A solid foundation to build a future - A New Workbench.

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Blog entry by bfd posted 03-26-2009 08:14 PM 2520 reads 4 times favorited 15 comments Add to Favorites Watch

It has been a while since I have been able to contribute much to Lumberjocks as life has been very hectic over the past few months. Anyway I have just embarked on my next project…building my own bench finally! I have been tossing ideas around for more then a year now. I have seen several examples of beautiful benches from many of you (Gary Sharp, Damian, John Ormsby and several others). I think I have read Lon Schleining’s The Workbench three times cover to cover and have changed my mind on what type of bench I wanted to build no less then 10 times. Finally, I have managed to come up with a design that I am happy with and that I think will give me a great foundation to build future projects on. A few considerations I had to deal with for my bench:

Size Limitation: 30”x60”x 34 3/4” High. Space is limited in my shop. The bench also needs to double as my outfeed table for my Table Saw so that dictates the hgt of the bench. I will have to route out miter slots for my cross cut sled. Not being very tall this hgt works out perfectly for me.

Storage: Being a organized person I need to have storage under my bench. This is where I will store all of my hand tools. keeping them within arms reach. I plan is to utilize a different drawer construction techniques for each of the 4 drawers. The central storage itself will act as the cross bracing for the bench. I will add future storage to the outside of the slab legs as needed. I can easily add this by attaching to the slab leg a french cleat and hanging the unit.

Budget and Aesthetics: I wanted something that was unique and would serve as an example of the type of work I do both in quality and in the style. I wanted to blend both modern and traditional elements. Budget dictated a few details on this bench. I decided to buy the laminated maple top for two reasons. The cost of the raw material exceeded what I paid for the top and once you factor in the time to mill, glue, and flatten the top it was a no brainer. I will be putting a 4” solid maple apron around the top which I will mill and dovetail myself. The legs were another place where I decided to save a lot of money. They will be a laminated slab construction consisting of 5 layers of 3/4’ particle board that will be skinned in Maple veneer. The front edge will be solid maple so that I am able to drill for bench dog holes up the side. These legs will definitely have the mass required to keep the bench in place. Anyway here is the design. The second picture show the future storage I will build at a later date. The form is very reminiscent of my winebar when the outboard storage is added. This will definately be the focal point of my shop. I plan to blog the process.

15 comments so far

View wpreman's profile


1611 posts in 3740 days

#1 posted 03-26-2009 08:23 PM

I like it Brian and look forward to following along with the building process!

-- Bill, Florida

View Todd A. Clippinger's profile

Todd A. Clippinger

8901 posts in 4127 days

#2 posted 03-26-2009 08:27 PM

I can’t wait to see this.

I like the design and features that I see.

Buying the top is a smart move for exactly the reasons that you listed.

-- Todd A. Clippinger, Montana,

View bfd's profile


502 posts in 3834 days

#3 posted 03-26-2009 08:29 PM

Hi DaveR,

They are miter slots that will line up with the miter slots on my table saw since this doubles as an outfeed table for my TS. The slots will allow me to make deep cross cuts with my cross cut sled.

View majeagle1's profile


1426 posts in 3523 days

#4 posted 03-26-2009 08:38 PM

Neat bench Brian, I really like the design. This is something I have been thinking about and I may “borrow” some of your concepts.
Can’t wait to see the progress and finished pics.

Thanks for posting

-- Gene, Majestic Eagle Woodworks,,

View WoodWizard's profile


2 posts in 3448 days

#5 posted 03-26-2009 08:54 PM

Great bench design, Brian. Where did you purchase the top?

Though things are hectic on your side, will you be posting a blog showing construction process of this bench?

Thanks very much for the post. Looking forward to following the building process if you decide to post it.

-- -- Matt, Texas

View PurpLev's profile


8536 posts in 3676 days

#6 posted 03-26-2009 08:56 PM

looks great!

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View Francisco Luna's profile

Francisco Luna

943 posts in 3421 days

#7 posted 03-26-2009 09:02 PM

Nice looking sketch…is it on scale? The slab and legs look thicker in the drawing that 4” and 3-3/4” as planned.

Have you consider an element in this design to counteract against lateral movements ?
When handplanning on a bench, it’s pushed lateraly,that’s why traditional workbenches use tall (6”)stretchers.
Perhaps a solid 3/4” backing in the cabinet could help in this way, but I think is not still enough, considering the heavy mase of top and legs.

-- Nature is my manifestation of God. I go to nature every day for inspiration in the day's work. I follow in building the principles which nature has used in its domain" Frank Lloyd Wright

View John Ormsby's profile

John Ormsby

1288 posts in 3764 days

#8 posted 03-26-2009 09:12 PM

That is a very good design for a workbench and should be quite stable. Keep us updated on your progress.

-- Oldworld, Fair Oaks, Ca

View bfd's profile


502 posts in 3834 days

#9 posted 03-26-2009 09:24 PM


Good questions, yes the drawing is to scale. It is a relatively small bench (30×60x34.75) so the 4”thick top and the 3.75” leg look extremely thick. The cabinet will have a minimum of .75”thick back (I may do a 1.5” back for the reasons you mentioned). This would essentially create a 18”x32.25”x1.5” stretcher which should counteract any lateral movement. If I am still not satisfied then I can add a stretcher either above or below the storage unit.


I hope to post my progress on this. I got my top locally but & have them as well.

View ChicoWoodnut's profile


904 posts in 3843 days

#10 posted 03-27-2009 04:19 AM

Hi Brian,

This looks great. Can’t you figure out how to put some bent laminations in there?

-- Scott - Chico California

View ChicoWoodnut's profile


904 posts in 3843 days

#11 posted 03-27-2009 04:20 AM

Hi Brian,

This looks great. Can’t you figure out how to put some bent laminations in there?

-- Scott - Chico California

View Napaman's profile


5526 posts in 4104 days

#12 posted 03-27-2009 07:24 AM

lol woodnut…

Brian…this looks great…i will definitely watch the blog…good luck!!

-- Matt--Proud LJ since 2007

View WayneC's profile


13754 posts in 4125 days

#13 posted 03-29-2009 08:11 PM

Very nice design. What are you anticipating putting into the different storage areas. I’m wondering if you have a plan for tools you would be using at the bench in mind.

Also, are you going to be going to the Sacramento Woodworking Show?

-- We must guard our enthusiasm as we would our life - James Krenov

View bfd's profile


502 posts in 3834 days

#14 posted 03-29-2009 08:36 PM

Scott, You are killing me! That would be a great idea to do a whole bent lam. base. hmmm maybe on my second bench. Hope you and Napaman are planning on going to the Sac Wood Show as well.

Jarrod, That is pretty funny Man. The blue is a t-track that will inbedded into the top to give me some additional hold down options.

Hi Wayne, Thank you yes I am planning to go to the Sacramento Woodworking Show so maybe we can meet up and say hello. The middle storage unit will hold (from top to bottom): 1. marking & measuring tools 2. chisles 3. handsaws 4. planes and card scrapers. The outside storage will hold router bits and accessories while the other will most likey hold accessories for my band saw.

View Blake's profile


3443 posts in 3902 days

#15 posted 04-08-2009 11:34 PM

Wow, this will be cool. Love the style. Its very you.

-- Happy woodworking!

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