Workbench 1.1 - My first (kinda) woodworking bench

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Project by PurpLev posted 07-16-2009 08:33 PM 10959 views 9 times favorited 17 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Not really my FIRST workbench as I was using a couple of stanley foldable sawhorses/workbenches for several years prior, but this is the first one I built myself.

The top I got at a construction salvage warehouse. they referred to it as a “piece of wood” and sold it to me for $25. at first when I saw it I thought it was a laminated piece of maple, which was very exciting – but once I picked it up in one hand, I figured it’s most likely NOT maple. it’s some sort of light softwood. it was 24”x72” and made as a table top for arts and crafts table – not really for woodworking poundings… but it works just as well for that as well – just gets nicked a bit more easily then other materials.

I cut off 12” of it’s length, and ended up with 24”x60” top. the extra 12” strip I cut into 4” wide parts which I used for the vise faces.

originally I had the top mounted on a 2×4 that was mounted on the wall in our old place, which served as a foldable-get-out-of-the-way workbench, I was never able to really test it’s capabilities much as we moved from there shortly after I installed it.

I then read about building workbenches, and saw the video at where they showed how to build a basic sturdy bench – I used their general design, but instead of the MDF top they suggested – I used the one I already had, and sized all the parts accordingly. I also did not use their method of connecting all the parts using threaded rods, but instead, I decided to practice and made all the joinery glued Mortise and Tenon. sure, it will not disassemble for moving around -but this thing is damn sturdy I hand planed and chiseled M&T and dovetails on it , and it did not move an inch (I did have a couple of drawer cabinets in it though which added ~70lbs to it).

the legs are 4×4 douglas fir from Homedepot, and the rails and stretchers are pine/whitewood 2×4 scraps that I picked up from a construction remodeling site, as they threw these away with some other 2×10s

in the 2nd picture you can see I routed a slot in the top rails/stretchers. the top has fasteners that fit into those slots to keep the entire table together when moving it about, and when exerting force on the top while working.

I am now within reach of finishing my next workbench, and noticed I never posted this one, and thought this might be useful for someone that wants to build a workbench quickly, cost effectively, and one that is sturdy and can take the stress. this one certainly has, and can.

Thanks for reading,

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

17 comments so far

View a1Jim's profile


117722 posts in 4088 days

#1 posted 07-16-2009 08:36 PM

Looks good ,I like the cantilever design for better clearance

View Jon3's profile


497 posts in 4616 days

#2 posted 07-16-2009 08:37 PM

Heh, want to see Scary?

Bench #1:
Bench #1

Bench #2 was just a plain old table. Grey plastic topped fiberboard conference table type. It was intended to hold computers, so it did have a metal reinforcement strip so it was at least flat.

Bench #3:
Bench #3

And of course, today, my current beauty:
Current Bench

View Bob #2's profile

Bob #2

3810 posts in 4532 days

#3 posted 07-16-2009 08:38 PM

Well I like it.
That’s a good sturdy vice and plenty of room for a project.
You left a bit of lip on the top to get the odd clmp on a board or project.
You will be glad of that too.


-- A mind, like a home, is furnished by its owner

View CharlieM1958's profile


16284 posts in 4729 days

#4 posted 07-16-2009 08:45 PM

Looks good to me!

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View jockmike2's profile


10635 posts in 4757 days

#5 posted 07-16-2009 09:30 PM

Looks great to me too.

-- (You just have to please the man in the Mirror) Mike from Michigan -

View pommy's profile


1697 posts in 4202 days

#6 posted 07-16-2009 09:54 PM


it looks cool mate and it serves the cause


-- cut it saw it scrap it SKPE: ANDREW.CARTER69

View PurpLev's profile


8551 posts in 4159 days

#7 posted 07-16-2009 10:44 PM

Thanks everyone – indeed this is a terrific workbench, however it is now being retired from woodworking, and has been reassigned as my wife’s gardening/other workbench. the first gardening workstation with a full set of dogholes, and vise to hold an entire tree! (she doesn’t like the vise… so it’s gonna be taken off though)

Jon – this is a cool progression display :)

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

View Beginningwoodworker's profile


13345 posts in 4184 days

#8 posted 07-16-2009 11:25 PM

Nice workbench.

View naomi weiss's profile

naomi weiss

207 posts in 3905 days

#9 posted 12-16-2009 11:17 AM

Sharon—how did that bench fare with hand planing. Did it wobble?

-- 'Humility is a duty in great ones, as well as in idiots'--Jeremy Taylor

View PurpLev's profile


8551 posts in 4159 days

#10 posted 12-16-2009 04:45 PM

Naomi, the bench fared fantastic for hand planing – did not wobble one bit, and was stand fast. I think the addition of weight in the form of 2 drawer cabinets and the tools in them underneath the bench (on the shelf) helped. I used a planing stop for hand planing.

in retrospect, and knowing what I know today – I would have drilled the benchdog holes lengthwise with an end vise and not in relation to the front vise.

I built my current bench because I had the opportunity to do so, and as a learning experience. not because I ‘needed’ a better bench.

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

View Bill729's profile


241 posts in 3592 days

#11 posted 01-05-2010 06:10 AM

Thank you for posting. Nice work! I am going to build a bench something like this. Were the “fasteners to the top” something you added? If so, can you describe them? At this point, I’m not sure of the best way to attach the top to the supporting structure (recessed bolts come to to mind).


View PurpLev's profile


8551 posts in 4159 days

#12 posted 01-05-2010 07:49 AM

Bill, I used fasteners like this one:
table top fastener

you can see the groves in the second picture where the fasteners slide in, and are screwed to the top.

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

View jeremy kopena's profile

jeremy kopena

9 posts in 3442 days

#13 posted 05-20-2010 03:17 AM

realy nice woodworking bench! I whant to make another bigger on simmilar to this.

-- garage woodworker

View PurpLev's profile


8551 posts in 4159 days

#14 posted 05-20-2010 04:20 AM

Thanks. it is a goo bench design, nice simple, and effective.

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

View woodzy's profile


418 posts in 3190 days

#15 posted 01-26-2011 03:24 PM

Hey, i really like your bench. The vise and deadman are great.

-- Anthony

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