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4x8' Shop Bench Idea

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  • 4x8' Shop Bench Idea

    I have a 4x8 foot 1/4" steel plate that I previously used as the top to my main shop bench which I also used as my welding bench with the nice 1/4" steel plate that I'd clamp my ground to. I previously built a stout wooden table that the steel plate sat on. I left the wooden table at my old house but kept the 1/4" steel plate.

    I'm thinking about building another wooden table to put the 1/4" steel plate on for my new shop bench I need. I've been thinking about putting the steel plate onto tool chests instead to give even more useful storage for stuff. I saw these from Grizzly a few weeks who when they were on sale for $899 each. They are still on sale but I should have probably jumped on them when they were $899:

    Wouldn't it be cool to put two of these back-to-back, remove one of the rear center casters, and slap my 4x8' 1/4" steel plate ontop? Maybe remove the rubberwood top and use for something else.. I'm worried that as a bench it might not be very comfortable to use because you can't really sit in front of it as there isn't any place for your legs to go, but damn, that would be an awesome shop bench with plenty of tool storage right at your fingertips and it's mobile.... Kinda kicking myself for not jumping on the $899 sale a few weeks ago...

    Grizzly T27877 - 96" 24 Drawer Stainless Steel Industrial Cabinet with Wood Top

    Last edited by 3 Phase Lightbulb; 11-15-2017, 02:51 PM.

  • #2
    Pictures of my old shop bench that I built to put the 1/4" plate on. Trying to decide if I should built another one or go crazy and stick two 8' long tool chests under it







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    • #3
      It wouldn't be movable but a few kitchen drawer lower units sitting under that steel top would sure hold it up and give you lots of storage.

      The issue with a top like that is that it's not really a great place to install a big heavy vise for beating on things. The 1/4 steel top is still pretty flexible, not to mention "drum like", for such use. It needs a far more firm support to work well with a vise intended for use as an anvil. But if you have some other suitable spot for a vise and this is just as a work area then sure.

      But if you don't mind the cost you indicated here's another thought.... One of those on one side and two smaller units on the other. That way you have a knee well between the two shorter units on the one side so you can get up close on a stool. But the whole works can still roll around if you desire.

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      • #4
        Our posts passed in the night....

        If you can do wood working of that sort then just man up and build the same sort of rig but this time with drawers. You can buy a LOT of sheet stock and good quality drawer slides for a LOT less than the $1800 that two of those cabinets would cost.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by BCRider View Post
          Our posts passed in the night....

          If you can do wood working of that sort then just man up and build the same sort of rig but this time with drawers. You can buy a LOT of sheet stock and good quality drawer slides for a LOT less than the $1800 that two of those cabinets would cost.
          I can build anything out of wood, it's just time consuming and I'm really digging those stainless steel tool chests. One problem I've had with tool chests in the past is the size of the drawers. Unfortunately these have lots of shallow drawers (2.5") and no medium ones so it seems like a lot of things that are taller than 2.5" will have to go in the large drawers which wouldn't be great for me as I'd like to store all kinds of stuff in something like that. Building my own out of wood could be nice... Still have to think about it... time is more scarce than $$$ now so it's hard to justify the time

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          • #6
            I read you loud and clear on the balance between time and money. Sometimes it's better to pay so you can play at something more fun or demanding.

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            • #7
              I don't think you would be happy with it if you tied them together with your steel plate. Bulky, heavy to move around, likely awkward to access all drawers, possible trouble with the casters; if your floor isn't perfectly flat you will find certain casters to be heavily loaded while others barely loaded at all. If you really want & need a steel top for durability I would suggest a 16 gauge sheet on each bench but keep them separate.

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              • #8
                Arcane raises a good point about multiple casters and typical floor undulations. If there's one thing I've learned over my years it is that poured concrete floors are anything BUT flat. From an ant's perspective they likely look like a range of rolling hills in fact.

                THis is such a truism that for every bench I've ever built since back in the early 80's I've included a leg load equalizing foot in one corner. Not as a leveler, just as a load equalizer.

                ... did I mention how much I truly detest benches that rock, roll or shake? I figure a block of solid granite that extends down deep below into solid bedrock should be just about a perfect bench for me.... ... actually I'm only semi joking. I went to great lengths to make sure that my work island that holds my big bench vise is solid and heavy enough to not move by any amount I can detect without a test gauge.

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                • #9
                  Build your own table with drawers at the top at each end, shelf space beneath the drawers and and knee space in the middle. For most of the table, back the plate up with some 1" wood fpr clamping stuff.

                  Knee space is important. The knee space can have a low shelf for big things and your welding pedal.

                  Have a mix of drawer depths, 3" for the top two, and 6" for the lower drawer, in each stack.

                  Have the front uprights accessible for bolting on stops and vises, and for clamping large wood or metal stock.

                  You also need top overhang available for clamping and clamp vises.

                  You can have some of the wood backing missing for when you need red hot stuff touching the plate.

                  One of my benches had a cutout at one end for working on stuff while supporting it at each end.

                  All my suggestions are based on more like 6'x3' benches. I just wish I had the space to get anything 8'x4' into my shop !
                  Richard

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Arcane View Post
                    I don't think you would be happy with it if you tied them together with your steel plate. Bulky, heavy to move around, likely awkward to access all drawers, possible trouble with the casters; if your floor isn't perfectly flat you will find certain casters to be heavily loaded while others barely loaded at all. If you really want & need a steel top for durability I would suggest a 16 gauge sheet on each bench but keep them separate.
                    Yup but I would normally locate it in a open space so plenty of room to walk around it and use the drawers. As for floor flatness, I suspect I'd probably locate it where I want it then just lock the casters and shim under the wheels. I expect that the 96" long tool chest will just deform and find ground -- especially with a 450lb slab of 1/4" plate steel on-top but maybe not -- or if they deform enough for the drawers to bind then I'd want to shim it. As for bulky and heavy to move, I'm planning on building a 4x8' table anyway so being able to move it around at all will be a big plus.

                    I think I'll call Grizzy tomorrow and see if they will give me two units at their previous sale price.. If not, then I think I'll look at maybe 4 smaller chests at each corner with maybe ~3 feet of leg room in the middle on both sides of the bench. Looks like there are a lot of options when it comes to 4 smaller chests.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by 3 Phase Lightbulb View Post
                      maybe 4 smaller chests at each corner with maybe ~3 feet of leg room in the middle on both sides of the bench. Looks like there are a lot of options when it comes to 4 smaller chests.
                      Shorter units (however many) would give you a whole lot more flexibility in very many ways, with essentially no disadvantages.

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                      • #12
                        Marking where the caster positions and shimming to equalize the load would be a good low tech way to stabilize the arrangement regardless of two, three or four cabinets being used. And you maintain some mobility that way.

                        You might also consider leaving the casters in place and use some jacking blocks that just lift the units up off the wheels. A crowbar and a block would easily let you lift far enough to slip in the blocks. Then the whole thing is really solid and stable. But with about two minutes worth of time is back down on wheels and mobile.

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                        • #13
                          Good idea.

                          Consider this, though.....

                          1) Casters are horrible on benches, even when locked, they spin and allow shifting, even if they cannot roll. Maybe you are OK with that, in which case go for it, but I hate a moving workbench. Locking blocks or supports are good for fixing that.

                          2) All the stuff in those drawers is gonna clank every time you whack something on top of the bench pretty hard. And maybe the drawers too. Again, maybe not an issue for you, but I don't like it myself. Some ball bearing drawers can actually pop open from that, although those look too heavy to allow that.

                          3) almost forgot... totally agree on knee room, someplace on the bench needs knee room. Maybe at an end...... The knee room area does not need to be as solid, it won't get a big vise etc on it.
                          Last edited by J Tiers; 11-15-2017, 05:25 PM.
                          1601

                          Keep eye on ball.
                          Hashim Khan

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                          • #14
                            You can get casters which lock from swiveling as well as rolling but they still move more that a solid base. I have a couple benches with some caster like that on them, it is really handy when moving stuff around but otherwise they are just OK for most use. . . I ended up switching things around and building a third bench without casters for heavier use.

                            I built my 'benches' from these plans but modified to be longer, they are very sturdy and the extra storage from the shelf is definitely nice but I do miss the leg room when I am soldering or doing something I want to sit for. I think having a couple small boxes with leg room in the middle would probably work pretty well.

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                            • #15
                              I'm wondering if the bench would even budge without locking the casters. It says the shipping weight for one of them is 435lbs so maybe they weight ~400lbs each. My 1/4" 4x8' plate probably weights ~350lbs so both tool chests together probably weight 800lbs plus my 350lbs plate plus ~300-1000lbs of tools yields a shop bench weighing 1450-2150lbs.

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