Workbench

A Place to Build more Projects

Every workshop needs a good work bench. A good bench is stable and flat, letting you estimate the flatness of your workpiece, and with plenty of space to hold the work and clamp it down.

You can buy nice workbenches for many hundreds of dollars, and then you can buy nice clamps for many more. I wanted to use this project as a learning experience, though. So I spent my time researching table plans, trying to pick one that would give me a good surface without being a big expense.

Since I knew my next project would be a dining table , I needed to make a bench big enough to build a table top on.

Plan

I ended up choosing this plan from Fine Woodworking because it’s easy, includes guidelines for a vice, and holes for bench dogs and holddowns, which I’ve found to be very useful for hand work and routing.

Results

This plan was truly pretty easy to build, but I think it has a few flaws. The threaded rod that holds the legs in tension can pop out of tracks in the stretchers. I found a rubber mallet essential to getting this done. Fastening the table top with clips and slots feels like overkill to me. I had a lot of trouble with that, and MDF doesn’t really shrink and expand much. I think you could get away with simple L-brackets, under-tightened.

The bench is incredibly sturdy, and can be easily tightened up with the threaded rod. The top is flat and solid - one panel of MDF is also cheap enough that if you ever totally screw up the top with a tool or some weird chemical, it’s not going to break your wallet to just get more and replace it.