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Forum topic by deusprogrammer posted 07-11-2011 06:48 AM 1448 views 0 times favorited 12 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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9 posts in 3586 days

07-11-2011 06:48 AM

Topic tags/keywords: introduction first post

Hello everyone, my name is Michael Main. I am new here, and to woodworking as well. As a career I am a computer programmer and network administrator…but recently I have picked up the hobby of woodworking. It is something my father has always done, and always tried to get me to do. But like a typical punk kid I was like “Wood…pffff!”. Now as I am approaching 30 however, I have found no greater pleasure and relaxer than going out to the garage to build something.

Anyways, I look forward to chatting with you all. Hopefully I can start making some projects that are on the level of my father, and yours. I’m sure that almost everything I do make is going to be something for my computer stuff. I have already made some shelves, some picture frames, and a deck bench for my wife. Next step is a workbench. Any good advice on some plans for a good workbench. I am considering just building a workbench similar to the way I built my wife’s deck bench. But I am concerned if that would be sturdy enough (with Plywood instead of 2X4 planks).

Also I would like to offer if anyone is in the San Antonio area and you need your computer fixed, or need some software written…swing on by. I will help you with your computer if you give me some pointers on woodworking.

12 replies so far

View David Kirtley's profile

David Kirtley

1286 posts in 4072 days

#1 posted 07-11-2011 07:19 AM

If you don’t have a lot of tools, a torsion box is not a bad plan for a starter bench. It is built like a hollow core door. It doesn’t have to be a piece of furniture.

You need to settle down with what type of woodworking you are going to do before you can really make a decision on a type of bench. Power tools and hand tools have different needs.

Regardless, a nice stable work table is a requirement for any work.

-- Woodworking shouldn't cost a fortune:

View DonnyBahama's profile


215 posts in 3606 days

#2 posted 07-11-2011 07:57 AM

Welcome, Michael. I’m a fellow computer geek who finds sawdust ever so relaxing.

If you’re looking to make a bench that’s a true woodworker’s bench (i.e. for gluing, clamping, planing, etc.), google “new-fangled workbench”. It’s an awesome design that’s noob-friendly and easy on the budget – yet still very functional. You’ll even find some fellow LJs who have built them. There’s a sketchup model of a variation that I particularly like because it adds storage (and some additional weight/heft/stability in the bargain).

OTOH, f you’re talking about a garage/handyman/general purpose workbench, you can often find people (who are remodeling a house and) giving away doors for free on Craigslist. An interior/hollow-core door will work fine. An older, solid wood exterior door is even better- throw a sheet of masonite on it as a sacrificial surface and it makes a nice bench top for now – then later you can cut it into strips, run them through a planer, and you’ve got wood for a really nice bench. Another nice thing about a door & ‘horses bench is that it knocks down easily for mobility – use it wherever you need it.

Re: your bench-top table saw, you can get some great results with one of those if you enhance it. (A lot or a little – the sky is the limit.) Have a look here for some great ideas.

Re: programming, if you’re good/knowledgeable with streaming video/IPTV, please PM me.

-- Founding member of the (un)Official LumberJock's Frugal Woodworking Society -

View live4ever's profile


983 posts in 4085 days

#3 posted 07-11-2011 09:14 AM

Welcome to LJ. This site has been instrumental in my learning and I’m sure it will be for you as well.

To get started, you need a solid work surface with a simple vise to grip things. My personal opinion is you don’t need to vacillate too much in the beginning over workbenches – just get something simple made so that you can use it to make other things. Then when you have many projects under your belt, and a better idea of what KIND of woodworker you are, you can devote time and money to creating a workbench that fits your work style and is an expression of your creativity and skill.

A frame made from 2×4s (or more specifically, doubled up 2×4s) makes an excellent and cheap base for your first top. For the top itself, you could go with any of the following:
- solid-core door
- premade butcherblock top from a place like IKEA
- Doubled up 3/4” MDF
- torsion box

For many beginning woodworkers, the workbench doubles as an assembly table. The key feature of assembly tables? Being DEAD-FLAT. I can’t tell you how frustrating doing glue-ups on my workbench (which isn’t dead-flat) can be. This is why David’s suggestion of making a torsion box for the top is a good one.

When I started out, I built this workbench:
It was easy to build and has served me well. I didn’t build the drawers (would interfere with clamping), but later built a cabinet for underneath.

-- Optimists are usually disappointed. Pessimists are either right or pleasantly surprised. I tend to be a disappointed pessimist.

View HorizontalMike's profile


7915 posts in 3988 days

#4 posted 07-11-2011 02:14 PM

Welcome to LJs and to WW-ing. Feel free to keep in touch and get out of town once in a while. I am just ~25mi. north of 1604 on 281N. Just honk when you pull in the driveway and then walk up and knock.

Here is the workbench I picked for my first major project:

21st Century Workbench

FYI, Blue Linx Hardwoods in San Antonio is a good source.

-- HorizontalMike -- "Woodpeckers understand..."

View Gary's profile


9419 posts in 4507 days

#5 posted 07-11-2011 05:00 PM

Welcome to the site. It’s a great place. Lots of stuff on the site about workbenches. Use the search feature. I’m just 5 hours north of you. Stop by sometime. We can go to my playroom and build something

-- Gary, DeKalb Texas only 4 miles from the mill

View Eric_S's profile


1565 posts in 4270 days

#6 posted 07-11-2011 05:10 PM

From one computer programmer turned woodworking addict to another, welcome!

-- - Eric Noblesville, IN

View Richard's profile


297 posts in 3612 days

#7 posted 07-12-2011 01:01 AM

Welcome, Michael.
You will discover that there is no better tool to have on hand than the members of this group.
Questions? Need encouragement? Suggestions?
This group is always there to offer any and all you may need.

Again, Welcome.

-- 'I sand, therefore, I am'. Richard. PNW.

View deusprogrammer's profile


9 posts in 3586 days

#8 posted 07-12-2011 01:04 AM

Thank you all for the kind words of encouragement! I will certainly be back to ask questions as I encounter them.

View devann's profile


2260 posts in 3767 days

#9 posted 07-12-2011 03:43 AM

Welcome to LJs Michael. You were asking about workbenches well there are a ton of ‘em on this site. Some are so nice and proper, really a fine piece of workmanship. Like Horizontal Mike’s. I had to add him to my buddy list after seeing his just to see what other woodworking gems he may produce. Then there are some like mine. Kinda gnarly but gets the job done. Truth be told mine was already started by someone else and left behind at my old shop location. All I did was skin it with some plywood and straighten it out.

The main things you’ll need for a workbench are a comfortable size, a truly flat working surface, and a means to clamp what ever it is that you’re building. I’m not posting a picture or a link here to mine. Just click on my workshop photos if you want to see it. You might also click on other LJs workshops to get more ideas of what would work best for you. Good luck, and have fun making sawdust.

-- Darrell, making more sawdust than I know what to do with

View BentheViking's profile


1782 posts in 3638 days

#10 posted 07-12-2011 04:10 AM

someone posted this one last week. It looks pretty good and might be perfect for you. I’m sure you can make any changes on it if needed.

-- It's made of wood. Real sturdy.--Chubbs Peterson

View Arch_E's profile


48 posts in 3596 days

#11 posted 07-12-2011 05:55 AM


When I was your age, I was doing doctoral work, had kids, huge debts, and no time for pleasure work. Twenty some odd years later, I’m teaching, broke from paying for kids’ weddings, and just beginning to enjoy hobby work. Congrats on finding your hobby so soon. Look forward to seeing your work.

BTW, I trashed my first two workbenches but still highly recommend you make it one of your top priorities. Most all the work I do is directly related (in some way)!!

View bubinga's profile


864 posts in 3742 days

#12 posted 07-12-2011 09:55 AM

Welcome !! To LJ’s I’m sure you will enjoy it
I have seen plans for a bench (don’t remember where) made entirely from plywood,very strong, and with laminated hardwood ply top, and another with a torsion box top, just as functional as any woodworking bench.
Not as cool as HorizontalMike’s bench though

-- E J ------- Always Keep a Firm Grip on Your Tool

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