10x6ft Workbench Design


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2 Mar 2023
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We've just moved into a property which includes a 6x12m workshop. (Actually more of a long shed, it has a good metal roof but it needs new windows / doors, damp proofing, insulation, lighting and general moisture control) The previous owners had left behind a 10x6ft workbench is is a fantastic size, but sadly is a little lacking in its construction. (The legs are splayed out and are made of multiple pieces patched together, somebody has helpfully cut through the surface and into the beams below which means that most of the surface is drooping down) Which brings me to my first project in this workshop, replacing the workbench. I was originally just going to replace the top but when I noticed that the legs are falling apart, I decided that I might as well just rebuild it. Some may say that the workbench is too big and to be honest it does take up quite a lot of space, but I do want to be able to work with sheet goods and I was also planning on using it as a base for an interim 4x4ft CNC build as I'll be making a new kitchen. (Later on I'll use the gantry and extend it into a stand-alone 8x4 CNC, but that's a job for when the workshop is insulated and I don't need the walls to be clear)

My general thoughts were:
- Retain the 10x6ft worktop size, I can use approx 6x6ft for the CNC and still have a 6x4ft usable worktop
- Use two 18mm layers to build the worktop so that the joints can be staggered - All glued together to form one solid worktop (Maybe birch ply for the base layer and moisture resistant MDF for the surface, possibly increasing to 24mm for the plywood layer depending on availability)
- Leave a 100mm border around the edge for easy clamping
- A nice solid base with lower bracing
- Levelling casters with ratchets: https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B0BQ5Z1GJY/

I don't have a nice moisture-controlled workshop nor do I have any equipment to mill my own wood, so I am planning on using:
Redwood PSE 100 x 100mm (act size 95 x 95) (For the legs)
I've just purchased a used Festool DF700 domino jointer so I plan on using 14mm dominoes, coach bolts and liberal amounts of glue throughout.

I'm a little concerned that I've over-designed it - The biggest indication of this is the price:

Here's a link to the CAD design. I'd attach some sockets to the side rails and had considered adding a grid of 20mm holes - Not useful for clamping due to the thickness of the top but they would be useful for bench dogs.
One thing I'll add is that I was considering a vertical workspace for clamping doors etc on their side, but I'm unsure about how best to go about adding that.

Thank you for any and all advice.

I added side rails to act as a side clamping surface and brought the side of the frame out to the edge of the worktop, the updated BOM is now even more expensive but I can now clamp doors to the sides and can still clamp to every edge of the top surface: (The CAD link shows the latest version with the side rails)
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Perhaps a search for 'mobile' or 'modular workbench' may be useful something along these lines may be more useful as a workbench / storage unit in this situation. With part / most of it? of it as an mft top it could be used to help build out the rest of the space.

You could use moisture resistant mdf, have it all cut to size, learn how to use the domino.
Which aspect are you suggesting in particular? Making multiple smaller mobile workbenches which can be joined together, primarily using sheet goods for the entire build, or are you referring to the MFT-style 20mm dog holes and/or matchfit slots?

There are so many great designs that I've seen others build, I have to admit that I'm a little overwhelmed by the number of different options.

I did consider 20mm dog holes and slots but I wasn't sure it was practical for the size I was intending to build - Partially because it would take about a day to drill that many holes, partially because the I think that the size (And the fact that the top will have joints) needs quite a bit of support underneath which would get in the way of any dog holes and partially because of the joined top I was thinking of using two layers laminated together, which is then too thick to pass clamps through. Having said that, I can still see the advantage of having them but I would ideally like it to be larger than a standard sheet of material.

Speaking of building it out of sheets instead - I've seen quite a few which use plywood for the entire build and the stability of the material is very enticing. If I were using sheet goods for the whole build I'd build a torsion box top which would be superior and would help with the thickness issue, but the problem with that is that I'm not really kitted out to build something like that. (No table saw, no track saw, no flat work surface) With the CNC built it would be very easy, but there's a chicken and egg situation there where I need a nice large and flat work surface to get the CNC build started.

I'm also a little anxious about the project because initially I thought I'd just throw something together that was essentially just an updated and fixed version of what I have to relatively cheap - But with the current prices of wood and my ability to add endless amounts of wood to the design every time I open it, this is no-longer a cheap and simple build. I'm wondering if something as ambitious as my design is a waste, especially given that I'm not going to mill the wood and that the humidity of my workshop will change over time until I get the building sorted.

I should point out that my Domino is the DF700, so I'd need to pick up an adapter from Seneca in order to use it with 18mm sheet goods - I think that might be worthwhile anyway as my plan is to have a worktop with joints and dominoes would help keep them together.
Buy the track saw sooner rather than later.
Oh you're a bad influence, I've been putting of buying one for a while now. I can't quite decide between the cordless Makita SP001G (All of my cordless equipment is Makita) and the new (corded) Festool TS 60. Most cutting will be with a vacuum so the power cable wouldn't be much of an issue, but then again being able to make the odd cut without connecting anything would be handy. I've always liked Makita tools, but is the Festool saw more accurate? The two are in the same ballpark financially, although the Makita is better value for money being cordless for the same sort of money.
TS is a tool that having bought one I wouldn't want to be without.
Plunging type is safer to my mind than a non plunge saw.
Rail guided cuts are reliably straight.

I don't do site work so cordless doesn't matter to me.
I swapped out the festool ts55 for the Mafell equivalent this summer.
I think the Mafell is the better saw and their track is much better
1. Because the joining method is superior
2. Because their standard rail is 1600mm and the extra length over the Festool 1400mm track eliminates a long time annoyance with the Festool.

Buy one in July / August when the big online sellers have their best discounts. 15 to 20% off on ebay. They sell hundreds during those sales.
Thank you, I'll have a good look at the Mafell offering - I hadn't considered it to be honest. I'll also keep a look out for the discounts.

I may just look at repairing the table I have by strengthening the joints with dominoes and replacing the surface, then look at building something new when I'm better equipped for the task.

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