New work bench
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The new workbench: starting the box beams

remember Josh Finn saying in his Fine Woodworking article that this workbench could be completed in a weekend. Maybe if you have all the materials on hand, none of them are warped, it isn’t Christmas season and you are not married with kids. This project has taken me a couple of weeks so far and my progress seems to be at a snails pace compared to Finn. But, I have made some progress…

Two days ago
After taking back the warped pine panels, I came home with a sheet of birch plywood. The great thing about Lowes is they have a panel saw, so I had them make two cuts on the plywood which was a big help (I noted that Lowes plywood has larger voids in the plys than the plywood from the Home Depot). I ripped four three inch strips making sure they were straight. These strips did bow, but I can fix that.

I began assembly of the frame of the box beams. Shortly after I got started my Drill and Drive tool broke. I have had this tool for many, many years and it is a early tool I saw Norm Abram use. The design is actually better than many of the Drill and Drives I see today, but I can’t seem to locate this older version on the web. So, I had to go to Home Depot and buy a Ryobi Drill and Drive, that doesn’t really work well. See the photos below:

Looking good. I use a simple jig and drill holes along the side of the beam. The jig ensures the screws will be spaced evenly and will look good.

Attaching cross members. I use a clamp to hold the cross members in place while I drive the screws home. I carefully pre-drill into the cross members because they will split otherwise.

Attaching the other side. I utilize the same method of clamping everything in place – boards can move while driving the screws in.

Frames completed. It’s time to move onto the top and bottom boards of these beams.

With the frames completed, it is time to cut and attach the top and bottom parts to the beams. When I got started, I thought that with some hard work, I could complete this task today and be mostly finished with this workbench. Wrong. I made a design change that took about an hour to complete. I made the box beams slightly shorter. So, today I completed the change and was able to get the bottom attached.

Making it square. As I said in an earlier post, these box beams must be flat and square. Here I have attached one side of the bottom melamine board with screws. The board is square. So now I use pipe clamps to pull the frame on square with the bottom board and lock it in place with screws.

A little progress. Well, I made a little progress today. One box beam with the bottom attached and square. Note the completed sawhorses.

Tomorrow is Christmas Eve!!! Maybe I can steal a little shop time and get a little more work completed. I had hoped to have this project finished by Christmas and I am close, but hopefully by Sunday I will be through.

See the next post in this series by clicking here. Previous posts are:
Building the Sawhorses
Dealing with Sawdust
Getting Started
What’s next?


Have a question or comment? Leave yours by clicking on the “Comments – post yours here” link below. My email is or you can contact me through Twitter or Facebook. Subscribe via email or RSS by clicking here.

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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.

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