736 posts in 2003 days

#3 posted 01-08-2013 02:50 PM

Look at the selection of casters in your local big box lumber stores. You can find some heay duty casters that have some pretty good locking mechanisims on them. I welded 2” square tubing to make my workbench and when I lock the wheels it aint going nowhere. But with them unlocked, it rolls quite easily. Here’s my bench

I tucked the wheels under the corners of my bench, you can just see one of the wheels in this pic

-- Perform A Random Act Of Kindness Today ... Pay It Forward

View Derec's profile


77 posts in 1965 days

#4 posted 01-08-2013 05:03 PM

Here is what I am working with now. I plan on ripping all this stuff out and building my new bench in this space. I am thinking of building two benches; one mounted on the wall and and a rolling bench where I can mount my miter and possibly a table saw that I am going to pick up tonight. I really like the workbench concept that VaprTral ( into his workbench, but I think that is a bit out of my skill range right now

-- Derec

View BTimmons's profile


2303 posts in 2481 days

#5 posted 01-08-2013 05:17 PM


There’s been good advice here so far, but there’s another important aspect to consider. What you’re looking at so far seems to be building a station for miscellaneous power tools, which is fine. And that’s the sort of thing that probably should be mobile. Like a miter saw station, for instance. Some boards may be longer so you need to move it around to compensate for the limited space you’ve got to work with.

But if you think you’ll get into hand tool usage, something like a Roubo style workbench may be in order, and that opens up another huge can of worms. Apart from that specific style, there’s no end to the different variations on the relatively simple idea of a workbench.

-- Brian Timmons -

View curliejones's profile


178 posts in 2262 days

#6 posted 01-09-2013 12:26 AM
Here’s a link to my wheeled bench. I’m not much into hand tools yet and have a miter saw station on wheels from a previous build. This is a heavy bench with storage, easily moved to outdoors, provides access from all sides. It was built primarily for a work surface and I recently glued and clamped some 8 ft shelving then did the final assembly on it as well. It is built 1/8” lower in height than my table saw discharge so it can be (and has been several times already) wheeled into place to catch outfeed. I built this very inexpensively to serve my needs now. The best advice I’ve seen is that you must decide what kind of work you want to do and build to support that. Just FYI, I’ve seen some nice hinged drop-down work surfaces for in the garage. Lift up out of the way and you have to keep it clean to do that.

-- Like Guy Clark sez - "Sometimes I use my head, Sometimes I get a bigger hammer"

View Don W's profile

Don W

18711 posts in 2564 days

#7 posted 01-09-2013 02:33 AM

Once you’ve had a workbench that you can walk all the way around, you’ll never want anything else. If your shop is small enough so that means a rolling workbench, then make a rolling workbench. Make it so the wheels flip under so the bench sits firmly on the floor when in use.

I have a bench up against the wall ( my 2nd bench) but that winds up being used more like a shelf than a bench.

-- - Collecting is an investment in the past, and the future.

View Woodknack's profile


11613 posts in 2376 days

#8 posted 01-09-2013 09:25 AM

+1 to Don W. I would not build a wall bench unless you are a neat freak. Most of the time they collect clutter and are too high for woodworking. Roll around benches are nice, I have one but I long for a proper stationary bench. In fact I plan on tearing out two walls worth of benches so that I have room for a stationary bench.

My advice for what it’s worth. Store your tools on the wall. Frequently used tools at a convenient height, lesser used tools up high. Don’t build any tool storage into your workbench except maybe a spot to hang chisels and maybe a shelf down below to set powertools to get them out of the way while you’re working. Don’t build any drawers in your workbench unless they are close to the floor. Keep the depth of your bench to about 24”. Plan for clamping. Doesn’t matter if you use power or hand tools, you’ll need to clamp stuff. And consider mounting a power strip somewhere out of the way.

-- Rick M,

View Derec's profile


77 posts in 1965 days

#9 posted 01-10-2013 09:58 PM

Wow, you guys are great! I am impressed by the wealth of the advice you guys gave me, thank you!

I think what I am going to do is build both benches; one wall mounted and one rolling bench. I like what Rick said that wall benches get cluttered easily. So I will use the wall bench to store and organize my tools and the rolling bench for my woodworking. I just picked a router today and a table saw yesterday.

On another note, I was cruising the site other day and I found a quick and easy project I could knock out easily. Well I thought it was anyway.

She ain’t pretty, but she has already proven that she is functional.

-- Derec

View Woodknack's profile


11613 posts in 2376 days

#10 posted 01-11-2013 04:44 AM

Mallets don’t have to be pretty. I have several ugly yellow pine mallets that have been going strong for 10 years, you can see them in my projects.

Two tips on the roll-around, don’t build it too high, knuckle or palm height is good and don’t skimp on the castors (I made that mistake and bought too small). Buy great big-A castors that lock. It’s one of the first things I built (I had zero idea how to build a cabinet) and ugly as sin but I still like it after all these years. I would change them but it would be too tall. If you look at my workshop pics the roll around is in there.

-- Rick M,

View Derec's profile


77 posts in 1965 days

#11 posted 01-11-2013 04:55 AM

I showed my son my mallet and the first thing he said was “Can you build me a sword?”. I just smiled and said “What kind?”

-- Derec

View SouthHollow's profile


66 posts in 2477 days

#12 posted 01-17-2013 12:57 AM

I think you’re definitely on the right rack building two. In even my super limited experience, they serve very different purposes.

-- Alex, Los Angeles

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