"Why is This Car Parked in My Shop?" Turning My One Car Garage Into A Shop #3: New FWW laminated Plywood Work bench

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Blog entry by Brad_Nailor posted 06-14-2010 04:12 AM 7479 reads 4 times favorited 11 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 2: Kreg Top Track Production Stop/Chop Saw Outfeed Table/Fence Part 3 of "Why is This Car Parked in My Shop?" Turning My One Car Garage Into A Shop series Part 4: Wheeled stand for my new planer »

OK..So I am slowly but surely tweaking my garage into a shop..a little at a time. Before I launched into any real projects I wanted a proper work bench…the hollow core door across two plastic saw horses just wasn’t cutting it. I wanted something that was heavy duty, with thick legs like a traditional wood working bench, with mortise and tenon joinery..but I didn’t want to go through the whole learning curve..I just wanted a bench. I remembered seeing an article in FWW that was a plan for a bench exactly like that, made of layers of plywood laminated together. You use jigs and blocks to create the joinery. The top was a layer of 3/4 ply with a layer of 3/4 MDF on top and a hardwood edge to finish it off. So I bought two sheets of my favorite shop fixture materiel…3/4” birch ply at HD..50 bucks a sheet. Stripped that all up into 3 9/16” strips, then cut all my parts to length. I used a jig described in the instructions to make the tenons on the stretchers and a couple blocks with packing tape to make the mortises.

Here is a shot of the finished legs..I trimmed them with two passes per side on the table saw down to 3 1/2”

Then with everything glued up, and sized and sanded I started assembling things..

Heres the base with the sides all glued up, clamped together and squared up..

The MDF was screwed to the plywood from underneath and then the top was pocket screwed through the upper stretchers..

Then I just put on some HD 3/4” solid maple trim..I actually found a piece in the bin that was curly..I put that on the front..mitered all the corners and shot it on with brads, then screwed it on into both the ply and MDF…The finished product!

I am very happy with the result. The bench is rock solid, and the top is nice and flat. I am going to install a nice vice on the left end, and drill some holes for some round bench dogs.


11 comments so far

View tyskkvinna's profile


1310 posts in 4321 days

#1 posted 06-14-2010 04:44 AM

looks great! very sturdy. I bet you can’t wait to use it now :)

-- Lis - Michigan - -

View a1Jim's profile


118309 posts in 4913 days

#2 posted 06-14-2010 07:28 AM

Looks like a great bench it should hold up very well, great job


View Wolffarmer's profile


407 posts in 4573 days

#3 posted 06-14-2010 09:21 AM

nice bench there. I have long been considering using mdf for the surface of the one i am going to build for myself. I have an old external solid core door that I have all ready cut down. MDF on top of that and maple edging just like yours is what I been thinking about. Though i probably will not fasten the MDF down. Let it float so it can be replaced. In 2007 I built a large bench out of a full sheet of 1/2 mdf on a 2×4 frame to build the side walls of my tear drop trailer. has really stood up well even the sides that are out about 4 inches from the frame. really handy to clamp things to. Also i have screwed many things to it ( on purpose ) to keep them from moving about or some jig thingies. I figure a more traditional bench and a shelf at the bottom to store my Newton Clamps ( iron tractor weights ) will be pretty solid.


-- That was not wormy wood when I started working on it.

View Viking's profile


882 posts in 4531 days

#4 posted 06-14-2010 10:54 AM


Nice been, should hold up well. Do you recall which issue of FWW the plan was in. Really like this idea. Do you plan to put a finish on it?

Thanks for sharing!

-- Rick Gustafson - Lost Creek Ranch - Colorado County, Texas

View CanadianWoodChuck's profile


402 posts in 5249 days

#5 posted 06-14-2010 12:51 PM

Great looking bench Dave should give you years of service. I love practical fixtures in the shop. Enjoy

-- Wood Chuck (Bruce)

View SPalm's profile


5338 posts in 5217 days

#6 posted 06-14-2010 02:09 PM

Nice looking little bench. I could use a couple of those.
Dang, 50 bucks a sheet.

Thanks for the post,

-- -- I'm no rocket surgeon

View PurpLev's profile


8653 posts in 4984 days

#7 posted 06-14-2010 03:56 PM

woah! nice bench. that thing looks like it weighs a Ton. how large is the top?

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

View Shawn Sealer's profile

Shawn Sealer

168 posts in 4450 days

#8 posted 06-15-2010 05:05 AM

I’ve built this very same bench from FWW and I have to say I’ve been supper pleased with it. it,s rock solid you can view my finished bench in my shop section

-- -Shawn

View Brad_Nailor's profile


2545 posts in 5293 days

#9 posted 06-24-2010 04:55 AM

Thanks for the nice comments. I really like the way this came out and it was pretty straight forward to make…and it’s a heck of a lot sturdier than the hollow core door across two Home Depot plastic saw horses.

Purp…the top is 72 long and 33 wide hangs over about 4 1/2” on either side so it will be easy to clamp stuff to it.


View mcoyfrog's profile


4757 posts in 4930 days

#10 posted 07-27-2010 11:45 PM

Great blog, this should last you a long time

-- Wood and Glass they kick (well you know) Have a great day - Dug

View BullHammer's profile


20 posts in 2412 days

#11 posted 11-07-2015 07:39 AM

So how has this held up? Is it really rock solid? Does it hold up to hand planing…etc? What are your thoughts after using it for some time?


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