Most of you know that I’ve had a huge 4′ x 8′ workbench in the middle of my shop for years. When I built it, I reasoned that its size would be handy for cutting full sheets of plywood and for assembling large projects. It took me over ten years to figure out that I rarely need that much work surface and I prefer to break down sheet goods in the driveway. It also took me that long to realize that my shop was feeling needlessly cramped, especially for shooting video.
The new workbench is similar in design to my old one, and I was able to recycle much its lumber. For the kind of building I do, I don’t require a traditional “woodworking” bench, such as a hand-tool user needs for holding down work pieces for chiseling and hand planing. When I require hold-downs, a clamp hrabbing the edge of the bench works fine.
What I do require in a bench is strength and stability. Something I can pound on and abuse! The structure of this workbench is all made with 2x4s. For the top, I glued together two pieces of 3/4″ (19mm) plywood, making it beefy and perfectly flat. I like to tack a sheet of 1/4″ (6mm) hardboard (AKA: Masonite) to the top. This gives it a smooth surface that can easily be replaced if needed.
Another thing I wanted was a bit more height than the old bench. I made the old one to match the height of my old table saw so I could use it as an outfeed table, which I rarely did. This new bench stands 36″ (914mm) tall, which is much more comfortable for me to work on without leaning over too much.
Finally, I included plenty of storage space in this workbench. I left one half open, for storing wood, and I utilized the space between the 2x4s on the ends for shallow shelves. Don’t know what I’ll use them for yet, but it’s nice to have.