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The Outdoor Workbench?

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Blog entry by nobuckle posted 03-28-2011 05:34 PM 5905 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

Dennisgrosen

10850 posts in 1863 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
Dennis

View devann's profile

devann

1735 posts in 1440 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

nobuckle

1120 posts in 1509 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 www.trex.com.

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

View D1st's profile

D1st

289 posts in 1788 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.

-- http://www.furstwoodworks.com/

View Sarit's profile

Sarit

494 posts in 1888 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

drewnahant

222 posts in 1837 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

ksSlim

1011 posts in 1638 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

Tedstor

1505 posts in 1381 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

rivergirl

3198 posts in 1586 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

helluvawreck

16033 posts in 1615 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. :)

-- 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 Bluepine38's profile (online now)

Bluepine38

2954 posts in 1833 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 76 yr young apprentice carpenter

View rivergirl's profile

rivergirl

3198 posts in 1586 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

Dallas

64 posts in 1713 days


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

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

http://lumberjocks.com/DallasBentley/blog/33578#first-new

-- 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

a1Jim

112891 posts in 2325 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.

-- http://artisticwoodstudio.com Custom furniture

View nobuckle's profile

nobuckle

1120 posts in 1509 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"

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