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Suggestions for my workbench - assembly table?

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Blog entry by dustyal posted 1572 days ago 2297 reads 0 times favorited 8 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I’m asking for ideas/suggestions in building a workbench top.

I have an old antique oak kitchen cabinet base—four drawers, door and pull out flour bin in front. Two drawers on right side. Nice condition but it needs a top and a vise so as to serve as my workbench-assembly table. Throw a table cloth over it and it will become just another piece of furniture. (longer story… I removed 7 layers of lead paint from it about 35 years ago; its top got dropped out of a truck during a move and shattered along an interstate.)

The base is 40 inches wide, 30.25 tall, and 25.75 deep.

I’m thinking the overall height to be 32 inches? I need to keep the top overhang in front and on the right side shallow enough for access to the drawers and doors. I can overhang the left side to accommodate a vise and some extra overhang in rear for a little extra depth in top and possible clamping surface. I can pull the unit away from the wall when needed.

First idea was to do a torsion box top but I think a torsion box top would build out at 4 inches high and that would put me at 34 inches high—a bit too tall?

Torsion box would also be too thick for a vise? I’m looking at the Rockler's 9 inch vise as a good vise but it only fits benches up to 2.25 inches thick.

So, double up 3/4 MDF and add a hardboard top with hardwood edging? Or, do they make flat solid wood entry doors? I’m understanding that is another possibility—but I can’t find one. I’d like to have holes for bench dogs and a spot or two for a holdfast clamp. I don’t know what material and what thickness the holdfast does best in.

Anyway that’s the scenario. Ideas? I’m rather new at this so I’m not too inventive on my own. Second, I’m thinking I need to convince Karson to come over and help. He’d have this done before I could sweep up the sawdust—especially if Pete and Pat came along to supervise him. :>)

-- Al H. - small shop, small projects...



8 comments so far

View Karson's profile

Karson

34797 posts in 2902 days


#1 posted 1572 days ago

I’m up for the challenge. I think that a Torson box could be made thinner than what you stated.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Southern Delaware karson_morrison@bigfoot.com †

View SPalm's profile (online now)

SPalm

4618 posts in 2383 days


#2 posted 1572 days ago

A torsion box could be quite a bit thinner. But I myself would head over to Karson’s wood store. He certainly has enough of some kind of hardwood that would make a wonderful top. A little jointing, a little thickness planing, a little glue up…...

Ikea makes some hardwood counter tops for not much money.

(I’m in trouble now)
Steve

-- -- I'm no rocket surgeon

View jack1's profile

jack1

1898 posts in 2529 days


#3 posted 1572 days ago

A door is really not a bad idea and they do make solid cores. Have you tried an actual door company? One that custom fits/builds.

-- jack -- ...measure once, curse twice!

View dustyal's profile

dustyal

1191 posts in 1977 days


#4 posted 1572 days ago

Great ideas… Yeah, didn’t think Ikea. They have a 1.25” top for $40. I can hardly buy material for that.

I was assuming torsion box had to have a little height on the ribs to give it stiffness… see, what do I know?

Windows and doors company just down the road… I can stop in there. Didn’t think of that… I figured if Lowes or HD didn’t have ‘em…

Karson… we can talk at Jan meeting. Maybe organize something… I like the help part the best… :) Peter’s big shop is close buy, too.

-- Al H. - small shop, small projects...

View Derek Lyons's profile

Derek Lyons

584 posts in 2070 days


#5 posted 1572 days ago

Torsion boxes do need some height for stiffness, but really any added height starts adding stiffness right away, much as a 1/4 piece of MDF is ‘floppier’ than a 1/2 piece.

-- Derek, Bremerton WA --

View Andrew's profile

Andrew

709 posts in 1700 days


#6 posted 1572 days ago

I am planning to make a bench to house my router table, miter saw, and a down draft sanding area, the whole thing is 9 feet long, and will have a ton of storage. I am planning on putting a small 2 foot wide butcher block table with a bench vise in between the mitersaw and the DDtable. I am going to use a bunch of leftover odds and ends to put it together, some old cabinet doos, leftover pegboard, old coutertop, old drawers fom my old dresser, a couple of old oak spindels a friend gave me and a chunk of marble, I will have set up for sharpening, but will have covered with hardboard so stuff doesn’t ruin the sandpaper.. I have purcased everything else for $22, some 2×4s and 2×3s a buch of 51 cent cull lumber, and some screws.
Think about what you want to house and how much space you have, then get out some graph paper.
Good luck.
P.S. Have Karson smoke a couple chickens when he comes over.

-- Even a broken clock is right twice a day, unless, it moves at half speed like ....-As the Saw Turns

View hairy's profile

hairy

1892 posts in 2034 days


#7 posted 1571 days ago

If it was me, I’d try to make it double as an outfeed table for the tablesaw. It would have wheels on it,too.

-- brown shoes don't make it...

View dustyal's profile

dustyal

1191 posts in 1977 days


#8 posted 1571 days ago

Good idea Hairy… but I have two different rooms. The workbench assembly table is in the finished living space of the basement and the saw is in the unfinished utility area. Can’t use the saw in the finished side and the workbench base won’t fit in the unfinished area. I made up an outfeed table that is moveable for my portable saw. From there, everything starts to get a bit more complicated…

-- Al H. - small shop, small projects...

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