workbench top overhang

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Forum topic by jimmy J posted 05-03-2012 01:46 PM 16733 views 0 times favorited 11 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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jimmy J

229 posts in 2345 days

05-03-2012 01:46 PM

what are folks thoughts on the amount of side and front overhang of their workbench top? In reading the forums, i see some people like top fronts flush with the leg and others with a bit of overhang to handle clamps. On the side overhand, some have short (8”) and others have much more (2’+).
I’m have a solid core door 1.5” thick with 2 layers of 3/4” ply underneath, plus edge banding. I don’t think it will flex much if any, but wonder if there is any other reason to have more vs less overhang?

11 replies so far

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile


15280 posts in 2584 days

#1 posted 05-03-2012 02:39 PM

Front = zero overhang for me. Want to be able to work edges of boards and panels, and having the legs and sliding deadman of my bench all on the same plane as the top edge creates the right surface. Clamps can go anywhere except where the legs meet the top, no upper stretchers are in the way. My .02.

-- Don't anthropomorphize your handplanes. They hate it when you do that. -- OldTools Archive --

View derosa's profile


1572 posts in 2802 days

#2 posted 05-03-2012 02:58 PM

I will have overhang on one end of mine to allow a small cabinet to sit underneath for tool storage. One side will be flush to support long boards, no idea on the other two sides. Be interested in what people prefer an why.

-- --Rev. Russ in NY-- A posse ad esse

View crank49's profile


4030 posts in 2937 days

#3 posted 05-03-2012 03:04 PM

Overhang what? You don’t need no stinkin overhang.
With a 3” top you don’t need an apron.
I built my bench with 4 layers of 3/4 ply, with a replacable MDF top skin and 1×4 maple band.
My leg tennons are in mortises in the top with a 3/4” shoulder to come out flush with the top band.
I have a 6” wide stretcher about 6” above the floor that has through tennons in the legs.
This makes the whole thing super rigid and strong.

Side overhang is another thing. I used face vises and needed 12” space between the legs and the end of the bench. Depends on your plans for type and size of vises.

View NiteWalker's profile


2736 posts in 2543 days

#4 posted 05-03-2012 11:49 PM

Since my workbench is more of the utility type, I only needed overhang on the left for the vise and front for clamping things to it. I think I made the front overhang about 2”.

-- He who dies with the most tools... dies with the emptiest wallet.

View doordude's profile


1085 posts in 2949 days

#5 posted 05-04-2012 05:18 AM

the end overhang depends on the vise you choose. but the side, the long side;is best flush with your leg and stretcher, so you could clamp, say a long door and not have a overhang to interfer with clamping.
buy “chris schwarze” book the work bench a lot of how and why tips.

View redryder's profile


2393 posts in 3068 days

#6 posted 05-04-2012 05:49 AM

I have run into more than a few headaches regarding the overhang on my benches regarding clamping something down to it. This is worth considering if building a new bench….............

-- mike...............

View rockindavan's profile


299 posts in 2602 days

#7 posted 05-04-2012 05:50 AM

I have 4 ” overhang in the front. On the left of the bench where the front vise is is 12”. The right side with the tail vise is about 18”. I don’t see the craze about having the legs flush to the top. I can see if you do a lot of jointing of long boards with hand planes the flush legs may be helpful, but I really never have the need. I use the overhang to clamp boards to the top all the time. Personally, not to offend anyone, I think legs flush with the top look awkward. Not to say you should build a bench to look pretty, but its nice to have something that looks pleasing.

View BubbaIBA's profile


387 posts in 2342 days

#8 posted 05-21-2012 03:34 AM

Funny answers :-). Worried about how a workbench looks? One of the reasons to build out of SYP is so you don’t care if it gets dented and stained, it’s a workbench, not fine furniture.

I built a bench about 30 years ago with an apron and about 4” of overhang….been cussing it almost from day one, both the apron and the overhang are a PITA when trying to clamp and work boards with hand tools. My new bench is a Roubo, no apron, no overhang. Different work styles require different methods of work holding, if you are a galoot or plan on being one, lose the overhang.

View jimmy J's profile

jimmy J

229 posts in 2345 days

#9 posted 06-01-2012 02:17 AM

I am finally almost finished with this workbench (working in 15 minute increments between watching kids!), with the exception of securing the apron around the edge of the top (the is the same thickness as the top so no clamping problems, but it does cover the ugly edge nicely). My question is if i should use glue to secure it or just nails / screws? the apron is hardwood and ~3.5” thick, and what it would be secured to is 1/2 solid core door, 1/4 mdf and 1/4 ply. not really clear what the expansion / contraction situation would be. thoughts?

View bondogaposis's profile (online now)


4683 posts in 2317 days

#10 posted 06-01-2012 02:30 AM

When I build my new workbench it will have zero overhang on the front as I’m going put in a leg vise. That is one of things I hate about my existing bench, front overhang. As for the sides I haven’t decided yet, but it will be along Roubo lines.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View Tom Clark's profile

Tom Clark

88 posts in 2987 days

#11 posted 06-02-2012 04:13 AM

Work benches are a very personal thing, because we all use them for different kinds of work. I just rebuilt my old bench into a new one with a lot of drawers under it. This time I added 9” overhangs on each end for vices. I( I may add a second vice in the future.) The front of the bench has a 4” overhang to make clamping work much easier.

The second bench has a smaller overhang, as it is used for a different kind of work where clamping is not required.

-- Tom

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