My First (real!) Workbench

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Introduction: My First (real!) Workbench

About: I work as an IBEW electrician and pretty much intend to do everything, although apparently not well :D

I've been working off of my "temporary" workbench (two saw horses and a few scrap pieces of cabinet ply tacked on) for a while now, and after much frustration and shame, decided it's time to move up in the workshop world.
As a newborn wannabe woodworker, I figured I'd start from the bottom and work my way up to a decent work space, and a proper bench is where it all starts, it seems. Rather than invest a ton of time and money into exotic woods and techniques, I decided to use a few solid core doors taking up space in my already clutter garage to make my workbench. More space and a better workbench?! Why not!

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Step 1: Plan and Materials

Since I had 4 doors to work with, and wanted roughly no doors left, I opted to make the bench the entire length of the door. Also, because I wanted it to be heavy as a cow, I figured I'd laminate the doors on themselves. because a heavy bench is a good bench. I assume.

I left one door untouched. To the under half of my bench top, I cut off two door widths nice and square.

Step 2: Cut the Side Pieces

For the legs/sides, I cut two sections of the doors the "total height - door width" and two sections "total height - (door width * 2)." I used a micrometer for these measurements, because it was easy and on hand. And I clamped my level down across my doors because I have no skill with a skill saw, and wanted nice straight cuts for my joints.

Step 3: Lag. Bolts.

Now it's time to put some things together. I figured 5/16 lag bolts would work well enough, so I put my two leg pieces together, made sure my joints were properly spaced, and went to town predrilling and lag bolting these suckers together. I wanted the bolt pattern to look intentional, so I laid them out in some sort of symmetry. 9 bolts. Rinse and repeat for the other leg.

Step 4: Put the Legs On.

And now. For the epic battle.

These legs were quite heavy by themselves, so working with them was... fun. I had a plan that seemed all well and good... and well, I ended up having to figure something else out real quick.

My hindsight shall be your insight. Definitely predrill and countersink your leg holes before you start. I tacked a 2x4 on each side of the top at an angle and figured I'd finagle the legs square and tack them temporarily while I bolt them together. bolt through the legs into the shorter top, and through the shorter top down through the legs. Make sure you keep in mind your spacing of bolts so you dont try and drill though where you already have a bolt.

It *mostly* worked. I smeared all the joints with liquid nails before slapping them together to close any gaps from the doors being uneven, and then smeared them again. Basically, just get the shorter top bolted between the legs any safe way you can. Then, have fun flipping her right side up :D

Step 5: More Lag Bolts

Now, it's simply a matter of sliding the full size door on top and bolting her down. I put liquid nails along about half of the surface before I ran out, but I would've preferred it all over. On the ends I used 4 bolts to bolt through into the legs, because this joint (I presume) contribute to the overall stability of the legs. everywhere else I just used three across, countersinking with a forstner bit of course.

Step 6: Finished!

After a quick plane of any burrs and inconsistencies left from whatever, I called it done! I may go back and fill all my bolt holes for a smooth finish, but right now I'll let it ride. It's surprisingly sturdy for having 8+ feet of uninterrupted workspace, I can sit on it and bounce with virtually no bow. and boy is she heavy! But this is only the beginning for her, I plan on accessorizing her profusely in time.

Anyways, this has been my first instructable! I hope you enjoyed it, and any feedback is much appreciated :)

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    6 Discussions

    0
    Townsendsr
    Townsendsr

    4 years ago

    I like your workbench design it is a great way to use materials that you already had laying around and not being used. I like they way you overlapped the top on the ends so you can clamp things down. Thanks for sharing your design.

    0
    pfred2
    pfred2

    4 years ago

    Your workbench is a novel design. I predict that if you stick with it your first bench will not be your last. I'm on I think my 4th now? It isn't bad, but there are things I'd do differently when I make another. I probably will someday too. My point is with each bench you make you learn something. Between builds your skills usually increase too.

    If your bench racks in use you will probably want to add some low stretchers between your sides. Just leave enough room for your feet to go under the stretchers, but put them as low as you can. When you mount vises and start planing that is when the racking will start on you.

    0
    marcomedina
    marcomedina

    Reply 4 years ago

    Thanks for your kind words and advice, I'll keep your words on stability in mind as I put her through her paces.

    0
    ClenseYourPallet
    ClenseYourPallet

    4 years ago

    Having a good workbench in super important. Yours looks great, thanks for sharing it with us

    0
    pfred2
    pfred2

    Reply 4 years ago

    Indeed for joinery a workbench is a tool.