As I’m setting up and building my workshop, and seeing all those really nice workbenches built by woodworkers here, I’m thinking that I’d really love to build my own, but how to build a piece that will last me a long time while keeping the cost down on a limited budget.
Hardware will cost money. I’ll have to buy a couple decent quality vises, so I’ll need to keep the cost of wood down.
For the base, I’m thinking that I could go for construction grade pine, as it’s readily available in stores around here in a good array of dimensions. That would allow for building a nice solid trestle base and could probably look nice with a good finish, perhaps some staining. Maybe I’ll find a source for some inexpensive hardwood instead.
Now the idea I’m having for the top is the following:
Several months ago, I bought for about 150€, or was it 100€, about 30m² of really old, super tough oak flooring. It was used in a chevron pattern so the boards are all small, but I’ve got a huge pile of them. The boards were glued down with some kind of tar so many of them still need to be cleaned up. They also have slightly angled sides.
All in all, once cleaned up, flattened (they are already mostly flat, but I’ll lose some thickness cleaning them up, including a slight layer of finish or patina), and cut to size, I would end up with boards that would be about 38cm long, 8cm wide, and 2cm thick.
This means that I could use about 100 of these boards together in a double thickness to come up with a flat workbench top of about 180×60cm, or 70×25 inches, which I think would be good for my room (plus all around apron). It would be 4cm thick, a bit over 1.5”. Seeing how strong and dense (and heavy) this oak is, that would provide for a very solid top.
I’m now wondering how to best join all these boards. The latest FWW issue shows a technique of a 3-board sandwich used by Garrett Hack to make a bench top. I’d be using only 2 boards for the thickness, and would need about 5 of them to make one length. I guess using 3 boards is an option for a thickness but that would make that top incredibly heavy. I need to find a scale in order to estimate the weight of the finished top…
If anyone reading this has some ideas…shoot away!
-- David - Tucson, AZ