Over the holidays, I built a new work bench. It is the work bench of my dreams...and I have had many of them. My old work bench has been a good one and I have built a lot of projects on it. However, it was a little small (30x50).
My new one isn't much bigger at 36x60 inches, but it seems like it is a lot bigger. I couldn't build it any larger because my "shop" is a one car garage with storage, washer, dryer, hot water heater and an upright freezer. And a large tool box and a miter saw station!
The bench is based on the style of benches built by
. I have his plans and used them as reference. More inspiration came from
. I built the frame based on the one he built for his Paulk bench. I didn't install casters because the bench stays put where it sits. The legs have levelers consisting of a pair of 5/8 inch nuts glued into the bottom of each leg. A bolt, washer and another nut provide adjustment and makes for a solid bench.
Additional inspiration came from
. I really like his drawers. I built them and they are working great. I added a guide to the side of each drawer guide so the drawer would slide through the opposite opening without hitting the frame.
The top of the table is 3/4 inch BC sanded plywood and the bottom side is 23/32 inch thick. I departed from the traditional Paulk style during the build in that the two end pieces and the two middle supports are solid. I didn't see any need to waste time cutting out the middle two pieces. And I had plans for the two end pieces, so they were left whole.
The front and back have openings cut for three drawers. This was Earl's idea, and it is working out great. There is a lot of storage in those three drawers, which are 16 x 36 inches x 4 inches high. They sit on guides that are waxed and easily slide to and fro with one or two fingers. Even loaded with clamps. The drawers can be accessed from the front or the back side of the bench. Or push them out of the way if access under the table top is needed.
When I demoed my old bench, I saved the big drawer that is on the left side of the new bench. I also saved the middle drawer and added about 5 inches to all four sides to make it a deep drawer also. Then I built a new drawer for the right side. Lots of storage in those three drawers (about 10 inches deep x 24 inches long) for clamps and other stuff. New drawer fronts and drawer pulls make for a simple, yet functional set of drawers.
I also saved the wide drawer that fits under the bench. It has 5 inch wheels cut from 1/2 inch plywood and pull out or roll back under the bench. No wasted space there. I have bar clamps stored in them. With the new size of the bench, there was additional room for another drawer. Well, it just so happens that another one of the drawers I saved was a perfect fit - 16x24 inches. It was a little too tall so I used the table saw and ripped off 3/8 inch. With new 5 inch wheels, the drawer is a perfect fit.
And now for all of those holes!
I made a template similar to the one Ron Paulk made to drill his bench holes. Overall, it worked well but the holes aren't in perfect alignment. They are off just a tad (about 3/16 inch over the span of the table. That means I can't use it like the Festool MFT for breaking down sheet goods. But that is OK. Mainly, I have a lot of clamping holes that provide many possibilities for clamping the work pieces.
There are over 100 holes and additional holes along the sides and ends. I used a router with a 3/4 inch guide bushing and a 1/2 inch spiral upcut bit to cut the holes. The template has 1 inch holes for the router to follow. The result is a 3/4 inch hole. Some of the holes are two inches apart, but most are on 4 inch centers.
Since the top doesn't overhang the sides, I drilled holes in the sides in several places, and along with the drawer openings, things can be clamped horizontal or vertical. See pics of the bench bull clamped to the table. I think this will work well for ironing on edge banding on shelves.
And would you look at those clamps.
I had this idea back in June but it was too hot to get my buddy to help. Who needs expensive clamps when your buddy has a welding machine.
W e finally got a chance to do some modifications. The end pieces were removed and a piece of 5/16 inch rod was welded on the end of the bar shaft. Part of the back was cut off with a cut-off saw, then rounded on the bench grinder. Those $2.99 Harbor Freight clamps work great and fit nicely through the 3/4 inch holes. I had a few old clamps that my dad used back in the 60-70's so I modified a couple of them. Now they will live on in his honor. We even modified a pair of DeWalt track saw clamps. These are good clamps and I use them on my track saw guides. So, I bought a pair to modify. All we did was add some metal to the existing joint, then grind it down like the other clamps. They work well also.
Next to install was the 7 inch woodworking vise I saved from the previous bench. And it just so happens the dog on the vise lines up perfectly with one of the line of holes on the bench.
I had to make a spacer and glue it under the top. After the glue dried, I drilled the holes and bolted the vise in place.
Next up was a bracket for a Kraft paper roll.I got the inspiration from
. Mine isn't as fancy as his but it works.
Last item to install was the power strip. It had been on the right side of the old bench, but now it is in the middle of this one.
Oh, BTW, speaking of the old bench, I took it to my brother in law and he is using it for his projects. So it lives on.
I uploaded a bunch of construction pictures in an album. Check 'em out.
Hope you like my project. I have already been using it to build some floating shelves.