Workbench, my first attempt.

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Forum topic by 4Doose posted 03-17-2011 07:03 AM 1420 views 0 times favorited 9 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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8 posts in 3140 days

03-17-2011 07:03 AM

Topic tags/keywords: workbench design plans sketchup 3d model

New member, first post, first project, and I am sure, first mistakes. But hey, gotta learn somehow :)

Oh sure it would be easy, and probably wise, to use a tried and true design for my first bench but Im just not that guy. Ive been a metal fabricator for 20+ years and am taking my first steps into the world of wood, something I should have done 20+ years ago. But here I am. I just cant resist to sprinkle a little personal flavor into anything I build for myself.

I have a first draft I have tossed together in Sketchup and would very much appreciate some honest, on the chin, criticism and advice. The lumber is kiln dried fir from Home Depot that has been sitting in my garage for about 3 months now. I pre cut everything 3 inches long and painted all the ends with enamel to, I hope, help it dry out evenly. Below is an image.

I would like to attach the 3D file from Sketchup but that doesn’t seem to be an option in the forums. However, if you would like to have it sent to you for what ever reason PM me and Ill shoot the .kmz file to you. I will continue to post updates as the project continues.

Thank you all in advance and from I have seen so far looking around this should be a wonderful community to be a part of.


-- David, maker of fine sawdust --

9 replies so far

View CharlieM1958's profile


16284 posts in 4730 days

#1 posted 03-17-2011 04:08 PM

David, I think there about a billion ways to make a workbench. Everyone has different ways of working and different preferences, so there is no one-size-fits-all. The basic requirements are that it be heavy, sturdy, and flat. Everything else is an option.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View Don's profile


517 posts in 3585 days

#2 posted 03-17-2011 04:43 PM

Looks good but you’ll probobly want to add a wide stretcher close to the top to keep it from moving.
And you’ll have a hard time finding any LJs that like to follow plans. :)

-- Don - I wood work if I could. Redmond WA.

View chrisstef's profile


17960 posts in 3518 days

#3 posted 03-17-2011 05:01 PM

I agree with Don, a top stretcher is going to be need to prevent racking and twisting, but besides that i think you have yourself a nice plan to start with. Good Luck.

Ohh and welcome to LJ’s … you’re gonna like it here.

-- Its not a crack, its a casting imperfection.

View rance's profile


4271 posts in 3672 days

#4 posted 03-17-2011 05:19 PM

The design looks fine. What is your plan for attaching the top to the base? With 19” wide, you’ll want to accomodate for expansion of the top.

-- Backer boards, stop blocks, build oversized, and never buy a hand plane--

View 4Doose's profile


8 posts in 3140 days

#5 posted 03-17-2011 06:36 PM

Thanks for the replies everyone.

The whole top is actually 24 wide, the 2×4 center portion (milled down to 1.5×3) is 18 but in the little image it looks like a 19. The center is surrounded by 4×4s (milled down to 3×3). Right click and view image to see it larger.

To keep it from racking I had planned on enclosing the 2 sides and back with plywood. Between the legs there will be a single shelf to collect junk and saw dust.

I was thinking of using cross dowels to hold the base together so I can adjust for the seasons and to disassemble it when we move. I am not sure of the best way to attach the top to the base. I thought about using cross dowels also but am not entirely sure if this is the way to go. I thought about using 3 long lag bolts on each side but with seasonal movement I am afraid of the bolts just yanking the threads out.


Thank you,

-- David, maker of fine sawdust --

View Don's profile


517 posts in 3585 days

#6 posted 03-17-2011 07:05 PM

I did my bench by enlcosing the back and sides with plywood. The back and sides are pretty solid but the front moves. You will probobly still want to add a stretcher to the front.
I also made my top only about 1 1/2 ” with 4 ” build up on the sides and I’m not happy with it. It’s not as solid as I would like it to be. I highly recommend making it a bit thicker. I’m about to rebuild my whole bench because of these 2 issues.
A good way to attach the top is to use the lag bolts going through an elongated hole so that the top has room to move. Do can do the same thing with the breadboard ends.

-- Don - I wood work if I could. Redmond WA.

View 4Doose's profile


8 posts in 3140 days

#7 posted 03-17-2011 07:35 PM

Thanks Dan

The top will be 3 inches thick. The individual pieces are 1.5 wide. I should have been a little clearer on that.

Do you recommend making the apron out of a 4×6 instead of the 4×4 or just put another 4×4 between the legs up and touching the bottom of the bench top?

Does 1/2 inch lag bolts through 3/4 slots sound about right?


-- David, maker of fine sawdust --

View crank49's profile


4032 posts in 3483 days

#8 posted 03-17-2011 08:47 PM

If you change the top of the legs so they have a double mortise that goes through the top you would not need any stretchers at the top at all. You could cut the mortices out before you glue up the top. And, if you have a bandsaw, the tennons would be a piece of cake as well.

I did the legs on my bench a little differently. The legs on my bench are built up laminations of plywood and are 3 1/2” X 4” and sit in 2 1/4” deep mortises in the top. My top is 4 layers of 3/4” plywood banded with maple. The mortises are cut out of 3 layers and the top layer is solid. I poured the mortises 1/4 full of epoxy before I set the legs in there. After the epoxy cured it is solid as a rock. Since most of the material in my bench is plywood I don’t have to be too concerned about expansion.

View Don's profile


517 posts in 3585 days

#9 posted 03-17-2011 11:53 PM

David, 3/4” slots is kind of small. It only allows for 1/8” in either direction. 1 1/2” would be better. Too long will never be a problem. Too short definately will be.

-- Don - I wood work if I could. Redmond WA.

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