First real workbench

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Project by CM02WS6 posted 01-19-2016 02:49 PM 1968 views 6 times favorited 9 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Just finished my first “real” workbench. This has been a project that stayed on the back burner for a while, until I was foolish and put a chisel into my thumb in August. That incident taught me a lot, but it also highlighted that having a solid workbench with a vice would also help me work safer. My previous workbench was just a piece of MDF on a simple 2×4 frame, so this is a major step up.

This isn’t the fanciest workbench out there, but it meets the requirements I set. Besides being solid and having a vice, I wanted to keep the joinery simple so I used screws (Spax Powerlags) and dado grooves. I also wanted drawers, but needed to keep them high enough so that I would be able to sit at the bench and not hit my thighs on them. This meant that the drawers would have to mount directly under the surface, and there would only be room for one stretcher down the middle.

The base is made from Red Birch. There’s not very much information out there on it, so I think it probably is known by a different name, but it was pretty good to work with. I paid like $3.25/bf for 8/4, so it was the cheapest hardwood I could get in 8/4. Some of the areas also have quite a bit of curl, which you can see in some of the legs. The top was purchased from Ikea. It is 1-1/8” thick Beech I would have liked thicker, so I added some support on the longer overhang on the vice end. I couldn’t beat the $90 I paid for it, let alone all the work it would have taken to make my own top. Besides, I could always replace it if needed.

I’m really liking it so far. The vice and stability really came in handy when I was scraping some plywood edging yesterday. I may add some casters on a flip-down mechanism, but I need to get working on some projects for my wife now!

9 comments so far

View ChrisK's profile


1856 posts in 2719 days

#1 posted 01-19-2016 05:20 PM

Nice looking bench. Looks sturdy. Have fun with it.

-- Chris K

View Rick M's profile

Rick M

9284 posts in 2018 days

#2 posted 01-19-2016 07:07 PM

You are too modest, that is a handsome workbench and looks sturdy as all get out.


View Sergio's profile


466 posts in 2330 days

#3 posted 01-19-2016 07:46 PM

That will give you a lot of fun and safe work. It looks quite nice.

-- - Greetings from Brazil - --

View ChipByrd's profile


146 posts in 1565 days

#4 posted 01-19-2016 10:22 PM

Great bench!

View fivecodys's profile


693 posts in 1274 days

#5 posted 01-19-2016 11:24 PM

That is a very nice bench.
Rick is right. You are too modest.
Sorry about your thumb!

-- Chem, Central California

View RustyHacksaw's profile


104 posts in 901 days

#6 posted 01-20-2016 02:44 AM

Looks great. Looks like you can get some serious work done on that bad boy.

View David Taylor's profile

David Taylor

326 posts in 725 days

#7 posted 01-20-2016 03:50 AM

You sell ourself short, that came out terrific! I like the base wood, it looks really cool. Also, I have been reading about people using the Ikea tops for a bench, but I think yours is the first I’ve seen – it looks plenty sturdy.

Great job!

-- Learn Relentlessly

View ajthomas5009's profile


296 posts in 1255 days

#8 posted 01-20-2016 06:27 AM

Fine job! I like be the look of the red birch. I’ve yet to build my 1st tre woodworking bench but I hope to remedy that this summer. I’m sure you will more than enjoy the added sturdiness and holding capacity.


-- Sometimes you're flush and sometimes you're bust, and when you're up, it's never as good as it seems, and when you're down, you never think you'll be up again, but life goes on.

View CM02WS6's profile


61 posts in 980 days

#9 posted 01-20-2016 02:32 PM

Thanks for the compliments! I am really proud of how it turned out. The design, materials, and joinery choices all worked together to meet my goals of having drawers, being sturdy, and easy to build.

I’ve already utilized the new features when I was working on cleaning up some edge banding on plywood. The vice helped me clamp it, and the bench didn’t move at all when I was scraping the faces.

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