Josh Finn, New work bench
Comments 5

The new workbench: completed!

Handy. Josh Finn’s workbench design has already proven to be helpful.

I have been on vacation this week and was able to get some good shop time in both yesterday and today. This enabled me to complete the new workbench for my basement workshop. This bench is an adaptation of a design by Josh Finn which was featured in Fine Woodworking’s winter 2008/2009 Tools and Shops edition (see the Josh Finn Fine Woodworking article here). The final size of my bench is six feet long and about two feet wide.

I sort of wish I had built a killer, traditional style workbench. You know the kind, one with a tail vise and an old world look to it. My new workbench is just not anything impressive to look at. But the twin box beam design has already been handy. See below:

In the photo above, I am cutting a 4×8 sheet of homasote. My shop is not set up to safely handle a full sheet of this on my table saw, so I have to make initial cuts using my circular saw. In the photo, I have moved the box beams apart to allow clearance for the saw blade – something that I would have to fuss with using my old sawhorses and something that wasn’t easy to do on my old workbench.

A word about Homosote
This is the first time I have used this material. Josh Finn’s plans called for a layer of this on top of the box beams. Although I have not yet tested this out for myself, homasote is supposed to have holding power to the point that you could put a board on it and sand it or plane it without using any hold downs. Pretty cool. However, this material is not so cool to work with.

Dusty. Homasote can get everywhere.

Dust bunny’s. Unless you have a fantastic dust collection system, you’ll see a lot of this.

I have seen blown insulation that is a paper product. Homasote resembles blown insulation when cut, and in my case, it was blown all over my shop. Homasote takes a nice edge when cut on my table saw, but I like to use a process of slightly cutting the material oversize and then using a trim router and making it all flush. When I did this, this stuff got everywhere. At one point, my shop vac got stopped up with it. I swept and swept and swept this dust (it is not really dust, but rather dust bunny’s that rolled around on my shop floor), but I would always find more. If you step on it with tennis shoes, you’ll find it all compacted in the bottom of your shoes.

Homasote is light weight which is good, but it compresses pretty easily. I had one of the box beams clamped down as shown in the Fine Woodworking article and my clamp left a indentation in the homasote surface.

About 20 years old. My old bench is based on a Norm Abram design.

I will be giving my old New Yankee Workshop workbench to my dad. He will find it useful for his woodcarving projects. I’ll write future posts about the creative uses of my new Josh Finn workbench.

This entry was posted in: Josh Finn, 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. Anonymous says

    I built the Josh Finn workbench with beams made of 1/2″ plywood over a pine frame, such that the beams are two and a quarter inches thick, six feet long and nine inches wide. I suspend the two beams over two traditional saw horses that are sufficiently weighty to make the overal bench quite solid for planing or sawing.

    To complete the bench, I built a mini-bench with a small Veritas face vise attached. This is mounted at one extremity of the plywood beams and it offers a good clamping surface and a raised mini-bench for close work where height is desirable.

    I am very pleased with this design and recommend it for others.

  2. Like the idea of the vise – I have seen a number of variations on this style of bench. Google “Josh Finn Workbench” and you will see a ton of different types.

    While I plan to have a traditional workbench some day, this one which is more of an assembly bench has worked very well.

    Thanks for the comment.

  3. Just sheet rock screws. This enables the Homosote to be replaced if it becomes spilled on or worn from use.

    Thanks for stopping by my blog.

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