The Outdoor Workbench?

  • Advertise with us
Blog entry by nobuckle posted 03-28-2011 05:34 PM 11409 reads 0 times favorited 15 comments Add to Favorites Watch

What’s the outdoor workbench? Well, not stating the obvious, it would be an all weather workbench. I don’t have room in my shop for a full length workbench, so I thought about making one from Trex brand decking materials. In theory it should work. If I am correct, Trex decking materials can be machined just like wood, although I would not run it through my planer. When I say all weather please understand that the bench would be placed on a covered porch out of the rain and snow. It would be constructed in a traditional style with all the features of a fully functional woodworking bench. I have yet to calculate the cost of said material, that won’t happen until a design is settled on. So what do you think? Can it be done? Would be the right material? I appreciate your input.

-- Doug - Make an effort to live by the slogan "We try harder"

15 comments so far

View Dennisgrosen's profile


10880 posts in 3144 days

#1 posted 03-28-2011 06:24 PM

I donĀ“t know what Trex is but wuold deffently consider to use threathet wood to build it with
and even then use a water tight cover over the bench when not in use

good luck with it

View devann's profile


2246 posts in 2721 days

#2 posted 03-28-2011 06:35 PM

I use my cedar picnic table.

-- Darrell, making more sawdust than I know what to do with

View nobuckle's profile


1120 posts in 2789 days

#3 posted 03-28-2011 06:53 PM

Dennisgrosen, Trex is a manufacturer of composite deck and railing systems. It’s a very stable and weatherproof material. CYou cna check it out at

-- Doug - Make an effort to live by the slogan "We try harder"

View D1st's profile


290 posts in 3068 days

#4 posted 03-28-2011 07:01 PM

Doug- Trex would be a perfect material as it is maintenance free and is a solid and strong material. Sometimes you have to work in the elements to get it done. Until recently I had a real small shop and did most work outside-weather pending as I didnt have a covered area. I also think it will look good. good luck.


View Sarit's profile


549 posts in 3168 days

#5 posted 03-28-2011 11:41 PM

Trex is pretty expensive compared to other weather resistant woods. Here in California, I priced out Trex at about $5/bd ft whereas redwood comes in at under $2/bd ft (this was just a ballpark using home depot prices). You can find redwood even cheaper on craigslist. The drawback is you still need to put on some type of finish every so often (I use rosewood oil). If its covered, I think you can go years w/o a reapplication.

If you build something w/ Trex and stainless steel fasteners, it will probably out last you. Trex is considered to be “non-structural” so it works great as the outer “exposed to the elements” layer where its UV/water resistance shines. If you need a part to be very rigid, then you may have to beef up those parts when using Trex compared to traditional wood. Also bear in mind that not many people have success gluing trex together.

View drewnahant's profile


222 posts in 3117 days

#6 posted 03-28-2011 11:55 PM

Trex is extremely dense, flexible and does not glue, oh, and it expands and contracts quite a bit with temperature. If it is going to be protected from any real water exposure, and your only worry is seasonal humidity change, go with wood. true, the slab will have a lot of expansion and contraction, but if you design it wo accommodate the changes, it should be fine. I wouldnt even put a finish on it, just make a thick top, rub some oil on it, and plane the surface down every few years, it should last a lifetime.

View ksSlim's profile


1276 posts in 2918 days

#7 posted 03-29-2011 06:33 AM

Trex is a wonderful decking and covering for raised platforms and boat docks. For the price, in my area, Maple with an oil finish would be a better choice.

-- Sawdust and shavings are therapeutic

View Tedstor's profile


1643 posts in 2661 days

#8 posted 03-29-2011 10:47 AM

If I were building an outdoor bench, I’d probably go with some sort of pre-fab metal legs and use pressure treated 2x wood for the top. I’d try to keep the design inexpensive, simple, and easy to repair. The metal legs would obiously be most impervious to seasonal weather. The PT lumber will hold up pretty well, and can be affordably replaced as needed.
Your Trex idea isn’t bad. In fact, it would probably work well with some good planning. Its just not the route I’d personally take.

I often take my work outdoors when the weather allows. I have a 1970s BD Workmate that I drag onto the driveway or into the backyard depending on where the kids are playing.

View rivergirl's profile


3201 posts in 2867 days

#9 posted 03-29-2011 01:10 PM

I don’t think you need to spend that much money for an outdoor work bench. I work outside most of the time and I use an old picnic table and I have a nice big old metal school teacher type desk that works really well. Think of all the good wood you could buy and build with and how much time you save if you skip the whole “Trex” thing and use the old picnic table? Just my opinion ;)

-- Homer : "Oh, and how is education supposed to make me feel smarter? Besides, every time I learn something new, it pushes some old stuff out of my brain."

View helluvawreck's profile


31417 posts in 2895 days

#10 posted 03-29-2011 01:31 PM

Doug, an outdoor bench is just what I need under my oak tree outback. It’s my favorite sitting spot and it’s just like a giant umbrella so it has lots of shade and mostly a nice little breeze.

Kelly, some of us old Lumberjocks ain’t as tough as you are. :) We like to have all the comforts of home even when we’re working under the old oak tree. :)

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View Bluepine38's profile


3379 posts in 3114 days

#11 posted 03-29-2011 03:50 PM

I needed a small post on the front side of my trek deck out front and did not like the smooth posts that
trek likes to try to sell, so I used Gorilla glue and glued 2 2 X 6s face to face and resawed a 1/8” inch
face off another 2 X 6, cut it to width and gorilla glued it to two sides. All this was done on a hot summer
day so the Trek board could give some, and it is holding up fine after 3 years. I would have preferred a
wood deck, but the price of good clear boards was too much. You can glue it.

-- As ever, Gus-the 79 yr young apprentice carpenter

View rivergirl's profile


3201 posts in 2867 days

#12 posted 03-29-2011 04:55 PM

Charles- Suck it up- LOL How about using an old door on some sawhorses.. that works pretty well for me. :)

-- Homer : "Oh, and how is education supposed to make me feel smarter? Besides, every time I learn something new, it pushes some old stuff out of my brain."

View Dallas's profile


64 posts in 2993 days

#13 posted 12-25-2012 04:33 PM

I’m giving it a shot, but I’m going the sawhorse route to start.

-- If a tree falls in the neighbor's woods, and no one is there to hear it...can you take it home, mill it and turn it into a coffee table without your neighbor making a sound?

View a1Jim's profile


117127 posts in 3606 days

#14 posted 12-25-2012 04:39 PM

Composit decking could work so could Ipe it’s a very hard heavy wood that is used for decks to ,They also make a pressure treated plywood that holds up to whether very well.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View nobuckle's profile


1120 posts in 2789 days

#15 posted 12-25-2012 04:52 PM

Thanks for all of the input. I will carefully consider what has been said and take from it what I believe will be applicable to the projects development.

-- Doug - Make an effort to live by the slogan "We try harder"

Have your say...

You must be signed in to post the comments.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics