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Dominic_Martinelli

Building a workbench - Tips and Advice

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There's hundreds of ways to build a workbench, depending on the type of work you do.

What type of work do you do? Transmission? (It's totally different than engine or carpentry). Electrical work benches won't have any conductive metals, etc.

Again, what do you do? General house repairs? How much space do you have to work in?

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In my first shop I had one long built in bench and a second free standing. In my current shop I went for all free standing, gives me more flexibility if I change my mind on how things are arranged, and I have a couple of times. My last change was to eliminate a bench since it was just full of junk anyway. I also have one small bench on casters with a carpeted top and shelves underneath. Makes it handy when you need an extra work space and storage for all those tools that come in storage boxes. It has a plug strip and a work light mounted on it.

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My main work bench is in a corner of my shop mounted to two walls with one 6" x 6" post on the outside corner. My vice is mounted directly over the post so when I hammer on it, nothing gives.

I also use one of two 6' folding table (sometimes with carpet on top) to do projects that need more space than my bench can accomodate, or two folding tables for really big jobs to support large or long items with both tables.

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For a general work bench I usually Knock one together out of dimension lumber. Doubled 2 X 4's for the legs. 2 X 4's for the lower skirt boards and 2 X 6's for the uppers. For a top I use 3/4" plywood, sanded one side, with a couple of coats of polyurethane.

Add a 3" back to keep things from getting pushed off the back side. Never nail. Use deck screws for the frame and dry wall screws for the top.

You should be able to knock the whole thing together for about $50 in a morning with time left over.......Bob

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I built a 2' by 8' knockdown bench that I have used in two houses. I used a 4'x8' sheet of 3/4" plywood ripped down the middle and doubled up, did the same with a sheet of 1/8" masonite for a smooth top, all screwed together. 2"x4" frame and bolt-on legs, makes a good heavy base for a vise. To make it more solid you can attach a cleat to your wall studs and bolt the bench to that.

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I have a few as well. For the general purpose bench against the garage wall, I mounted a 3" X 3" angle iron inset on the front edge, screwed down on top and on the face hanging down. Structrual steel is tough stuff. I've used that front 90* edge for thousands of different jobs. One 2" X 4" leg sits underneath the middle of the iron for heavy hammering.

My electrical bench is free-standing 4' X 4' X 36"-high (I'm tall). I simply cut a 4' X 8' X 3/4" CDX plywood sheet in half, stacked them, and put one 1/4" masonite on top for smoothness and easy cleanup. A 2" X 6" skirt under the top holds four bolted legs in the corners, with 1" X 4" "X" braces.

The masonite prevents little electrical components from falling down cracks, because there are none. All my test equipment goes in the middle and my receptacles are ABOVE the bench, so they are never in the way. A medium-sized vise is mounted over one leg for hammering.

To be honest, I've had everything on this bench at different times. I have polished stainless on it using a mounted 1/3-hp 3,600 rpm motor and buffing wheel in a corner. Once, I rebuilt a Pinto (2,000cc) engine on it. The masonite top really makes it function well and the legs can be removed. This bench is carriage-bolted together (including the vise), not screwed or nailed. It is the most-used bench I've ever had.

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Guest imported_MrEarl

Keep your eyes open for a bowling alley coming down. I picked up some alley from one in Athens about 25 years ago and it has served me well.

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Also if you have a Habitat store or salvage building materials store in your area, old solid core hardwood doors can't be beat. I found a beautiful hard maple and an oak one.

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I bought a workbench. I needed storage/drawrs as the garage is small. I added a vise and bench grinder to the workbench plus a 6 outlet thing.I also took advantage of the space between the workbench and wall which was about 2' and built up a platform which holds my tool box with sockets (200 some peices) so I didn't lose any workspace. I also added a shelf for things I use the most like drill index, tape measure, pens and such. I've also got one of those 40 some drawr organizers for small parts on top of the socket tool box. Bulky items such as cordless drill, tap & die set are under the workbench.

The name of the game is to design it so you can get maximum use of space. Don't forget you can hang things from overhead, on the wall and other creatove places. I'm working on a piece of framed peg board which is mounted to drawr slides which are mounted to the wall. This will allow me to utilaize an area that is not very accessable, it's more of a cubby hole right now. Once the pegboard is mounted to the wall and drawr slides, I will use hooks to hang air tools and other items on. This way I have storage and it's out of the way when not in use. Pulling out the pegboard gives access to the tools. You could also just mount the pegborad to the wall however in my case it would be difficult to access them.

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I would strongly suggest you build your workbench of recycled old growth pine. Wood is great for a auto workbench. Here are some pics of my home made work bench. It is built of recycled "used" timbers. I built this bench some 40 years ago from wood that was from a baseball statium; which was built in the 30's utilizing lumber salvaged from a cotton warehouse. So this is the third life for these timbers. It is rugged enough to put a transmission or engine on.

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Don, I found my vise in the back of an old barn my parents had in the early seventies. It was a little rusty when I found it; but all I had to do was clean and put a little oil and grease on it to get it functional again. I would not trade it for any vise I have seen since. By the way, it is called a blacksmith vise.

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<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Quote:</div><div class="ubbcode-body">it is called a blacksmith vise. </div></div>

That's sort of a common name but it really is a post or leg vise. They were commonly used by black smiths. An ordinary vise is designed mostly to hold objects. A post vise is designed to hold an object while it's being beat to death with a big hammer. That's why it has a post or leg that's supposed to be set into a solid foundation, to absorb the punishment without harm.

They are fairly common around here and are not very expensive. I have a large and a smaller one........Bob

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My father dose blacksmithing and has several post vises. If you're interested in getting one e mail a local blacksmith guild I'm sure they could lead you to one. They're pretty neat.

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