Bench done!

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Project by socrbent posted 04-11-2019 04:43 AM 1792 views 4 times favorited 23 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I started this project in the fall of 2017 to replace the bench that was in place in the basement shop when we bought the house in 2004.

It had red paint over all surfaces and was made from an old desk with 2by8’s for a top. The 2by’s had shrunk leaving big gaps between them. Removed the paint on the top and used the bench for many years. When I was disassembling it I found that the desk portion was once used by the WPA from late thirties to early forties.

The new bench base was made from oak with poplar drawers, MDF and hardboard top. maple vise jaws and shellac finish. It was designed so it can be disassembled for moving someday. Hopefully by one or more of my children or grand children.

The photo above shows the half lap and carriage bolt joinery along with a patch to correct a mistake cutting one joint.

This is the completed base and the PITA support in the middle of my shop.

Glue-up of the fourth and final layer of 3/4” MDF. I have 2 layers of of hardboard on top which can be easily filpped or switched as needed in future.

The top was banded with 3 1/2” x 3/4” oak screwed in place.

The top is so heavy it was all 2 men could do to move it from my table saw where it was glued up to the base. to keep it from moving I attached it with 10 cleats and used my biscuit joiner to create the mortises for the cleats.

This spring I got time to make the drawers having completed several other important home projects. The time between did allow me to carefully consider what the drawers would contain. First I used some reclaimed paneling to cover to back and side openings which when 2 coats of shellac was added matched up well with the oak base.

Next was to add a framework to mount the drawer slides. the bay closest to camera only has 2 drawers and the other two have 4 drawers each.

Made the drawer boxes from poplar using dove tail joinery. Back joints of the 3 biggest drawers is rabbited due to my lack of confidence to succeed with glue up with that many tails and pins. The drawer bottoms are made from 3/8” plywood.

Mounted the drawers with full extension heavy duty slides using a variety of hand made jigs to keep them level and properly spaced.

Added oak drawer fronts with simple beveled edges.

Finished off with 12 drawer pulls that have a cove routed underneath for a finger pull.

NOTE: left side bay has a 2 false fronts to conceal the tub used as a waste container.

I am enjoying having much used tools close at hand.

Thanks for looking – comments and questions are welcome.

-- socrbent Ohio

23 comments so far

View ZAGREB's profile


1276 posts in 2391 days

#1 posted 04-11-2019 07:25 AM

amazing work,buddy

-- bambi

View BobWemm's profile


2850 posts in 2667 days

#2 posted 04-11-2019 08:14 AM

That is so nice, I would be afraid to use it.
Great job.


-- Bob, Western Australia, The Sun came up this morning, what a great start to the day. Now it's up to me to make it even better. I've cut this piece of wood 4 times and it's still too damn short.

View Artie623's profile


116 posts in 602 days

#3 posted 04-11-2019 11:46 AM

Very nice…. enjoy the storage !

View tyvekboy's profile


1997 posts in 3755 days

#4 posted 04-11-2019 01:07 PM

Sturdy looking bench.

Good job.

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

View pottz's profile


9549 posts in 1726 days

#5 posted 04-11-2019 01:22 PM

now thats a well built bench,with 4 layers of mdf and 2 hardboard it should hold up quite well.nice job.

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

View GR8HUNTER's profile


7458 posts in 1454 days

#6 posted 04-11-2019 01:27 PM

a very nice looking and sturdy bench GREAT JOB :<)))

-- Tony---- Reinholds,Pa.------ REMEMBER TO ALWAYS HAVE FUN

View WayneC's profile


14358 posts in 4839 days

#7 posted 04-11-2019 01:52 PM

Beautiful bench. I love all the storage. My favorite garden in town is the WPA Rock Garden. I believe the WPA built it in 1939. Interesting piece of history you found.

-- We must guard our enthusiasm as we would our life - James Krenov

View stefang's profile


17039 posts in 4076 days

#8 posted 04-11-2019 02:53 PM

Great example of a sturdy practical bench that should last for a lifetime. I like the idea of the easily
replaceable hardboard top. Very practical and also very flat. A great combination!

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View Mainiac Matt 's profile

Mainiac Matt

9525 posts in 3070 days

#9 posted 04-11-2019 03:35 PM

Great looking bench! Quite practical and beastly stout construction.

You’ll love having all those drawers… I predict organization will ensue :^)

-- Matt -- I yam what I yam and that's all what I yam

View CaptainKlutz's profile


3044 posts in 2236 days

#10 posted 04-11-2019 03:36 PM

YABB! (Yet another beautiful bench) :-)

Don’t forget to add your bench entry in the Work Bench Smack Down thread:

-- If it wasn't for bad luck, I wouldn't have no luck at all, - Albert King - Born Under a Bad Sign released 1967

View Travis's profile


421 posts in 508 days

#11 posted 04-11-2019 04:07 PM

Wow, that’s a bench I hope you never have/get to replace! Nice job!

-- The plan is wrong; my finished piece is right.

View justahobby2's profile


29 posts in 442 days

#12 posted 04-11-2019 10:30 PM

WOW!!!That says it all. Great job.

View BlueRidgeDog's profile


703 posts in 521 days

#13 posted 04-12-2019 12:04 AM

I love it. A great design and an amazing end product. I will say this only to wake you up and challenge you: At your skill level you don’t need to design with bolts and screws in mind. The skill I see here can make great furniture with pure joinery.

View RCCinNC's profile (online now)


152 posts in 1068 days

#14 posted 04-12-2019 12:40 AM

Very nice…and, with all respect to BlueRidgeDog…Bolts and screws are just fine for a workbench…Hah! Perhaps I delve in potential controversy! Personally, for projects like yours, I like a few bolts etc…
Nice piece of history too…I love it!
Note to BlueRidgeDog… I will never show you my workbench…ever. ; )

-- Live to putter...putter to live!

View socrbent's profile


998 posts in 3011 days

#15 posted 04-12-2019 12:47 AM

Thanks guys – I really appreciate your positive comments. It is rock solid to work on. BlueRidge Dog – There was a reason for the carriage bolts and lag screws – The bench resides in a basement shop and I wanted it to be able to disassemble at some point in future so I could pass it on to family. But thanks for the compliment. Also you may be mistaken on my skill level as all the dovetails were done with a Leigh jig.

-- socrbent Ohio

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