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Thread: Advise on building a workbench cheaply

  1. #16
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
    Central New Jersey
    I built a bench using a butcher block countertop from the big box store. It was 39" wide so I took off 9 inches and ripped that down and used the spare material to make a skirt around the top to give it some more depth. I then used 2x6 and 4x4 construction lumber to make the base.

    I added a front and end vice and it's been a great improvement over the folding table I was using

  2. #17
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Silicon Valley, CA
    How cheap are you looking to go?

    If planning to use with handtools, some designs to have on your radar:
    Mike Siemsen has a nice video on buying a few handtools and building an english-style workbench from construction lumber and not needing a vise.
    Paul Sellers has a basic bench from construction lumber and a plywood-based bench that might be easier with a table saw; both use a basic quick-release vise.
    Rob Cosman has an MDF-based bench designed to have a low entry barrier
    Will Myers's Moravian Workbench is a nice workbench that can be broken down. This is designed around a wood vise screw..
    Chris Schwarz has a couple of books about benches. Last year he had a couple of video blog entries reviewing various designs.

  3. #18
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Upland CA
    It seems our OP got lost
    Rick Potter

    DIY journeyman,
    FWW wannabe.
    AKA Village Idiot.

  4. #19
    Join Date
    Jul 2017
    TX / LA border.. Toledo Bend
    No matter what kind of bench, it is always good to have the top overhang on all sides 2-3" to allow clamping work to table.

    I'm pretty new here, not as as experienced as most. Please don't hesitate to correct me

  5. #20
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Ames, IA
    FWIW, I purchased 3 workbenches at HF and attached them together. I'm not sure, but I recall the cost for each was less than $75. Each had drawers, vise, laminated top. Works great for me. I don't see how you can get more for the money?

  6. #21
    You might want to google "new fangled workbench" for a FWW design that would be very cheap to build but quite non conventional.

    In a whole different direction, Jay Bates is a youtuber who built the same bench of softwood and hickory (a very hard wood). He liked the softwood one better. You might want to look at his video to understand why.

  7. #22
    Join Date
    Nov 2016
    Itapevi, SP - Brazil

    My two cents

    We got some very good advices here, but I would like also to join to the thread.

    1. Are you going to work with power tools or hand tools? Hand tools usually demand a heavier bench and appropriate height. For power tools bench, you can consider even torsion box type benches and CNC drilled standard holes... different designs

    2. The size of the stuff you will use on your bench. Of course if you make only jewel's box or pens, your needs are different if you make frequently full size wardrobes. They will define the size of your bench

    3. How much disposable money you have for that project? The "ideal workbench" would have a ton of features and would cost a lot of money. The other extreme is to use a couple of sawhorses and some slab, or even to use some 2◊2 direct on floor...

    When I decided for a workbench for hand tools I decided for an English model with no vises (they are very convenient but high quality items come high tag prices), instead of them I went to hold fasts. I spent (the equivalent to) US$ 50 for four handmade hold fasts, US$ in raw lumber, and another US$ 50 for miscellaneous stuff. I am plenty satisfied with it.

    Good luck in your project.
    All the best.


  8. #23
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Los Angeles
    Some great and practical advice on here. Iím interested to see what the OP think, if he returns.
    Friends recently asked me about making them a desk and bookshelves. But covid has hit their budget and I couldnít make them something for what they could afford so we looked on cílist FREE. There are so many desks and shelves on there daily for free or very little. LA is a big city but even if the OP lives someplace smaller itís a good bet that within a few weeks heíll find something to get himself up and running.

    I used tight grained ďkiln driedĒ Doug fir 2x4s that I dried further, for the top, and 4x6s i scavenged from construction sites for the base. The cost was mostly my time.

  9. #24
    Join Date
    Dec 2020
    I plan on doing small furniture boxes stuff like that and some carving and am going to not use a vise but make a crochet and use holdfasts thank you for all the information and suggestions

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