First Real Project - Work Bench / Outfeed Table

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Project by pnx posted 05-14-2013 07:42 PM 5216 views 24 times favorited 20 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Turned 40 a few years back and decided to give woodworking a try. Had always been interested but didn’t have the time (or the money!!). After a few half-projects to try out my new tools, I decided it was time to build something real and start on a work bench. After a bunch of research, I used a hybrid design that combined the torsion box concept from the Wood Whisperer and the bolted frame concept from Fine Woodworking’s Workbenches. Beefed things up a little, added some mortise and tenon joinery and some heavy duty swivel casters. Designed everything in SketchUp to start ( WAY cheaper to make digital mistakes !! ). Top has a MDF skeleton with double particle board top / single bottom. Outside edges are finished in maple. Work surface is hardboard and is completely replaceable. Frame is made of simple 2×4 or 2×6 milled flat and square and laminated together. Had just gotten a jointer and planer so wanted to practice on cheap wood. Turned out to be a good call because I made a few mistakes and ended up making a lot of frame parts.

My first project on this bench was some doors so added a board jack at the end of the process to accommodate long pieces. Jack works with aluminum tracks on UHMW sliders and can be locked in place. The “pod” or jack for the board jack was turned by hand. A family friend had just given me a lathe and decided to give it a try. Totally fun but makes a mess. ( Thx Omer ). Added a vise from Lee Valley and some bench dogs and I’ve been putting it to work ever since.

For a first project, I think it came out pretty good. Some fit and finish issues that I could have done better but I figure that I am only at the start of a lifelong hobby so I have lots of time to perfect my skills. Spend as much time as I can in the shop ( my wife calls it my “playroom”). Next project is some shelving units and then a chest of drawers to fit inside the bench…

20 comments so far

View adamclyde's profile


30 posts in 1001 days

#1 posted 05-14-2013 07:49 PM

excellent design. I’ve been contemplating a very similar design – torsion-style box for top, edged in hardwood, on rolling casters, designed sized to be an outfeed table.

One question, my floors are totally uneven, so I need to somehow build in some adjustability to the height to be a good outfeed. Are your floors pretty even, or can you finely adjust the height to serve as a good tablesaw outfeed?

View kevinruiz's profile


45 posts in 1037 days

#2 posted 05-14-2013 08:05 PM

Great job. You inspired me.

View pnx's profile


3 posts in 927 days

#3 posted 05-14-2013 08:16 PM

In my case, my floors are all flat. When I decided to pursue this hobby, I converted our single car garage into a workshop. I had a 50 year slab that was all cracked and sunken. The floor was replaced last spring.

Maybe try a caster with a threaded mounting rod that could be installed into threaded insert at the bottom of the leg. Another thought is those casters for fence gates. Move up and down on a spring. If you could find something with a locking system, that might work. My 2ยข.

View Cajunrotor's profile


31 posts in 1416 days

#4 posted 05-15-2013 12:04 AM

Fantastic job, especially for a FIRST project. Very well done.

-- Earl

View widdle's profile


1634 posts in 2087 days

#5 posted 05-15-2013 12:19 AM

good job..Thats gonna work ..

View Mainiac Matt 's profile

Mainiac Matt

5362 posts in 1417 days

#6 posted 05-15-2013 01:01 AM

Totally functional! You’re going to love working on it.

Did you put on locking casters (wheel and frame swivel)

-- Pine is fine, but Oak's no joke!

View BentheViking's profile


1761 posts in 1652 days

#7 posted 05-15-2013 01:58 AM

very nice…just wondering what the toggle clamp on the side of the sliding deadman is. Thanks

-- It's made of wood. Real sturdy.--Chubbs Peterson

View pnx's profile


3 posts in 927 days

#8 posted 05-15-2013 02:00 AM

Did you put on locking casters (wheel and frame swivel)

I did. Recessed a couple of inches back towards the middle of the frame so you don’t bang your toes when working on the edge of the bench.

just wondering what the toggle clamp on the side of the sliding deadman is

Locks the board jack into place. The fit in the tracks is loose to easily move it so added a clamp to lock it down.

View NiteWalker's profile


2728 posts in 1665 days

#9 posted 05-15-2013 02:32 AM

Nicely done!

-- He who dies with the most tools... dies with the emptiest wallet.

View jeff's profile


825 posts in 2553 days

#10 posted 05-15-2013 03:39 AM

great bench,your going to smile every time you use it…

-- Jeff,Tucson,Az.

View CalgaryGeoff's profile


937 posts in 1570 days

#11 posted 05-15-2013 06:46 AM

Well done and hope to see many more projects off this bench.

-- If you believe you can or can not do a thing, you are correct.

View MABFwTx's profile


24 posts in 959 days

#12 posted 05-15-2013 10:01 AM

Excellent and nice work. For those with uneven floors (well not to uneven) if you do not use a closed section (top with facing on both sides) the bench will be allowed to twist.

View Gittyup's profile


81 posts in 1045 days

#13 posted 05-15-2013 11:42 AM

Great looking bench. Nice job.

-- tel

View helluvawreck's profile


19499 posts in 1955 days

#14 posted 05-15-2013 12:01 PM

Beautifully clean and so useful. Congratulations.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away. Henry David Thoreau

View Holt's profile


87 posts in 1717 days

#15 posted 05-15-2013 12:19 PM

Locks the board jack into place. The fit in the tracks is loose to easily move it so added a clamp to lock it down.

That’s clever. Great idea! Nice bench. Seems like you made a great tool and didn’t bogged down in the all too common “analysis paralysis”...

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