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Forum topic by RTim posted 03-22-2011 09:51 PM 1115 views 0 times favorited 5 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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60 posts in 2662 days

03-22-2011 09:51 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question oak workbench

Hi everyone,

I have just about finished getting my workshop into a state where I can safely work without tripping over the piles of piles that had collected in there over the years (pictures to come soon once I can locate the camera). I now find myself desiring a true woodworking bench with the appropriate vices, dog holes, etc. For a top, I have an old oak table top that I saved from a dumpster 12-15 years ago that originally measured 48×60 but now measures 42×60 as I had to rip 3” off each side to get it home. The top is 1 1/2” thick and they wanted to throw it out!

If I continue to rip the top into 3” widths, I can end up with bench top that is ~24×60. Is this sufficient for a bench top? I could make it wider by making 2 12” sides with a tool well in the center for a 30” top. Or I can leave the top at it’s current size (42×60x1 1/2) and use the 2 cut off strips to add depth for the vice mount and dog holes.

I plan to make a base from either some 8/4 or 12/4 poplar or some ripped and glued sections of 2x material…depending on budget. I do have a few 2×12s in the shed that aren’t doing anything and they would make a nice set of sturdy legs with a little work…and they’re all paid for.

Which option would you choose if this were your dilemma? A larger, thinner top or a narrower, thicker top?

-- Tim from MA -- "Well done is better than well said." - Benjamin Franlin

5 replies so far

View tmmc's profile


11 posts in 2592 days

#1 posted 03-22-2011 10:03 PM

I myself would go for the wide version. 1-1/2” is pretty good thickness for a top!

View Bertha's profile


13521 posts in 2662 days

#2 posted 03-22-2011 10:04 PM

For me, 24×60 would be quite workable and the laminated top would afford great weight. I suspect others will tell you that’s a bit small. I tend not to prefer a tool well, but that’s just me. Laminating the legs would allow you to incorporate through mortises & save you some headache. I suppose it all depends upon how you like to work. My new workbench will be massive and incredibly heavy to avoid the forces of handplaning. You might not need these requirements. I wish you good luck!

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

View Dan's profile


3630 posts in 2850 days

#3 posted 03-22-2011 11:20 PM

I don’t know if this will help you but when I built my first “Real” workbench I was worried I would make it to small so I went with a plan that had a 20 something x 90 top. I was at first really happy with the large top because of all the room to work but in time I found myself getting a bit tired of walking around it all the time. I have moved the bench to at least 5 different spots in my shop before I decided to set it right against the wall so that I would have no need to walk around it. It may not seem like a big deal but it was for me.

So personally I think the 24×60 top would work just fine. You may later want to build another bench or assembly table if you really need the extra bench space.

-- Dan - "Collector of Hand Planes"

View RTim's profile


60 posts in 2662 days

#4 posted 03-24-2011 12:15 AM

After thinking about it for a bit I’m leaning towards the wider option. It will still weigh the same as the narrower laminated option…still the same amount of wood. If I go wider I can use it for alternate purposes…outfeed table, assembly table, layout space, etc.

I think I’ll use the 2x material for the legs. I have it so I will only need to buy a vise and buy or make some bench dogs.

Now to get busy!

-- Tim from MA -- "Well done is better than well said." - Benjamin Franlin

View dannymac's profile


144 posts in 2985 days

#5 posted 03-24-2011 12:25 AM

my own is 30 by 60 its solid, heavy, and will hold a variaty of projects. always felt 24in was a bit to narrow

-- dannymac

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