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View SweatyTeddy's profile

Work bench

by SweatyTeddy
posted 10-22-2018 01:43 AM

26 replies so far

View TravisH's profile


733 posts in 2812 days

#1 posted 10-22-2018 02:29 AM

Pocket friendly all depends on you. Some spend a lot on building a bench but you can easily build a better quality bench cheaper than what you are going to get for similar money new.

I used 4×4 and 2×4 for the base (reused from my daughters loft bed). Then 2 oak butcher block tops screwed together. I used a 20 dollar press screw to make my tail vise and then a 35 dollar shoulder vise screw. Then plywood drawers beneath.

Not the prettiest but wasn’t intended to be.

View Aj2's profile


3405 posts in 2675 days

#2 posted 10-22-2018 03:11 AM

I bought my top and built the base.
All hard maple

-- Aj

View Rick  Dennington's profile

Rick Dennington

7006 posts in 4071 days

#3 posted 10-22-2018 03:30 AM

For me it was a no brainer…..I would have liked to have had a high $$ bench made of Beech or Maple, but I decided to build my own…In fact I’ve built 4 benches…..The frames were made of Douglas fir, and different types of woods for the tops….My main work bench is made of Douglas fir, has a 4” laminated top, is 101” long, 42” wide and is 42” high…..I like my benches high, as I have a very bad back, and I don’t like leaning over more than I have to…..You’ll get more pleasure out of building your own, learn from the experience, and you can say “I built this bench”.......My main bench I built about 12 years ago, and use it almost daily….Besides the table saw, the work bench is the main attraction of your shop…..!! I also built the cabinet under the bench with plenty of drawers and storage…..!! Two vices, and 2 power strips….one on each end…..!!

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

View CWWoodworking's profile


1085 posts in 1056 days

#4 posted 10-22-2018 04:12 AM

If you are in this to be a perfectionist, build it. If you are in it to make money, make/buy a system to work for you. I used Menards plastic corners with 2×4’s and plywood. I will produce A LOT of product this year. I not about precision, more about production.

View BlasterStumps's profile


1821 posts in 1316 days

#5 posted 10-22-2018 01:14 PM

Take a look at the bench in this publication. It is not all that difficult to build. Splayed legs make it quite stable.

-- "I build for function first, looks second. Most times I never get around to looks." MIke in CO

View JayT's profile


6413 posts in 3088 days

#6 posted 10-22-2018 01:31 PM

If you are doing woodworking as a hobby, build it. There are many reasons I say that.

  • It gives you a chance to practice a variety of woodworking skills on something that doesn’t have to be furniture grade.
  • It’s far less expensive. You can build a far more solid bench than you can buy, unless you spend quite a bit. Use whatever lumber you have available that is cheap, stable and relatively dry. My first real woodworking bench was built for less than $200, including vises, from construction lumber, some of which was reclaimed, and has served well.
  • You can build in features that fit how you work instead of adjusting your way of working fit the bench. There’s a big difference in how a bench should look for power tool focus versus hand tools. Make the best choices you can right now. Which leads us to . . .
  • If you are like most people, the first bench is just that, a first one. You state you don’t know what design you like. That’s OK, just build a bench that fits how you think you need it to function. As you use it and figure out what you do and don’t like about that bench, you’ll start to develop an idea of what your ideal bench would look and function like. Then you will be ready for a nicer one. I’m in the process of building my second bench. It will be taller, narrower and a bit shorter in length than the first one and have different work holding. Most importantly, it will far better fit how I work.

-- - In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice, there is.

View Tony1212's profile


453 posts in 2611 days

#7 posted 10-22-2018 01:37 PM

Extenuating circumstances aside, it’s easier on the pocket book to build your own. Most people have more time than money, so I usually choose to invest my time in something like this.

I could have built a Thein dust separator, but I had other pressing issues that took precedence. So I bought a cyclone dust collector instead. That’s one instance I chose to invest money rather than time.

BTW, extenuating circumstances might be something like you’re doing this as a business, so you’re actually losing money by spending time on your bench rather than client work, but that’s an ROI you’d have to determine yourself.

-- Tony, SW Chicago Suburbs

View MrRon's profile


5940 posts in 4120 days

#8 posted 10-22-2018 04:37 PM

It would seem to me that a hobby woodworker builds things from wood. If he buys it, then it’s not woodworking. I am and always have been about building everything that I can rather than buying something that is buildable without the need for specialized tools or machines. DIY to me means doing as much as possible yourself.
Some say they don’t have enough time to build a bench or jig. If that is the case, then they probably don’t have enough time to do woodworking at all. They should look for another activity.

View Mr_Pink's profile


196 posts in 1248 days

#9 posted 10-22-2018 09:34 PM

Like Travis, my bench is a mix. The top is two layers of hardwood butcher block glue and screwed together. (In my case, the best deal involved buying a 2’x12’ countertop from a local cabinet shop and cutting it in half.) The base is made of 4×4s, following Schwarz’s “two-day workbench”.

View bigJohninvegas's profile


804 posts in 2339 days

#10 posted 10-22-2018 11:56 PM

build your own, pocket friendly for sure. Big question is what are your needs? Take the time to figure this out.
Are you a hand tool woodworker? Or mostly power tools.
I really like the Rubio style benches. Lie Nielsen benches are very nice, but the cost does not work for me.
So after a year of planing to build my own from Fir. I realized that a Rubio style bench simply was not going to work for me. We all have different needs. For me, my bench had to be a work bench, assembly table and outfeed table for my table saw.
So in the end, I loosely copied a bench that I liked using at a woodworking school here in my home town.
Two 5’X5’ sheets of 3/4” baltic birch ply for the top. A 4’X8’ sheet 1’ ply for apron and stretchers. and I had a bunch of poplar from a project that I never got around to building that I used for the legs. So with my vise, I am into it for about $300. And it is a rock.
Take your time to figure out what works for you.

-- John

View jonah's profile


2129 posts in 4175 days

#11 posted 10-23-2018 01:17 AM

There’s nothing wrong with buying a workbench, but there’s also a lot of good arguments for building your own. For one thing, it’s good practice. For another, you get exactly the size and features you want. The third factor is price: building your own will cost a lot less.

I built my bench, and I’m glad I did. It’s not a “forever” bench, and I can see replacing it someday when I have the time and money to build something out of maple or beech, but for now, it does the job superbly.

View TheFridge's profile


10861 posts in 2363 days

#12 posted 10-23-2018 01:24 AM

I used 100+ offcuts from a local cabinet shop for a 48”x20” top. Labor of love doesn’t cover it but I would do it again if I had the chance. Learned a lot from that build. I had to buy a gallon of glue and the acme screw and nuts for the vise.

-- Shooting down the walls of heartache. Bang bang. I am. The warrior.

View Eric's profile


526 posts in 750 days

#13 posted 10-23-2018 01:28 AM

I would build it over buying. Worth the money spent and time to build one. And yes build it to meet your needed and style. And with building it, you can make it sturdy using construction materials.

Good luck

-- Eric, building the dream

View BattleRidge's profile


150 posts in 1093 days

#14 posted 10-23-2018 02:36 AM

I had specific wants and needs for my combination workbench, assembly table, outfeed area and thus built it myself. Also, given the size (4’ x 8’ x table saw height) and the construction (2” x 6” framing with a top of two 3/4” layers of plywood with a hardboard work surface), I designed it to be stationary and a solid work area (it doesn’t budge while in use). I’d hate to see the shipping charges to transport it.

Mine is still a work in progress with more additions to come as the funding allows – a vice or two, drawers, etc.

I had considered a variety of other designs but have been more than happy with what I have. My work area is assembled with screws to allow for modification or disassembly if ever needed, but since putting it to use, I see no reason to ever do so. I did use a brad nailer to fasten the oak trim around the edges to keep the hardboard top in place (the hardboard is also affixed with double sided tape to allow for future replacement should it become damaged or worn).

-- ~Art~

View CL810's profile


4063 posts in 3865 days

#15 posted 10-23-2018 03:08 AM

+10 to Jayt’s comments. Looking for a bench style? Read this thread.

-- "The only limits to our realization of tomorrow will be our doubts of today." - FDR

View Sylvain's profile


1080 posts in 3376 days

#16 posted 10-23-2018 01:02 PM

Agree with JayT comments.

I made mine (Paul Sellers type) from recycled lumber. I had very little experience.
It is not difficult to make. One only needs basic hand tools to do it.
Paul Sellers has excellent free videos.

A workbench doesn’t need to look very nice.
Look at this one (one afternoon workbench)
More importantly, see what his very productive owner is able to do with this basic bench.
What you do, once you have a workbench, is more important than the workbench.

If you need a workbench which can be quickly knocked up/down the Moravian workbench is to be considered.

-- Sylvain, Brussels, Belgium, Europe - The more I learn, the more there is to learn

View bondogaposis's profile


5870 posts in 3228 days

#17 posted 10-23-2018 01:19 PM

Build your own, way cheaper and rewarding too. You will need to pick a design and acquire the hardware.
I highly recommend that you design your bench around the vises that you decide on. It is much easier to do it that way than than to build a bench and then try to fit he vises later.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View Robert's profile


4029 posts in 2358 days

#18 posted 10-23-2018 02:05 PM

What bondo and JayT said.

If you are unsure what you want to do right now, I would suggest using plywood and/or MDF. Build a nice stout base of 4×4’s. Mount a face and end vise, drill some dog holes and start using it. You may want to add some T tracks, storage, etc.

Once you get down the road a bit and decide on your “ultimate” bench, this one can always become an assembly or outfeed table if you have the room.

-- Everything is a prototype thats why its one of a kind!!

View waho6o9's profile


8946 posts in 3454 days

#19 posted 10-23-2018 02:17 PM

From the Moravian workbench link, thank you.

View SMP's profile


2629 posts in 782 days

#20 posted 10-23-2018 02:47 PM

What are some of the designs you like? And what is your skill level? And what tools/workspace do you have now? I am trying to learn hand tool skills and traditional joinery, so I purchased a video series that is showing me how to build a great bench inexpensively while learning and practicing all these hand tool techniques.

View rustynails's profile


898 posts in 3406 days

#21 posted 10-23-2018 04:45 PM

View WoodenDreams's profile


1155 posts in 788 days

#22 posted 10-23-2018 04:48 PM

I don’t consider making your own workbench a huge project. Quite a few workers made some really nice benches to fit their needs. Figuring cost factor, and building it to your needs. Mines quite functional 4×4 legs, 2×4 framing, lower shelf storage for 3’ to 4’boards, 4’x4’ premium MDF table top, with three Grizzly H7788 vises. I figure when my table top gets too beat up, I’ll just unscrew the top turn it over and use the other side or added another MDF top. My total cost was $350 and two days off my time. You will be doing wood projects much more difficult than a workbench. I helped a friend build his workbench last summer, 2’x12’ attached to the wall studs on one wall & no legs, he wanted a plywood table top, total cost $60.

View LittleShaver's profile


695 posts in 1496 days

#23 posted 10-23-2018 05:43 PM

There are zillions of ways to build a bench. My first was using purchased metal legs and an old door for the top. The next was 2×4 frame and a double layer of 3/4 plywood for the top. After that, I used old kitchen lowers with a resin top. I inherited a metal based bench with a hardboard top (came with an Emmert Vise) that I still have. I needed a quick assembly table so i built a 2×4 frame and topped it with a hollow core door. Worked so well, I added a second one. I got plans and made the Apartment work bench from Lee Valley. Now I’m building a Moravian bench out of reclaimed lumber.
Each time we re-locate, it’s time for a new bench. I’m thinking the next move will involve taking the Emmert Bench, the Apartment bench and the Moravian.
My point is that no bench is forever. Needs change, work habits evolve, locations change, budgets change, and stiff happens. Just make something that works for now, you can always change later.

-- Sawdust Maker

View SweatyTeddy's profile


50 posts in 1662 days

#24 posted 10-27-2018 04:51 PM

Thank y’all for the advice. I now have a rough idea of what I need to incorporate into my bench/out feed table. Plus a reagangement of my shop is in order.

-- I'd be done by now if I knew what I was doing! - said by no man ever with a woman present

View PropmakerLA's profile


15 posts in 887 days

#25 posted 10-28-2018 07:48 PM

I bought the two that I have for my home shop from Craigs List. They are both 4×8 welded metal frames one is on wheels one is stationary. One has a 1in MDF top the other is 3/4 melamine. For what I wanted it was cheaper to buy them, frames are solid and will last forever. When the tops get trashed I can just unscrew them and replace.

View fuigb's profile


583 posts in 3834 days

#26 posted 10-28-2018 11:59 PM

Build your bench. If your experience as a woodworker is typical then most of what you create is for other people. Benches are one of only a few things that were made by me with me in mind as the user/”customer.” Very pleased to have made these for myself.

-- - Crud. Go tell your mother that I need a Band-aid.

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