New work bench
Comments 2

The new workbench: getting started

Planning. The design studio – my kitchen table.

have a proposal out with a potential client for a bookcase. While I wait on a reply, I am taking the opportunity to begin what should be a quick project – a new workbench for my shop. So I have gathered together the necessary design tools and cleared off a spot at my design studio: my kitchen table. The critical tools are shown in the photo above…

  • Graph paper
  • A printer’s ruler
  • A sharp pencil
  • Inspiration from Fine Woodworking magazine
  • My iPod (also inspiration)

The kitchen table works well because there is plenty of room to stretch out, a lot of light, and because I am not sequestered off in some lonesome part of the house. The wife is in the next room watching her favorite show on SyFy.

The design
When I think of a new and better workbench, I picture a bench with a tail vise, bench dogs, etc. And, with a new one, maybe pick some figured wood for some of it. So it is with some hesitation that I start my next project, because the design I have picked is unusual, but very practical. This bench is extremely different from what I have always envisioned for my shop (see the photos below).

Traditional. This workbench is typical for a woodworking shop.

Radical. This workbench is very unusual, but it is very practical for my shop.

This workbench was featured in Fine Woodworking magazine’s Tools and Shops special issue from last year. On the cover, this workbench is called “innovative.” I would add words like unusual, radical, or unorthodox. It is basically two saw horses and two box beams. But along with construction steps, the article also shows how versatile this workbench is.

I have selected this design for a variety of reasons. In addition to a new workbench, I have been meaning to make some additional saw horses. When I look at workbenches in magazines, most of them look very nice – so nice, that I would hate to do anything to mess them up, like spill glue on it, or paint, or stain. What I really need is an assembly table/workbench. This innovative design accomplishes all of this for me. Plus, this bench is inexpensive to build – a real plus right now.

Last night, I sat down to draw the bench up, re-sizing it to fit my shop. The design from Fine Woodworking is eight feet long and I have room for five foot bench. I have already purchased some of the lumber and this bench calls for the use of a material called “homosote” which, while the article says is easy to find, in Birmingham, Alabama it is not. I have found one source for it and I hope to visit them today. A problem with the homosote is that it is available in 4’x8’ sheets and I will have a lot of it left over after the bench is complete.

The plans. Shown above, the low tech plans help me get organized on this project.

So, follow along with my series of blog posts on the assembly and use of this bench and see if it would not also make sense for your shop.

See the next post in this series by clicking here. The previous post is:
What’s Next?


Have a question or comment about this post? Comments are encouraged on this blog. Leave yours by clicking on the “Comments – post yours here” link below.

This entry was posted in: New work bench


During the week, I sell flooring products for The Dixie Group. Weekends, you'll find me in my basement workshop making furniture.


  1. Thanks for the comment Aaron. I took a look at your bench at your blog. Wished I had that Buick!

    I think you will like the flexibility the bench provides. I still want one of those old world benches, but all in good time.

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