Work bench recommendation needed

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Forum topic by Pyro posted 12-30-2017 01:42 PM 2424 views 1 time favorited 17 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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90 posts in 971 days

12-30-2017 01:42 PM

Hey guys,

I want to build a rolling work bench and I’m not sure what to build. Budget and time friendly would be nice. Here’s the relevant info:

Bench will be used for a bit of everything. I’m mostly working with power tools at this point. I don’t expect this bench to be the perfect thing for hand planing etc. I feel like I can cross that bridge when I come to it and continue to use whatever I make now as a dedicated assembly bench or something.

I will be putting casters on it. If anyone can recommend ones they like, please do. Nice ones look expensive but I guess you can’t do everything cheap.

As a beginner, I’m looking for a plan that will help me build good habits in terms of structurally strong framing.

Would be nice to be able to easily replace the surface every so often if need be.

Not sure whether overlap would be a good idea or not? Thought about it a lot but I can’t decide.

I have an old vise for the bench. Just thought it was relevant.

Thanks guys!

17 replies so far

View John Smith's profile

John Smith

2526 posts in 973 days

#1 posted 12-30-2017 01:53 PM

I would suggest Pinterest – great examples with photos and drawings.[]=workbench%7Ctyped

-- there is no educational alternative to having a front row seat in the School of Hard Knocks. --

View John Smith's profile

John Smith

2526 posts in 973 days

#2 posted 12-30-2017 05:01 PM

as for the castors – I normally use the 3 to 6” steel body wheel with urethane tire from the Big Box Store.
two that swivel and lock and two that are fixed. each of the castors has the weight limit
that one wheel will support safely. also the larger the wheel, the easier it is for it to roll over things
like wood chips, rocks, nails, screws, etc. small castors have a hard time with obstacles on the floor.
after that, it is a judgement call on your part as to the size and capacity of the castors.
and like you said – the good ones are not cheap.


-- there is no educational alternative to having a front row seat in the School of Hard Knocks. --

View JBrow's profile


1368 posts in 1730 days

#3 posted 12-30-2017 07:53 PM


Heavy duty swivel double locking castors on all four corners would provide maximum mobility and do a good job of keeping the bench in place. A load rating of 300 pounds per castor would allow the work bench to support 1200 pounds without castor failure. The weight of the bench, below the bench storage, and a stack of lumber on the bench could approach this limit.

On the other hand, my workbench has 4 inexpensive 3” swivel single locking castors, which in 30 years I replaced once. The workbench requires some (but not a lot) effort to move so I rarely lock the castors. When I move the bench it feels as if the cheap wheels developed a flat spot. If it were equipped with better quality castors I would probably have to lock all four to keep from chasing the workbench around the shop.

As I am sure you have discovered, there is an overwhelming amount of information regarding workbench design and construction. The Woodsmith Shop tv show tackled workbench design and construction in Season 6, Episode 601. They built two different workbenches, one of which they called a Shaker Style Workbench and the other a Weekend Workbench. The Shaker Style Workbench offers nice features but seems more complex and expensive to build than the Weekend Workbench. It may be worthwhile to view the free preview, which will provides a brief peak into the features and construction methods for the two benches. Unfortunately if you want to view the entire episode, it will cost $3. If you like either design, I am sure they will sell you the plans.

Additionally Christopher Schwartz, Popular Woodworking, offers his top 10 mistakes he believes people make when designing and building workbenches. It may help a little in your effort.

View Pyro's profile


90 posts in 971 days

#4 posted 12-31-2017 01:36 AM

Thanks guys this gives me a lot to work with.

I have this vise I salvaged from my parents garage. Can you guys tell me what you think the best way to mount it will be? Thanks

View JBrow's profile


1368 posts in 1730 days

#5 posted 12-31-2017 02:12 AM


If you think you will use the vice frequently, then mounting it directly to the workbench would be one option. Either lag screws or through bolts (depending on the material used to construction the workbench top) would make the vice secure. Picking the perfect spot to permanently mount the vice on the workbench would require some thought and would depend largely on how you plan to use the vice and what other activities the workbench would support. A good spot is one where the vice is handy but rarely in the way. If you discover that the vice is mounted in the wrong place, it could always be moved to better spot on the workbench.

If, however, the vice will only get occasional use, then mounting the vice to separate plate (a single or double layer of the ¾” plywood) with lag screws would make the vice mobile. The plate to which the vice is attached could be clamped to the workbench when needed; otherwise it can be stored off the workbench top. However, that vice looks heavy, so I am not sure how practical this idea is.

If you wish to keep the surface of workbench clear but still want the vice handy, building a small table where the vice would be permanently mounted would a third option.

View sawdustdad's profile


379 posts in 1695 days

#6 posted 12-31-2017 03:52 AM

Workbench and mobile seem to be mutually exclusive concepts. Last thing I want is my workbench moving while I’m working. No set of locking casters will secure it adequately to do more than very casual work. Like building bird houses.

OK, hyperbole aside, build a set of swing out casters so the workbench sits on its own feet but allows you to pivot casters into place so you can move it when you need to. They make some casters with levers that actuate them, but they have limited capacity.

-- Murphy's Carpentry Corollary #3: Half of all boards cut to a specific length will be too short.

View alittleoff's profile


548 posts in 2086 days

#7 posted 12-31-2017 07:23 PM

I built my table from 2×8 yellow pine. The top is about 4 1/2 ”. After I did the glue up I leveled the top with a router. The casters came from Woodcraft on sale for about 60.00 I believe. The ones i bought allow you to lift the table and move it, then lower it back to its own legs so it won move. Im sure i exceeded the weight limit on them, but they have worked great for some time now. Ater finishing it, I used BLO and later I put a coat of minwax satin on the top to keep it from soaking up liquids I might spill. Turned out pretty good, it’s heavy. I was going to post a picture but it’s about 20 degrees and I didn’t want to walk to the shop right now.

View LesB's profile


2576 posts in 4253 days

#8 posted 01-01-2018 06:18 PM

A few years ago I designed a rolling work bench with a top that has an adjustable height. I have a minor back problem and bending over for long periods agrivates it so I wanted a work bench I could raise up when needed. It has worked quite well. Here is a quick view of the drawing. If you are interested PM me for more drawings and details.
The only thing I did not work out but haven’t really needed is a quick way to adjust the height. A couple of inexpensive hydraulic bottle jacks would probably work.

-- Les B, Oregon

View skyguy's profile


3 posts in 3094 days

#9 posted 01-01-2018 07:46 PM

I built this workbench from “Woodworking for Mere Mortals”. It was a very easy build.

It is a good, solid, heavy bench. I added hinged folding casters so that the bench sits normally on its own legs, but with a little effort, the casters can be deployed.

Sorry, but it’s too cold here in Detroit to go out to the shop and take a picture.


View MrRon's profile


5925 posts in 4053 days

#10 posted 01-01-2018 10:06 PM

The one thing I would touch upon is the use of casters. The larger they are, the better for 2 reasons. First, large casters roll more easily over a rough floor and over debris and second, it is easier to set the brakes on large casters. Small casters, <4>s mobile position; the caster is attached to a post that is inside a hollow leg and rises inside the leg upon elevating. no brakes needed.

View Woodknack's profile


13442 posts in 3190 days

#11 posted 01-02-2018 12:38 AM

View Pyro's profile


90 posts in 971 days

#12 posted 01-04-2018 02:40 AM

Collectively you guys told me everything I needed to know! Thank you!

View Pyro's profile


90 posts in 971 days

#13 posted 01-04-2018 02:40 AM

duplicate post

View rbrjr1's profile


208 posts in 1016 days

#14 posted 01-04-2018 03:17 PM

+1 on the double locking casters on all 4 corners.

-- only an idiot dismisses an intelligent statement because they dont know anything about the person delivering it.

View John_'s profile


251 posts in 2516 days

#15 posted 01-04-2018 04:42 PM

Experimental Aircraft Association Standardized Work Table made from 2×4’s and use the top of your choice.

The frame uses about 15 2×4/s (you can actually make two tables depending on the size) Extremely sturdy and I would suggest using the Powertec casters from Amazon and are a lot cheaper than Woodcraft. (Locking casters are nice, but nothing is as sturdy as the four legs sitting on the ground which is what these casters do)

Here is one put together with the parts of a second table stacked on top

These casters are well worth the money

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