Harbor Freight 60" 4 Drawer Workbench? - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 14 Old 04-07-2020, 03:05 PM Thread Starter
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Harbor Freight 60" 4 Drawer Workbench?

Considering the Harbor Freight Windsor Design 60" 4 drawer hardwood workbench as a cheap workbench for the shop versus making my own out of 2x4s and plywood. Has anyone had any first hand experience with it? I fully understand its from Harbor Freight but there are mixed reviews on it and the WOOD Magazine article gave it 4.3/5 stars. I'd like to see what other woodworkers have to say about it with actual experience.

Here is the bench: https://www.harborfreight.com/60-in-...nch-63395.html
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post #2 of 14 Old 04-07-2020, 03:20 PM
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Harbor Freight WorkBench

J - I got one for my daughter a couple of years ago at a HF parking lot sale.
she still has not settled down enough to have her own home yet so I have been
using it in my den - she may never get it. I am getting used to it being in "my corner".
this the story: https://www.woodworkingtalk.com/memb...orkbench-home/

Harbor Freight 60" 4 Drawer Workbench?-user189566_pic54207_1575462561.jpg

honestly, I would give it 3 stars. it is what it is. an entry level "hobby" table
from Harbor Freight. it needs modifications to make it sturdy such as a backing
and side braces so it won't wiggle. bolted to a wall is a good idea if you can.
the vice is not for heavy duty work. but it does work as designed.
with a little imagination and craftsmanship, you can make it work for you
and the projects you will be doing.
the holes are metric - not 3/4". so you need to fill the holes with resin or
Bondo and redrill them to 3/4" or whatever you want to do.
adding T-Track is always a bonus on any bench. cut a piece of masonite or other
hardboard to cover the top if you plan on doing any amount of gluing or painting.

.
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Last edited by John Smith_inFL; 04-07-2020 at 03:37 PM.
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post #3 of 14 Old 04-07-2020, 03:41 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Smith_inFL View Post
J - I got one for my daughter a couple of years ago at a HF parking lot sale.
she still has not settled down enough to have her own home yet so I have been
using it in my den - she may never get it. I am getting used to it being in "my corner".
this the story: https://www.woodworkingtalk.com/memb...orkbench-home/

Attachment 387023

honestly, I would give it 3 stars. it is what it is. an entry level "hobby" table
from Harbor Freight. it needs modifications to make it sturdy such as a backing
and side braces so it won't wiggle. bolted to a wall is a good idea if you can.
the vice is not for heavy duty work. but it does work as designed.
with a little imagination and craftsmanship, you can make it work for you
and the projects you will be doing.
the holes are metric - not 3/4". so you need to fill the holes with resin or
Bondo and redrill them to 3/4" or whatever you want to do.
adding T-Track is always a bonus on any bench. cut a piece of masonite or other
hardboard to cover the top if you plan on doing any amount of gluing or painting.

.


Thank you for the tips and photo! I have watched a few videos on it as well and my biggest concern was that it didn't look like it was very heavy and could slide easily when doing tasks that involve pushing or pressure on a work piece (i.e. using a hand plane). The other thing I saw, like you had mentioned, was that it didn't seem like the sturdiest bench either. But considering the price on this versus others, it is something to consider, I'm just looking for people with real experience. I will more than likely lean towards the direction of making my own to match the other bench I built house my router table and miter saw.
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post #4 of 14 Old 04-07-2020, 05:39 PM
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My spouse wanted one forever. She kept asking. Finally I gave in when the price was $125, under the condition that I could build or buy whatever workbench I want for real woodworking when we clear the necessary space in the garage. That won't happen anytime soon, so we are stuck with it for now. I hate it.

In fairness, Spouse is very happy with it. She uses it more as a table with drawers, not a real workbench. It is just what she wanted, but she does crafts, mosaics, and small scroll saw projects.

What can I say about it? Well...

* The dog holes are not the standard 3/4 inch. They are 5/8 inch, or perhaps the metric equivalent. They give you four short metal "square mushroom" dogs and four 4" wood pegs.

* The drawers underneath are lined with green felt, directly under the dog holes, so sawdust and small parts fall through. I put blue tape under the holes, but that's no real solution.

* The drawer slides are awful. One drawer was so bad that I called Harbor Freight and they sent out replacement slides. At least they stock the slides for warranty repairs, but you have to wonder why.

* The workbench edges are too thin for effective clamping. Because the dog holes are non-standard size, common hold-downs and other bench gadgets don't fit either.

* The vice is awful. It came apart once, but I fixed it. It is flimsy. It is slow and awkward to operate. There is no quick release mechanism like some modern woodworking vices that I like. The rubber caps are too loose and the handle falls off frequently. That's something I can fix easily, but have not gotten around to doing it.

I bought two woodworking vices about six months ago, when they were on sale. They are still in their boxes for the future. I had planned to use one or both to replace the vice on the Harbor Freight workbench and maybe add a front vice. I took a quick look, and I am not sure how I would install either one of them without interfering with the drawers. In fairness, I should give it another look, but it isn't promising. I am not sure my spouse would be willing trade a drawer for a better vice. It would not look pretty.

* It is lighter than a workbench should be. I keep my Bessey clamps and hardwood on the lower shelf to help weigh it down.

-> The only good thing I can say about it is the price compared with any other "woodworking-style" workbench.

I cut a matching piece of 1/8 inch hardboard and drilled holes to match the corner dog holes. I use two of the metal dogs to keep the hardboard in place.

It works for my spouse, not for me.
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post #5 of 14 Old 04-08-2020, 12:11 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tool Agnostic View Post
My spouse wanted one forever. She kept asking. Finally I gave in when the price was $125, under the condition that I could build or buy whatever workbench I want for real woodworking when we clear the necessary space in the garage. That won't happen anytime soon, so we are stuck with it for now. I hate it.

In fairness, Spouse is very happy with it. She uses it more as a table with drawers, not a real workbench. It is just what she wanted, but she does crafts, mosaics, and small scroll saw projects.

What can I say about it? Well...

* The dog holes are not the standard 3/4 inch. They are 5/8 inch, or perhaps the metric equivalent. They give you four short metal "square mushroom" dogs and four 4" wood pegs.

* The drawers underneath are lined with green felt, directly under the dog holes, so sawdust and small parts fall through. I put blue tape under the holes, but that's no real solution.

* The drawer slides are awful. One drawer was so bad that I called Harbor Freight and they sent out replacement slides. At least they stock the slides for warranty repairs, but you have to wonder why.

* The workbench edges are too thin for effective clamping. Because the dog holes are non-standard size, common hold-downs and other bench gadgets don't fit either.

* The vice is awful. It came apart once, but I fixed it. It is flimsy. It is slow and awkward to operate. There is no quick release mechanism like some modern woodworking vices that I like. The rubber caps are too loose and the handle falls off frequently. That's something I can fix easily, but have not gotten around to doing it.

I bought two woodworking vices about six months ago, when they were on sale. They are still in their boxes for the future. I had planned to use one or both to replace the vice on the Harbor Freight workbench and maybe add a front vice. I took a quick look, and I am not sure how I would install either one of them without interfering with the drawers. In fairness, I should give it another look, but it isn't promising. I am not sure my spouse would be willing trade a drawer for a better vice. It would not look pretty.

* It is lighter than a workbench should be. I keep my Bessey clamps and hardwood on the lower shelf to help weigh it down.

-> The only good thing I can say about it is the price compared with any other "woodworking-style" workbench.

I cut a matching piece of 1/8 inch hardboard and drilled holes to match the corner dog holes. I use two of the metal dogs to keep the hardboard in place.

It works for my spouse, not for me.

Thank you for the in depth insight! That is definitely helpful and doesn't sound like it would work out well for me. I personally just don't have the Sjobergs money so it looks like building my own workbench is the way to go. Square up some 2x4s and get some 3/4" plywood is what I'll be doing soon it sounds like.
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post #6 of 14 Old 04-08-2020, 11:33 AM
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I think for the price as a starter bench.... all the flaws could be corrected. Any racking could be corrected easily, and a better vice could be installed at a later date. Re sizing the dog holes can also be done. That's my 2 cents. I doubt you could buy and build that bench for that price.

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post #7 of 14 Old 04-08-2020, 03:59 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by gmercer_48083 View Post
I think for the price as a starter bench.... all the flaws could be corrected. Any racking could be corrected easily, and a better vice could be installed at a later date. Re sizing the dog holes can also be done. That's my 2 cents. I doubt you could buy and build that bench for that price.

I appreciate the positive outlook on this, however this will not be a "starter" bench for me. More of a better replacement for the cheap one I've had for a few years. I was just considering it for the price as it is on the cheaper side of wooden workbenches available. I will also not build this same style bench for my shop, it will be essentially a more basic one without drawers, with a 3/4" plywood flat top braced with milled 2x4s. I work out of a sub basement and have some limitations on what I can fit where, as well as larger items have to be disassembled to a point to get in and out. I'm sure I can build a sturdier bench for cheaper and add a vise if need be.
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post #8 of 14 Old 04-08-2020, 04:47 PM
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JC - do you have a Harbor Freight near you that you can go by
and check it out in person ?
I have 3 in my area and they have a display set up on both the
metal and wood work tables.
seeing one in person would probably satisfy your expectations.

.
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post #9 of 14 Old 04-08-2020, 05:18 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Smith_inFL View Post
JC - do you have a Harbor Freight near you that you can go by
and check it out in person ?
I have 3 in my area and they have a display set up on both the
metal and wood work tables.
seeing one in person would probably satisfy your expectations.

.
I do about 10 miles away, I may stop by to look at it better as I've only glanced at it in the past but never really stopped to inspect. I more so wanted to see peoples real experience with it is all. But the weight factor of it alone if shying me away. But 3 in your area, lucky! I occasionally find a few good things here and there when I go in. I'm actually pretty impressed with their cheaply prices clamps for what they are.
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post #10 of 14 Old 04-08-2020, 05:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Smith_inFL View Post
JC - do you have a Harbor Freight near you that you can go by
and check it out in person ?
I have 3 in my area and they have a display set up on both the
metal and wood work tables.
seeing one in person would probably satisfy your expectations.

.
Good suggestion, everybody's expectations and ability to modify this will be different, some can make a silk purse from a sows ear others will be critical despite the low price.

Wise men speak because they have something to say; fools because they have to say something -Plato

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post #11 of 14 Old 04-08-2020, 08:23 PM
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I got one of those for a quick work bench in the basement.
I have tweaked it and I love it.
I added some new legs to raise it up to my working level.

Harbor Freight 60" 4 Drawer Workbench?-img_4450.jpg
I pulled the crappy vise and installed my Record vise.

Harbor Freight 60" 4 Drawer Workbench?-img_6975.jpg

I lagged it to the wall and made it rock solid.

Harbor Freight 60" 4 Drawer Workbench?-img_4455.jpg
My shop has just evolved around it.

Harbor Freight 60" 4 Drawer Workbench?-img_4454.jpg

Harbor Freight 60" 4 Drawer Workbench?-img_6979.jpg
It is a great bench.
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post #12 of 14 Old 04-09-2020, 09:55 AM
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JC2323, given your space limitations, have you considered the basic workbench from 2x4basics.com? they show lots of pictures of different versions, from a small 2x4 foot up to a 4x8 foot top. I built mine at 2.5 feet by 7 feet. I used half inch plywood for the bottom shelf, I left out the middle shelf (at first), and I use 3/16" ply for the top. Then I used engineered wood flooring we have left over from redoing our floor, and covered the top. Eventually I wanted the middle shelf, so I used my wife's old desktop. It was 2.5 by 5 feet, so I added short legs at the "middle" and wound up with a 2 foot wide gap at one end - perfect for storing my miter saw. I bolted my vise to one end, and my grinder to the other end. I bolted a 4 foot power strip to the back edge of the top, a couple of Harbor Freight magnetic strips to the side to hold handy tools.
Sometime soon I plan to add the "hutch" type shelving above it. I will have to relocate the power strip then, and I plan to mount a small shop vac on the to shelf to help me keep the whole thing cleaner. YMMV.
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post #13 of 14 Old 04-09-2020, 12:57 PM
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If you are still looking, I made a workbench from an UltraHD bench I got from Sam's club (appx 200.00). It is very solid 25 by 72, hardwood top with adjustable steel legs. It also comes in shorter versions.

I added a vise (pony) and casters (solejazz) and I am drilling 3/4 inch dog holes as needed.

It seems to be working well for me.

My only complaint is that the top is not perfectly flat; however, the bottom is. At some time in the future I'll either work on flatting the top or perhaps flip the top over.
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post #14 of 14 Old 04-20-2020, 04:24 PM
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I haven't bought or used one for any task, but I looked at it in the store. My girlfriend loves the look and layout and wants one for a craft table, but I agree with the others here that it's too light and wobbly. The leg braces are held with knock-down fasteners - IMO by the time you'd modify it to stiffen it up, you might as well build one.
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