After moving back into our first house in Erie,
Pennsylvania, I needed to build a couple workbenches in the basement. The ones I used
when there before were made from Gorilla Rack metal frame parts and had been left at
the previous house. Besides, I really prefer a good, sturdy wooden framed workbench with
doors and drawers. Also, after using many types of materials as a work surface, I have
found that a good interior grade plywood (7-ply or greater)
works best. It is very stiff and durable, and does not puff up and distort when water
is spilled on it.
Vertical frame members all cut on a jig to assure matching components.
Frame fronts and backs assembled and glued on top of each other to
assure mutual alignment.
Supports added to bottom surface of plywood so heavy loads don't make
One criterion was that the standard 24" depth (half a 4'
x 8'sheet of plywood) would be insufficient for the workbench that would hold
benchtop power tools, since at least 4" - 5" of the back of it is normally taken up by
parts bins and soup cans with things sitting on and in them. So, even though it meant
having to buy more plywood, I decided to make that workbench 28" deep. The other, which
would be the primary project workbench, is 24" deep and 120" long (for holding the radial
arm saw). A separate shelf unit was built for the back of the 24" deep workbench so that
it would retain a full 24" work area. It has been a very nice convenience.
Framed doors and drawers were built to add a little class to the project, rather than
just cutting flat plywood panels for everything. The glued-on pine frames add a lot of
rigidity to all. Standard self-closing cabinet hinges used on doors. Heavy duty ball
bearing slides used on drawers.
I did not draw plans for these workbenches, so the best I can offer is these few photos
of the building process. If you look closely, you will see that none of the screws were
installed from the outside where they would be visible. Also, all joints were glued with
Elmer's Carpenter's Glue. These are by far the nicest set of workbenches I've ever had.
End view of plywood internal shelf supports.
Posted October 3, 2011
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