Short Block V8, a Small Beginner's Bench with Attitude

  • Advertise with us
Project by shipwright posted 232 days ago 6286 views 82 times favorited 56 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This is a simple but solid workbench for my small shop in Az. I designed it specifically to be build-able with minimal tools, simple skills and readily available materials. That said it includes a leg vice, a wagon vice and holdfasts. It lacks only size and in my case that’s an advantage. It is also easily portable as lifting the wagon vice end brings the wheels on the other end into contact with the floor for quick relocation. Total cost is around $100 without looking for bargains. (holdfasts extra)

This is a rigid, very solid workbench but the basic bench can be built with a skilsaw, a router, a drill, and a few hand tools from two sheets of 3/4 plywood. The vices require a bandsaw and a table saw but cost only a few dollars to make up so take the money you save and buy a used ShopSmith.

There is a detailed, step by step construction blog here that includes a sketchup model complete with exploded views and plywood sheet layout for cuts.
This one is 2’ X 4’ but the plans are easily expandable.

It is my hope that this design will help beginning woodworkers produce a sturdy workbench upon which they can learn and assemble the skills required to enjoy the hobby to the fullest and maybe even build a big beautiful bench later on.

Thanks for looking in.


-- Paul M ..............If God wanted us to have fiberglass boats he would have given us fiberglass trees.

56 comments so far

View TerryDowning's profile


996 posts in 715 days

#1 posted 232 days ago

Put the smackdown tag on this one!!

Great Bench Paul!!

I’m probably going to steal the wheel Idea!

-- - Terry

View garysharp's profile


113 posts in 2078 days

#2 posted 232 days ago

This is a great looking bench. The right size for the job. Thanks for the story so others can use it if they want.

-- Garysharp "When sharpening woodworking tools, good enough,...isn't" “Your life’s complete only when your knowledge passes on”.

View SPalm's profile


4751 posts in 2480 days

#3 posted 232 days ago

Good job Paul!!
That looks like a hefty little rascal. Very nice indeed.
Love the black legs and mobile wheels.


-- -- I'm no rocket surgeon

View sandhill's profile


2102 posts in 2522 days

#4 posted 232 days ago

Good of you to post this.

-- Bob Egbert AKA Sandhill

View NinjaAssassin's profile


392 posts in 322 days

#5 posted 232 days ago

That’s a pretty sweet bench. Great job!

-- - Billy

View HumidorMinister's profile


406 posts in 1981 days

#6 posted 232 days ago

well done Paul, a mini me of your big bench, Be sure to post it in the workbench smackdown thread. This is bad arse.

-- What you listen to is your business...what you hear is ours.

View lumberjoe's profile


2827 posts in 846 days

#7 posted 232 days ago

Nice! finally a real alternative to a door on some sawhorses that doesn’t involve chopping half blind dovetails, 20 pipe clamps, Chris Schwartz, or “simple” plans that start out with 250/bf of hard maple and $200 vises.

Awesome job! For anyone wondering, I absolutely love my wedge vise. It’s a lot stronger and easier to use than you think it is.

Edit By the way I love the pins for the leg vise. I think I am going to turn some like it for mine


View gbear's profile


389 posts in 2697 days

#8 posted 232 days ago

This is a great looking bench, especially for the price. I am wondering what your thought are in regards to using 3/4” mdf instead of plywood.
Thanks for your input.

-- gbear, Carmichael, CA

View kiefer's profile


2945 posts in 1265 days

#9 posted 232 days ago

Nice little basic bench with all the features and mobile too .
It certainly is a doable project for the novice as you said in your blog .
Well done and the blog should be a great resource for many .
Thanks for taking the time to put this all together .

-- Kiefer 松

View Joe Lyddon's profile

Joe Lyddon

7620 posts in 2650 days

#10 posted 232 days ago


Thank you for doing a wonderful job of documenting your New short bench project!

Great job!

You can’t ask for any more Simplicity!!
... and beginners really NEED that…

Looks great!

What type of Holdfasts did you use?
Source / Cost?

Thanks again!

-- Have Fun! Joe Lyddon - Alta Loma, CA USA - Home: ... My Small Gallery:"

View Underdog's profile


501 posts in 633 days

#11 posted 232 days ago

Fantastic! What a great little bench. And you can’t beat that price!

I gotta make one of these.

Thanks Paul for taking the time to work this up and share it with us.

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

11063 posts in 1703 days

#12 posted 232 days ago

Great build, Paul. Now you can put it to use on you projects in Arizona!!


-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

View Schwieb's profile


1477 posts in 2059 days

#13 posted 232 days ago


I’ve said it before, I like how you think” and I appreciate very much the detail you are open to share about your work. As a ‘seat of the pants’, make what you need, adapt what you have available, then an engineering student, that became a dentist, I have to love what you have done here, and I do.

-- Dr. Ken, Florida - Durch harte arbeit werden Träume wahr.

View Mathew Nedeljko's profile

Mathew Nedeljko

583 posts in 2428 days

#14 posted 232 days ago

Paul, there you go, blazing a trail of innovation again! This is a fantastic bench, and I’m sure it will serve you well for many years to come. Thanks too for documenting the build so well in your blog, that was very entertaining!

-- Aim high. Ride easy. Trust God. Neale Donald Walsch

View ScottK's profile


10 posts in 2348 days

#15 posted 232 days ago

You make some great stuff.
I need a little bench just like that…...if it wasn’t about 5 F out there, I’d go get started.

showing 1 through 15 of 56 comments

Have your say...

You must be signed in to post the comments.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics :: gardening showcase