A new begining #4: The extreme budget workbench

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Blog entry by lumberjoe posted 05-29-2013 02:36 AM 3038 reads 0 times favorited 15 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 3: Far from done, but workable Part 4 of A new begining series no next part

Goal Build a work bench in only a few hours over the coarse of a week, and for less than $100.00

The result: Absolutely no fine joinery – I am using 2×4’s glued and screwed – and doubled up instead of half-lapping them. Of course I used hot hide glue for extra strength since I don’t have any 90” clamps :)

The top is a 30×80 solid core door. This term is misleading because it isn’t really “solid”. Save for the 2” on each edge, it’s filled with MDF Fluff. It’s over 100lbs, but will not hold dogs well. I planned for this and ran some 8/4 oak I had laying around under the dog track.

While I am far from the best woodworker, my one gift in life is the ability to drill straight holes free hand. I started these by bottoming a 3/4” forstner bit, then finishing it up with a spade. They took forever but came out well

On the other end is a craftsman 6” vise that is older than I am. It was my dads and I spend a lot of time with it as a kid. I replaced the old plywood jaws with 8” long ash and drilled corresponding dog holes

I also integrated a tool rack for my nice bubinga handled woodriver chisels and my combo squares. I routed a flute for pencils in front of it. The finish is 2 coats of BLO and 2 coats of Danish oil. I would have skipped the BLO but I was running really low on Danish oil. (fun fact – the paint on the 2×4’s almost costs more than the bench itself. It’s Bear Marquee paint+primer left over from our bedroom in the old house)

And here is a preview of what is to come soon


15 comments so far

View BTimmons's profile


2300 posts in 1950 days

#1 posted 05-29-2013 03:41 AM

Considering what you’ve got to work with, that’s looking pretty darn good.

-- Brian Timmons -

View RonInOhio's profile


720 posts in 2329 days

#2 posted 05-29-2013 05:00 AM

I can appreciate not wanting to spend months building a monument to one’s self. And keeping a vise around that has been in the family for a long time. Looking very good.

View shipwright's profile


7174 posts in 2263 days

#3 posted 05-29-2013 06:00 AM

I like the last photo best. :-)

-- Paul M ..............If God wanted us to have fiberglass boats he would have given us fibreglass trees.

View Sodabowski's profile


2308 posts in 2298 days

#4 posted 05-29-2013 07:20 AM

Joe, the workbench I’ll be making this summer will be a hobo version of what you’ve done here :)

(@ Shipwright: Of course you do Paul, it looks like the parts for a chevalet, right? ;)

-- Thomas - Pondering the inclusion of woodworking into physics and chemistry classes...

View Don W's profile

Don W

17969 posts in 2033 days

#5 posted 05-29-2013 12:06 PM

great workbench Joe. The joinery looks fine to me. :-)

-- Master hand plane hoarder. -

View lumberjoe's profile


2893 posts in 1714 days

#6 posted 05-29-2013 01:08 PM

Thomas, check out Paul’s workbench project and it may look a little more familiar to you.

The joinery is fine, it’s just “crude”. I am kind of impressed as to how strong boxed in 2×4 joints are.

Don, I used that No7 to joint the 8/4 ash for my leg chop on this bench last night, it was a very pleasant experience. That thing is awesome. Also this bench didn’t move or rack at all no matter how much of my 180lbs I put behind that plane.


View PurpLev's profile


8523 posts in 3114 days

#7 posted 05-29-2013 01:30 PM

from what I can see, this is looking real good. nice grain orientation on the top.

it all comes down to – a workbench is just another tool. as long as it does what its supposed to, not much more matters, unless you plan on hanging it on the wall for display – than all bets are off.

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

View helluvawreck's profile (online now)


23185 posts in 2332 days

#8 posted 05-29-2013 01:34 PM

It’s a nice looking bench and should serve you well.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away. Henry David Thoreau

View Don W's profile

Don W

17969 posts in 2033 days

#9 posted 05-29-2013 02:15 PM

I used that No7 to joint the 8/4 ash for my leg chop on this bench last night

And yet the pictures have not yet posted???

-- Master hand plane hoarder. -

View lumberjoe's profile


2893 posts in 1714 days

#10 posted 05-29-2013 02:30 PM

Luckily for you I didn’t clean up my mess


View whitebeast88's profile


4092 posts in 1656 days

#11 posted 05-29-2013 11:36 PM

great looking bench,your making alot of progress on your new shop.

-- Marty.Athens,AL

View NormG's profile


5506 posts in 2469 days

#12 posted 05-30-2013 03:40 AM

Great bench, Great idea for the pencil rest

-- Norman - I never never make a mistake, I just change the design.

View lumberjoe's profile


2893 posts in 1714 days

#13 posted 06-02-2013 01:57 AM

Prototype/proof of concept of the leg vise in action. It’s shipwright’s 8 degree wedge powered vise. This thing is amazing. I need to make a few tweaks but as you can see it is fully functional. I was able to lift the entire bench with this 8/4 ash clamped in it

Tomorrow I drill a few more dog holes, put the final tweaks on the vise, then clean my disaster of a shop


View Don W's profile

Don W

17969 posts in 2033 days

#14 posted 06-02-2013 04:19 PM


-- Master hand plane hoarder. -

View b2rtch's profile


4822 posts in 2514 days

#15 posted 04-13-2015 06:43 PM

Really nice

-- Bert

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