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1578 Views 7 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  JoshO
I am building an outfeed table for my table saw that is going to double as a workbench. I have some 3/4 birch ply that I a considering using on the project. As I am trying to come up with the best way to make it, I see two options, 1) jigsaw out rectangular holes for the drawers,(wasteful) or 2) rip the ply and use strips as regular boards to assemble the job.

The major problem I see with the second plan is joining. Is a mortise tenoning system effective on ply? Naturally a screw can't just be screwed into the edges and expect success. How would I join them say at right angles to each other?
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heres a Rock Solid Plywood Workbench from

since you haven't started construction yet- you can still consider solid wood though as well and keep it <$100 (including hardware)
Dowel construction is quickest and cheapest with man made boards or with a biscuit joiner (my perfered method). PurpLev is right, solid wood might be cheaper (dont know, havent seen your plan and do not know what costs how much where you live) 3/4 of an inch seems pretty massiv though, which is pretty good for a work bench.

my two cents, solid wood is what we use here for workbenches (hard wood at that usually beech). Outfeed tables usually need to be scratsch free and no dents or glue or what eve on them and the ones that I have seen are made usually out of a plywood (man made panel of some sort) laminated / veneered with some HPL. Is hard and slipperly, ideal for outfeed or infeed tables on what ever machines.
I live in the Midwest (USA) and humidity is always an issue. The ply was actually bought for another project at about $37 a sheet. However, since I don't actually have my shop set up yet, and my skills are rather limited at this point with wood (I have been a machinist for 13 years should count for something) I figured maybe I should tackle a smaller project that will teach me a few lessons and can afford to make mistakes before I get into the big project. Yes that ply is expensive, but it is also already bought.
I think it may be worth giving some thought to just using regular boards.

I just recently built my own outfeed table/workbench. Like you I was asking questions and looking around for the best and cheapest way to build it. I think i found just that too!

For the framing I used 1×4 pine and I used 3/4" MDF for the to and the shelf with two layers for the top to make it stronger and heavier.

I did go out and buy three sheets of 3/4" Birch Ply that was thinking of using at first. but that stuff is so expensive that using MDF and pine was a heck of alot cheaper.

As for joining the pieces together I used pockethole screws with my new Kreg Pockethole System which was probably one of my best investments when it comes to woodworking tools. This thing is great and makes joinging wood a simple task compared to what I used to be for me. Also, if you use pockethols screws nearly all of your screws are hidden.

I definately don't regret using the pine and MDF over the 3/4" ply. It was great decision.

You can check out my table a little better in my blog . When you get there scroll down to "labels" on the right side and click on "workbench/outfeed table" to go to only those posts. Feel free to check out my other things while your there. Also, if you have any questions feel free to ask.
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Since I had already bought the materials, and my wife cut me off on more funds for this pay period, I decided to use the birch ply -
I agree it was terribly expensive, but money already spent is cheaper than money not yet spent.
So far it is a learning experience for me, and the project has been forgiving. but I am moving on forward with this one.

I am hopeful that the bench will turn out well and last for some time. That will offset the cost.
I agree with waldschrat. An outfeed table is not a good double as a workbench. If our worked about space, consider a folddown out feed table and a smaller, but seperate, workbench. glue, wax, and other debris build up will effect your outfeed of your workpieces and ultimately effect your work.

I've never tried mortise and tenon joints on plywood. my workbench base is made out of plywood with torsion box top, skined with mdf on the top that I can replace after awhile of used and abuse (which currently needs replace, but I keep telling my self I'll get around to that tommorrow)

seeing you have the ply, use it, make do with what you have. I secured by base and torsion bax with brads, finish nails and screws….. remember it not a peice of fine furnature. It s a work bench….. first and foremost its a matter of functionality, rather than looks.

my assembly table will not win an award, but it is functional for my needs. and that what I need when I built it. if you use the outfeed table as a work bench. I would recomend throwing mdf or ply over the outfeed table and your table saw, so you dont damage either….. especailly your table saw

I hope you make it work the best you can
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What I was thinking about doing was using the ply as the main structure, and doing a torsion box for the table top. The table top was going to have a piece of 1/8 hardboard shiny side up and replaceable. Given the weight, using some knockdown casters for portability but generally leaving it on one spot.
I don't have my shop set up yet, and have no clue how it is going to turn out. The dual workbench/outfeed table might be a very short lived idea in favor of the folding outfeed table. But for now, it might work.

Long story short- I need shop tools and furniture to make the tools and furniture for my shop. This table is more or less a practice run.
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