The Workbench #1: Introduction

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Blog entry by Craig S. Cottingham posted 03-22-2009 04:10 AM 1183 reads 0 times favorited 6 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of The Workbench series Part 2: The Plan »

So, I figure before I can start any Serious Woodworking Projects, I need a good workbench. Yes, I know it’s possible to be productive using a solid-core door on a pair of sawhorses, but I’m planning on turning the workbench into a Serious Woodworking Project of its own. I plan to use this opportunity to learn how to work with rough lumber (more on that later) and practice basic joinery (mortises and tenons, for instance) on something more forgiving than, say, a piece of furniture.

-- Craig S. Cottingham, Olathe, KS

6 comments so far

View PurpLev's profile


8536 posts in 3674 days

#1 posted 03-22-2009 04:17 AM

sounds like the way to go! good luck on the journey – it’s a good one to follow as it’ll teach you many skills along the way while giving you the flexibility to make mistakes. and on top of experience , you’ll be rewarded with a solid workbench!

And Welcome Aboard!

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

View Bureaucrat's profile


18339 posts in 3677 days

#2 posted 03-22-2009 04:50 AM

I’ll be following your progress closely. I need to do one myself. So far, I have only read about others work. I was out in the shop for the first time in 5 months today. May be a bench soon.

-- Gary D. Stoughton, WI

View GaryK's profile


10262 posts in 4013 days

#3 posted 03-22-2009 04:53 AM

That’s the first thing I made once I had a shop big enough to hold it.

Keep us posted.

-- Gary - Never pass up the opportunity to make a mistake look like you planned it that way - Tyler, TX

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27250 posts in 3847 days

#4 posted 03-22-2009 01:31 PM

Craig, it sounds like you have a good mental start on the project. I have often said that shop furniture is a good way to develop woodworking skills. You use the same basic techniques but can develop them in a learning situation.

Keep us posted on your progress.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View Tom O'Brien's profile

Tom O'Brien

108 posts in 3970 days

#5 posted 04-07-2009 01:50 AM

Craig, if you choose to use a solid-core door for a bench top (I did, and I’m very happy with it), be sure to specify a solid LUMBER core door, rather than a particle-board core. It will cost a bit more, but it will be easier to machine (dog holes, et cetera). A friend of mine suggests using two (or more) layers of 3/4 inch MDF glued and screwed together, topped with a layer of 1/4 inch MDF or tempered hardboard, nailed to the top. With that approach, you can quickly and inexpensively replace the top when it gets too beat up.

I have a roll of 30 inch butcher paper slung under one end of the bench, and I pull a fresh sheet of paper over the top when I start a project that needs a clean top. The other end of the paper is secured with clips so it won’t get loose.

-- Every project is a learning opportunity, every error a design opportunity

View Fin's profile


16 posts in 3368 days

#6 posted 04-07-2009 06:22 AM

Craig, I am also just getting started and have built the workbench that is on the Fine Woodworking website under the Getting Started in Woodworking section. There is a video showing how to build it and a PDF file with the plans. Currently I am in the process of sanding and staining the bench. It wasn’t that hard to build and it sure is sturdy. I added some leveling casters so I can move it around. It uses the double layer of MDF glued and screwed together. I bought the MDF with the birch veneer. I really like the simple design and the vise that they recommended for the bench. Check it out it may be what you are looking for.

-- Fin - Ottawa, IL

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