Workbench #1: Intro

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Blog entry by CrossGrain (Josh) posted 02-22-2011 09:27 PM 1791 reads 1 time favorited 5 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of Workbench series Part 2: Bench Top »

I’ve decided that I really need a workbench if I’m going to be doing any amount of ‘real’ woodworking. A board slapped on top of the tablesaw isn’t really cutting it, and I could really use a vise.

I’ll be following the ‘Getting Started in Woodworking’ workbench design loosely with many of my own modifications. Much of the design will come out of the components that I have selected for the bench. First, I want a solid wood top rather than MDF, but I don’t want to do the lamination and flattening myself. I found a beech laminated counter-top at Ikea for $39. Sized at 25 5/8” by 49 5/8”, I thought that this would make a good size starter workbench.

Other items of interest that will affect design choices:

  • Bench should be usable as an out-feed table for the tablesaw
  • Bench should be heavy, but able to be moved
  • Will use the large vise from Lee Valley
  • Desire to be able to level the legs of the workbench on an uneven floor

I don’t have access to any of my photos at this time, but will post some with the next blog entry.

-- Josh, Virginia ,

5 comments so far

View BradHess's profile


63 posts in 3313 days

#1 posted 02-22-2011 10:58 PM

I have used the ikea material for counter tops and stuff in the past and the one comment is don’t overhang it too much as it will slope over time. I have had this happen twice on kitchen islands. One with a 12 inch overhang and one with a 9 inch overhang. Doubt you will have that on a bench but it is worth noting.

View CrossGrain (Josh)'s profile

CrossGrain (Josh)

64 posts in 3319 days

#2 posted 02-22-2011 11:30 PM

Thanks @BradHess. I don’t plan to let it overhang much, and at only 1 1/8” thick, I’ve beefed it up with a couple of pieces of 3/4 MDF (MDF glued together, but screwed to the underside of the beech with slots for the screws in the MDF to allow for any movement in the top).

-- Josh, Virginia ,

View clieb91's profile


3575 posts in 4235 days

#3 posted 02-23-2011 05:02 AM

Josh, Sounds like a good project, always useful to have one around. Looking forward to seeing it.


-- Chris L. "Don't Dream it, Be it."- (Purveyors of Portable Fun and Fidgets)

View yuri's profile


136 posts in 3904 days

#4 posted 03-01-2011 09:26 PM

Josh, why, then, not just buy two tops from Ikea and laminate them together? It will be insignificantly more money, but cleaner and uniform construction, huh?

View CrossGrain (Josh)'s profile

CrossGrain (Josh)

64 posts in 3319 days

#5 posted 03-01-2011 09:43 PM

Yuri – Mainly because I didn’t think about it! But also, with one 4’ x8’ sheet of MDF I save $10, get 1/2” extra thickness on the benchtop, and have enough for a lower shelf and some other future projects.

At this point, the top is finished. I just haven’t had the chance to put together the next installment of the blog about it. Otherwise, I would have seriously considered going back to Ikea!

-- Josh, Virginia ,

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