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Old 03-08-2008, 04:20 PM
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Building a Bench Cheap

Any suggestions how and what materials to build a 7ft bench that is sturdy but not expensive? I won't be putting a vise on this, thanks, Dana

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Old 03-08-2008, 05:15 PM
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4x4's for legs, 2x4's for cross supports and half inch ply for the top. You can also throw some steel plate on top of that. If you want it really solid you can bolt it to the wall. I'm not sure what your looking for but I can send you some designs if you give some dimensions...
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Old 03-08-2008, 05:31 PM
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A variation would be to build the top out of 2x6 & use a 1/4" hardboard covering which could be replaced when it gets chewed up. I built mine 10' long & used 4x4 legs, 2x10 banding for the top, 2x6 banding for the bottom, 2x10's for the top and for a shelf on the bottom banding. This is very sturdy but is extremely heavy, being about all me & a buddy could do to move it into place after building it. Total cost was around $100 for the wood maybe 4 yrs ago. Built 2 like this, reloading presses on one & a 70 lb wilton vice on the other, neither budges when used.
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Old 03-08-2008, 05:56 PM
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See attached. I built two of these for my brother whose criteria were: has to hang on the wall (so he could hose out the garage before doing a paint job), has to withstand tossing a motorcycle engine on it, and the drawers have to be too shallow to pile more than 1 layer of tools in. The second was built because he built another house and it was easier to let the 1st bench be sold with the garage than try to take it down.

If you look in my journal at the wooden toolchest, you'll see better drawer pulls (force is on the drawer sides rather than the fronts), which I used on the 2nd bench.

We put a skin of 3/8" plywood on his and used self-closing hinges on the doors. The idea was to be able to replace the top after a few years of beatings, but it's still going strong after a decade.

Almost forgot, I'm not sure when I drew these, but just in case it was after the US accepted the Berne convention... The attached image may be copied, modified, distributed without restriction. (In other words, officially in the public domain now).
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Old 03-08-2008, 09:14 PM
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Thanks for the ideas!
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Old 03-08-2008, 09:41 PM
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Find someone who is renovating a house and grab up some counter tops, they are super sturdy and have a non-stainable laminate.

I have this in my shop and have my vice, bench grinder and bench drill press all mounted to it.

Ditto on the 4X4 for legs.....I tried 2x4s and they arnt quite enought when beating on the vice with a 5lb hammer.
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Old 03-08-2008, 10:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Holder350
Find someone who is renovating a house and grab up some counter tops, they are super sturdy and have a non-stainable laminate.

I have this in my shop and have my vice, bench grinder and bench drill press all mounted to it.

Ditto on the 4X4 for legs.....I tried 2x4s and they arnt quite enought when beating on the vice with a 5lb hammer.
hey holder 350, what are beating on your vice with a 5 # hammer for, do you have anger issues???
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Old 03-08-2008, 10:39 PM
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I just finished building two identical benches for my new garage.

They are 2' x 8' x 40" tall, and have one shelf in the middle.

The recipe:
========
6, 4x4's cut to 39.5 inches

1 sheet 3/4" plywood ... cut straight down the middle, the long way.
Half of this sheet remains intact, and is used as the top working surface.
The other half sheet has cut-out corners and centers (3.5" x 3.5") so that the sheet for the bottom shelf fits on the inside of the 4x4's.

Both shelves are constructed so that they are supported on 2x4 x 8' "ladders" that run on the inside of the 4x4 legs.

There are a total of 5, 2 x 4 x 14" "rungs" on this "ladder". 3 of them are placed at the inside of the 4x4 legs, and the remaining 2 at about the 2ft mark ... midway between the 4x4 legs.

I would have to run out to the garage to measure the height of the second shelf to be positive, but I'm sure it was planned so that the top edge of the shelf was at the 20" mark.

As I said, the 2ft x 4ft bench top fits flush on top of the 4x4 legs.
The whole thing is assembled using 3.5" deck screws to retain the ladders to the legs, and 6 more 1.5" screws to hold the plywood to the ladders.

I'm pretty happy with the finished result, considering that I'm not usually much of a carpenter... LOL It seems very sturdy, but one guy can still drag it around as needed.

Call it fluky, or whatever ... but 68 litre hinged-lid storage tubs ($8.95 each at Canadian Tire) fit 4 per shelf, under the bench ... on the floor and on the center shelf.

I have bought a chunk of light-guage steel ... (heavier guage than tin, though) from a friend that had also had it bent to fit a work-bench. It has a 12" 'backsplash' ... which is much taller than I think I need, so it will have to be cut down to about 3", I think. All I need is something to prevent the small parts from getting away from me between the bench and the wall. I think that I will screw this particular bench to the wall and mount the vice on it.
The other bench will likely remain unchanged, except for the addition of a small wooden 'backsplash'.

I will add some pictures later, when completed, to my project journal.
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Old 03-08-2008, 10:50 PM
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Using 4x4s for the legs is not wrong, but it's also unnecessary. The devil is in the details of construction and design. Your house stands up to more pounding than you'll ever give a workbench and I'll bet few live in a house built of 4x4s.

Mass is helpful for a bench that is freestanding and mostly empty or that will be subjected to vibration and when that vibration is detrimental to the work, as in a lathe. Given a bench with 4 uprights, using 4x4s instead of 2x4s gives you the extra mass of just 4 more 2x4s. It's not much of a gain.

Rigidity from design of the joints gains a more stable workbench than the extra mass of using 4x4s for the 'legs'. To make your car frame stronger, do you double its mass?

The bench in the plans I attached above is made up of multiple, identical frames connected by 4 rails. Each frame is diagonally braced and made using half-lap joints, glue and screws. Each frame is rigid. Connecting them with the rails makes a big box which depends on the glue and screws at those rail attachment points. That's sufficient for most cabinets, but not a workbench. The top provides the rigid bracing to prevent racking when viewed from above. The back, whether the wall of the garage or another piece of plywood, does the same bracing in that plane.

Attached is the 2nd bench (mentioned in the post above) in 2002 after years of heavy use. It's 8 ft long, does not touch or depend on the floor for stability, has every drawer full of tools, has each of the 3 cabinet sections full of body tools, paints and 'stuff', and shows absolutely no signs of drooping or being out of square anywhere. In the extreme right corner of the photo, where the date is, you can see some raw 2x4 structure. That's a rolling bench with a vise on it, made just like the workbench except with only 2 frames.

Correction to my first post: I built a 3rd bench for my nephew. Found some pictures of it under construction, 2001-04-01. He wanted a 3/4" top and bottom, with no drawers and only 6 ft long. I'm attaching a couple of photos even though they show my perpetually messy woodshop. So far as I know, that bench is still being used for both woodworking and hotrodding (he's overrun with vehicles, too).

I'll bet the 350 out of my 64 GMC against any of your 4x4 legs that two of us and that 350 can jump on either of those two benches and not do anything worse than bust the plywood.

Now you can fire up those flamethrowers.
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Old 03-09-2008, 12:17 AM
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Grouch's idea of triangulating the corners will make that bench super stable and strong. I just used 1 X 4 for my corner braces.

I used an old solid core wood door for my bench top. It was being thrown out when a local public building was being renovated. I just put the door handle hole at the back of the bench and put a sma;; cupboard over it. You could mount a vise through the whole if you wanted but it would get in the way as it would be in the middle of the bench. I also found a steel door that was not being used and we used it for a friends bench.
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Old 03-09-2008, 07:47 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by techron
hey holder 350, what are beating on your vice with a 5 # hammer for, do you have anger issues???

Yeah my philosophy is that if you don't know HOW to fix it destroy it to the point that none can tell what was originally wrong with it!


And If all else fails get a bigger hammer.

that 25lb sledge over there in the corner has been used before.
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Old 04-05-2008, 06:36 PM
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Bench

I dont have a shop but I have built shelves for places I store tools and whatever needs getting up of the floor and out of the way. I use 2x4s I make mine 24" wide x 8' long. Just standard length and width material. cut your intermediates @ 21" long, You can use 3 or 5 intermediates depending on the weight you plan to use the bench for. I use screws instead of nails. Once I get the frame built I rip a 4x8 sheet of 1/2" plywood in half for the top and using drywall screws for fastening. Try to put your cut side to the wall. Depending on the existing wall you have to mount it on, you just simply screw it or anchor it to the wall. Most of the time its easier to mount it to the wall before you fasten the top. You can use several different kind of legs for it. I used angle braces on some of mine and just straight legs on some. I have loaded tool boxes on mine, bench grinder, small vise, battery chargers and misc parts on mine they seem to carry weight pretty well. Just make sure you use quality screws that are long enough. (NOT WALMART). Go to Home Depot if you have one handy. Hope this helps.
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Old 04-05-2008, 07:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Holder350

Ditto on the 4X4 for legs.....I tried 2x4s and they arnt quite enought when beating on the vice with a 5lb hammer.
If you use 2x4s as legs you double them up and its easy to make a strong clean lap joint for your horizontal pieces.
Makes for a stronger better looking bench and its cheaper.
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Old 04-05-2008, 07:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Holder350
Yeah my philosophy is that if you don't know HOW to fix it destroy it to the point that none can tell what was originally wrong with it!


And If all else fails get a bigger hammer.

that 25lb sledge over there in the corner has been used before.
LOL! I like this!
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Old 04-06-2008, 11:33 AM
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commercial doors

I have a carpenter friend who worked for a door company... old commercial doors either wood or metal are tough and just a 6 pack to haave him bring me a couple
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