Form follows function ... My new Fun Bench

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Project by Bob A in NJ posted 04-03-2008 06:44 PM 7064 views 36 times favorited 19 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I prefer to call this a Funbench vs Workbench since woodworking is such a great way to relax.

I started by looking at other benches and using features and options I could use.

It took awhile to design this for my needs.

So, what if? ..... you need a bench that:

Is inexpensive
Is heavy duty
Has some features of the Fine Woodworking “new fangled workbench” (edge clamp) & (end pony clamps)
All pipes must be easily removable, especially the 3/4” clamps on the end as to afford more walk-around space.
Has wheels so easily moved around a small garage shop
Has drawers for extra tools incorporating full extension slides for maximum access
Has a sacraficial top with several hold down options for carving and dovetailing.
Can support a Craftsman vise
Can be used as a outfeed table for my tablesaw.

Well, here it is.

Legs are made with fir 4×4’s, joined with 1 1/2 dowels and lag bolts. Tool box is made from 3/4” plywood and solid oak front to match my lathe table. Work top is 2 laminated pcs of 3/4” x 2’ x 4’ plywood with an additional 1/2” piece. Top is wrapped with solid walnut and oak trim and a large dovetail. Pony clamps and front side stop for edging removes quickly when not being used. Sanding sealer and laquer finish gives protection and a nice shine.

Cost about $300.00 not including the vise I’ve had for years. Took about 25 hours to build.

This is the project I broke my arm on, check my blog for details. Other than the arm thing, this was fun to build and meets all my design criteria.

-- Bob A in NJ

19 comments so far

View Blake's profile


3443 posts in 5216 days

#1 posted 04-03-2008 06:53 PM

This is an awesome design! Great incorporation of all the features you needed. You will have fun with this.

-- Happy woodworking!

View TomFran's profile


2964 posts in 5336 days

#2 posted 04-03-2008 07:02 PM

This is great! That’s the way to design a bench (and have fun doing it).

-- Tom, Surfside Beach, SC - Romans 8:28

View Thuan's profile


203 posts in 5159 days

#3 posted 04-03-2008 07:02 PM

It has so many features, I thought I was watching an infomercial. Makes me want to call the 800 number and order one.

-- Thuan

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27249 posts in 5163 days

#4 posted 04-03-2008 07:38 PM


Obviously this bench has already caused you enough pain. If you want I will drive up there and take it off your hands. After all you are proof that it is dangerous to be around this thing so I think it is best that you simply get rid of it. :)

Seriously this is a nice bench and it shows that a great deal of craftsmanship and thought went into its design and construction.

Thanks for the post.

By the way I assume that the surgery went well since you are on-line. But it must be a little difficult typing with one hand.

I hope your pt goes well and may God bless.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View Patrick Jaromin's profile

Patrick Jaromin

413 posts in 5174 days

#5 posted 04-03-2008 08:00 PM

Nice bench! I’m thinking I’d like a compact/mobile bench that I can tuck away under an open countertop…and may just “borrow” some ideas from this!

Hope you heal quickly.

-- Patrick, Chicago, IL

View Ad Marketing Guy - Bill's profile

Ad Marketing Guy - Bill

314 posts in 5140 days

#6 posted 04-03-2008 08:32 PM

FANtastsic project – the design & detail are great – and to think you made in for 300$ – now that is being ingenious! Great job!

-- Bill - - Ad-Marketing Guy, Ramsey NJ

View Bob A in NJ's profile

Bob A in NJ

1369 posts in 5340 days

#7 posted 04-03-2008 08:42 PM

Hi, thanks for all the kind words. As for the top being made of plywood and the holes getting loose after time , I did think about this> It was between a 2×3” top or other wood or thw low cost plywood version> i decided since I’m just a weekend warrior vs full time< I’d go with the low cost opion for now. i could always switch it later, but of course, I’ll make sure I have help.

The brass handles on he drawers are not on yet, but they will match the lathe table handles.
This part only took 5 minutes to make and easily replaceable.

As for the side stop on the left front, it’s just a scrap piece of 2×4 with two pegs glued in that go into the two holes. again, it will get infrequent use but very handy when you need it.

The surgery went well, was in and out in 4 hours. the next two weeks is down time in a splint. Yes, typing with one hand is no fun.

-- Bob A in NJ

View MichaelW's profile


30 posts in 5089 days

#8 posted 04-03-2008 09:23 PM


I admire your creative innovations on the design of the bench. I just starting to build one of my own now and it is great to see some alternative visions.

Best wishes on a speedy and complete recovery.

-- Michael, Seattle, WA

View jcees's profile


1079 posts in 5140 days

#9 posted 04-04-2008 03:56 AM

I love it! Great job. Useful as well as FUN!


-- When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world. -- John Muir

View GaryK's profile


10262 posts in 5330 days

#10 posted 04-04-2008 08:14 AM

That’s a great bench! Looks very useful.

-- Gary - Never pass up the opportunity to make a mistake look like you planned it that way - Tyler, TX

View rikkor's profile


11295 posts in 5216 days

#11 posted 04-04-2008 10:20 AM

That is definitely a winner.

View Lee A. Jesberger's profile

Lee A. Jesberger

6879 posts in 5321 days

#12 posted 04-04-2008 03:59 PM

Hi Bob;

I’m kind of surprised you’re still calling it a fun bench after what you did to your arm!

It’s a great bench other than the physical risks involved!

Hope you’re healing well!


-- by Lee A. Jesberger

View Kevin Violette's profile

Kevin Violette

235 posts in 5205 days

#13 posted 04-04-2008 03:59 PM

This bench is genious! It would work quite nicely in any small shop!

-- Kevin

View Hal Fitch's profile

Hal Fitch

7 posts in 5088 days

#14 posted 04-04-2008 10:11 PM

can you describe how the end on the right works. I see the 2 pipe clamps, but exactly how do you use them. Very nice old vice you had laying around to add to it. I can’t wait to start on mine, but I keep getting new ideas. Thanks, Hal

-- dofitch

View Bob A in NJ's profile

Bob A in NJ

1369 posts in 5340 days

#15 posted 04-04-2008 11:31 PM

Hal, good question. A piece if wood, yet to be made, fits into the pipe clamps which will be slightly higher than the bench top if I want to use the table top bench dogs. It can also be used to hold a piece of wood or a drawer to the side of the bench. Bob

-- Bob A in NJ

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