New Workbench Top for Rolling Shop Cabinet

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Project by Woodbridge posted 10-23-2011 03:19 AM 9514 views 19 times favorited 18 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I have never had a proper solid work bench with solid vices. I have been using my B&D workmate for many years. My shop is very small and everything needs to be on wheels so that it can be rolled into place and out of the way when I am finished with it.

I decided to convert my rolling shop cabinet into a small workbench. I removed the old top and cut down the middle of three drawers to make room for the new workbench top. The original cabinet (and cabintes in the b ackground) is office furniture that I obtained when my employer renovated our offices.

The top is 34×24. It is 2” thick with a 4” apron. The top is raised about 4” from the top of the rolling cabinet to provide room for clamping and a small place for tool storage while working. I have added a front and side vices. I will turn the vice handles next time I have my lathe set up.

The top is made from reclaimed hardwood pallet lumber (mostly oak). These rough 3×3 timbers were used to stack truck frames and were obtained from a Ford plant were my late uncle worked. They were originally about 6 feet long and were cut into 18” lengths for firewood. There were in my father’s firewood pile for about 20 years. (Good thing he does not use his fireplace very often). They cleaned up nicely to about 2×2 and were joined together to make the top.

The remainder of this wood will not be going into the firepalce. However I have to finish up a few more projects before my wife will let me bring any more wood home.

I couldn’t bear to part with the workmate so I made a new top for it as well.

-- Peter, Woodbridge, Ontario

18 comments so far

View Tycho998's profile


11 posts in 3624 days

#1 posted 10-23-2011 03:39 AM

That’s some nice looking wood. Nice top for an old workmate.

-- Wayne, Ottawa, Ont

View Woodbutcher3's profile


462 posts in 3940 days

#2 posted 10-23-2011 03:45 AM

That’s a great Idea. Here I thought I needed a full size bench. You just cut my labor and cost in half!

Say, did you do anything different or new in fitting the new top on the B&D Workmate? I’ve had mine since 1977. It REALLY needs a new top!

-- Rod ~ There's never enough time to finish a project, but there's always time to start another one.

View Woodbridge's profile


3746 posts in 3471 days

#3 posted 10-23-2011 04:06 AM

I had no choice on the size of the workbench top. It could not be any wider than 34 inches otherwise it would not fit up against the wall between my other cabinets. Its also at the same hieght as my table saw, so it can do duty as an outfeed table.

I’ve had my workmate since 1980. I used the old workmate top as the template for the new top. The new top is a bit thicker. I did make new blocks to attach the top to the workmate. These are made out of oak. The plastic ones that orignally came with the workmate broke and had to be replaced.

-- Peter, Woodbridge, Ontario

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

26060 posts in 4158 days

#4 posted 10-23-2011 04:37 AM

That is one nice workbench top and with 2 vices!!

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

View Vince's profile


1288 posts in 4482 days

#5 posted 10-23-2011 08:00 AM

Nice work, and a great idea on the workmate…I’ll have to do mine.

-- Vince

View Bob A in NJ's profile

Bob A in NJ

1346 posts in 5052 days

#6 posted 10-23-2011 12:26 PM

Great design, excellent source and use of reclaimed wood. Wonderful idea on workmake top. You make great projects and (a huge mess with your glue). :-)

-- Bob A in NJ

View StumpyNubs's profile


7851 posts in 3853 days

#7 posted 10-23-2011 01:28 PM

Is the reason you are not in any of these photos because you are a “little person”- ‘cause that would explain the little bench… :)

(You can say anything you want as long as you put a smiley face after it- those are the rules of the internet and I love them)

-- Subscribe to "Stumpy Nubs Woodworking Journal"- One of the crafts' most unique publications:

View ShopTinker's profile


884 posts in 3821 days

#8 posted 10-23-2011 02:17 PM

Nice job on the new top. I’ve been thinking about making one of these. I really like the new top on your Workmate. My workmate could use a new top too, but I probably won’t. My son cut an outside corner off of mine years ago. He was about 15 at the time. When I see it I remember the expression on his face when he told me what he had done, and that makes me smile!

-- Dan - Valparaiso, Indiana, "A smart man changes his mind, a fool never does."

View MasterSergeant's profile


1441 posts in 3741 days

#9 posted 10-23-2011 02:27 PM

Necessary is the mother of INVENTION! Great idea, great execution.

-- Kelly, woodworker under construction

View workerinwood's profile


2717 posts in 4120 days

#10 posted 10-23-2011 04:18 PM

Like it, great job!!

-- Jack, Albuquerque

View canadianchips's profile


2632 posts in 4050 days

#11 posted 10-23-2011 04:22 PM

Great looking work top. You will get many hours use from that one.
Especially nice to see you used reclaimed materials.

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

View jaykaypur's profile


4017 posts in 3461 days

#12 posted 10-23-2011 04:32 PM

That is one sturdy work bench. I love it!

Looks like it would survive a bomb blast!

-- Use it up, Wear it out --------------- Make it do, Or do without!

View RandyMarine's profile


236 posts in 4422 days

#13 posted 10-24-2011 09:12 PM

Adapt, overcome, improvise….OOHH RAH!

-- Semper Fi, Randy Sr.

View Roman - THE BOOTMAN's profile


1065 posts in 3739 days

#14 posted 10-27-2011 11:30 PM

This is why I like LJ’s. There are guys like you that make good and useful things! Great work.

-- Author of POWER CARVING BOOTS & SHOES - Schiffer Publishing. Available online or your favourite bookstore.

View Duke6528's profile


7 posts in 3165 days

#15 posted 08-13-2012 04:59 PM

Great idea!

showing 1 through 15 of 18 comments

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