A Simple Woodworking Workbench

Description

The overall size of this workbench is 25-5/8 inches wide by 96-7/8 inches long by 35-1/2 inches high. The workbench is intended to spend most of it's time against a wall. The base is open at the front so I can roll the table saw and planer under it. Most of the inspiration for this workbench comes from a bench built by Mark Jacobs in 1981 or 1982. It used similar frame design, but he ripped a solid core door down to 24 inches for the top. This is my fourth workbench, and although I'd like to say that each one gets better, each time the circumstances are different. This bench seems ideal for now. As with everything, though, if I had it to do over again I would.

Building

Workbench base frame.
Figure 1. Frame with cross-brace.

The base of the workbench is made up of 2 x 4 lumber ripped to 3 inches, and trippled to make the equivalent of a 3 x 4.5 inch board. It is assembled using mortise and tenon joints, glue, and bolts. Overall it is 6 feet wide, 2 feet deep, and 34 inches high. The cross brace on the back is made from 2 x 6 stock with a half lap in the center.

Workbench base frame.
Figure 2. Frame with top supports.

After I got the ends and the cross brace assembled I realized there was nothing to support the top, so I added two 2 x 4 braces running the length of the base. Although the top doesn't sag at all, if it should decide to, the braces will stop it. They are in half mortises in the ends, and are not glued or screwed, but just hang there. They subtract 3-1/2 inches from the maximum height of anything stored under the workbench. The final height under the braces is 30-1/2 inches.

Workbench base frame.
Figure 3. Ikea top in place.

The finished workbench after the base got a coat of stain and clear acrylic. The top is 1-1/2 inch thick oak butcher block 25-5/8 inches wide by 96-7/8 inches long. It was about US$170 at Ikea. It goes by the name of NUMERĂ„R, and is available in beech, birch, and oak, in sizes of...

  1. 49-5/8 x 25-5/8 x 1-1/2
  2. 73-1/4 x 25-5/8 x 1-1/2
  3. 73-1/4 x 39-3/8 x 1-1/2
  4. 96-7/8 x 25-5/8 x 1-1/2

Update

The bench has been absolutely rock solid and stable for two years now. There are some problems, though. I put it near the wall in my two car garage, to keep from hogging the whole garage for the bench. That has made it a haven for everything I don't use very often. Underneath the bench are a 13" planer, a vise, a 16" scroll saw, a skil saw, a Milwaukee Saws-All, a 12" miter saw, a 12" drill press and three toolboxes. I can't get to the back wall to clean. The bench is only accessible from one side, so half of the overhang capacity is unavailable, and I wind up using a low bench in the middle of the garage for handwork.

I'm sure there are many solutions, but the one I think will save the most space is to put drawers under it, move it out from the wall, and add another bench that has all of the aforementioned miscellany in or on it.