A New Work Bench, Mikey Style

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Blog entry by MT_Stringer posted 07-04-2012 02:59 AM 10878 reads 6 times favorited 6 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Several years ago, I built a simple work table as a table saw outfeed table. It quickly became my do it all table. It is made out of 2×4’s and two pieces of 1/2 inch cd plywood which I had stored out in my shed.

Fast forward to the present time. Lately I have gotten a renewed interest in woodworking. I have been doing some type of carpentry since the 70’s when I was helping my dad build pole barns.

After my dad passed away, I was given his Craftsman table saw (circa 1977). I still recall him setting that thing up in a little single car garage that wasn’t big enough for a car! :-)

Now I have it and it is fitted with a Vega Pro 40 fence. That fence has made a new saw out of that old thing. Now I need to make a little room in my one car garage for a few new toys I recently purchased like a Grizzly G0555LX Band Saw, HF 12 inch sliding miter saw, HF belt sander and the Bosch 1617 EVSPK router combo.

Recently, A guy was advertising free solid core doors, just come get them. I found them out in his pasture and took two of them. Surprisingly, they are in pretty good shape.

So far, I have cut mine out of one door and made a smaller one for my neighbor.

Here are my detailed plans that I drew last night while laying in bed watching Team USA win the World Cup of Softball!

So I am off and running (albeit at a slow trot) in the construction of my new work bench. My thoughts are thus:

  • Table height to be level with table saw so it can be used as an outfeed table. Miter slots to be cut allowing use of cross cut sled.
  • Table width set at 30 inches.
  • Table length limited to 4 feet due to space restrictions.
  • Holes to be drilled 6 inches apart for bench dogs.
  • Woodworking vise to be installed on one end of the table
  • Legs to be made of 3 inch 2x lumber ripped from 2×10’s and laminated together with glue and screws.These are ready to install.
  • Rails and stiles are similar construction double thick 2×3’s.
  • The cross braces (two of them) will be made from 2 repurposed 2×4’s x 5 feet long glued and nailed together. I brought it back to Houston from Utah when my son-n-law moved to Tulsa (new job). All I have to do is cut two sections to size and install. Other pieces will be cut to fit. It may seem backwards, but I made the table top first to fit the area and I will build the framework to fit. That means build it upside down.
  • Underneath the workbench is reserved for my air compressor and possible a cart with drawers that I can roll around.


After cutting the door down to size (28 1/2” x 48”). I used contact cement to glue on a piece of white Formica.
Today, I ripped some Red Oak and attached an edge band on all four sides of the top by first gluing, then clamping and screwing with some #8×1 3/4 screws. Looks pretty good so far.

Going on a road trip for the next two days then I will start building the frame.

-- Handcrafted by Mike Henderson - Channelview, Texas

6 comments so far

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3183 posts in 4197 days

#1 posted 07-04-2012 03:19 PM

I used part of the door to make a workbench top for my neighbor. He is in bad health and I was just trying to help out a little. Sometimes he and his wife sit in front of their garage and watch to world go by. I thought he could use a workbench/drink table. Just add saw horses or a pair of stools. Hmmm. I might make him a pair of those.

I had a little trouble with my router when I was trimming the edge band. That turned out to be a bear. Guess I need more practice.

After cutting the wood to size (18×48), I ripped some white pine and attached it to the door with glue, biscuits and screws. That all worked out pretty good. After hitting the corners with a round over bit, I stained the whole thing with Min Wax Chestnut stain. I actually stained the white pine twice trying to darken it up a little. Then applied several coats of Deft Clear Wood Finish. After drying, I waxed the top with Min Wax Paste Wax and rubbed it down good.

I think he will be pleasantly surprised.

Here is the finished product – just needs a couple more coats of Deft (sanding lightly with 400 in between).

Finished. Time to take a break and have a snack! :-)
Note: I never met a pecan pie I didn’t like! :-)

-- Handcrafted by Mike Henderson - Channelview, Texas

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3183 posts in 4197 days

#2 posted 07-08-2012 03:35 AM

I worked on my bench today. I attached a two inch wide strip of MDF around the perimeter of the top on the underside. That will help me keep everything square.

I modified the table legs, which are two pieces of 2×3 glued and screwed together, by drilling an 11/16 inch hole in the bottom. Then I drew the outline of the 5/8 inch nut and hogged out the remaining material with a Roto Zip. After a trial fit and some additional work with a wood chisel, I glue two nuts into each hole with Gorilla Glue.

Glue up complete. I will add a washer and nut so I can adjust the table height on each corner. My garage is very unlevel.

-- Handcrafted by Mike Henderson - Channelview, Texas

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3183 posts in 4197 days

#3 posted 07-09-2012 03:08 AM

We have had rainy weather lately and that has hampered my build. Today, I drilled the holes for the wood vise and did a dry fit. It turned out exactly as I had planned.

Drill guide used to drill the holes for the bolts.

Wood vise dry fit.

Bottom view of the vise mounted to the table top.

-- Handcrafted by Mike Henderson - Channelview, Texas

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3183 posts in 4197 days

#4 posted 07-12-2012 04:04 AM

Not much progress today. However, I did get the leg adjusters installed for the last time. I have them set at 1 1/2 inch. My floor is so unlevel, I am sure there will be some tweaking once I get the bench set in place.

After removing the bolt, I sanded the glue down to the wood with a quick hit from the Orbital sander.

Here is the final installation ready for action.

-- Handcrafted by Mike Henderson - Channelview, Texas

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3183 posts in 4197 days

#5 posted 07-13-2012 06:44 AM

Well, today was the day. I got a late start because of all the thunderstorms and rain that has plagued the Houston area the last few days. This morning was no exception, so I slept in. I bounced out of bed at the crack of noon. The rain had stopped and the skies were clearing. Sure felt good to work with some cooler weather today instead of the mid – high 90’s.

I finished dry fitting the table pieces and routed the edges with a 3/8” roundover bit. I only hit the outside edges and tried to skip the areas where the pieces meet at the legs.

Here are a few pics from today’s efforts.

Here is a close up of the vise end of the bench. I glued and screwed two pieces of 2x to give the table support for the additional weight of the vise. In this pic, I have just finished gluing and screwing the outer frame boards.

Here is the corner detail. The leg is cut to fit in the slot. Notice that I used 5/16 ” lag bolts for all of the major frame connections. That rascal is rock solid. Thank goodness I have an impact wrench! :-)

Here is another view showing the main pieces of the frame assembled.

Here is the almost finished assembly. I still have to build a shelf for the lower section of the bench.

Another view of the assembled table. I used pocket screws and glue to attach the inside pieces of the frame

A friend is coming over tomorrow and bringing help. Hopefully we will be able to flip the bench and set it in position at the outfeed position of my table saw. I have a lot of clean up work to do and dismantle my existing outfeed table/assembly bench before they get here.

-- Handcrafted by Mike Henderson - Channelview, Texas

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3183 posts in 4197 days

#6 posted 07-14-2012 06:25 AM

Today was the final day of this bench build.

Reclaimed pallet boards for lower shelf.

A couple of passes through the planer and the fuzzies are all gone! :-) I ripped the rough sides off all of the boards. Finished thickness is approximately 5/8 inch. Good to go.

Ledger Boards for the lower shelf.

Lower shelf is complete. Gotta love free lumber! :-) I used a couple of nails to space the boards so if the wood swells it won’t pose any problems later.

This is the first fit of the frame. It was a snap to adjust the four 5/8 inch bolts to level the table.

Yay! My air compressor fits like a glove. Almost appears I planned it that way. :-)

And here it is, the first look at my finished bench. I haven’t attached the top to the base yet but I do have pocket holes drilled in the frame members for that purpose. Actually, I plan to drill some 3/4 inch holes through the table top for bench dogs.

I even got to use the bench for the first time tonight. I pulled all the nails from the lumber used to build the previous table. Pound away. This table is solid!

And I love the vise. I have never had a wood vise, but I already have a few thoughts on it’s use. It has a bench dog that I can raise up if I need to clamp something on the table.

And I am considering a jig to mount my router table top using the vise. Yeah, gotta work on that one real soon. As soon as I can make it back to the big box store, I will pick up a 2×8 and make a couple of boards for the vise jaws.

That’s it for now. Hope you like it.

-- Handcrafted by Mike Henderson - Channelview, Texas

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