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Posted on Mods for Harbor Freight 60" workbench?

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800 posts in 2343 days

#1 posted 01-05-2015 04:01 PM

It turned out quite well. I beefed it up in several ways. First, I replaced the lower shelf with plywood, and I screwed plywood panels across the sides and the back to make an enclosed underside shelf and prevent racking (and I screwed some oak strips as trim to maintain a decent aesthetic). I also screwed a plywood panel across the bottom to further prevent racking and to let me use all of the space under the bench for storage. I built a few risers on the lower shelf, and picked up some plastic bins of various sizes that slide nicely into the shelves and cubbies for extra storage.

For mobility, I added a set of Rockler kick-down/retractable casters to the sides of the bench. With the addition of the plywood bottom, the bench sits just a quarter inch off the floor with the casters engaged, so it’s really no trouble to kick them down/up. I also connected the casters with angle iron so I can just kick down on a bar to engage both casters on a side, rather than having to engage them individually.

For non-structural modifications, I drilled out holes in the front and added a small vise, which JUST fit with enough clearance for the drawers to be able to open. I also screwed a hacksaw blade onto the front for a sandpaper cutter (just fold a sheet in half and slide it over the blade) and I mounted a power strip to the side to provide easy access for power tools. I also extended the benchtop back by an extra inch or two with a thick piece of oak to give me more of an overhang for clamping.

Here are some pics. With all of the plywood panels on the side, back and bottom, plus loaded up with storage, the bench is really heavy-duty. I’m pretty sure you could do just about any hand tool work on it without racking.

-- Dan in Minneapolis, woodworking since 11/11.

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