View Full Version : Workbench suggestions.

Erik Friesen
02-04-2012, 08:44 PM
I am in the process of building a new office/lab. The dimensions are 13x27. Anyone have any links or pics to share? I am having trouble getting a picture in my head of how to set this up.

I will be using part for new creations, and part for assembly. I am thinking about a corner computer desk.

02-04-2012, 09:03 PM
I am in the process of building a new office/lab.....

Any reason why your benches must go up against the wall? Would it help to have one larger bench in the center of the room so you can walk around it? Just a thought.

Ken Gracey
02-04-2012, 09:24 PM
Erik -

One idea that has worked really well in my home shop is to use a large butcher block top as a counter over some tool boxes. I'm a fan of Kennedy tool chests and Boos butcher block tops. I only have about 170 sf for the total shop so I've had to plan the spaces really carefully.

The cost of butcher block is significant, but I've found the flexibility of it being superb - you can sand it down and refinish anytime you want.

I can get a picture if you want me to.

Ken Gracey

P.S. Much of the space planning is dictated by machine tools (and the power runs they need, air?, and venting). I'd probably start with that vision [even if you don't have the tools yet] and try to work back into the spaces. And I like ElectricAye's idea of putting a table in the center. It's great to have a free-form project area for making a big mess.

Erik Friesen
02-04-2012, 09:40 PM
I didn't include the garage part(18x27 off the door to the top left), in which I'll keep other misc item, machine tools, cnc router, etc.

@ gracey, I'd like to see pictures. What do you use for your assembly stations at parallax? (If its not a trade secret)

Ken Gracey
02-05-2012, 06:17 PM
I attached a couple of pics of the corner of my shop where I'm using the butcher block on top of the tool boxes.

- Ken

89309 89310

Oldbitcollector (Jeff)
02-05-2012, 07:18 PM
Nice pics!

Just discovered those lockable bins myself recently.. four different sizes, reasonably cheap at Walmart.


02-06-2012, 04:47 AM
P.S. Much of the space planning is dictated by machine tools (and the power runs they need, air?, and venting).

A couple of years ago, I had the priviledge to work in a huge manufacturing plant with lots of equipment. While I was there, I worked in plant maintenance, and this included making service drops (air, electric, water, vacuum, etc..) to newly installed machinery. I am unsure what type ceiling area you have, but it was nice to have all these items overhead, so that drops could be added or removed as required with just a vertical run dropping from overhead.


02-06-2012, 04:53 AM

A coffee cup on a cast iron surface, especially belonging to a nice looking band saw. Shame on you. :) I am only speaking from experience. Coffee mug marks are on all of my equipment :)


frank freedman
02-06-2012, 12:16 PM
I have created a few benches over the last few years. My current garage is homebuilt 4*4 posts (soon to chop and add lockable wheels), 2*4 struts and surface framing, and 2 sheets of 3/4in exterior grade plywood. Sounds sucky next next to nice butcher block but my top layer is a sheet of masonite. This gives a very smooth and easily replaceable surface.

Another favorite of mine was solid smooth 36in door over a pair of 2 drawer locking file cabinets. The door knob hole made a great place to run cables for the usual suspects.

Be careful in planning height and width if you plan to hang tools on the wall. My garage bench is a bit high and wider than usual and the reach over to the pegs is a bit of a stretch. An oops of the width.


02-06-2012, 02:42 PM
Wheels under everything! if it touches the floor, it needs to roll... That is a solid rule in my shop.
Everything from the tiniest router table, to my 14" monster of a table saw, all of them on wheels..:thumb:
This way, I am not locked down to one layout of my tools and workbench's..

If you can't afford to buy maple butcher block, then use pine,
5pcs 2" X 4" X 10' ripped to 2" X 2" then crosscut to 5' long, and bolted together will make a 30" wide table top.
Place that on top of rolling tool chests like Ken did, and you will have a bench top in 20 minutes, for $20 bucks...
Oh, and you can refinish the top anytime you want...giggle, giggle, snicker, snicker...

Honestly, have you ever taken all of your tools off of the bench top, just so you could sand it down and refinish??
You would be one of a small handful that actually has refinished his work bench top...:smile:
No offense, I just know better, I do this kind of thing for a living...
I have built a number of work benches for clients, and I always tell the client upfront,
If you need a work bench built for you, You probably don't need a work bench...;)

One thing I don't see in your drawing, are the cabinets, the upper cabinets in particular, take another look at
Kens pictures, and you will see some of the most important woodwork in his shop.. Storage, Storage, Storage...

Wheels under everything, and upper cabinets are all important when space is a premium...:smile:


Erik Friesen
02-06-2012, 09:45 PM
Here is what I am using now. I am thinking about doing an U shaped bench rather than a bench in the middle. My original thought was to use formica sheet for the counter tops, although I am not sure what the esd specs are on formica.

Thanks for all the ideas so far.