Simple Bench

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Project by CMorgan posted 02-13-2010 09:17 PM 4295 views 14 times favorited 19 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Before I built this workbench I was using my tablesaw, a small counter top and even the floor to build and assemble projects. I needed a workbench but I had a small budget and since I don’t have a great deal of skill yet I needed something easy to build. I found some plans online for this bench and thought it would do the trick.

The top is made up of four sheets of baltic birch plywood laminated together. Unfortunatly the store I purchased the plywood from does not let you select the wood yourself and the sheets they picked were really bowed. I thought I could get around this during the glue up by gluing them together with each sheets bow opposing each other. That worked somewhat but the end result was about a 1/8” bow in the top (the ends are lower than the center). I should have used two layers of MDF for the core of the bench and then had the plywood on the top and bottom. That would have been less money and resulted in a flatter surface.

The rest of the bench made out of construction grade duglas fir and the bench bolts, bench dogs and vise hardware are from Veritas. I threw on some lockable casters to make it portable and ended up with decent bench with the exception of the top not being flat. I learned a lot while making it and now I know what I will do different on the next one.

19 comments so far

View a1Jim's profile


117655 posts in 3997 days

#1 posted 02-13-2010 09:21 PM

Looks like a great bench.

View interpim's profile


1170 posts in 3878 days

#2 posted 02-13-2010 09:22 PM

I would shop someplace else if the place you purchased from doesn’t let you select your wood.

-- San Diego, CA

View Wood_smith's profile


261 posts in 3445 days

#3 posted 02-13-2010 09:30 PM

hey, once you start hammering, sawing, sanding, etc. on it, you’ll never notice the bow (nor would most non-woodworkers).
Besides, if you ever throw a small-block Chevy engine on it to change a piston, you might want it bowed a bit!!

Nice job…

-- Lloyd Kerry; creator of the Kerry-All Pouch,

View CMorgan's profile


11 posts in 3494 days

#4 posted 02-13-2010 10:00 PM

interpim, I agree and I have tried several hardwood lumber delears in my area (Broomfiled, CO which is just north of Denver) and none of them will let you pick your own sheetgoods or roughsawn lumber. Most of them say it is because of liablilty issues and won’t allow customers in those areas.

View BassBully's profile


261 posts in 4517 days

#5 posted 02-13-2010 11:01 PM

It has nothing to do with liability issues. It has to do with the cost of the employee’s time to put that stuff back in it’s rightful place. I used to work at a lumber yard and customers were known for not putting things back which is understandable to a point. They left sheets of plywood out and the employees had to put them back in their place which was a nice service to offer. We did things like sort the lumber and other clean up tasks. Upper management probably sees this as an unnecessary expense which is unfortunate but also somewhat understandable.

Because of the minimum wage increase that was enacted, many companies are skimping back on employees so they try to cut costs by hiring less people and you wouldn’t need many employees if they didn’t have to clean up after customers.

-- There are three types of people in the world, those who can count and those who can't!

View Jim Bertelson's profile

Jim Bertelson

4267 posts in 3584 days

#6 posted 02-13-2010 11:04 PM

Nice looking bench. When I made my bench, which was a general utility bench, not strickly a woodworkers bench, I put it together with 4×4’s for legs, 2×4 framing, 2×10’s for the top, and eventually covered it with plywood. I never even thought about the wood for the top much. It is constructed with nuts and bolts…screws for the covering 3/4” ply.

Just went and checked the top. About a 1/8” dish in the middle at the worst angle. This bench is 39 years old. I guess I could make it level with some shims under the wood screws that hold the plywood on, but I don’t think it is very important…......since I never noticed it in 39 years…........and never checked it til this moment….........(-:

Enjoy your bench. You probably won’t notice the difference either…................

-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska

View Dan'um Style's profile

Dan'um Style

14181 posts in 4403 days

#7 posted 02-13-2010 11:34 PM

if the 1/8th inch bothers you there ways to get it the way you want it.
big hand plane will flatten it.
you could also screw a eye bolt under the table top and create a turn chain buckle from a cross piece under cross rails. tighten it up a little at a time once a week for a year.
Another way would to buy about thirty concrete blocks and load them on top of the table. Leave them on there when you are not using the table. Free exercise!
If it were me I’d use it as is >grinzzzz<

-- keeping myself entertained ... Humor and fun lubricate the brain

View Beginningwoodworker's profile


13345 posts in 4093 days

#8 posted 02-13-2010 11:36 PM

Nice workbench!

View Woodbear's profile


84 posts in 3486 days

#9 posted 02-14-2010 01:44 AM

Nice bench Sir. You could still flatten that top, because you do want a flat top, especially when trying to do a glueup on something large that needs to be square. It would take a little doing and some elbow grease but a good sharp jack plane or jointer plane and a straight edge and you’d have that thing flat as you please. Only problem would be if it is bowed really bad you may end up planing through the first layer. If theats the case then set up a jig to run your router across the whole top right to the inside edges of the face frame. Rout out 1/8 or 1/4 inche deep and then replace it with a sheet of hardboard. I saw that somewhere thats why I passit on to you. I just don’t remember where I saw the article.

-- The safest place to be is within the will of God. God Bless. Michael

View Russ's profile


357 posts in 3497 days

#10 posted 02-14-2010 02:22 AM

How stable is it wih the rotating casters?

-- Russ

View CMorgan's profile


11 posts in 3494 days

#11 posted 02-14-2010 02:56 AM

Woodbear, that is a great idea on how to flatten it and put a new skin on the top so to speak. Could use 1/4” baltic birch and you would never know.

Russ, I don’t do a lot of hand tool work so I am not putting a lot of stress on it but it is pretty solid. Those are the heavy duty fully locking casters (think I got them at Woodcraft) and when they are locked the wheels don’t rotate or roll at all. The only problem is my garage floor has an epxoy finish which is a little slick so if I push on it hard enough it will slide some. That would be easy to fix but has not really been an issue.

View Steve's profile


15 posts in 3501 days

#12 posted 02-14-2010 04:20 AM

I like it. I am a noob and trying to find a simple workbench to build until I can justify a real beauty. Nice work.

View rtb's profile


1101 posts in 4133 days

#13 posted 02-14-2010 04:41 AM

I think that Dans got the right idea with the turnbuckle, and probably the most foolproof as well.

-- RTB. stray animals are just looking for love

View Quixote's profile


206 posts in 4058 days

#14 posted 02-14-2010 05:12 AM

I like the looks of it for a great utility workbench. I’ll be curious to watch your future activity to see if you find a situation where the 1/8” bow creates an issue.

My concerns about having a high end bench have been that I’m afraid of damaging the bench or the finish. I’m planning to build myself a multipurpose utility bench with wood vise and bench dogs from on one end, and setting up a machinists vice quick locks for a sheet metal break on the other.

How much time and materials do you have in this one?


-- I don't make sawdust...I produce vast quantities of "Micro Mulch."

View norwood's profile


303 posts in 3490 days

#15 posted 02-14-2010 07:17 AM

I wish I had the space for a good bench well done

-- of all the things Ive lost in life i miss my mind the most

showing 1 through 15 of 19 comments

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