Simple Workbench

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Project by April Wilkerson posted 02-02-2014 05:38 PM 6202 views 3 times favorited 5 comments Add to Favorites Watch

My husband asked me to make him a simple workbench for his shop. (His shop is set up for a mechanic and mine is set up for wood.) I was more than happy to whittle him up something and this is what he ended up with.

It’s 2’ deep, 6’ long, and just slightly over 3’ tall so he can stand and work on it as well as sit and work. I left 1 1/2” hangover on all sides so he can also utilize clamps when he needs to.

I used my Kreg pocket jig to make most of the joints and also to attached both work surfaces so the screws are all hidden.

I have a detailed tutorial posted on the build here.

-- Wilkerson

5 comments so far

View Grumpymike's profile


2480 posts in 3290 days

#1 posted 02-02-2014 05:50 PM

Looks like a very sturdy bench for the mechanic. I like the fact that you thought about a clamping surface … two gold stars

-- Grumpy old guy, and lookin' good Doin' it. ... Surprise Az.

View Ross's profile


142 posts in 2947 days

#2 posted 02-02-2014 06:56 PM

Fine looking mechanics work bench. Looks pretty darned sturdy. I’m sure that your groom will get many years of use out of it.


-- "Man Plans and God Laughs"

View dbhost's profile


5777 posts in 4207 days

#3 posted 02-03-2014 06:37 PM

As a former professional mechanic, I can say that looks like a pretty good bench. I built a much rougher bench than that using just 2×4s and Simpson Strong tie connectors with screws. It was sturdy but downright ugly. I ended up giving it to a friend of mine. If you don’t mind I would like to give some thoughts on what I found lacking in my bench…

#1. No easy way to clamp things to the bench. You solved that with the lip. Good job! #2. Difficult to clean oil, gas, solvents, grease off of the wood top. I never solved it with mine before I gave it away, but my friend solved it. The top had gotten warped, so he and I replaced the top with a double layer 3/4” sheathing grade plywood top, He then cut, folded up, seam welded, and then isntalled a stainless steel cover for the top. It was attached with #10 1-1/4” wood screws every 6” along the perimeter.

I would be concerned with how strong the pocket screw joints are, but if the screws are strong enough, should be fine… But if he uses it like I did mine, it needs to be TOUGH.

Also I would want a machinists bench vise, and a bench grinder solidly mounted to the bench. Depending on his handedness, and preferences. I had my vise on the right, and grinder on the left, but a lot of lefties go the other way…

Mechanics / machinists vises differ radically from woodworking vises, you want something like THIS instead of a regular woodworking vise. And no they are not interchangeable…

Machinists bench vise. This is the one you want.

Woodworkers quick release vise. This is NOT the one you want.

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View April Wilkerson's profile

April Wilkerson

117 posts in 2553 days

#4 posted 02-03-2014 07:06 PM

Thanks for all the info Dbhost!

I actually sealed his bench with Thompson, not because I thought about it warping over time, but because of the look and smell of all that grease and oil getting soaked into the wood. I’m not sure how well it will hold up but I thought it was worth a try.

He actually has a Wilton bench vise already and a bench grinder with it’s own stand. Even though we are both young, we have both put a lot of effort into investing in good tools and building up our collections. He started his handiness, and therefore collecting tools, about 10 years ago so he actually has a nicely stocked garage full of things. : ) Which is awesome for me because he is very gracious about letting me borrow anything I need.

-- Wilkerson

View bobkberg's profile


440 posts in 4048 days

#5 posted 08-13-2014 12:53 AM

Nice Job! Adding my $0.02 worth from my original workbench which was built for mechanic stuff – before I discovered wood.

I sealed the top with 3 coats of spar varnish and waited 2 weeks to let it harden up.

-- Bob - A sideline, not how I earn a living

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