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Workbench

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Project by MayflowerDescendant posted 1277 days ago 4827 views 53 times favorited 37 comments Add to Favorites Watch

After years of “making do” with a less-than-adequate bench arrangement, I decided to build myself a solid workbench. I definitely wanted to integrate into the design a number of drawers (of varying depths) to store my fine hand / bench tools. Here’s what I came up with. I did not follow any plan per se. I simply designed in the finer points from mutliple examples and certain features that I have grown to appreciate with experience.

The bench top is 3.5 inches thick (double layer of 3/4-inch plywood + 1-3/4 -inch hard maple benchtop block + 1/4-inch hardboard) and measures 74-inches wide by 38-inches deep. The bench top is wrapped in straight-grain Douglas Fir and just proud of the maple block top (by 3/16 of an inch) to hold the sacrificial 1/4-inch hardboard from moving around. Total bench height is 37-inches.

The base unit is 66-inches wide by 30-inches deep, allowing for a 4-inch overhang all the way around the top (nice for clamping). The very bottom of the unit is a 3/4-inch plywood torsion box design that is wrapped again in 3/4-inch birch plywood for a nice exterior surface appearance (as is the entire cabinet, drawer unit face frames and overlay drawer fronts).

The drawer chest features 3 columns of 4 drawers of increasing depths (2.5, 3.0, 4.0 and 4.75-inches in depth). The drawers on the left and right are 20-inches wide, the bank of drawers in the middle are 15-inches wide. All drawers are 22-inches deep (into the chest). Drawer sides, fronts, back and front overlay are 3/4-inch birch ply. Drawer bottoms are 1/4-inch birch ply.

I love an open shelf immediately below the benchtop to keep clamps (or other tools) at the ready when the bench top needs to be clear. Hence, in the pictures you will see a 5-inch high, open shelf, immediately below the top. (The open shelf has a divider in the middle, running from front to back, providing additional support to the top).

The fourth picture shows what the sides of the bench cabinet look like and the sixth picture shows the back of the base cabinet (“street view”) as well as the sacrificial hardboard in place.

The quick release steel bench vise is from Lee Valley (10G04.13). It’s jaws are 10.5 inches wide, with a maximum opening of 15-inches. I have increased the width of those jaws to 16-inches by attaching two, 1.5-inch thick, machined blocks of Douglas Fir. As such, the maximum opening is reduced to 12 inches (15 – 1.5 -1.5). I have recently secured a piece of 1/4-inch thick, smooth leather, to make a set of jaw liners that will slip over the wooden jaws (to hold any delicate pieces). I also used Lee Valley’s heavy-duty steel casters (set of 4 – 00K20.10). The 4-inch, brass-plated, drawer handles are also from Lee Valley (01W36.10).

Stainless steel screws were used throughout the construction and the exterior finish is 3 coats of Minwax’s Helmsman indoor/outdoor (semi gloss) Spar Urethane.

In the not-too-distant future, I can see myself adding the Veritas Quick-release, sliding tail vise (05G30.01), on the right front corner. It is at that time when I will probably add some dog holes too!

This was a FUN and worthwhile project to build. Yes, that first nick, dent or scratch is going to hurt. Next task – loading it up with all my hand / bench tools!

Thanks for looking. Any questions, just ask. Play safe!

-- Glen - Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada





37 comments so far

View Jim's profile

Jim

225 posts in 2271 days


#1 posted 1277 days ago

Wow nice job Glen!!

-- Jim in Langley BC Canada --- www.sollows.ca

View michaelkaragiozis's profile

michaelkaragiozis

7 posts in 2028 days


#2 posted 1277 days ago

Great design and build. Need to build one myself.

View steliart's profile

steliart

1807 posts in 1314 days


#3 posted 1277 days ago

very nice bench

-- Stelios L.A. Stavrinides: - I am not so rich to buy cheap tools, but... necessity is the mother of inventions - http://www.steliart.com --

View ncdon's profile

ncdon

145 posts in 1502 days


#4 posted 1277 days ago

Glenn, that is a bench you can be VERY proud of. Great work.

-- Don, North Carolina,http://www.ncdon.com Working full time at retired.

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

7565 posts in 1546 days


#5 posted 1277 days ago

I WANT ONE!! Wow, this is awesome! So many drawers and so beautifully constructed. The open shelf is a great feature, too. Beautiful!

Sheila

-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs (http://www.sheilalandrydesigns.com) Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"

View Gator's profile

Gator

376 posts in 2302 days


#6 posted 1277 days ago

Very nice Glen.. there will be a lot of envious woodworkers looking at this bench, me included.

Great job.

Gator

-- Master designer of precision sawdust and one of a kind slivers.

View John Cleary's profile

John Cleary

74 posts in 1410 days


#7 posted 1277 days ago

great looking bench!

-- crumbs make bread--

View aschmidy2003's profile

aschmidy2003

47 posts in 1971 days


#8 posted 1277 days ago

WOW!!

-- Psalm19:1

View sedcokid's profile

sedcokid

2667 posts in 2225 days


#9 posted 1277 days ago

What a great look’in bench, I like the drawers!

Thanks for sharing

-- Chuck Emery, Michigan,

View drbyte's profile

drbyte

562 posts in 2688 days


#10 posted 1277 days ago

Great job but what are the casters for? After that’s loaded you’ll need a tow-motor to move it! Even empty it looks quite heavy duty (and heavy), should last several life times!! If your children and grandchildren don’t take to wood working maybe they can use it for a fine dining room table!

-- Dennis, WV

View ND2ELK's profile

ND2ELK

13495 posts in 2400 days


#11 posted 1277 days ago

Great looking bench. Very nicely done and designed. Thanks for posting.

God Bless
tom

-- Mc Bridge Cabinets, Iowa

View CharlieM1958's profile

CharlieM1958

15684 posts in 2845 days


#12 posted 1277 days ago

Fantastic looking bench!

One of these days I will get around to building my own, but I have wondered about casters. My limited space makes the idea of mobility very attractive, but I’m afraid it would then be impossible to get that really solid feel you want for things like hand-planing.

Keep us poeted on how that works out for you.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View GaryD's profile

GaryD

621 posts in 1996 days


#13 posted 1277 days ago

Great Job Glen, been thinking the same kind for me need the drawers to store the handtools/ small power tools. Really nice work. Congrats

-- Gary, Little River,SC I've Learned that the Lord didn't do it all in one day and neither can I

View ~Julie~'s profile

~Julie~

572 posts in 1661 days


#14 posted 1277 days ago

Great bench Glen and well planned out.
Enjoy using it!

-- ~Julie~ followyourheartwoodworking.blogspot.ca

View tweezersman1's profile

tweezersman1

24 posts in 1752 days


#15 posted 1277 days ago

Very nice. This will be a bench for life time.

-- www.eco-diy.com

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