Workbench design feedback

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Forum topic by CM02WS6 posted 08-20-2015 12:47 PM 839 views 0 times favorited 11 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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61 posts in 1307 days

08-20-2015 12:47 PM

Looking for some input on my workbench design. My goal is to have a relatively simple build, yet strong and stable. The pictures below show a lot of the details for my current concept.

First, I’ve already decided on several elements of the build. The top will be a solid core door with a piece of MDF layed on top, and a vise on one end. The structure will be made of 2-by construction lumber, planed to 1.375” thick and then laminated to get the thicker pieces. The joinery will be rabbets and dados, fastened with Spax Powerlags. The whole thing will be on casters. Finally, I want it to have drawers, but the size and location are flexible.

What I would like feedback on is your opinion on the structural integrity of this design concept. I’ve currently got one single long stretcher spanning the two sets of legs. I’m concerned that top may not be totally stable with only the stiffness of the solid core door in the area above the drawers. The span between the two sets of legs is 35”, so I don’t think it is too long, but I really don’t know. That piece is also 6” tall for added vertical stiffness. The alternative is to put the long stretchers in a more conventional configuration on the front and back, as opposed to just the middle as shown now. That means the drawers would have to be lowered. Although not the end of the world, I wanted to keep them tucked up under to preserve space on the shelf.

Please let me know your thoughts. Thanks!!

11 replies so far

View chrisstef's profile


17307 posts in 2971 days

#1 posted 08-20-2015 12:54 PM

How do you plan on clamping work to you bench? I ask because I could see the drawers getting in the way of clamping operations.

-- Its not a crack, its a casting imperfection.

View CM02WS6's profile


61 posts in 1307 days

#2 posted 08-20-2015 12:56 PM

The top overhangs by 1.75”. Do you think I need more?

View johnstoneb's profile


2867 posts in 2137 days

#3 posted 08-20-2015 12:59 PM

I think your design is solid. Your not going to have a lot of stability on the casters. Even with all the casters locked there will be a tendecy for the casters to pivot as you apply pressure to the top. Casters and steady benches are not compatible.
You could also move your center upper stretcher to the outside and build it as a frame and use drawers that go all the way across the bench and have access to the same drawer from both sides of bench. saving you from walking around the bench to get a tool that is in a drawer on the oposite side.

-- Bruce, Boise, ID

View chrisstef's profile


17307 posts in 2971 days

#4 posted 08-20-2015 01:02 PM

I think that would be a decent enough overhang. I agree with the castors.

-- Its not a crack, its a casting imperfection.

View TarHeelz's profile


59 posts in 2046 days

#5 posted 08-20-2015 01:11 PM

If you will be using this for any hand tool work (e.g. planing), you may want the front face flush with no overhang.

-- Tar Heelz, Durham, NC USA

View CM02WS6's profile


61 posts in 1307 days

#6 posted 08-20-2015 01:15 PM

Thanks for the feedback so far!

Good point about the casters. I double-checked, and the type I have lock both the wheel and the swivel. I can definitely see how it would move around if only the wheel were locked, so I hope that locking the swivel action helps avoid that. These are what I bought:

I’ll also probably build out the legs on the surface with the vise so there’s no overhang there. Although I don’t do much hand planing, especially on edges, I have run into situations where having a flat vertical plane would help.

View JayT's profile


5588 posts in 2176 days

#7 posted 08-20-2015 01:26 PM

Another big no on the casters. Even if you can lock the wheel and swivel, you still don’t have much surface area to resist the forces involved with a workbench.

There are ways to make a bench wheel portable, just involves using either some kind of flip down with the casters on it or using fixed casters that are just barely off the ground, but engage when one end of the bench is lifted slightly.

-- In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock. Thomas Jefferson

View WoodNSawdust's profile


1417 posts in 1141 days

#8 posted 08-20-2015 01:34 PM

This what I used on my workbench. Works fine till the bench reaches around 300 pounds and then it is hard to raise and lower the casters.

-- "I love it when a plan comes together" John "Hannibal" Smith

View CharlesA's profile


3312 posts in 1762 days

#9 posted 08-20-2015 01:43 PM

I looked into workbench casters, but Chris Schwarz convinced me, and it has turned out to be true, that it is easy enough to shove around even a pretty heavy workbench.

-- "Man is the only animal which devours his own, for I can apply no milder term to the general prey of the rich on the poor." ~Thomas Jefferson

View CM02WS6's profile


61 posts in 1307 days

#10 posted 08-20-2015 04:17 PM

Thanks for the input! I’m going to do something different with the casters, probably mount them on a flip-down arm.

I welcome any more feedback about the rest of the design!


View bondogaposis's profile


4682 posts in 2316 days

#11 posted 08-20-2015 04:27 PM

Are you going to use bench dogs? Holdfasts? If so the drawers are going to be in the way.

-- Bondo Gaposis

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