The Workbench

workbench photo

The work bench is an essential tool in the wood shop. The designs are varied from the classic European maple benches of the old masters to the pre-cut pine 2x4’s sold as a Bench-in-a-box at Home Depot. But the best design is the design that works for you, your budget and your space. I am fortunate to have a lot of space. My shop is 24 feet wide and 31 feet deep and has its own 3-ton A/C system.

This bench has a list of unique features that separates it from others of similar design.

workbench photo

I like a good solid large work surface. The top is very large, a full sheet of Baltic Birch plywood, 48X96 inches, and two sheets (1 ½ inches), thick. There is a three inch overhang around the bench to allow for clamping. The bench top is level and flat and is at the same height as the adjacent table saw.

workbench photo

The bench is bolted to the floor and will not “walk” across the floor regardless of the amount of hard work being performed. Although the floor gradually pitches towards the roll-up doors, the sub-frame, which is pressure treated 2x4’s, have been jointed and thickness planed to be parallel and square and then shimmed to provide a solid level platform for the bench modules to be fastened to.

The bench is built in six modules that allow it to be completely disassembled and moved by one person. Module-one on the left end has shelves for frequently used finishing products. Mod-2 is the full 48 inch depth of the bench and stores wood. The end of each piece is marked with its length. Mod-3 which is under the vise is 22 inches deep with a second identical Mod-3 on the back side of the bench for the ready storage of power tools. Mod-5 is identical to Mod-2 and stores other long items. Mod-6 on the right end has the “cheese boxes” storage bins. Learn more about the “cheese boxes” here.

workbench photo

The electrical outlets are installed in filler strips between the adjacent modules. There is a cord exiting the bottom of the work bench at the rear right corner that plugs into the electrical outlet below the fire extinguisher hung on the wall. All electrical outlets in the shop are GFCI protected as required by the National Electrical Code.

The work bench has no finish applied to it. I do not hesitate to screw jigs and fixtures or glue blocks etc right to the bench top. I do cover the bench top with Freezer Paper, purchased at the grocery store, which is plastic coated on one side when I am painting, varnishing or during glue-ups. A quick once-over with an orbital sander restores the top to its original smoothness and general appearance.

Click here for construction details and drawings