My Workbench on the Cheap

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Project by doorslammer posted 12-15-2009 03:14 AM 6967 views 26 times favorited 32 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I finally realized that I needed a good dedicated woodworking bench and had aspirations of a maple slab top with the Veritas/Lee Valley cast iron leg kit (mostly just because I like the look, probably sacrificing stability), but ultimately decided to go the cheap route and build something temporary with materials I had on hand. I started with leftover 2×4’s for the base that I milled to consistent dimensions and then constructed a traditional base. I used wedged mortise and tenons with walnut as the wedge material. For the top I glued and screwed two layers of 3/4” MDF and then topped that with leftover 3/4” Brazilian cherry hardwood floor material. It took me almost a full day to sand off the factory finish and get down to bare wood, and this stuff is rock hard. I then trimmed is out with some walnut. Finish with BLO. My dad gave me the Jorgensen vise for my birthday. Eventually I would like to move this to be a tail vise and add a veritas twin screw. I still need to add the holes for the bench dogs, but my wife is reluctant to let me drill into it since, in her words, “it’s nicer than our dining room table!”.

Here are some additional photos of the build process.

-- Aaron in TN -

32 comments so far

View zlatanv's profile


691 posts in 3231 days

#1 posted 12-15-2009 03:29 AM

Beautiful bench, nice looking wood choice, I like the dark top and base color, nice job!

-- Z, Rockwall, TX

View SuperDave02's profile


141 posts in 3228 days

#2 posted 12-15-2009 03:30 AM

Me too the dark top looks amazing

-- David South FLorida

View Dan Hux's profile

Dan Hux

577 posts in 3371 days

#3 posted 12-15-2009 03:30 AM

sweet bench,,great job

-- Dan Hux,,,,Raleigh, NC

View HalDougherty's profile


1820 posts in 3234 days

#4 posted 12-15-2009 03:41 AM

Great job, you’ll get a lot of use out of your bench. Go ahead and drill the dog holes, then get started on a new table for your wife…

-- Hal, Tennessee

View woodworm's profile


14468 posts in 3587 days

#5 posted 12-15-2009 03:53 AM

Very nice bench. Hope it will serve you for many many years to come..!

-- masrol, kuala lumpur, MY.

View TomFran's profile


2957 posts in 3991 days

#6 posted 12-15-2009 03:54 AM

Super job on this workbench!

-- Tom, Surfside Beach, SC - Romans 8:28

View Boneski's profile


142 posts in 3130 days

#7 posted 12-15-2009 03:57 AM

Nice one! Looks good!

-- Blinded by brilliance

View gerrym526's profile


274 posts in 3805 days

#8 posted 12-15-2009 03:57 AM

Beautiful work, especially the wedged mortise and tenons you hand crafted! It’s one of my favorite joints, with the contrasting wedges. Amazing what you can put together with scraps lying around the shop!
I agree with the guys here-you need dog holes in the top-go ahead and drill them. As far as the vises go-leave the Jorgenson right where it is as a front vise, and mount the Veritas twin screw as your tail vise (see pics of my workbench in my workshop section)- you won’t ever be sorry with that setup, they work beautifully together. I use my with the brass dogs that Veritas/Lee Valley has.

-- Gerry

View Rick  Dennington's profile

Rick Dennington

5857 posts in 3191 days

#9 posted 12-15-2009 03:58 AM

Greetings doorslammer: That is one sweet workbench. Good contrast of different woods.. It should last you a lifetime of woodworking. Good solid top. MDF is always the way to go on benchtops. Good choice. Yea—- go ahead and drill the dogholes. You’ll be glad you did….............. Keep on keeping on…..

-- " At my age, happy hour is a crap and a nap".....

View Gary's profile


1288 posts in 4321 days

#10 posted 12-15-2009 04:00 AM

Nice looking bench. The workmanship looks good too.

-- Gary, Florida

View bigike's profile


4052 posts in 3285 days

#11 posted 12-15-2009 04:03 AM

nice work, the bench came out good

-- Ike, Big Daddies Woodshop,

View Beginningwoodworker's profile


13345 posts in 3670 days

#12 posted 12-15-2009 04:23 AM

Thats a great workbench!

View scottb's profile


3648 posts in 4324 days

#13 posted 12-15-2009 04:35 AM

inspired use of flooring for the top. beauty – that certainly doesn’t look cheap!

-- I am always doing what I cannot do yet, in order to learn how to do it. - Van Gogh -- --

View a1Jim's profile


117091 posts in 3574 days

#14 posted 12-15-2009 04:38 AM

A great bench Aaron

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View PurpLev's profile


8535 posts in 3645 days

#15 posted 12-15-2009 04:45 AM

looks fantastic – I’ll be honest with you – I think it looks nicer than the veritas cast iron legs. I would keep the base YOU made.

what are it’s dimensions? it looks mighty big :)

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

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