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Can't decide on a worktop/bench design to start my workshop build

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Forum topic by De1taE1even posted 05-21-2019 02:42 PM 399 views 0 times favorited 21 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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De1taE1even

28 posts in 386 days


05-21-2019 02:42 PM

Hey everyone, I’m looking for some opinions from the experts.

I have a 3-day weekend coming, and I’d like to start building my small shop in the 3rd garage bay of our new house. I have no benches or worktops yet, so the first project on my mind is to build a decently large mobile work top. Something around 30”x72”. The idea is, it’s what I can use to help me build up the rest of the shop. Mitre bench, router table, table saw cabinet, etc.

Problem is, I can’t decide what route to take with this table. I’ve considered a butcher-block style top that is super heavy duty, and stationary in my shop. But, since my space is limited, I like the idea of ALL my benches being on locking casters for maximum flexibility. I’ve also considered a paulk torsion box top with underneath storage, that can also act as an outfeed table. The only downside to this idea is that, since the top isn’t quite as sturdy, it isn’t really ideal for bench-mounted vises, clamp-down strength, etc.

I have almost the entire 3 car garage front wall (around 19ft) with 4 ft of depth to store mobile benches, so it isn’t quite as restraining as a single car bay. The idea is, 2 cars park in the main bay, but when I take on larger projects, I can move the cars out into the driveway and use the entire space with my mobile benches.

Long story short, my ideas are all over the place. I’d love to get some feed back on where you would start, if you were starting from scratch building a small shop out of the space I’ve described.

Thanks!


21 replies so far

View TEK73's profile

TEK73

87 posts in 96 days


#1 posted 05-21-2019 03:07 PM

I think it depends on your take on this.
One option is to start out by making your “ultimate workbench”, and then build your other stuff

Another take would be to start with a temporary solution, build the rest of you tools – and then, when you are ready and have the time – build your “ultimate workbench”

I would have started out with a cheep and easy temporary solution and revisited the matter when I had got more experience.

-- It’s good to have an end to journey toward; but it is the journey that matters, in the end. - Ursula K. LeGuin

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CarlosInTheSticks

286 posts in 761 days


#2 posted 05-21-2019 03:10 PM

That is a large space you have to work in, and hopefully you have fun with the challenges of furnishing it coming up. A mobile bench as a start is probably a good idea for a large space. Before Xmas I posted a large number of bench plans from various sources to suit different tastes in a workbench. One post was a solid mobile bench with good work holding and the solid bench is all constructed from sheet materials, which might be a plus if you are just starting to furnish the shop. It is on heavy casters to easily move to where it is needed yet large enough to handle any work you will need to do to complete your shop. Heres the link:

https://hobbyworkshopprojects.blogspot.com/2018/12/mobile-workbench.html

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De1taE1even

28 posts in 386 days


#3 posted 05-21-2019 03:14 PM


I think it depends on your take on this.
One option is to start out by making your “ultimate workbench”, and then build your other stuff

Another take would be to start with a temporary solution, build the rest of you tools – and then, when you are ready and have the time – build your “ultimate workbench”

I would have started out with a cheep and easy temporary solution and revisited the matter when I had got more experience.

- TEK73

Very true, thanks for the reply. I think you better explained my dilemma than I did, haha. I’m considering building a modified version of creeves’s paulk outfeed table (link below). Seems pretty versatile, and like you said, I could build the super sturdy butcher-block ultimate bench later, after I have more stations to help me out.


View on YouTube

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Robert

3399 posts in 1870 days


#4 posted 05-21-2019 03:15 PM

Don’t know about “ultimate workbench” at this point. You need to get something up and going reasonably quickly.

There are two basic ways to go: sheet goods and solid wood. Both have advantages.

I would take a look at using sheet goods if you want to save time and/or have limited clamps. One way to go is plywood/MDF. I would recommend 3 layers of either or a combination of them. MDF will add some weight.
That with a good beefy edge banding to hold a vise along with a good base will get you started.

Later on you can make modifications like dog holes and storage.

The other aspect is building a good, sturdy base.

Good luck on your project!

Later on, if you want to build the “ultimate bench” & have the room, you can convert this bench to an assembly or outfeed table.

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

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De1taE1even

28 posts in 386 days


#5 posted 05-21-2019 03:16 PM



That is a large space you have to work in, and hopefully you have fun with the challenges of furnishing it coming up. A mobile bench as a start is probably a good idea for a large space. Before Xmas I posted a large number of bench plans from various sources to suit different tastes in a workbench. One post was a solid mobile bench with good work holding and the solid bench is all constructed from sheet materials, which might be a plus if you are just starting to furnish the shop. It is on heavy casters to easily move to where it is needed yet large enough to handle any work you will need to do to complete your shop. Heres the link:

https://hobbyworkshopprojects.blogspot.com/2018/12/mobile-workbench.html

- Carlos510

Thanks! I’ll check it out.

View SMP's profile

SMP

1042 posts in 295 days


#6 posted 05-21-2019 03:16 PM

I don’t know, if I was just starting out, I might look into the Kreg mobile project center and trackhorse, have seen some people make some cool work surfaces out of that combo that is portable and can use for other things temporarily while figuring out what works for a permanent solution. Something like in this article:
https://toolguyd.com/kreg-track-horse-adjustable-clamping-sawhorse/

View De1taE1even's profile

De1taE1even

28 posts in 386 days


#7 posted 05-21-2019 03:20 PM



I don t know, if I was just starting out, I might look into the Kreg mobile project center and trackhorse, have seen some people make some cool work surfaces out of that combo that is portable and can use for other things temporarily while figuring out what works for a permanent solution. Something like in this article:
https://toolguyd.com/kreg-track-horse-adjustable-clamping-sawhorse/

- SMP

I already have some fold-out work tops and sawhorses, so at least I can get a make-shift surface for my first project. My idea with this first project would be a more permanent work surface. That’s a cool sawhorse though, I might still consider a couple of those!

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De1taE1even

28 posts in 386 days


#8 posted 05-21-2019 03:21 PM



Don t know about “ultimate workbench” at this point. You need to get something up and going reasonably quickly.

One way to go is plywood/MDF. I would recommend 3 layers of either or a combination of them.

That with a good beefy edge banding to hold a vise along with a good base will get you started.

Later on you can make modifications like dog holes and storage.

Later on, if you want to build the “ultimate bench” & have the room, you can convert this bench to an assembly or outfeed table.

- Robert

I think this is the consensus based on the replies so far, and is what I’m leaning towards. Thanks for the reply!

View bondogaposis's profile

bondogaposis

5401 posts in 2740 days


#9 posted 05-21-2019 03:22 PM

If you have the room I recommend building both an out feed table and a separate workbench. If you don’t already have a pair of sawhorses, I would start there, because you will need them to build a bench and they will have a thousand uses after the bench build. Then build the outfeed table, why, because building a bench will be much easier with an outfeed table. As for bench styles, there are a ton of great designs, my favorite is the Roubo style. There a lot of other designs that people favor as well, go check out the workbench smack down thread for lots of good ideas. Whatever bench you decide to build I recommend that you acquire the vise hardware before you begin, it is a lot easier to build your bench to accommodate the hardware than to try to work around it afterwards, particularly if you want a leg vise and/or a wagon vise.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View Keith Kelly's profile

Keith Kelly

324 posts in 2053 days


#10 posted 05-21-2019 03:23 PM

I absolutely have an opinion on this.

MFSlab. http://www.multifunctionslab.com/

Here’s a quick video about how I modified mine to use cheap dogs & clamps. (old video, don’t judge) https://youtu.be/CBQdfz5vvR8

-- Keith | Subscribe: https://www.youtube.com/c/KeithsTestGarage

View De1taE1even's profile

De1taE1even

28 posts in 386 days


#11 posted 05-21-2019 03:30 PM



If you have the room I recommend building both an out feed table and a separate workbench. If you don t already have a pair of sawhorses, I would start there, because you will need them to build a bench and they will have a thousand uses after the bench build. Then build the outfeed table, why, because building a bench will be much easier with an outfeed table. As for bench styles, there are a ton of great designs, my favorite is the Roubo style. There a lot of other designs that people favor as well, go check out the workbench smack down thread for lots of good ideas.

- bondogaposis

Great points. I think all these great replies are making my decision for me. Combination mobile work top/outfeed table is the way to go for now. Thanks!


I absolutely have an opinion on this.

MFSlab. http://www.multifunctionslab.com/

Here s a quick video about how I modified mine to use cheap dogs & clamps. (old video, don t judge) https://youtu.be/CBQdfz5vvR8

- Keith Kelly


Awesome, thank you! I love the video, no judgement at all.

View sansoo22's profile

sansoo22

113 posts in 44 days


#12 posted 05-21-2019 07:21 PM

If i was starting with a blank canvas I would pick up a couple inexpensive folding tables for CL or FB. Those old MDF ones with the metal frame underneath are pretty sturdy. One as a work surface and one to put my miter saw on. From there I would build a torsion top assembly/outfeed table. If i had the room this would be a full 4×8 table. From there i feel you have just about everything you need to finish constructing shop furniture like a hand tool wall, miter saw station, etc.

The ultimate workbench would be the very last thing I did. Not because you specifically need other pieces first but because you dont exactly know how this new space “fits” yet. It takes time to figure out the ideal placement of tools and storage cabinets to be efficient and organized. The folding tables can act as clutter catchers until you figure all of this out and once you no longer need them relist them on CL.

On a side note i’m super jealous of a 3 bay space. I know you intend to park in it but I’m seeing room for a couple Lincoln welders in that third bay and a full 2 bay wood shop.

View De1taE1even's profile

De1taE1even

28 posts in 386 days


#13 posted 05-21-2019 08:12 PM



If i was starting with a blank canvas I would pick up a couple inexpensive folding tables for CL or FB. Those old MDF ones with the metal frame underneath are pretty sturdy. One as a work surface and one to put my miter saw on. From there I would build a torsion top assembly/outfeed table. If i had the room this would be a full 4×8 table. From there i feel you have just about everything you need to finish constructing shop furniture like a hand tool wall, miter saw station, etc.

The ultimate workbench would be the very last thing I did. Not because you specifically need other pieces first but because you dont exactly know how this new space “fits” yet. It takes time to figure out the ideal placement of tools and storage cabinets to be efficient and organized. The folding tables can act as clutter catchers until you figure all of this out and once you no longer need them relist them on CL.

On a side note i m super jealous of a 3 bay space. I know you intend to park in it but I m seeing room for a couple Lincoln welders in that third bay and a full 2 bay wood shop.

- sansoo22

I love it, you read my mind! I already have the fold tables, so I’m going to go right after the outfeed table. Great point about not knowing what I need for the ultimate table yet.

My wife would be angry with me if I took up more than 1 garage bay when not on an active project. I can 100% guarantee our next house will be on land and I’ll have a much larger shop. ;)

View TEK73's profile

TEK73

87 posts in 96 days


#14 posted 05-22-2019 12:05 PM

«When not on an active project»
To me that sounds like «your OK as long as you are able to store all the tools in one garage bay»
So, casters on everything – use one bay for storage and the spread it out when working.
Some tools, like your «ultimate workbench» may be stationary in the one bay that you have all the time!

The future is looking good for you my friend!

-- It’s good to have an end to journey toward; but it is the journey that matters, in the end. - Ursula K. LeGuin

View ChefHDAN's profile

ChefHDAN

1401 posts in 3239 days


#15 posted 05-22-2019 12:31 PM

Delta,
Great advice up here already, and I agree, it’s just about how you want to start, IMO, I’d build something more along the lines of an assemble table or out feed table and then once your shop “more” set up go for the dream bench. I will throw out another thing to think of as you’re equipping your shop. I’m in a 2 car and keep it all mobile, I have 4 of the OLD Workmates from the 80’s. There is a good thread in the forum, Workmates of our Dreams that has lots of great uses & ideas, I always search CL for them near me and also along my routes as I travel for work, generally they are about $20 and the old ones are rock solid. My big assembly table is 2 workmates and a hollow core door, my outfeed table is a workmate and a built up top. the list goes on and on, they’re damn handy and are great when you need a mitre saw in the basement to do trim work

-- I've decided 1 mistake is really 2 opportunities to learn.. learn how to fix it... and learn how to not repeat it

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