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Project by Chris Campbell posted 04-14-2012 12:38 PM 2977 views 2 times favorited 15 comments Add to Favorites Watch

If you see the before picture of my workshop, you will understand that this is a vast improvement over what was there before.

However, having read about other workbenches, I see a lot of changes I would make/will make in future workbenches.

So, it’s not fancy, and definitely not pretty, but serviceable, and, quite frankly, too darn heavy to move out now.

The legs are 4×4 posts, most of the rest of the framing is 2×4s (cleaning up the edges of the 2×4s is one of the things I’d do differently).

The top has a sub-base of 2×6s, with 3/4 inch plywood over that.

It’s pretty much all bolted together with lag screws.

The bench vise is from Rockler. Pretty happy with it so far.

What would I do differently?
  • make it a little bit shorter
  • clean up the edges of the framing for better fit
  • bury the vise in the tabletop
  • make sure the dog hole next to the vise isn’t right over the vise screw (can’t believe I missed that one!)
  • chamfer the edges of the top before installing the vise

But, overall, I’m OK with it – it’s early days yet; and, again, all made with just a jigsaw, circular saw, cordless drill and hand tools.

Finally – some constructive criticism would be most welcome – it will help me on the next one to not be this guy:

(To self): “Well, there it is. Looks pretty darn good!”
examines it a little more closely
“Man, why did I do that! That was dumb! Well, to much trouble to fix now”

-- Chris, Minneapolis

15 comments so far

View ed220's profile


626 posts in 4448 days

#1 posted 04-14-2012 01:15 PM

Nice looking workbench.. real sturdy.

View doncutlip's profile


2832 posts in 4611 days

#2 posted 04-14-2012 01:35 PM

Nicely done

-- Don, Royersford, PA

View rmoore's profile


329 posts in 3690 days

#3 posted 04-14-2012 01:40 PM

Looks like a nice start to a great bench. Love how you notched out the top to fit between the studs. I would suggest putting doors on the front and maybe some drawers, too.

-- The more I learn, the more I realize I don't know. Ron, Crossville Tn

View lizardhead's profile


653 posts in 3897 days

#4 posted 04-14-2012 02:11 PM

Don’t think I’ve ever seen a carpeted Shop

-- Good, Better, Best--Never let it rest---Always make your Good be Better & your Better Best

View Chris Campbell's profile

Chris Campbell

27 posts in 3295 days

#5 posted 04-14-2012 02:14 PM

The rug is one I had in my CHU when I was in Iraq in 2009. There’s actually less dust in the workshop than there was over there!

-- Chris, Minneapolis

View steliart's profile


2895 posts in 3744 days

#6 posted 04-14-2012 02:24 PM

What ever works for you is the way to go. Well done

-- Stelios L.A. Stavrinides: - I am not so rich to buy cheap tools, but... necessity is the mother of inventions !!!

View JJohnston's profile


1622 posts in 4347 days

#7 posted 04-14-2012 02:25 PM

Give yourself some toe space (suck in the edges of the lower shelf)?

-- "A man may conduct himself well in both adversity and good fortune, but if you want to test his character, give him power." - Abraham Lincoln

View rmac's profile


236 posts in 4116 days

#8 posted 04-14-2012 03:01 PM

For the next one:

1. Maybe let the top hang over the base a little more next time so you can easily clamp things to the top. (It’s hard to tell from the pictures how much you have done this already.)

2. Replace those shelves with drawers.


-- My table saw laughs at hot dogs.

View SignWave's profile


472 posts in 4091 days

#9 posted 04-14-2012 04:01 PM

I see a generously sized working surface that looks very sturdy and should function well for a variety of tasks. Plus, it has lots of convenient storage. I say “put it to work” and tweak it if you need to, but don’t fret over comparisons to other benches.

My first ‘bench’ was less sturdy than this one, but still allowed me to work on a variety of tasks. I have since built a newer ‘bench’ that includes fixes for things that bothered me about the old one. Coincidentally, I have that same vice, which I got on sale at Rockler, and it works well for me. I also put the dog holes right over the screw, but the bench top is shallow (~2.5”), so shorter dogs do just as well as longer ones, but don’t interfere with the screw.

I dismantled the old ‘bench’ and am using the 2×4’s for another shop project.

The exposed romex does concern me, though. I’d look for something to protect it, since it is now part of the work space.

-- Barry,

View eddie's profile


8565 posts in 3669 days

#10 posted 04-15-2012 04:32 AM

looks solid to me .a vice is a must and to have a close power supply is handy with tools the cords are always to short i lke it well done.

-- Jesus Is Alright with me

View AJ9's profile


17 posts in 3563 days

#11 posted 04-15-2012 03:51 PM

if the height is still a concern, you could make a simple platform (2×4s and plywood) and have some toe room also.

looks good.

View Chris Campbell's profile

Chris Campbell

27 posts in 3295 days

#12 posted 04-15-2012 10:14 PM

I have subsequently covered up the exposed wiring on the benchtop. I saw myself carelessly swining a part or tool in that direction and yanking it out – one of those moments where I was actually thinking ahead.

-- Chris, Minneapolis

View ChrisMc45's profile


117 posts in 3915 days

#13 posted 04-16-2012 02:46 AM

Looks solid to me, at least the top is very thick, good for pounding and chiseling. My original bench was also 4×4 legs, but I foolishly used screws not lag-bolts and it wobbled a lot under long-way stress (planing, etc). I eventually had to put in a triangulation board from top left to bottom right. If yours does not wrack or sway, you are golden.

If you want a vise for the length of the bench, and if legs too far from edge for a leg-vise, perhaps a wagon vise? Supposed to be retro-fittable into existing bench tops.

View exelectrician's profile


2339 posts in 3483 days

#14 posted 06-06-2012 12:51 AM

I would loose the bottom shelf and put all thread bolted through strechers both ways – you asked ! Good job on protecting yourself from unwanted sparks flying out of the romex.

-- Love thy neighbour as thyself

View Chris Campbell's profile

Chris Campbell

27 posts in 3295 days

#15 posted 07-22-2012 02:36 AM


I have seen (since I have built the bench) many designs in the woodworking press that use that very technique. It does look like a good one. Thanks

-- Chris, Minneapolis

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