Building a new workbench #11: Project Completion: The tool trays are completed & installed

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Blog entry by Loogie posted 04-24-2009 05:42 AM 7973 reads 18 times favorited 12 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 10: Time to install the tail vise Part 11 of Building a new workbench series no next part

After several weeks of working on hanging doors, trim work and building a bathroom vanity I finally got a chance to finish up my workbench. One of the features that really attracted me to this workbench design in the first place was the reversible tool trays. I really don’t like the idea of having a big trough running down the middle of my bench, but being able to flip the trays over and have flat surface was very appealing. I decided to dovetail the trays rather than use the rabbet joint that Bob Lang had used. Although that would have been much easier I didn’t want to have to look at rabbeted drawers for the rest of my life. I also decided to use a 67 1/2* shaker panel raising bit for the tray bottoms. It was simply more aesthetically pleasing to me.



-- Mark

12 comments so far

View steveosshop's profile


230 posts in 2712 days

#1 posted 04-24-2009 06:34 AM

That is an amazing looking workbench!!! That should be a great tool to use for any future projects.

-- Steve-o

View azwoodman's profile


132 posts in 2467 days

#2 posted 04-24-2009 07:25 AM

Absolutely amazing! The 21st Century Workbench at its finest! I want to build the same one. I am going to favorite your bench and definitely refer back to it when it’s my turn to build it. I like the contrasting woods that you used. Very nice.

-- Spencer, Gilbert Az (

View kiwi1969's profile


609 posts in 2528 days

#3 posted 04-24-2009 07:36 AM

you can rightfully be proud of that one.

-- if the hand is not working it is not a pure hand

View TheRecklessOne's profile


15 posts in 2415 days

#4 posted 04-24-2009 01:58 PM

That’s incredibly gorgeous… Are you busting at the seems to work on it? I’d be afraid to muff up something that nice… Great work!!!!

-- Sponsored by craigslist brand power tools!

View Mario's profile


902 posts in 3138 days

#5 posted 04-24-2009 02:23 PM

That is one awesome bench. Great work.

thanks for sharing the progress with us.

-- Hope Never fails

View WhittleMeThis's profile


125 posts in 2459 days

#6 posted 04-25-2009 02:05 AM

Great job, the tool trays in the middle are a great touch. The workbench should last a lifetime.

View charlton's profile


78 posts in 2495 days

#7 posted 04-27-2009 10:17 PM

Very nice. Looks impressive! Congrats!

View Beginningwoodworker's profile


13347 posts in 2759 days

#8 posted 10-03-2010 10:30 PM

Thats a nice looking workbench.

View reDesigner's profile


3 posts in 1077 days

#9 posted 01-10-2013 09:48 PM

I was just looking back over the entire workbench series and this looks like a great project.

As I understand, this bench is designed with knock-down components so it can be disassembled at some point.

How are the slab tops attached to the upright leg frames that they still remain removable? I tried to extract this information from pictures, but didn’t catch that part.

View Loogie's profile


100 posts in 2866 days

#10 posted 01-11-2013 03:04 AM

The bench top is secured to the legs with lag screws. Two per slab per leg. Eight screws in total.

If you are considering making this bench then there are a couple of modifications I would make now that I’ve used it for a few years.
1) eliminate the top cross-member. You don’t need it. The bench does not rack at all with it removed. If you are concerned about that you could always increase the width of the bottom crossmember.
2) add a sliding deadman. Elimination of the crossmember will allow you to install the sliding deadman. As it stands I find that panel edges often fall in the gap above and below the top cross member and I have no easy way to support it.
3) eliminate the trays and just make a gap 1 1/2” – 2” wide to allow you to get a clamp through it.
4) fill the gap with a filler that creates a 3/8” gap to store chisels and saws in while working. If you create the filler piece to be taller than the bench top slabs by 3/8” and then notch it around the leg cross braces you will be able to flip it over and have a nice planing stop. My trays are rarely flipped over. They looked great, but don’t get much use in reality. I made another bench with a split-top as described and I like it a lot better.
5) make the bench top slabs asymmetrical with the wider one in the the front and the narrower one in the back. That will give you as much room as possible to work without having to maneuver around things stores in the slot.

-- Mark

View mkamp's profile


1 post in 230 days

#11 posted 04-09-2015 06:41 PM


thanks very much for sharing all this information. I hope that now in 2015 you’re still happy with it!


View Loogie's profile


100 posts in 2866 days

#12 posted 04-10-2015 01:45 PM

Thanks Mariano. After many years of using this bench it is doing great. However, see my comment above for lessons learned.

-- Mark

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