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Workbench dilemma (new shop)

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  • #31
    Right Time and Place

    I just happened by a construction project when they were dismantelling shoring timbers. They were rough cut (actually 2" by 8") oak planks in varying lenths between 7 and 10 feet. They said that they were just going to burn them and I could take all I wanted. Having my car, instead of my truck, I was able to carry only a few of them. I picked about 8 planks, all that were 8 ft. or more.

    Six were cut to 8' lengths and the others were cut to 4' to make a 4' by 8' table top with oak cross members. I had to pre-drill each hole to ensure each spike would be driven to its head without bending! The top was covered with a 4' by 8' sheet of 1/4" plywood. The plywood provided a smooth top, covering the rough timbers. The plywood can be replaced if it gets too badly damaged.

    I used 4" by 4" posts for the legs which were cross braced by 2 by 4's. They were cut so that the table top had a height of 44" above the ground. I built this work bench to fit me!! I made it to be portable and have moved it twice so far. The top is so heavy that I have to use a hydralic jack and cribbing to lift the end so that the legs can be re-attached. However it is very sturdy.


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    • #32
      Originally posted by BigBoy1
      I used 4" by 4" posts for the legs which were cross braced by 2 by 4's. They were cut so that the table top had a height of 44" above the ground. I built this work bench to fit me!!
      I know what you mean, I find it uncomfortable if the bench top is below about 40".

      I compromised on the benches and purchased 2 from Sears. I got one on clearance for $58 that I will cross brace with angle iron, The second cost $220, but has a 2500lb load capacity. I will post pictures when I get them together.
      -Dan S.


      • #33
        If you are dead set on buying one, I bought this one from Sears maybe 7 years ago. It has ball bearing drawers and a thick particle board top with a metal cover. I bought it to hold my mini-lathe and mini-mill when all I had was a basement shop in my old house. I had to have something that could come in in pieces. It was under $200 at the time on sale.

        I have several benches in my newer shop. One was one of the steel top and leg sets that you can get. Its like this but with a steel top. I got it well used and with 5-6 different paint jobs for about $35 and stripped and repainted it.

        I built the long bench at the back of my big shop as well as one in my basement shop. This makes for a really rigid bench and its cheap. If your bench does not need to be free-standing, this may be the best way to go. Use 4x4 posts, 2x4 top frame and a plywood top. The one in the shop building is similar but uses some big old thick heavy doors I salvaged on top of the 2x4 frame. No need for rear build the 2x4 frame on the floor and then pick it up and just lag it to the wall at the rear with a front post clamped in place. Cut the rest of your posts and screw them to the frame in front. Here's one I built in my basement shop in the new house. I do electrical and other small mechanical work at this bench when I don't want to run to the big shop and half of it is dedicated to handloading (ammunition). You can build them to a corner shape as I did. I covered the plywood top with tempered masonite and gave it a couple of coats of polyurethane which mostly soak in, but help make it more durable.

        Paul Carpenter
        Mapleton, IL


        • #34
          Work Bench

          Even cheaper, just get a damaged solid core door 3'X6'8" and buy 1 2X4 and 1 4X4 . Cut the 4X4 to what height you want the work bench then screw or nail the 2X4 to the wall, screw 6"lag screws through face or door close to the edge and then set door on the 2X4 and nail or screw it . (Cheap work bench but sturdy)


          • #35
            a cheap solution for a welding bench was a free surface plate. heavy duty. the addition of the casters (to get it away from the wall when welding/cutting) has made it a bit taller, but am getting use to it. also made a secure base to attach my manual ironworker onto.

            "Good judgment comes from experience, and often experience comes from bad judgment" R.M.Brown

            My shop tour


            • #36
              Just bought 5, 40" x 88" stainless steel old time hog butchering tables at an auction, 2" high raised lip across the front, and 4" on the sides and back with a 2" drain in the back left corner. Each table weights about 500 pounds, about 33" high, but with adjustable feet to raise and level. Will be delivered on 7/19/07. Then is clorox time, to scub and get them real clean, don't want any rancid pork smell in the shop.



              • #37
                If you want cheap, go to HD or a plumb shop and buy or have cut to length 1 1/2 or 2 inch black or galvanized iron pipe, thread both ends, 1/2 a buck per thread at HD, buy flanges for top and bottom of however many you want.

                Flanges have 4 holes in them for anchors.

                Top, HD, again, sells MDF in 3/4 thickness, 49 X 97, was about 15 bucks when I built my 4 X 8 assembly bench (woodworking ), rip in half, 16'2" X 24 1/2 inch benchtops, minus the kerf..

                1/4" flathead bolts/screws from face down through the flange holes.

                If you need crossbracing, the clamp on stuff from fence distributors will work, or you use short lengths of pipe, T's, and maybe unions, so you don't have to spin the front legs onto the back legs to get them together, although you could do that, and that bracing pipe gives you, if you only need one, a use for the other half of the MDF (which is really untempered masonite, very strong).

                DO Urethane or varnish the top, and that goes for Sears, too, as, if you don't, a drop of water will raise a "blister".

                As an aside, why can't I access any pics posters post? Ebay, f'rinstance, I have to right click "view picture" or something. The other machining forum, the pics come up a "pipe". Hover, right click, "view pic", and it takes me to the pic. Here, there is a 4 line space with no pipe.

                You post a pic, I can't see any way to click to see the pic.

                Is it something to do with settings in Firefox. Don't use IE so don't know if it does the same, will try that shortly.

                This is because I can't see any of the pics in this thread, either, not just off the wall.





                • #38
                  Cheap , strong, heavy top is made with a solid core 2 inch door.
                  Find a hospital or business doing remodeling and you get one free.
                  Ask a carpenter.
                  Green Bay, WI


                  • #39
                    Originally posted by Rich Carlstedt
                    Cheap , strong, heavy top is made with a solid core 2 inch door.
                    Find a hospital or business doing remodeling and you get one free.
                    Ask a carpenter.
                    That's how I got mine. They were remodeling at work and I got 5 commercial 2" solid core doors (oak exterior w/maple configured like bowling alley interior). These make fantastic benches for wood working because they stay flat. Mine are attached to the wall like Paul Carpenters, that makes them easy to level up. I'd like to mount one outside the barn on big hinges for messy outside jobs. These doors are all I can manhandle as they are very heavy.
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                    • #40
                      Making a Workbench

                      Being an electrician I like Unistrut ALOT so this is what i did.I went to Graingers and bought a pair of bench legs (some places sell them individually that would work better) Then I took 3 pieces of Unistrut laid them open side down on the legs.Then we took 3 pieces of plywood and cut them to size which 1 42X48 and 2 42X8' then we gluded then together making sure to offset the joints. This gives me a 12'0''X 42'' working surface. We then wraped a rabbited 2X4 around the edge . We then fastened the Unistrut to the plywood with 5/16 X 2 1/2 FHMS and nuts and washers with that complete we tacked down some 1/4'' Masonite for a working surface.Now this makes a very nice and sturdy bench but the 8' span for the 1 5/8 X 1 5/8 senior Unistrut is a bit much so I did have to add a middle leg .I did make it out of Unistrut.
                      I must also add that we did use 1 1/4'' drywall screws to hold the plywood together. It also helps to have a friend who is a carpender cabinet maker . GMF


                      • #41
                        I finally have the shop set up the way i want it. I reinforce both benches using 1/8" x1" angle iron.

                        -Dan S.


                        • #42

                          All the suggestions, and you show a "finally" pic, and you have a, how much does it weigh, keyboard on one pic, and a tiny what looks like a DP and 10" mitre saw on the other pic.

                          I thought you were trying to hold up a 600 pound lathe, at the minimum. Those tools you could support with a resin folding table and double sided foam core tape to hold them down.

                          My Sears jig saw has been stuck to the bench for 15 years with 3M double sided tape. I cannot move it, unless I decide to slip a sharp, thin knife blade and cut it loose.

                          If that's all you needed, you should have bought folding table legs and attached your choice of top to it.

                          I am embarrassed that I mentioned 1 1/2 or 2 inch pipe to build what I thought you needed. THAT could have been built with conduit. And, CHEAPER.



                          I don't mean to put you down, but, man, that last pic was a real deflator.


                          • #43

                            Eventually my lathe will be going on the first bench, but right now i have enough space that it's fine on the current bench. i hope to pick up a lathemaster mill this winter, and start working on a 4' x 2' cnc router. I would also like an old floor mounted drill press.

                            Once i get more toys, these benches will see a lot more weight, but for now its just nice to have the counter space.
                            -Dan S.


                            • #44
                              George, you need to review the part you slept through in class about Tact.


                              (n) tact, tactfulness (consideration in dealing with others and avoiding giving offense)

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