As I mentioned earlier, I did quite a bit of research into different types of benches. Here are a few notes that I found useful.
- Height is recommended to be about the crease in your wrist with the arms relaxed. Countertops are normally 36" inches, but I found this to be too tall for extensive work. I'm about 5'8" and have found 34" to be perfect so far. (it also uses an 8’ 4x4 almost exactly) Adjust accordingly for your own taste.
- More lighting, especially natural light, is always better.
- Making the bench too deep is another problem since it limits what you can reach comfortably. With a pegboard on the wall behind my bench I can reach the top of the 2' board, but couldn't go much higher. There are enough sheet goods to make it deeper, but I do feel it's on the upper limit of how deep it should be.
- There are no hobby-specific vices mounted in this design (though you could add it per your preference), but there is a healthy overhang to allow clamping onto the benchtop.
- I decided against drawers, they add cost and most of the stuff I want to store has its own box anyway. Your own mileage may vary.
Overall I feel this is a pretty solid no-frills workbench design. It's not the cheapest bench, but its heavy, does not compromise on strength, and is fairly easy to build. I only use 90 degree cuts and have designed it to minimize the cuts.
Before helping my dad out I drew the plans in CATIA and made a dimensioned drawing with a bill of materials. I've provided the cutlist for the 2x4s, for the sheet goods and 4x4, use the "Finished Dimension BOM" (Bill of Materials) off the drawing. My intention is to be able to build the bench almost entirely from the 11x17 pdf plan below. How to read F/N's:
For this Instructable, I've labeled the parts used in each step with a Find Number (F/N column on the drawing) that matches a part in the BOM. For example if you read "Pick up a #5", after referencing the drawing you'll see that I want you to hold in your hand one of the 52" 2x4s. A few notes on buying lumber
The piles are there for you to pick through! Inspect the boards for any cupping, twisting, cracks, excessive knots, cracks, but remember to stack the boards nicely when you’re done picking through them.
Inspect the MDF sheets for crushed edges, MDF is dense (why I used it) but has edges that can be easily damaged. Later we’ll band the edges with hardwood which will help protect it.
Room is left on one of the 2x4’s for some incompetence cuts, but if you’re worried, grab an extra one.
Now, print out the plans, buy the supplies, and let's begin!