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Thread: Workbench plans

  1. #1
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    Looking for plans for a sturdy but cost efficent bench. The use will be all around use mainly mechanic work and riflesmithing until I get some machines in the garage.

    Ideal dimentions. L82" H40" D 36"

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    As with most user built benches, the dimentions are somewhat custom. Your's are probably well thought out but I'd like to draw your attention to the height and depth you stated.
    40" high is VERY high for a work bench if you ever plan to use a stool. Add the extra depth of 36" and you'll be stretching over your work to reach the back. (Or stuff hanging on the wall behind it.) Then again, if you're 7' tall, your dementions may be right on.
    The best part of building a bench is that it fits YOUR needs. Some very sturdy benches can be made from wood or a combination of wood and metal. Another option is to use old or new-unfinished kitchen base units to build a bench. They come complete with drawers, doors and shelves and can be painted your favorite color or stained. Most home centers keep a large stock of unfinished cabinets in many configurations. They seem to have a lot of scratch and dent sales on these items too.

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    I was thinking the same as CCWKen about the height.Unless you're about 6'6" or better,a 40" table height is way high for any work held in a normal vise.
    If Irc,the recomendations in all my beginer gunsmithing books was about waist high.Or to stand with your arms at working level and measure that distance from the floor.
    At least if you make it too tall or short that is easy to fix.
    For some of my automotive work,I like a taller bench(assembling heads for one).For building carbs or something involving a vise I use a bench about 8"shorter.That keeps my arms extended down further in a more relaxed state if I'm not having to "reach" across something(like a head to put the springs on).
    Plans for benchs are in a lot of woodworking books and magazines and I'm sure Home Depot or Lowes sell them.
    Did you post this elsewhere earlier today?
    I saw and replied to a post on one of the gun sites today about this and may have come off short.I can't find the thread again to recheck it.
    Where in Atlanta are you?I'm off I 75 south in Henry county if you'd like to test out some different bench heights.I need to move two of my benchs back inside and that will give me a reason!
    Here is a link to the discussion on ar15.com concerning brackets etc:http://www.ar15.com/forums/topic.html?b=3&f=4&t=167086

    Good luck,Robert.
    Robert.

    [This message has been edited by gamachinist (edited 08-08-2003).]

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    ha no just posted here. I am up in gwinnett county

    ok I see what you are saying on the height and depth. I like a higher work area, but the depth has a purpose of setting tool boxed and doing rifle work, I have room. I am planning on making it with 4x4 legs, 2x4 bracing with 2x6 or 2x12(if the ones i have arn't warped too bad) with shelving underneath for oils and such, with the top being double layer 3/4 inch marine grade ply screwed and glued.

    [This message has been edited by Schulze (edited 08-08-2003).]

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    3/4" Marine grade ply 4' X 8' was $44.00 in 1969, must be a hundred bucks a sheet today.

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    I like a wide bench positioned with a narrow end against the wall. That way you can work from both sides, which is a real plus.

    I'm not so hot on the plywood top, though. As it wears, the plywood will lose some long narrow pieces of material, making the top rough and hard to keep clean. I'd go with a medium density fiberboard or particle board. My first workbench has an unfinished particle board top with an oak 1x2 around the edge. It's still doing pretty well after thirty years of use.

    One of the neatest things about my workbench is the mount for the vise. It has a hinge at the bottom where it is attached to the lower edge of the 2x10 framing. I can remove two bolts and swing the vise down under the table, completely out of the way.

    Roger

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    All of my workbenches are steel. Wood just isn't gonna last putting tooling and die sets and such on them.
    I have a job I run about every six months that requires me to have about six fairly sturdy flat tables to lay parts out on.
    I use hollow core doors. Just cheap primer painted doors. I throw the door across two carts and I can push it anywhere in the shop. I can throw the door on top of a steel workbench, on saw horses, across two 55 gal drums on end, two trashcans, just about anything will support them. I roll out kraft paper over the table and staple it on the ends and I have a nice clean protective flat surface.
    I have a top shelf in the back room I store them on. They are nice and light and one person can handle one.
    Even when I have parts laid out on them two people can pick it up and move it anywhere.
    Great portable tables.

    Les

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    I have been fortunate to inherit a 4' X 10" X 2" thick maple top bench from my grandfather. He bought this from the Matrin Bomber plant in Bellevue, Ne. when they ceased operations at the end of WWII. Some of the guys I work with have made benches using the old lanes from bowling alleys when they replace them. They have been able to pick them up for next to nothing to free for hauling them off. Aside from the pin markers they are about 2" thick with a good protective coating on them. Mark

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    As far as a workbench top goes, plywood is one of the worst materials, especially for gunsmithing work where you may find yourself hitting parts with a hammer. It causes the wood to delaminate and come up eventually. For the same price as you will pay for wood at the lumber yard you can buy the maple work bench tops from MSC. Only $170.00 last time I checked, this with a good steel frame under it made of 2" or 3" square tubeing will make a bench that lasts a life time. A good alternative would be to cover the plywood with masonite. It is cheap to replace and will save the ware and tear on the plywood.

    There is a book called the workbench book, mainly discussing wood working benches but you should find it usefull for ideas. Especially if you are planing to do stock work. This book is expensive but should be found in the library. I also have a copy and as we are close by I might let you borrow it if you cannot find it in the library.

    Charles

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    Hi Schulze,
    There is a metal work bench in the Atlanta Advertiser for $50.00 in Powder Springs.It's appprox 4x10.
    770-527-8844 if you are interested.
    If it is about the right size,you could put a wood overlay on top and be done with it.
    Robert.

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    I second the used bench idea. Our local bargain rags regularly have used work benches for $50.00 to $100.00 Unless you want to build yourself an heirloom piece (nothing wrong with that, my father did and I'm still using it)the cheapest and quickest way to go is to buy a second (or third or more) hand bench.

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    thanks for the input on this.

    the plans I made up last night I changed to L8' W24" H32" The reason I am planning on the marine grade or treated ply top is simple humidity. I do not plan to beat on this more torsinal force applied by a barrel vise and regular jaw vise. The MDS does sound good on top of the 1 1/2 inch of ply to protect it from any banging I do on it. great info and will post when I figure it out.

    On the buying a used bench, I actually enjoy building tools I know I will be using often. If I move my reloading out to the garage the metal does influence the scales I use.

  13. #13
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    The height might not be out of line if you are doing only gun work. I have a bench I use for inspection and for setting up bore gages, etc. that is 42" high and it's just perfect. Of course, I'm 6'3", but even the short guys in the shop like it for small work because you don't get a backache from bending over the small stuff.

  14. #14
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    I have four 8' workbenches that are made from 2 X 4's and the top is a standard kitchen countertop of formica with a formed backstop. The front edge where you usually work has a rolled edge (rounded up) about 1/8" and keeps things from rolling on the floor. My first bench is over 20 years old and is still holding up fine. Cleanup is a breeze with just a sniff of windex. I think you can get an 8' countertop from Home Depot for about $45. This makes the nicest workbench I have ever seen. One of my countertops is bolted to two Kennedy tool boxes and that solved all the drawer problems. I use angle brackets and bolted the countertop right to the side of the Kennedys. The whole unit rolls where ever I want as I have (8) swivel casters on the tool boxes.

    TMD

    [This message has been edited by TheMetalDoctor (edited 08-08-2003).]

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    Just recently put together a fast, cheap 12' long work bench that I find very comfortable, with a table height = 39". I am 6' 0" tall, any table height less than 37" gives be a backache. I used framing lumber, ... 2 x 4's for everything except the top surface where I used (2) 2 x 12's and (1) 2 x 8 for a total bench top depth of 30". Using framing lumber for the top surface leaves joints and openings for things to fall through and it dents easily. But it is cheap (about $40.00) and is easily replaced or just patched. I supported those bench top pieces and a lower shelf with pre assembled sections of framework made of 2 x 4's that were made 27 1/2" wide x 12' long. I attached both these fabricated frames directly to the studs in the wall of my house with two hefty screws into each stud. The top frame @ 27 ½" off the ground, and the lower shelf @ 10" off the ground. I had no need for rear legs, but to support the front of the bench I made legs from 2 x 4's which I screwed to the upper and lower framework. And I installed cripple studs behind each leg, between the upper frame and the lower shelf, and the lower shelf and the floor, for a total leg thickness of 3". This insured that all vertical loads would be transmitted through the lumber, not carried through the screws. Everything was screwed together, no nails were used and the result is a bench that is incredibly ridged. I have no way of knowing how much weight a bench of this type could safely support, but I can (violently) jump up and down on it without any noticeable deflection.

    http://www.pcpages.com/dds/Garage%20Bench.html (cripple studding behind legs not shown)



    [This message has been edited by DDS (edited 08-10-2003).]

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    Instead of building since I kind of need it in a hurry I am looking at the leg and stringer system on page 3098 of the MSC big book.

    I have decent plans for a wood bench but thing would way over 300 pounds but cost less than 100 to build

    [This message has been edited by Schulze (edited 08-09-2003).]

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    I think one of the best things you can do to a workbench is to add swivel casters (for moving to where the work is, sweeping up and to find that dropped part)to the legs. As I am not a fan of locking casters, I mounted two "jacks" made out of threaded rod and swivel pads on the front legs to keep it in place.

    I added a 3-1/2 foot high plywood panel across the back. Using an assortment of screw hooks and screw eyes, I have a place for every tool (combination and cresent wrenches, screwdrivers, sockets, pliers, vicegrips, hammers, center punches, tweezers, putty knives, utility knife, magnifying glass, etc.) I need for the stuff I usually work on. On the back side of this panel are lesser used tools (larger hammers, air tools, torque wrenches, transfer punches, gasket punches, etc.) My workbench normally sits perpendicular to the wall so both sides are accessable. (Before I built this organizer, I could not believe how much time I wasted searching my tool box for what I needed.)


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    your local Homey Depott will have real maple butcher block available, cost less than you think and is the best work surface in my opinion.


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