New Workbench

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Project by Tom posted 06-13-2011 02:34 PM 2664 views 7 times favorited 9 comments Add to Favorites Watch

My first project for my new shop had to be a workbench! I had been using a 6-foot Costco table to work on, but it just wasn’t the same as having a solid wood workbench. I spent several hours over a number of weeks looking for just the right one. I settled on one called “The $175.00 Workbench that was featured in POPULAR WOODWORKING magazine, Feb., 2001. ( I liked it because it used some cheaper wood and it used some joinery that I wanted to learn how to do. However, I did want to include some drawers for storage, and the bench did not have them. So, I found a “Shop in a Box” project I liked in the March, 2011 issue of WOOD Magazine and incorporated it into my workbench. For those of you keeping score at home, I didn’t keep an accurate running total of the cost, but I know that the cost of the bench was a bit more than the 2001 price. I am guessing I have a total of about $275, without the front vise which I will be getting soon. I used ordinary 2×4s from Home Depot as well as a couple of 2×8s. For the top I cut the rounded edges off the two bys to about 1 1/4 by about 3 then glued them up in two sections. I would have loved to have had a planer to run them through, but a grinder, orbital sander and hand plane worked pretty well to get the top relatively flat and smooth. While the shop in a box used 3/4” plywood, I chose to use MDF because I thought it might be easier to work with and it was cheaper! When you are retired, cheaper is always a good choice! I liked using wood rails rather than buying drawer slides. I remains to be seen how these will hold up over the long haul, but I think they will do just fine. The shop in a box used cutouts for drawer pulls, I made my own drawer pulls from scrapwood. I also made a cupboard out of the middle section rather than more drawers because I had some containers that fit better on shelves. I thought about coating the top with West System, but the price was a bit much. I thinned spar varnish for the first coat, then applied several coats of Minwax wipe-On Poly clear satin. All in all it was a great experience and I was able to brush up on some old skills and learned a few new ones. A few Oopses here and there, but overall I am quite proud of my bench.

-- Tom in Spring Branch

9 comments so far

View Don W's profile

Don W

18686 posts in 2536 days

#1 posted 06-13-2011 02:37 PM

great start!

-- - Collecting is an investment in the past, and the future.

View BigAl98's profile


169 posts in 3007 days

#2 posted 06-13-2011 02:49 PM

Thanks tom took me 2 weeks to do mine. Good 4 u

-- Al,New Jersey -To thine own self be true

View littlejoe's profile


5 posts in 2794 days

#3 posted 06-13-2011 03:23 PM

Looks really great, especially the top! Awesome way to start a new shop.

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile


15283 posts in 2587 days

#4 posted 06-13-2011 03:27 PM

Tom – That’s a fine worksurface to be sure, and you’ll like the extra weight of the bench as you pound, plane and chisel on it. What kind of front vise are you going with? Post an updated pic when that’s in place, okay? Oh, and Welcome to LJs!

-- Don't anthropomorphize your handplanes. They hate it when you do that. -- OldTools Archive --

View papasteve's profile


30 posts in 2656 days

#5 posted 06-13-2011 04:11 PM

Nice bench. Enjoy your retirement, the bench and all of your upcoming projects.

-- Even if we don't know how, we can still try.

View twokidsnosleep's profile


1106 posts in 2942 days

#6 posted 06-13-2011 05:06 PM

Great bench project
I really like the storage spaces underneath
Well done!

-- Scott "Some days you are the big dog, some days you are the fire hydrant"

View christopheralan's profile


1126 posts in 3688 days

#7 posted 06-13-2011 08:08 PM

Very nice! I need to up grade to something like this soon!

-- christopheralan

View BYGeorgia's profile


37 posts in 2770 days

#8 posted 06-13-2011 08:16 PM

Great job. Also being retired. nice to see how you made changes to accomodate different materials amd features.

View Beginningwoodworker's profile


13345 posts in 3641 days

#9 posted 06-20-2011 04:44 AM

Nice looking workbench!

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