Custom Bench for a Metal Brake

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Project by AngieO posted 06-03-2016 05:58 PM 4109 views 1 time favorited 19 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I haven’t been on here for a while. And after having a question last night about my router table I remembered how much I love being on here. So I thought I’d share one of my latest projects.

I have a couple of friends that are pilots. My friend Jeannie and her husband Eric. She flies for UPS and they have a business building and doing maintenance on airplanes. They have two hangars here at our small local airport. They recently bought a “metal brake”... (I don’t know if that’s the technical name but that’s what they called it lol). They’ve been talking to me about building a couple of shop pieces for them and since they didn’t have a bench for it this was the first piece they commissioned me to make.

I started by going over to the hangar and getting as many measurements as I thought I would need. Then I used SketchUp to layout what I thought the end product would look like.

I sent this to them and they told me to run with it. I went to the local big box lumber store to find that they do not carry untreated 4×4’s. This then required a 45 minute drive to Menards (which I fell in love with) to get the 4×4’s I wanted. The people there were awesome. I then began breaking down the material into the sizes my plans called for. This was the first time I had made a large project like this from my own plans.

I started with the legs. Had to have a helper since I don’t have a dedicated Miter Station (definitely on my list of to do’s) But we got it done.

After the rest of the material was cut (I cut the plywood sheets a little large)... it was time for assembly.

I used pocket hole construction so I started by putting my pocket holes in all my pieces. I love my Kreg K5. It was fast and easy. And with the dust port hooked to my little bucket vac there was no mess.

I started by assembling my two end pieces first.

Then I moved on to adding the long aprons. The first side was easy to attach. But I quickly found myself running out of room.

My shop floor is no where near level. It has a big crack down the middle of it and two off to the sides. But I knew I needed to find a level spot to assemble this. So…. I pulled out my miter saw (LOVE having all my tools mobile). That gave me just enough flat surface to work with…. even though it was tight. (You can see at the bottom that I was just missing one of the side cracks.)

After assembling the base things went pretty quickly. I got the base sitting up and added some support for the shelves.

After all the supports where in it was time to start adding the top and the bottom shelf.

I quickly realized at this point that I had not added my pocket holes to the aprons to attach the top. However… after turning it upside down and bracing it up I was able to get the holes drilled and move on to the top. I measured the finished base and cut my top to size. I have a really nice corded Porter Cable circular saw. But instead I opted for my cordless Ryobi. It was able to do the job quick and easy. I centered the top on the base, clamped it in place and put in the pocket screw

Turned out pretty nice.

I then moved on to the bottom shelf. This was a little more work than the top as I had to notch out the plywood for the legs. I have not had much time using a jigsaw but I had recently bought a Ryobi cordless one so I grabbed it and started measuring. It didn’t come out perfect…. but for my first time with a jigsaw and considering those 4×4s were not square… I’m pretty happy with how it came out.

I then used pocket screws to attach. I got my flush trim router out and a straight bit and cleaned up any overhang. I was pretty pleased with it at this point.

However… I sent a pic off to them and they were thrilled. Except…. they wanted to dd a few modifications. They sent me a pic of these “fingers” that they use on the metal break. They wanted a shelf for them. And they also wanted a shelf the length of the bottom shelf to hold some light metal pieces.

Here is the pic of the “fingers” that they sent me.

They sent me the measurements of the fingers and just told me to use my imagination. They were so happy with the bench so far that they knew I would come up with something good (their words… not mine. LOL).

Here’s what I came up with for the fingers….

I added shelves on the end of the bench that would normally be dead unused space mostly and put them at a 45 degree angle (like my rattle can shelf). Hoping this would give them easy access.

I also added a small shelf attached to the top that would hold the metal pieces. You can sort of see it in this pic.
I also rounded over the shelves with a 1/8” roundover bit.

I sent them a pic and they were on their way to get it. When they got there they loved it… however… wanted one more modification. They wanted a small lip to the shelf to keep things from falling out. A quick trip to my shed where i store lots of material (I’m a wood hoarder)... and I scored a piece of trim that I thought would be perfect. A little glue. A few small clamps to hold it in place and my air nailer…. and it was done.

Here is the final finished bench. They were very happy with it.

Of course you’ll notice my little “Vanna White” had to do a proper presentation. They were overall pretty pleased with the piece. And… this ensured that I got the job to make the next two pieces. They are wanting a rolling metal cart with shelves on the back. (much like our rolling sheet good carts). And then another bench but the next one will be enclosed like a cabinet. I look forward to the next project.

I think I spent $90 in materials. However this included a second full sheet of plywood for another project they were working on that I just delivered straight to the hangar.

I did have Lowes make one cut on the plywood for me so I could haul it in my van. But still the pieces were long and with me working alone I opted to not use the table saw. I feel like I get better cuts with a circular saw. Especially since this was heavy 3/4” plywood. So here are the tools I used:

Tools I used:
Miter Saw
Cordless Circular Saw
Flush Trim Router
Greg K5 Pocket Hole System
Greg right angle clamp (this was a must have when working alone)
Cordless drills
Cordless Jigsaw
Ryobi Airstrike Nailer

Yeah… I’m a fan of my Ryobi tools. My first purchase was my cordless drills. And to keep the batteries all the same… that’s what I’ve stuck with. However I’ve been pretty pleased. And yeah… that’s my little Ryobi radio on the bench too. It was a pretty important part of the job. I listened to music from my phone.

Well… for my first project that I drew up the plans for completely on my own… I’m pretty pleased with how it tuned out.

I had some scraps left over. I’ll post a picture later of what I made out of the scraps.

Thanks for checking out my project. It’s good to be back on LJ’s.

19 comments so far

View JoeinGa's profile


7741 posts in 2512 days

#1 posted 06-03-2016 06:54 PM

And it’s good to see you back on LJs. Dont be such a stranger from now on!

NICE JOB on the Bending BRAKE stand !

-- Perform A Random Act Of Kindness Today ... Pay It Forward

View DocSavage45's profile


8865 posts in 3347 days

#2 posted 06-03-2016 07:54 PM


You Have Come a Long Way in your woodworking journey. It also looks like a future woman in woodworking is pretty excited too.

Nicely done!

The shop has progressed nicely as well. Your also wearing good shoes. LOL! (old blog?)

-- Cau Haus Designs, Thomas J. Tieffenbacher

View HerbC's profile


1801 posts in 3364 days

#3 posted 06-03-2016 08:38 PM


Glad to have you back.

Nice job on the bench. (BTW, the tool the bench is for is called a metal brake and is used to bend sheetmetal…)

Keep up the good work and…

Be Careful!


-- Herb, Florida - Here's why I close most messages with "Be Careful!"

View Gary's profile


9402 posts in 3937 days

#4 posted 06-03-2016 10:25 PM

Nice work, Angie. You’ve become a pro

-- Gary, DeKalb Texas only 4 miles from the mill

View tyvekboy's profile


1921 posts in 3518 days

#5 posted 06-04-2016 01:12 AM

Nice job on Brake Bench. Good to see you’re using Sketch Up in your design process.

-- Tyvekboy -- Marietta, GA ………….. one can never be too organized

View boxcarmarty's profile


17185 posts in 2865 days

#6 posted 06-04-2016 01:19 AM

Great job Angie, now quit disappearing…..

-- My mind is like lighting, one brilliant flash, then its gone.....

View AngieO's profile


1267 posts in 2652 days

#7 posted 06-04-2016 01:31 AM

I plan on sticking around. :)

View pottz's profile


6307 posts in 1489 days

#8 posted 06-04-2016 04:27 AM

angie you rock girl this is a great build,i love to see woman get into woodworking i wish my wife would catch the fever but she cant stand noise and dust so you know where this is going,great job give us more.

-- sawdust the bigger the pile the bigger my smile-larry,so cal.

View CFrye's profile


10746 posts in 2344 days

#9 posted 06-04-2016 05:05 AM

Welcome home, Angie. Great build!

-- God bless, Candy

View devann's profile


2250 posts in 3197 days

#10 posted 06-04-2016 05:26 AM

A good job, it should serve your friends well into the future. Glad to see that you got to use your new saw so soon.

-- Darrell, making more sawdust than I know what to do with

View Cliff 's profile


1558 posts in 2228 days

#11 posted 06-04-2016 09:38 AM

Nice work Angie. Great Project!!!!!!



-- Cliff Australia : Snoring is good. It blows away all the Sawdust.

View LittleBlackDuck's profile


2924 posts in 1325 days

#12 posted 06-04-2016 09:50 AM

Great job Angie. Love a person that starts with SketchUp (before they even bother to sharpen chisels).

Keep designing, it’s not as good as the build itself, but a great aperitif.

-- If your first cut is too short... Take the second cut from the longer end... LBD

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

23362 posts in 3610 days

#13 posted 06-04-2016 01:17 PM

Very nice bench, Angie. Well thought out and beautifully constructed. It will last for ever!!

Cheers, Jim

-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

View canadianchips's profile


2627 posts in 3502 days

#14 posted 06-04-2016 02:51 PM

Looks like a nice SOLID bench. My belief “You cant make a bench to solid”. Some say when i build it overkill. I WANT things solid and not bouncy.
You did fine job. The friends should be more than happy !

-- "My mission in life - make everyone smile !"

View Edwardnorton's profile


203 posts in 2431 days

#15 posted 06-05-2016 01:54 AM

Good job on the table. A bit small for my taste (mine is 8’ L x 6’ W) but it looks like you really put yourself into completing your bench as you wanted it. BTW, every and I mean every wood workshop should have a sheet metal brake. They really do come in handy!

-- EdwardNorton

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