|Project by Croakermea||posted 12-27-2013 03:14 AM||2154 views||11 times favorited||12 comments|
I’ve been using an old kitchen base cabinet with an MDF top as a workbench for the past 10 years. After looking and drooling over some of the commercially available workbenches, I realized that the prices were just a bit too much. Building my own bench, however, had one big problem – how to get a solid flat top. After looking at the options on the web – planing or flattening with a router and then planing were just beyond what I felt I could accomplish. I then searched for options of buying a top that I could mount to a homemade frame and cabinet. After quite a bit of searching, I found Bally Block in Bally, PA a company about an hour and 15 min from my home that makes solid maple table tops in a variety of thicknesses and sizes. It was a bit challenging to get to the right contact who does retail sales, but I was able to buy a 3” thick, 24” x 60” maple butcher block top for what I considered a reasonable price compared to the price of 2×3 maple stock and work to glue up and flatten.
Knowing I was going to build my workbench, over Thanksgiving while I was building my daughter a TV stand, I paid close attention to how I worked on my old bench and what the strengths and weaknesses it had. Based on the those I designed the new bench. It has more drawers for storage, a larger work surface and a similar sized cabinet underneath for powered hand tool storage. Since my old bench had no vises, they were an essential add to the new one. I put a Veritas quick release vise on the side and a large WoodRiver vise on the end of the new bench. I also added a tool tray that rolls out just under the top. It is designed to allow me to put what ever is in my hand out of the way and not clutter the work surface, but have it handy when I next need it. The frame is made of 4×4 douglas fir verticals for the legs and 2×4 douglas fir rails joining the legs – attached to the legs with mortise and tenon joints. The cabinet is ¾ plywood with the drawer fronts and doors out of southern white pine. The top came prefinished, and the rest of the workbench is finished with 3 coats of Watco Danish oil. I haven’t drilled the dog holes yet as I’ve not yet decided on their spacing. The build took 6 days.
I’m looking forward to my next project and using the new bench.