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Fine Woodworking magazine features is packed with projects complete with easy to follow instructions, as well as articles on skill-building, tool reviews, detailed photographs and diagrams, and guidance on finishing, and inspiration for new projects. If you would like to receive every new cover of Fine Woodworking by email as it is released in the UK, please insert email below.
Fine Woodworking magazine brings you the hows and the whys of woodwork, so you can not only follow the comprehensive instructions in Fine Woodworking magazine, but innovate and adapt them to your own ideas. Copy and paste the following HTML code and you will always have the most recent cover of this magazine on your site. This weekend we built the first of four heavy duty workbenches for the OPC workshop! This project was very simple, and the design works not only for a workbench (as we’re using it), but also for sturdy storage shelves in a basement or garage.
Our goal for each workbench is an inexpensive, free-standing, movable table that can support a lot of weight (400+ lbs. All of the materials for this table came from our local Home Depot, and we spent a little over $120 total. We also decided to let Home Depot rip the sheet using their panel saw rather than cutting it ourselves. Screws: Make sure the screws you select have a large, flat head that will sit tightly against the Simpson ties without going through the pre-drilled holes. It’s time to start assembling the frame, and we began with the workbench top (rather than the shelf). You can see in the picture below that the table legs come all the way up even with the top of the adjacent 2×4 supports.
We secured another lengthwise support down the middle of the workbench (12″ on center). The plywood shelf needs to have notches cut from each corner to account for the table legs.
For additional ideas about building shelves, check out our other article describing how we built shed storage shelves. I love the wheels, great to be able to move it to the middle of the garage when using it for big projects and put it aside when not in use. Subscribe and never miss an article!Free articles delivered conveniently to your inbox(and no spam, we promise)Enjoy this?
Very nice job, but I do have two suggestions to help you improve the rigidity more… The first is to not only screw the plywood down, but to glue it. Since I have a foundation in the way, I put my shelf right at that level, so I could keep the bench right up against the wall. Love this project, but I have a few questions: With your emphasis on eliminating deflection, why not simply have added two more width-wise supports, top and bottom, right in the center of the bench, a third pair of vertical posts (joined to the center supports at each end), and one more pair of casters (one under each center post)?
We actually went for a comfortable work height that maximized storage location under the top shelf. In our shop, we mounted receptacles sideways at around 44 inches high, with pegboard starting right above those at about 47 inches. A magazine subscription is the perfect gift which lasts all year round!Gift an Account VoucherYou can now send a gift for an account voucher. If so, please enter your email below and we will let you know if this issue becomes available and you can then decide to purchase it or not.

You can also scroll back and zoom through old covers, making this a great way of adding novel content to your blog or website. We built a two-shelf bench, but this design can be easily modified for three or four-shelf models.
After getting everything to the shop, it took about three hours to cut the wood and assemble the parts. This might not sound very original, but I’d challenge you to find a sturdier design at this price point. In our area, both Lowe’s and Home Depot will cut a sheet of plywood twice per sheet, free of charge.
These rigid tie connectors are used to secure two wood members (forming a 90° corner) to a vertical post. These Simpson ties are designed for #8 screws, which were sold in a rack right next to the ties. This is beneficial because now any of our workbenches can act as an infeed or outfeed support. We flipped the table upside-down to slide the ties on, and then positioned them 7″ up the leg. Grab a scrap piece of 2×4 and trace the outline, being careful to orient it correctly. This is an easy addition because all it involves is gluing and screwing another piece of plywood to the underside of the top shelf. If anyone else has built (or is planning on building) one of these workbenches, we hope you’ll send in pictures so that we can feature them here. Added a 12 plug strip to the underside, and gave the brackets a coat of paint before starting. You can box beam one (or torsion box), have one with a thicker top for bench dog holes and a wood working vice, put a piece of stainless on one for easy cleanup of messy items, and have things like a metal vice, bench grinder, and drill press mounted to the first one you made. For two, if you use the table for a table saw or mitre saw, it’s nice to have the permanent plug there. The rear legs are shorter and sit on top of the foundation, the front legs go all the way to the floor.
We considered doing something like that until we settled on the mobile versions of the tables… Did you also fasten the bench to the studs on the wall? I like the Simpson Strong Ties too, they’re not only solid but also give a nice industrial look to the corners.
Seems like it might be a little complex though to get your table saw supported by a welded tube?
It would cost a bit more money, but (as long as your shop floor is relatively flat) I believe it’d almost guarantee no deflection of the bench top, and furthermore, would enhance the rigidity of the overall infrastructure. Making triangles (with the angled braces) is a great way to support the bench, but these Simpson ties really eliminate the need.
I’m looking forward to any future updates you do on your work bench building efforts. The receiver can choose from any of our 3,000 titles, and even have a single copy from each of their favourites without signing up to a subscription.
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Cabinet grade plywood provides a relatively smooth surface that will be mostly free of splinters. Furthermore, adding extra width-wise members does not increase vertical support over the entire length.
Do the same for the workbench top, and remember to put screws in the middle support as well.
To see more pictures and information, check out our update with four workbench modifications. Screwing them into the end-grain of the table legs doesn’t provide the best hold so we added a cross member between the two legs. It’ll be a great surface for future projects, and the shelf is already getting loaded up. We’ll have to give this a try on one of them and compare the deflection of the tables! If you have a portable table saw you could make one of your benches the same height so you could use it for outfeed support (and cover it with melamine). And be forewarned: I have no shortage of need for workbenches (which is a roundabout way of saying that I need more benches!).
One difference between the lower shelf and upper shelf is that we didn’t use the iron or the extra support member on the lower shelf. You may find that you’ll need to wrack the frame a bit to keep everything square and all the edges lined up.
I know the Simpson ties are very strong, but braces would take that much more horizontal load off the joints when wheeling the benches around.
I’m going to build one based on your original design, and try out a few of my own variations on it, as well.
This shelf will be plenty strong, and we weren’t concerned with a little bit of deflection here. Mount the reciever hitch on the side (short side) to where the table of the saw and the table itself are leveled, so now you have a an 8ft long leveled surface to put your boards on and cut and the miter saw could be removable also . So we’ll see who deflects the least — in other words, the friendly competition is on!
Now you dont have to be bend over on the floor, as pictured, making sure your board is leveled etc.
We’re going to do some rigidity tests between our two benches in the near future just to see how they both perform. The second thing is that I added a very short lip on the back of the top to keep things from sliding off the back of the bench.
The third thing I did was to not make the bottom shelf come all the way out to the front edge. The forth thing is that I built a couple of drawers the are mounted under the top to hold boxes of screws and nails.

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