Workbench Upgrade

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Project by steopa posted 11-03-2010 09:39 PM 5827 views 5 times favorited 14 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Workbench Upgrade
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I read about this bench in FineWoodworking back in 2006 and have wanted to make it ever since. Having tried to build a couple of things on my rickety 2×4s with plywood on the top, I finally tackled it last week. It was a lot of fun to build, is about a thousand times more sturdy than my old setup and is now the same height as my table saw.

The plans called for 2 sheets of plywood, but if you read more closely you’ll see you need an additional 1/2 sheet for shelving. So, if you look closely you’ll see the bottom shelf is a scrap wood I took back from my son who had stolen it to build his bike jump (and then left abandoned in the orchard – which is why there is a tractor tire print across it.) So when I look at it, I laugh thinking about the abandoned bike jump. And it is a good reminder to make sure you get your parts list right!

Thanks to everyone at lumberjocks for getting me inspired to get into woodworking. Time to start thinking about what projects I can make on it…

If you are curious, the FineWoodworking article can be found here.

-- Steopa

14 comments so far

View DaddyZ's profile


2450 posts in 1888 days

#1 posted 11-03-2010 10:01 PM

Nice Table, love the tread involved !!!


-- Pat - Worker of Wood, Collector of Tools, Father of one

View dub560's profile


606 posts in 1761 days

#2 posted 11-03-2010 10:14 PM

looks solid

-- Life is enjoyable especially when you borrow from people

View Scott R. Turner's profile

Scott R. Turner

261 posts in 2036 days

#3 posted 11-03-2010 10:23 PM

I would find a saw table height too low for a bench, although I’m on the tall side.

And looking at those plans, I would have pocket-screwed (and glued) the edging. It would be stronger and more attractive, IMO.

And why MDF for the top layer of the bench? I see that fairly often, but I’m not sure why MDF is a better work surface than plywood. I suppose it does save you from buying a decent grade of plywood for the top face.

The real question is whether you’re going to lose your shelf when your son suddenly remembers about his bike jump :-).

View Woodstock's profile


240 posts in 2136 days

#4 posted 11-03-2010 10:46 PM

I used the same plans for my workbench, except I bought a 30”x60” maple top from Woodcraft. It really is a rock-solid design for a bench.

My only real panic was after dry-fitting it all together to make sure the tenons would fit together was late one night trying to glue up four tenons from the two stretchers into two of the back legs. After slathering up everything in glue the last tenon got stuck half way in. I started to panic when the glue was really starting to set up. No matter how much I wailed on it with a 2lbs dead blow rubber mallet that tenon just wouldn’t budge.

I ran out to the truck and grabbed some of those 12’ long 3” wide ratchet web straps from Harbor Freight. Strung two sets of two together to go around the top and bottom stretchers. And another two strung together diag to square things up & used the ratchets to pull the stuck tenon home and pull EVERYTHING together square. But to break the stuck tenon free I REALLY had to ratchets things tight to get it to move.

Next time I’ll used the extended time version of Tite-Bond.


-- I'm not old. Just "well seasoned".

View dfdye's profile


372 posts in 1885 days

#5 posted 11-03-2010 10:48 PM

I personally used MDF since it is more flat and heavier than plywood. Just my opinion, but it seems to be a fairly common sentiment. Also, it doesn’t seem to dent as easily since it is more dense.

-- David from Indiana --

View Eric in Central Florida.'s profile

Eric in Central Florida.

3696 posts in 2423 days

#6 posted 11-03-2010 11:33 PM

Great looking bench.
I bet you get a ton of use out of it!

-- Retirement suits me fine !

View Beginningwoodworker's profile


13347 posts in 2521 days

#7 posted 11-03-2010 11:36 PM

Nice looking bench.

View MayflowerDescendant's profile


414 posts in 1635 days

#8 posted 11-03-2010 11:55 PM

Nice bench! Thanks for sharing.

-- Glen - Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

View NormG's profile


4820 posts in 1852 days

#9 posted 11-04-2010 02:27 AM

Nice bench

-- Norman

View a1Jim's profile


113162 posts in 2425 days

#10 posted 11-04-2010 02:55 AM

a good Bench ,it should last a long time.

-- Custom furniture

View DavidH's profile


508 posts in 2591 days

#11 posted 11-04-2010 08:16 AM

this turned out good, any plans for some dog holes?

-- David - Houston, Texas. (

View steopa's profile


59 posts in 1637 days

#12 posted 11-04-2010 02:40 PM

Yeah, I need to put in some dog holes. I was so excited to be done putting it together that I didn’t realize I wasn’t actually ‘done’.

As far as the MDF goes, I was just following the plans since I had no thoughts one way or the other about it. I do like that it is perfectly smooth – which makes moving things around on the top very nice. My last ‘bench’ surface was just rough plywood and there is a huge difference between that and MDF, but a higher grade plywood might be fine. The cost for the MDF is very attractive too, compared to a hardwood top.

-- Steopa

View Manitario's profile


2380 posts in 1731 days

#13 posted 01-06-2011 04:45 AM

that’s hilarious; I just finished commenting on your mitre stand which I built the same one; then I see your bench which is identical to the one I made a couple months ago. You have good taste in projects!

-- Sometimes the creative process requires foul language. -- Charles Neil

View WoodworkingGeek's profile


181 posts in 1540 days

#14 posted 01-13-2011 04:22 PM

Great design!! I think I’ll build one like this.

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