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Looking for advice: Designing workbench frame that I can add drawers/shelves/doors to later

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Forum topic by Zvonko posted 09-07-2021 11:51 AM 621 views 0 times favorited 9 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Zvonko

140 posts in 1057 days


09-07-2021 11:51 AM

I’m moving into my new workshop and I everything is kind of temporary until I figure out the best placement for benches, cabinets, mobile carts, etc.

I know I’m going to have a miter station where miter saw top is level with the bench top on each side of the miter saw. I’m also going to build a mobile cart that will hold my table saw and a router while also serving as outfeed table for saw.

Anyway, I don’t know yet what I want under each of those. Maybe shelves, doors, drawers or combination of any of them.

So my question is, what design would you use to build a solid frame (so I can start using the power tools) that will be flexible enough for me to add shelves/drawers/doors later?

-- You can't always control WHAT happens, but you can always control HOW you respond.


9 replies so far

View Sawdust2012's profile

Sawdust2012

298 posts in 2955 days


#1 posted 09-07-2021 12:03 PM

I built this bench a couple of years ago. The plan has an optional module of drawers that could be added later. The picture shows the drawer and shelf I added later. It’s nothing like the plan, but that was all a little beyond my pay grade at that point. For a miter station, I would think you could build a “U” shape frame that would be plenty strong. I would add a cabinet on locking casters later to roll under. There are videos all over YouTube of that sort of thing. Sorry to keep editing the response, but I just noticed in the bench picture you can just see the corner of an old dresser I slid under my miter station to use as storage. That section never holds a lot of weight. The middle section with the saw I’d a good bit more substantial.

https://www.woodsmithplans.com/plan/traditional-workbench/

View prazbotta's profile

prazbotta

42 posts in 518 days


#2 posted 09-08-2021 12:49 PM

I think I would start with a basic cabinet carcass about the size you need, and you can decide how to fill it out later. For now, a couple cross members would keep it from racking side to side. A couple 2×6 boards can act as the top for a time as well. Once you are ready to finish it out, add drawers or shelves, a face frame and a final top… done.

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gerrym526

331 posts in 5051 days


#3 posted 09-22-2021 09:16 PM

Any good workbench frame plan that has crossmembers supporting the legs can have a drawer unit outfitted to it later. The same applies for mobile carts.
You and I are in the same place here-I just had a standalone workshop building completed and now need to outfit it with work tables, mobile carts for tools, etc. So in the planning mode now.
Take a look at my workshop pics-in my profile. The last one shows a 4 drawer chest I added to a cabinet maker’s bench I had built years before. Built the drawer unit as a separate cabinet and just let it rest on the stringers of the workbench.
Hope this helps.
Gerry

-- Gerry

View MPython's profile

MPython

398 posts in 1055 days


#4 posted 09-22-2021 10:24 PM

I built this worbench 16 years ago. The base is completely separate from the top. The base is consructed of 4X4 oak legs with 2X8 oak bottom rails and 2X5 oak short rails on the top. The short rails are through tenoned into the legs. The long rails on the bottom have stub tenons and are secured with a pair of large knock-down fasteners from Lee Valley (https://www.leevalley.com/en-us/shop/hardware/fasteners/knockdown-hardware/67659-veritas-knock-down-fasteners) at each joint. There are no long top rails; the shoulders of the massive bottom rails are more than sufficient to keep the base from racking.

I built the tool cabinet after I finished the bench. It fits tightly inside the bench base frame and rests on ledgers that are glued and screwed to the insides of the bottom rails. All I had to do to slip it into place was to loosten the knock-down fasteners enough to give me some wiggle room. I was able to slip it into place, make sure it was resting securely on the ledgers and tighten the knock-down fasteners. It has been secure and rock solid ever since. I’ve not had to adjust or tighten the knock-down bolts since I built the bench 16 years ago.

View Zvonko's profile

Zvonko

140 posts in 1057 days


#5 posted 09-24-2021 01:21 AM



Take a look at my workshop pics-in my profile. The last one shows a 4 drawer chest I added to a cabinet maker s bench I had built years before. Built the drawer unit as a separate cabinet and just let it rest on the stringers of the workbench.
- gerrym526

Ya know, sometimes I get my blinders on and I can’t see what’s plainly off to the side. That’s a great idea. Building a separate cabinet that fits in the space has to be much easier than trying to retrofit a bench by adding walls, slides, etc.

Thanks!

-- You can't always control WHAT happens, but you can always control HOW you respond.

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Zvonko

140 posts in 1057 days


#6 posted 09-24-2021 01:32 AM


I built the tool cabinet after I finished the bench. It fits tightly inside the bench base frame and rests on ledgers that are glued and screwed to the insides of the bottom rails. All I had to do to slip it into place was to loosten the knock-down fasteners enough to give me some wiggle room. I was able to slip it into place, make sure it was resting securely on the ledgers and tighten the knock-down fasteners. It has been secure and rock solid ever since. I ve not had to adjust or tighten the knock-down bolts since I built the bench 16 years ago.

- MPython

I’ll repeat what I told gerrym526… So much easier than how I’d envisioned it. Thanks

About your bench, another idea I wouldn’t have thought of: completely separate base and top. How did you attach the top to the base?

-- You can't always control WHAT happens, but you can always control HOW you respond.

View Zvonko's profile

Zvonko

140 posts in 1057 days


#7 posted 09-24-2021 02:03 AM



I built this bench a couple of years ago. The plan has an optional module of drawers that could be added later.

- Sawdust2012

As mentioned before, that’s such a great approach. Thanks

For a miter station, I would think you could build a “U” shape frame that would be plenty strong. I would add a cabinet on locking casters later to roll under. There are videos all over YouTube of that sort of thing.

- Sawdust2012

I’ve seen a bunch of pics and videos of the rolling cabinets that fit under the bench. I wondered how sturdy it would be if I didn’t have the bottom rails in the front. That’s why I even started down the path of building cabinets into the bench.

-- You can't always control WHAT happens, but you can always control HOW you respond.

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MPython

398 posts in 1055 days


#8 posted 09-24-2021 11:30 AM


About your bench, another idea I wouldn t have thought of: completely separate base and top. How did you attach the top to the base?
- Zvonko

I’m almost embarrassed to say this, but I didn’t. My bench top is 3” thick maple with 4” dog hole strips. It is HEAVY! I had planned to attach it with brackets made of 1/4” X 3” aluminum angle screwed into the top rails and into the benchtop, but I never got around to that. The top is so heavy that it hasn’t moved on the base since I first put it there, so I have seen no need to attach it. I pound on it, hand plane on it and do evertthing else you do on a workbench and the top doesn’t move. I may get around to making and attaching brackets one day but I’m in no hurry. ;>)

I noiticed your reply to Sawdust 2012 above re a “U” shaped cabinet for your miter station. I used that configuration for my radial arm saw. I built a long bench comprised of individual cabinets bolted together with sex bolts. All but the section supporting the saw are drawer cases. The one for the saw is a “U” shaped case, open to the floor under the saw. It has a a floating shelf for the saw that is supported by 4 furniture levelers, one at each corner, that allow me to raise and lower the saw to level it with the bench top. Otherwise the case is open to the floor. It is securely bolted to the drawer cases on either side, so that takes care of any stability issues, but it was pretty stable even before I bolted it to it’s neighbors. I currently have a piece of plywood on locking casers that I roll into the opening and use to store heavy items (a vise and some project parts, etc.), but it could just as easily be another drawer case. Here’s a couple of photos:

View EarlS's profile

EarlS

4754 posts in 3591 days


#9 posted 09-24-2021 12:39 PM

Take a look at the LJ workbench smackdown threads. I’m building a roubo bench that will have the cabinet insert like others have mentioned. Lots of roubo style benches in the projects section as well.

I’m also planning to do something like that with the table saw so I can use the space under the table. Probably will be a solid frame with M&T rails and some really stout legs so I can move the entire TS as a single unit.

-- Earl "I'm a pessamist - generally that increases the chance that things will turn out better than expected"

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