Simple Butcher Block Workbench

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Project by SawdustTX posted 10-17-2019 11:02 PM 1882 views 2 times favorited 9 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Simple workbench that took me 3 years to build…

I have a carpenter’s bench with end-vise in the middle of my shop so I can work all around it. This is a secondary “side bench” fixed to the wall for assembly work, fix-it projects, etc.

Was going to glue up a pine top but found a 2” thick 2’ x 6’ maple butcher block for $50, so I picked that up and glued up stock for legs about 3 years ago. And there it sat until last week when I got back to it and finally finished it!

Cutting the big stretcher mortises was interesting. In the past I’ve used a tablesaw stacked dado blade. Pain to set up and adjust, and still the cuts aren’t that clean. This time I hogged out the mortises on the bandsaw to within 1/8” of final size, then set up the equivalent of a crosscut sled on my router table, set stop blocks, and routed the mortises to final dimension. Worked fantastic, it was quick, all 14 mortises are exactly identical size, and the stretchers snug in perfectly! I test assembled the whole thing dry with no glue/screws, and it stood up itself just fine and pretty stout.

2’ x 5’ maple butcher block top
Pine legs, 3”x 3”, made by jointing two 2×4’s, then gluing together
Pine stretchers, glued and screwed into half-lap mortises in the legs
No front stretcher at the top, so I have unhindered access for clamping.
3/4” maple plywood lower shelf. Later it’ll get a drawer unit.


9 comments so far

View therealSteveN's profile


6980 posts in 1544 days

#1 posted 10-17-2019 11:33 PM

Don’t sweat the 3 years. It’s there to use now, and if you are like most shops I have been in horizontal surfaces fill up quickly. At two I was just starting to wonder if 5 would be enough. Always something part way done, something new, that you need to lay out, and something you are trying to get some finish on. If I could figure out how to assemble something hanging on a wall, I’d be set.

Enjoy it, before it gets covered up. :-)

-- Think safe, be safe

View mel52's profile


1856 posts in 1234 days

#2 posted 10-17-2019 11:37 PM

Looks good and solid. Great job !!! Mel

-- MEL, Kansas

View Rick  Dennington's profile

Rick Dennington

7084 posts in 4164 days

#3 posted 10-17-2019 11:40 PM

Very nice looking bench. There’s nothing more rewarding to have in your shop like a good, solid bench. Over the years I’ve built 3 benches similar to yours, and my main bench is 42” wide x 105 ’, and I built a cabinet / drawer unit under mine to keep thimgs close at hand….measuring, marking, and things I use at the bench. Here’s a picture of the bench…..Maybe you can get an idea or two from it when you decide to build yours…...!

-- " There's a better way.....find it"...... Thomas Edison.

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

25734 posts in 4075 days

#4 posted 10-18-2019 10:30 AM

Very nice sturdy workbench. I really like that top!

cheers, Jim

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

View EarlS's profile


4209 posts in 3318 days

#5 posted 10-18-2019 11:55 AM

Now that I’m moved into the new, smaller shop I’m going to need a workbench before too long. Figuring out the best design and which bells and whistles to add to it is the hard part. Well, that and not changing things in the middle of the build. Of course the “honey-do” list also needs to be considered. Yep – I can relate to projects that take longer than you might think to complete.

-- Earl "I'm a pessamist - generally that increases the chance that things will turn out better than expected"

View Lazyman's profile


6315 posts in 2357 days

#6 posted 10-18-2019 02:10 PM

Looks great! Now I just want to know where you found that top for $50!

-- Nathan, TX -- Hire the lazy man. He may not do as much work but that's because he will find a better way.

View SawdustTX's profile


344 posts in 3294 days

#7 posted 10-18-2019 08:43 PM

Enjoy it, before it gets covered up. :-)
- therealSteveN

yea, before building this I had the top just setting on an old audio cabinet, with a foot deep pile on it. Sorted, trashed stuff, and organized it all in bins. Going to try hard to keep it that way.

View SawdustTX's profile


344 posts in 3294 days

#8 posted 10-18-2019 08:49 PM

Thanks for the nice comments.

@Rick Dennington – beautiful bench. Not sure I’ve ever seen one that big before. Thanks for the pic, that’s exactly what I’m talking about re drawers. Are yours on runners, slides, or just fit into openings?

@Lazyman – local Woodcraft put them on clearance, sitll wonder if they were mispriced. These things sell elsewhere for $200. And Made in USA even. Should have bought a couple more…

@Earls – yes indeed, the honey-do’s! But she does me good, so I’m all about that. :)

View Rick  Dennington's profile

Rick Dennington

7084 posts in 4164 days

#9 posted 10-18-2019 10:47 PM

Sawdust TX,

I built this bench about 6-7 years ago, and I have a 2,000 sq. foot shop, so I had/ have plenty of room for a big bench. All the drawers are on full ext. ball bearing slides, and having several different size drawers helps to keep things more organized…...Thanks for the nice comment on the bench…I appreciate it…..It has served me well…!!

-- " There's a better way.....find it"...... Thomas Edison.

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