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Large workbench / plywood storage

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Forum topic by coloradotrout posted 01-06-2013 10:21 AM 1580 views 0 times favorited 12 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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coloradotrout

29 posts in 692 days


01-06-2013 10:21 AM

Topic tags/keywords: workbench plywood rack

So I have a need for some kind of bench—- and I have 10 or so sheets of plywood sitting on the 4’ edge against a wall with a couple bandclamps keeping (hopefully) them mostly flat. So this idea has come and gone before, but thought I’d pose it here.

How about a large bench.. such that below the top there would be “slots” large enough to stack plywood sheets? Maybe four 4×4 legs notched to hold 3 sets of 2×6 stringers—the top set to support the bench top, a middle set to support one plywood shelf and a bottom set to support a lower plywood shelf.

Essentially I’d repeat the top framing for both the middle and lower plywood shelf.

Do I need 2×6s? I’m thinking “yes” to minimize sag.

The top is tricky—as the shelf needs to be about 48.25×96.26 to hold the playwood. I guess MDF is 49×97, but that is going to leave the legs exposed on the end—guess maybe that is ok.

Thoughts?


12 replies so far

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coloradotrout

29 posts in 692 days


#1 posted 01-06-2013 06:33 PM

I updated the drawing—thinking my top could be a 49×97 mdf, which would leave openings below for 48×96 plywood. Anyone else try this?

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Don Broussard

2033 posts in 940 days


#2 posted 01-06-2013 08:06 PM

I think I understand your concept for the workbench, but 49” strikes me as being too wide for the top. No concern about the length—I’ve seen benches 96” long before, and that works. Your design looks beefy enough to do what you are thinking. Keep us posted on what you decide to do.

-- People say I hammer like lightning. It's not that I'm fast -- it's that I never hit the same place twice!

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coloradotrout

29 posts in 692 days


#3 posted 01-06-2013 08:28 PM

I’d need the 49” to accommodate the plywood storage underneath. At a glance, all those 2×6s seems a bit overkill. Maybe I go with 2×4s on the bottom and mid section, and stick with the 2×6s for the top. I do want the top to be as flat as possible. I’ll edge joint each piece to get off to a good start. But I also don’t want the plywood storage sagging much either. That’s why the plans show 2×6s for now.

I don’t like the fact the corners will not be covered by the top. But at that size, I either have to leave the corner legs exposed at the top or use 2 boards for the top. Anything over 48×96 gets tricky with standard lumber sizes. That is in part why I have not done anything to-date. But I need a table – and I have that stack of ply against the wall – so the two are talking to me.

I also don’t like the fact the top will not overhand the stringers on any edge. That complicates clamping, but surely there are alternative ways to clamp. I generally like a couple of inches of top overhang for that purpose.

This will be used as a bench, glue-up table, assembly table, etc. I plan to build about 16’ of lower wall cabinets to get some additional “countertop” space, but having a table out in the middle where I can get at all sides seems to be a common need. My old school door atop a stack of drawers has served me well, but time to upgrade ;-)

Any thoughts on ideal height? I’m 5’9” I considered adjustable height designs, but that just seems to get overly complicated.

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coloradotrout

29 posts in 692 days


#4 posted 01-06-2013 08:59 PM

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coloradotrout

29 posts in 692 days


#5 posted 01-06-2013 09:04 PM

Just looking at the drawing sparked a thought—I could edge band all 4 sides.. a couple inches along the long sides, and 6” or so along the sort sides. Not sure I’m smart enough to keep that flat however.

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gfadvm

11234 posts in 1378 days


#6 posted 01-07-2013 03:40 AM

I store my plywood sheets standing on end in a narrow rack in the corner. Takes up very little space and I don’t have to move a stack to get the piece I want (which will always be on the bottom). I love huge benchtops. Mine is 48” wide x 11 1/2’ long and serves as the outfeed table for my tablesaw as well.

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

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Don Broussard

2033 posts in 940 days


#7 posted 01-07-2013 05:00 AM

You could certainly use that plywood storage/workbench as an assembly table. Edge banding on the short sides sounds like a good idea to me.

As for the height, I used the flat palm method to determine the height. I work a lot with hand tools so my bench may be a bit lower than others.

-- People say I hammer like lightning. It's not that I'm fast -- it's that I never hit the same place twice!

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coloradotrout

29 posts in 692 days


#8 posted 01-07-2013 05:34 AM

@gfadvm, yeah that’s essentially what I have now, but my ceiling height is 8’1” to about 8’3”. I have the 4’ edge sitting on something thin (dont want it on the concrete), and I made a back support that sits at a slight angle so I can lean the sheets up against it. I know what you are saying about getting the one you want out. If I had more ceiling height, that might be an option. I use ratchet straps to try to keep the panels from warping.

I also have another cart—can’t find a similar photo—but basically imagine a platform on casters, with a wooden T on either end, and then conduit going through holes in the top of that T down into holes in the platform. The conduit creates dividers of sort and also holds the panels vertical This makes sorting very easy, but the problem with full size panels is they can bow. It’s handy for a few panels, say some spare osb and large offcuts, but not really ideal for storing full sheets. I may may replace it with something like this
http://lumberjocks.com/chopnhack/blog/27947 as more of a multipurpose cart.

The problem with any sort of plywood rack against a wall is that is actually takes 8’ or 16’ of space.

And since I need a bench/assembly/whatever table, maybe this combo unit will work. I’m still hesitant—that’s going to be boat load of 2×6 or 2×4s

Thoughts on if 2×4’s would be stout enough for the bottom and middle platform?

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mrg

524 posts in 1688 days


#9 posted 01-07-2013 05:38 AM

I like your concept. One thing that I think you will find to be awkward will be putting in and taking the sheets of ply from below the bench.

-- mrg

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coloradotrout

29 posts in 692 days


#10 posted 01-07-2013 11:54 PM

@mrg, well certainly dealing with sheet of plywood is awkward not matter what. Getting to my wall stack now is a pain, and trying to shuffle through the stack is impossible. Piling them up on a cart will not be much better, but I’ll have access from two sides—and can put them on the bottom “rack” or middle “rack” and use the top for sorting, etc. It’s going to be a 2 person job, unless I fashion some sort of sidecart of sorts to drag them out onto. But with my 8’ ceiling, I have to keep the sheets mostly face up or down anyway. And I need that big workspace. Right now I have a stack of drawers that has a solid core door laying on top and that gives me a 30” by 84” table—but a few weeks back I needed to work a project atop that, so I tossed on a full sheet of particleboard, and boy is that 4×8 surface handy! I can lay out parts, rough stock, partly assembled, etc etc, so it kind of got me re-thinking the idea of a big table.

I was just curious to see if anyone else tied this and what they thought. It’s going to be a fair bit of expense and time to put it together.

I’m a bit concerned about having more stored plywood in a vulnerable spot, but figure I can cover it with 1/4” hardboard, osb, etc and protect from accidental damage.

Questions—

What the best table height—i’m 5’9”
Casters or no? And will 4 casters support the load? I’d think we are talking about 500-800 lbs.

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coloradotrout

29 posts in 692 days


#11 posted 01-08-2013 03:05 AM

Here’s a sheet cart similar to the one I built http://www.woodworkingtips.com/etips/2009/03/12/sn/
But fully loaded it weighs too much to be roll around.. and the A-frame version is probably a bit more all-around useful. I think I may take my platform and convert to the A-frame. Also may try placing the wheels in a diamond shape rather than at the 4 corners.

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coloradotrout

29 posts in 692 days


#12 posted 02-06-2013 04:21 PM

Folks—any thoughts on my joinery? Are these simple lap joints going to be strong enough?

I’ve seen benches made with all thread running inside a groove inside the support members and then through holes in the legs which are then tightened down with washers and nuts. But with my 4’ x 8’ size that is not practical. I suppose I could use a longer bolt and hollow out a place for a washer and nut inside the support members.

I’m also now planning to make the top support with 2×6s, but the mid and bottom from 2×4s.

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