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Project by Daris posted 06-14-2012 03:04 AM 9122 views 12 times favorited 23 comments Add to Favorites Watch
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I’ve had a workbench that I made about 8 years ago. It was truly a basic workbench. Four legs and a top. What I truly want in my shop is a bunch of cabinets with hard counter tops. Something out of a wood magazine cover shot. Alas, I don’t have (nor I do really want to spend) the money for something that grandiose. So I’ve decided to build a new workbench and use the existing workbench as another bench that will go up against a wall in my garage.

For the new bench I wanted something SOLID, and affordable (no sjoberg tabletops here), and something I could actually build in a weekend or two. I found a pretty good, and affordable workbench design at amazon titled: Basic Workbench and 6 Ways to Beef it Up: Downloadable Woodworking Plan I’ll include a picture with a clickable link at the bottom where you can take a look at this if you like. Amazon has a pretty nice feature that allows you to download plans directly to your computer. Another nice thing about this plan is it includes six really nice upgrades to the bench and has complete plans for it. For now I’ll only be building the bench, but I really the like the drawers and cabinet’s that they show. If I build those I’ll blog about them later.

For the lumber I used Kiln Dried Lumber. For the table top the design gave a really good tip to use a solid core wood door as a top and then put a layer of 1/4” MDF on top of that. I was a little apprehensive about this at first. When I checked out the door it was REALLY solid (and weighs a ton). It was the same thickness as two sheets of 3/4” plywood and it cost less. I was able to get the door and all of my lumber from Lowe’s. The door was approx. $45, and the lumber was about $45. My total cost for a new workbench works out to be about $90. Not to shabby for this solid workbench.

  • (1) Solid Core Door 80” x 30”
  • (1) 1/4” x 4’ x 8’ MDF Hardboard
  • (6) 2” x 4” x 8’ Pine Boards
  • (2) 2” x 6” x 8’ Pine Boards

Milling and Assembly

Workbench LegsI built the legs using nothing but 2×6’s. I trimmed the sides down per the plan to get a finished width of 5”. I notched the bottom and the top to allow the bottom and top frames to set in.
Workbench Frame The bottom frame was built with a cleats around the inside to allow a shelf to sit inset of the frame. Again I used primarily 2×6” boards trimmed down to a 5” width and fitted with cleats on the inside. I used 2×2 boards for the cleats.
Workbench Assembly I attached the legs to the bottom using 3” screws and glue. Should hold pretty well.
Workbench Frame Assembly All four legs are attached. I check for squareness and everything is looking pretty balanced. Next up is the top frame.
Workbench Frame I attached the top frame to the rest of the table. I also installed a 3/4” plank on the bottom cleats. The plans call for attaching the top to the two middle joists in the top frame. I did that, but also added a few pocket hole screws on the ends of the table as well. Everything seems pretty solid.
To finish the bench I “broke” the edges with some sandpaper. I also applied a coat of clear Danish oil to all of the boards (not the top) to help preserve the wood. One other thing I did was to add some bench dogs at the end of the bench. I spaced them out approximately 6” apart. I picked up a package (4 per package) of Kreg bench dogs that work really well with this. I have more links and information over at woodlogger.

-- Daris, Indianapolis,

23 comments so far

View dakremer's profile


2742 posts in 3292 days

#1 posted 06-14-2012 03:23 AM

That’s a really good lookin bench. I like the idea of using the solid door as the top.

When i get around to building a workbench, I’ll be building something like this. I understand why people go above and beyond to make the best work bench possible – some you wouldn’t even want to work on after finishing it because it’s so nice – not me though. Just give me something flat and sturdy and perfect. I don’t need that “showroom” quality bench. Thanks for sharing!! It’s a really nice bench

-- Hey you dang woodchucks, quit chucking my wood!!!!

View Woodwrecker's profile


4200 posts in 3776 days

#2 posted 06-14-2012 04:12 AM

That is a “real” workbench.
Not a show piece.
And I bet you get a heck of a lot of good use out of it.
Nice work.

View waho6o9's profile (online now)


8517 posts in 2777 days

#3 posted 06-14-2012 05:16 AM

That’s one solid bench Daris. congratulations on a fine work bench!

View crank49's profile


4032 posts in 3171 days

#4 posted 06-14-2012 05:35 AM

Very nice bench.
Have any pictures of it after you added the bench dog holes?
Do you plan to add a vise?

View Ken90712's profile


17594 posts in 3389 days

#5 posted 06-14-2012 07:54 AM

Well done, looking good…

-- Ken, "Everyday above ground is a good day!"

View lumberjoe's profile


2899 posts in 2448 days

#6 posted 06-14-2012 12:26 PM

This is my kind of bench! While I really like and appreciate the beautiful benches a lot of people post here, I am a function over form kind of guy when it comes to utility pieces. I really don’t care what my garage fixtures look like, as long as they function well. This actually looks pretty nice!


View Skylark53's profile


2678 posts in 3260 days

#7 posted 06-14-2012 12:55 PM

That sure looks like a super flat work surface. Well constructed, it looks tough and is sure to be hardworking! My workbench is my favorite tool. Thanks for sharing.

-- Rick, Tennessee, John 3:16

View helluvawreck's profile


32087 posts in 3067 days

#8 posted 06-14-2012 02:26 PM

That’s a good bench and it will serve you well for many years. Congratulations.


-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View nomercadies's profile


590 posts in 2539 days

#9 posted 06-14-2012 02:59 PM

A journey in joinery. I honor construction that takes advantage of the strength of joints instead of the sheer strength of fasteners. I can’t imagine the number and size of the wood fibers that would have to be crushed for that bench to rack. Your bench is a solid foundation for your house of work.

-- Chance Four "Not Just a Second Chance"

View lysdexic's profile


5256 posts in 2823 days

#10 posted 06-14-2012 04:05 PM

Nice bench but I want to know how you posted a picture with text off to the side?

-- "It's only wood. Use it." - Smitty || Instagram - out_of_focus1.618

View LesB's profile


1863 posts in 3643 days

#11 posted 06-14-2012 04:41 PM

Great minds think alike. Even though I could afford to make a fancy maple bench I would rather spend the money on a good tool. Besides I would be afraid of damaging a fancy bench.
I used 1 1/8” plywood floor underlayment topped with 3/4” MDF for the top which can easily and cheaply be replaced when needed. I added retractable wheels and enclosed the bottom for additional storage space. It is also the same height as my table saw so it serves as an outfeed table when needed.

-- Les B, Oregon

View MontanaBob's profile


840 posts in 2884 days

#12 posted 06-14-2012 05:03 PM

Real nice looking work bench..Thanks for posting …I’m in need of a work bench….I will follow your lead and make one the same as this.

View Daris's profile


120 posts in 2474 days

#13 posted 06-14-2012 07:53 PM

Thanks for all the feedback. I still need to install a vise on the side of the table; that’s next. Not sure where I’ll get that though?

LesB I almost did that for the top. I considered using two layers of 3/4” plywood. The solid core door was great though, and a little cheaper. Man, was it heavy though….! The plan I followed for this recommended it. (Solid core door, who would have thought – hah..) It was a great tip. I did put 1/4” mdf on top and just put brads through it all around the top. Worked out great.

-- Daris, Indianapolis,

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile


15694 posts in 2818 days

#14 posted 06-14-2012 09:39 PM

Ditto for Lysdexic’s question: How’d you do that posting work above?

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

View Daris's profile


120 posts in 2474 days

#15 posted 06-14-2012 09:46 PM

Ok, so on the formatting I put the content/pics in a basic table using < HTML > table tgs. Just google these and you’ll find a lot of info for these

-- Daris, Indianapolis,

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