Quantcast
  • We invite you to join UKWorkshop.
    Members can turn off viewing Ads!

Tell me how to build the easiest workbench possible

UKworkshop.co.uk

Help Support UKworkshop.co.uk:

ali27

Established Member
Joined
24 Nov 2009
Messages
335
Reaction score
0
Guys I need a workbench, but I am not willing to pay 200-300 for
such a thing. So either I need to buy second hand or make on myself.

Now when I think of building a workbench, I think of a flat wood/mdf top and four
legs and that's it. Seeing pictures of workbenches I noticed that there were many
extra pieces of woods, between the legs and in other parts. I am guessing that
just four legs is not enough stability. I have very little tools so I need to make a bench
that is super easy to make. Help is appreciated.

Thanks.
 

Hudson Carpentry

Established Member
Joined
4 Nov 2010
Messages
2,289
Reaction score
0
Location
Nottingham, UK
The cross members you see are as you say to stabilise the bench, with out them you will have a wobbly bench in no time.

So the basic bench you can make is 4 legs, each connected to a cross member top and bottom then a nice thick top. You need cross members on all sides not just front and back.
 

The Bear

Established Member
Joined
10 Sep 2007
Messages
1,011
Reaction score
3
Location
Surrey
I'd say second hand. I got one, ex school, with two massive record quick release vices for £30. Very solid even if somewhat battered.

Mark
 

marcros

Established Member
Joined
11 Feb 2011
Messages
10,976
Reaction score
601
Location
Leeds
pair of tressles and a firedoor. 2nd hand record vice, or holdfasts for workholding.

If you are willing to do some work to it, but want to spend minimal funds on materials, you could look for used scaffold boards (local to me they are 35p/ft + VAT) and laminate them together and make Chris Schwarz' "English workbench", with firedoor as a flat and cheap top. http://www.popularwoodworking.com/woodw ... -workbench

His book is well worth a read if you are building a bench- there may be other good books on the subject, but this is the only one that I have experience of.
 

Derek Cohen (Perth Oz)

Established Member
Joined
2 Mar 2005
Messages
2,773
Reaction score
152
Location
Perth, Australia
Quick and solid bench ...

Hinge a solid door on the horizontal to a wall at the bench height you desire.

Add any type of legs you like to the front (even fold up types - as long as they lock in place).

The attachment to the wall will keep the top rigid.

Time to build: about 1 hour.

Regards from Perth

Derek
 

bobbybirds

Established Member
Joined
20 Dec 2011
Messages
85
Reaction score
0
Location
Canada
We just built a nice basement bench for a friend out of 8 foot 2x4's. I am not sure what they cost in GB but here they are $1.99 each. We laminated the top together using the tried and test "glued and screwed" method instead of clamping, marking the screw spots as we went so later we were able to bore dog holes without worry. Same for the legs and stretchers. we used a simple shoulder vise screw to fashion a wagon vise and bing bang boom we had a nice little bench with a 3.5 inch thick top in a weekend for around $90.00 and a bit of elbow grease..
 

Fat ferret

Established Member
Joined
14 Jun 2011
Messages
320
Reaction score
0
Location
Dumfries and Galloway.
I built a very cheap and reasonably good bench from old square fence posts and scaffolding boards. Just mortice the cross peices (ripped up boards) into the legs (square fence posts) and drive a couple of nails throught the joints (pre drill), use glue aswell if you want but no need. For the top I planed the scaffolding board edges flat then glued them, nail this on top (punch nails in, or screw from underneath) then plane the top flat and there you go. I painted the bench except the top with green cuprinol and it looked good. The vice was more expensive than the bench, a record 52 for £20 8) .

I also built a smaller one from some four by two joists I got when I ripped out an old floor.
 

Alf

Established Member
Joined
22 Oct 2003
Messages
12,079
Reaction score
0
Location
Up the proverbial creek
My formative years were spent at a bench of three boards bolted to three frames of Dexion acting as legs, which in turn were bolted to the floor and the wall. Never moved an inch and still doing sterling service several house moves later. Not pretty, but certainly quick and very minimal tools or skill required.
 

Shrubby

Established Member
Joined
12 May 2007
Messages
684
Reaction score
0
Location
London
Buy a secondhand EMIR on Ebay. They usually come with a record vice
Matt
 

baldpate

Established Member
Joined
30 Jan 2011
Messages
269
Reaction score
0
Location
London
Quick and solid bench ...

Hinge a solid door on the horizontal to a wall at the bench height you desire.

Add any type of legs you like to the front (even fold up types - as long as they lock in place).

The attachment to the wall will keep the top rigid.

Time to build: about 1 hour.

Regards from Perth

Derek
+1

Workbench essentials (my opinion of course :)):
- the working surface absolutely must not move about when you clamp stuff too it and then start shoving it around (with a plane, a saw, a router, .... etc). A wall is a great stabilizer : my own bench is bolted to a brick wall via its back legs, but Derek's solution does exactly the same job.
- the working surface must be flat. I used the cheapest possible solid-core firedoor as a basis (with some MDF layers on top). Any old warped door won't do, but super-flat isn't too important.
- the working surface must be supported. Again Derek's solution does the job, although it must be done in such a way that the surface doesn't "give" vertically (either by "sagging" over time, or by "bouncing" when you bash it). I screwed some 2x4s underneath to give the necessary stability.
PS: I re-used a knock-down, under-frame from an earlier bench, but it was always very wobbly until I tied it to the wall in the new construction.

PPS: some of this is irrelevant, of course, if you can't/don't want to fix your bench to a wall. In that case you'll definitely need to invest more effort in lateral stability (i.e making sure the "working surface absolutely must not move about when you clamp stuff too it and then start shoving it around" :)).
 

matthewwh

Established Member
Joined
5 Jul 2006
Messages
1,507
Reaction score
5
Location
North Oxfordshire
Funnily enough I've just built a new bench this week.



There is a post with work in progress shots here: New Workshop Build Part 1.

Probably not exactly what you are after, but it always helps to gather ideas from a few sources and then use them as appropriate.
 

No skills

Established Member
Joined
6 Feb 2011
Messages
2,557
Reaction score
1
Location
Hanging by my fingertips
'Adding mass' is always a good idea for stability (fixings to the wall etc), if you dont want to screw anything to the walls then put a couple of sandbags on the lower shelf of the bench (assuming you have one when built) - if the bench is stiff then the extra weight will help reduce movement when your working.
 

bugbear

Established Member
Joined
16 Jul 2004
Messages
13,074
Reaction score
1
Location
North Suffolk
For a rigid frame, use either diagonal braces, or the ultimate "infinite bracing" - sheet goods fixed over the legs (just like the hardboard back that prevent a bookcase from racking)

Achieving rigidity in the normal "timber framed" rectilinear design requires large (expensive) timbers, and decent joinery.

BugBear
 

GazPal

Established Member
Joined
30 Jul 2010
Messages
1,136
Reaction score
0
Location
North East England
ali27":354vsnok said:
Guys I need a workbench, but I am not willing to pay 200-300 for
such a thing. So either I need to buy second hand or make on myself.

Now when I think of building a workbench, I think of a flat wood/mdf top and four
legs and that's it. Seeing pictures of workbenches I noticed that there were many
extra pieces of woods, between the legs and in other parts. I am guessing that
just four legs is not enough stability. I have very little tools so I need to make a bench
that is super easy to make. Help is appreciated.

Thanks.

Your options are endless, but you could start by making a pair of trestles and use a sheet of 8'x4'x1" ply (Split down it's length) doubled in thickness, or a few lengths of 6"x2" (Glued edge to edge with bread boarded ends) faced with 0.5" ply for your worktop. Simple and inexpensive, but not as simple as providing 4 legs with stretchers linked via mortise and tenon joints or dowel bolts. A saw, hammer, jack plane, pencil, tape measure, square and couple of chisels are all you need if tooling is a limitation.
 

bugbear

Established Member
Joined
16 Jul 2004
Messages
13,074
Reaction score
1
Location
North Suffolk
GazPal":17896ls3 said:
ali27":17896ls3 said:
Guys I need a workbench, but I am not willing to pay 200-300 for
such a thing. So either I need to buy second hand or make on myself.

Now when I think of building a workbench, I think of a flat wood/mdf top and four
legs and that's it. Seeing pictures of workbenches I noticed that there were many
extra pieces of woods, between the legs and in other parts. I am guessing that
just four legs is not enough stability. I have very little tools so I need to make a bench
that is super easy to make. Help is appreciated.

Thanks.

Your options are endless, but you could start by making a pair of trestles and use a sheet of 8'x4'x1" ply (Split down it's length) doubled in thickness, or a few lengths of 6"x2" (Glued edge to edge with bread boarded ends) faced with 0.5" ply for your worktop. Simple and inexpensive, but not as simple as providing 4 legs with stretchers linked via mortise and tenon joints or dowel bolts. A saw, hammer, jack plane, pencil, tape measure, square and couple of chisels are all you need if tooling is a limitation.
I'll point out that a bench for stock preparation using hand planes needs to be very stable, since the forces are high. Hand power-tools work doesn't need much more than a sturdy table (work can be held for routing by mere friction, hence the "router mat")

BugBear
 

Jacob

Pint of bass, porkpie, and packet of crisps please
Joined
7 Jul 2010
Messages
17,167
Reaction score
443
Location
Derbyshire
My favourite (theoretical) work bench is the Japanese planing beam. Basically just a big beam which is heavy and stiff enough to plane on, or to fix workpieces to in a solid and stable way. Here's a westernised version - lifted off the floor and braced against the wall. I found it here.



The basic trad british bench could be seen as two planing beams separated by the well (to keep your tools and bits in whilst you are on the job) all supported by two frames/trestles etc well braced (typically by a deep front apron).
Or if you only work from one side then one beam will do, with a rail at the back (to close the well) set at same height as the beam so that workpieces can be spanned across.
Everything else is an add on or detail design - vices etc.

One of the worst possible benches is the workmate, on which it is almost impossible to plane or saw (without bracing or other strategies) but they are handy as a mobile holding device, step-on etc. Good place to start thinking "benches" though i.e. not to make the same mistakes!

A work table is a different thing altogether, but the natural thing is to try to combine them. But it's handy to separate the functions, in your mind at least i.e. work table and/or solid beam/structure for holding things stably when being worked upon.
 
Top