Randy's Workbench - first ever project

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Project by handyrandyrc posted 03-05-2012 04:44 PM 2315 views 2 times favorited 8 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I have a plan to make some loft beds for the kids, but before I went that route, I realized I needed a good work surface. The big challenge for me was that I don’t have anything but a garage floor to work on! A few cinder blocks and beams were used in the meantime to support work that needed supporting.

Joinery on the legs and stretchers was drawbore mortise and tenon. I used 1/2” oak pegs with a “hair over a 16th” offset holes. The top is attached just by friction—very tight-fitting tenons mate into the top. I used a sledgehammer to do the final seating with a sacrificial piece of lumber to protect the top. The feet are relieved on the bottom so just the end 5” or so sit on the floor.

Everything is made of construction lumber. Legs are all 4×4 Douglas Fir. Feet are from 4×6. Stretchers are 2×4 studs. Top is also 2×4—alternated white and douglas fir studs.

I dimensioned the legs (3” square) and feet (3”x5”) on a table saw with my dad’s help. Thanks a million, Dad! I set up my circular saw to take an 8th off one edge of each 2×4 used for the top—poor man’s jointer. That was my method to get at least one edge fairly square for glue-up.

The tenons were cut by hand. I used both western and eastern style saws as a test for myself to see which I worked with better. I was actually much cleaner (and faster) with the eastern saw, but much more sore the next day! Mortises were first drilled out with a 1” Forstner bit then squared out with a chisel.

The top is made of qty. 16 2×4s—so I glued them up in fours. After the section was glued, I hand-planed the top side a bit to level them out as best as I could. I needed at least one surface joined fairly flat. Then my dad and I ran each section through a planer (many thanks, again, Dad!). After they were all sufficiently run through, I glued the four sets together. The Harbor Freight 24” clamps were just wide enough to get the whole top clamped up. I laid everything top (flat side) down for glue up on level and flat beams.

Final dimensions are 21” wide in the legs x 6 feet long. Top is 24” wide and 7’6” long. Height is right about where my pinky meets my hand.

I’ll add something across the stretchers to act as a shelf. I’ll be drilling 3/4” holes in the top and using Veritas Wonder Dogs for a poor man’s tail vise. I’ll figure out a cheap face vise eventually as well. If I can save my pennies, I left room for a tail vise, but won’t worry about that right now.

8 comments so far

View helluvawreck's profile


32083 posts in 3013 days

#1 posted 03-05-2012 04:50 PM

From your description of the circumstances you did a good job.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View canadianchips's profile


2608 posts in 3144 days

#2 posted 03-05-2012 05:09 PM

I think you have started your loft beds in the right place. A good solid place to build them on. Looks like a solid bench. You will enjoy it.
Show us the beds when they are done ?

-- "My mission in life - make everyone smile !"

View Tokolosi's profile


678 posts in 2502 days

#3 posted 03-05-2012 06:02 PM

Thats a solid looking bench! Nicely done.

-- “There is nothing like looking, if you want to find something. You certainly usually find something, if you look, but it is not always quite the something you were after.” ~ JRR Tolkien

View sandhill's profile


2128 posts in 4071 days

#4 posted 03-06-2012 04:21 AM

Nice job Randy.

View Dallas's profile


64 posts in 3112 days

#5 posted 03-06-2012 04:32 AM

That bench will outlast the floor it’s sitting on. Well done.

-- If a tree falls in the neighbor's woods, and no one is there to hear it...can you take it home, mill it and turn it into a coffee table without your neighbor making a sound?

View Mainiac Matt 's profile

Mainiac Matt

8427 posts in 2475 days

#6 posted 03-06-2012 03:54 PM

nice job!

-- I yam what I yam and that's all what I yam

View redsox9's profile


105 posts in 2433 days

#7 posted 03-06-2012 05:09 PM

I’m considering a similar project based on what I found online elsewhere. However, given what you’ve done here, I will probably incorporate some of your ideas and techniques as well. Fantastic work!

-- Jeff, North Andover, MA

View Xanthoman's profile


7 posts in 1433 days

#8 posted 11-18-2014 03:58 AM

I like it! Simple but solid! Very nice!

-- -'Tis easier to govern the populous if they do not hate you.

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