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Blog entry by WhiskeyWaters posted 01-14-2008 11:40 AM 1063 reads 0 times favorited 7 comments Add to Favorites Watch

At work, I’m doing my best to build a bookshelf/workbench -

This is my design so far, subject to change. I’m trying for something pretty sturdy, storage for games and such, but an open top to convert into a workspace if needed. The middle of the bench will be spanned by a 2’x4’ piece of 1/4” hardboard….the top will probably have to become thicker, won’t it? Any thoughts?



-- make it safe & keep the rubber side down.

7 comments so far

View rpmurphy509's profile


288 posts in 3855 days

#1 posted 01-14-2008 03:53 PM

You could add a vertical support running the length (minus the depth of the end shelves)
to add additional support for the top. Making it out of flat stock (plywood) would also
act as a separator/back for the different sides.


Sorry about butchering your drawing, I’m at work and had to do in
MS Paint…

-- Still learning everything

View Todd A. Clippinger's profile

Todd A. Clippinger

8901 posts in 4100 days

#2 posted 01-14-2008 04:28 PM

To be honest, I think you are over building the frame. This could be done with all sheet goods and dressed out with face frame and/or edgebanding.

Give us some more information. How many sides do you need access from? The two sides and leave the ends solid? At this point I am guessing that you will be walking around it? Games are not that heavy but I would not use 1/4 hardboard, I think you will be disappointed with it’s performance. Books and magazines do get heavy.

The top would just typically be 1 1/2” thick and finished out with laminate. It is very durable and is an industry standard.

We need to know the overall size.

-- Todd A. Clippinger, Montana,

View WhiskeyWaters's profile


213 posts in 3806 days

#3 posted 01-14-2008 04:48 PM

Well, I prolly am overbuilding – it’s 2×4 framing (what I got for free), about 2’wx4’lx3’h. I’m stuck with a nothin’ budget (why I’m looking at 1\4” hardboard) and little idea on the abuse it will take. Sometimes they get beat up, sometimes not.

The shelf/bench will sit in the middle of the room, so access from four sides in important. I’m thinking of putting casters/sliders on the feet to let her move, then I’ll make some wheel chucks when the kids work on the top. Biggest challenge is the top – you’re right Todd, it can’t be hardboard, but laminate is going to be too expensive. I’m thinking plywood, painted and dressed. The kids aren’t going to make rockets on it, so plywood top with a hardboard top to covert the scars? I think that could work.

-- make it safe & keep the rubber side down.

View Todd A. Clippinger's profile

Todd A. Clippinger

8901 posts in 4100 days

#4 posted 01-14-2008 04:58 PM

Well I understand the budget issue, I deal with it too.

Since you have the 2×4’s and you want it open on all four sides I think that you are headed in the right direction.

I would suggest going to 1/2” ply on the shelves. I would have total faith in that.

I like your idea of a sacrificial top of hardboard. I am assuming that it would have a small border frame to allow it to slip onto the top and stay in place. The top could work with some good paint on it for your intended use.

The middle support that rpmurphy suggests would work well if you turned it 90 degrees to go between the two middle legs.

-- Todd A. Clippinger, Montana,

View Mario's profile


902 posts in 4052 days

#5 posted 01-14-2008 05:06 PM

You might consider ripping the 2X4’s in half to lower the amount of wood that you use. It should still provide enough strength and save some stock.

-- Hope Never fails

View Todd A. Clippinger's profile

Todd A. Clippinger

8901 posts in 4100 days

#6 posted 01-14-2008 11:13 PM

I am with Mario on that suggestion. I had been thinking about that for the shelves.

-- Todd A. Clippinger, Montana,

View gene's profile


2184 posts in 3884 days

#7 posted 01-15-2008 03:20 AM

Hay! Whiskey, If this is for the kids at school? I think that a 3/4” top with 1/2” shelves will be sufficient. You can always add another brace underneath the shelves, should they be needed. You will probably need some kind of a skirt band around the outside,( 1”X 4” ) under the front edge of the top, and at the base , if possible. This will keep it from trying to rack and twist. Be sure to glue these.
Go Hokies
God bless

-- Gene, a Christian in Virginia

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