Endcaps on a laminated workbench top?

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Forum topic by cowboyj posted 09-09-2011 06:12 AM 4918 views 0 times favorited 6 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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10 posts in 2911 days

09-09-2011 06:12 AM

Topic tags/keywords: workbench design

Hi LJers,

I’m planning to build up the top for my workbench by gluing together boards on edge. While researching design options I see some tops have endcaps, and just about as many do not. What is the purpose of the endcaps? Is it to resist a tendency for the top to cup? It seems like that could be dealt with in the way the top is connected to the base. Is it to resist any tendency for the laminations to open up at their ends? It seems like that could be dealt with by threaded rods thru the width of the top.

I don’t think I need the endcaps, but I would be interested in your comments.

-- Jerry

6 replies so far

View crank49's profile


4030 posts in 2967 days

#1 posted 09-09-2011 02:29 PM

I think it’s just for a more finished look and an opportunity to show off your joinery skills where the bread board end is attached with a large sliding dovetail.

The seasonal expansion and contraction of a wood top has to be considered in any design. Might be a problem with your suggested “threaded rods” or ridgid attachment to the base.

View racerglen's profile


3112 posts in 2776 days

#2 posted 09-09-2011 04:07 PM

I didn’t “know” any better when I built my bench top 20 odd years ago..
2” full dimension western maple edge glued the four pieces, I got tired of dowling after only one joint, so the others were just glued. It has a 2×4 apron around the outside, oak, which I wouldn’t use again,’s glued and lag screwed all around, the screws recessed and covered with plugs. And..It hasn’t moved..
Dry basement shop in a dry climate undoubtedly the reason for that.. Oh and it’s screwed from the underside onto an existing base.

-- Glen, B.C. Canada

View PurpLev's profile


8535 posts in 3645 days

#3 posted 09-09-2011 04:34 PM

a 2-4” benchtop that will want to move will move so the endcaps will not be much of a help there.

I put an endcap (only on 1 side) so that I can install the tail/wagon vise on it. the joinery on it is not so much for appearance (although I think it looks nice too) as it is functional to keep the endcap from getting pulled off the bench top by the vise forces:

the other end of the workbench is just left ‘as-is’ with no end cap as it would be useless there

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View Loren's profile


10381 posts in 3644 days

#4 posted 09-09-2011 05:02 PM

Caps keep the bench flat and allow the working area to expand
and contract. My bench has caps and the front and back of
the bench are dovetailed into them. The tool tray is attached to
the back rail and moves on elongated screw slots attached to
the bottom of the working surface. It’s a little complicated, but
sensible furniture design and the sort of principle of construction
you’ll have to adopt in any serious solid wood furniture building.

If you use common lamination methods today, and dry wood,
flatness shouldn’t be a major issue and the end caps become
a structure and aesthetic decision. A bench with a flat slab top
is certainly easier. If you want 4” skirts all around, you pretty
much have to use the caps and a tool tray to conceal the
movement. There may be another way to have skirts but no
tool tray, but I can’t think of a way to do that offhand.

Lev’s bench, lacking a tool tray, is very attractive, but I’ll reckon
those dovetails won’t stay flush year round. So it’s an
aesthetic decision as much as anything else.

View RandyinFlorida's profile


250 posts in 2064 days

#5 posted 08-03-2016 01:11 PM

Well Cowboy,

After all these years, what did you decide? Are you happy with your decision?

-- Randy in Crestview Florida, Wood Rocks!

View bondogaposis's profile (online now)


4725 posts in 2347 days

#6 posted 08-03-2016 03:45 PM

The only reason and end cap is needed is to accommodate and end vise. In my case I installed and end cap for my wagon vise. The other end of the bench does not have an end cap.

-- Bondo Gaposis

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