Build or buy a workbench?

nancitaJuly 25, 2014

Hello,
DH is trying to decide which to do. He's leaning toward building. He thinks he wants a 16-18 ft. bench. Isn't that a bit much? He is very handy but, right now, isn't involved in mega projects.
Home Depot sells 6' workbenches for $70 so DH thought three of them. But, if hif he were to build them, what would anyone suggest for materials?
Thanks for an input.

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randy427

It would depend a lot on what type of work he's going to be doing and what tools he might be using.
Making furniture; Appliance or small engine repair; Welding; Crafts; Gardening ??

    Bookmark   July 25, 2014 at 10:36PM
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lazy_gardens

Before he starts buying materials ... what tools does he have and what does he plan to build with them.

Where will they be stored, and how will he place them for use?

    Bookmark   July 26, 2014 at 4:32AM
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nancita

As for tools, he had a lot more but we made two moves and he parted with some. Has the basics. His Dad can fill in the blanks but that means going to his dad's workbench!Hello,
Thank you for your replies. Most of the work will most likely be home repair. Just had our 1880 basement floor leveled and put in a new floor. In that room, he replaced the old,badly hung bulkhead door. Now it's on to replacing the bulkhead stairs. Stuff like that.
He is involved in a hobby/project involving doorbell chimes. He has purchased bits and pieces and is involved in that kind of stuff.
No furniture making. No more car repairs.
Thank you.

    Bookmark   July 26, 2014 at 9:11AM
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bobismyuncle

For general handyman sorts of stuff, you don't need a fancy bench with bench dogs, face vice, etc. 16 or 18 foot long is way overkill, IMO. Most likely will end up being a place to set stuff down that should be put away or thrown out.

Check out Popular Woodworking Magazine. Over the years they've done a number of benches from "Shop Boxes", Yellow pine benches, LVL benches, to the ne plus ultra "Roubo."

I have a cabinetmaker's bench based on Tage Frid plans that I built early in my career. It was a nice project in that it had at least one of every type of cabinetmaking joint that's commonly used. My assembly table is a "battleship" desk that I bought for $10 from the phone company when they went from real desks to cubicles. I raised it to the right height and put it on casters for mobility. Nice drawers for storage and I put materials like screws and sandpaper or benchtop tools in the knee-hole.

    Bookmark   July 26, 2014 at 5:51PM
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nancita

Hello,
Thank you all for the input. It looks like it's going to be built. Homers has them for $70. Not sure how much it will cost to build.
Now, what height works best?
And, it's going to be a bare bones bench. I think he wants to make one or two at standing height and another one so he can sit. Keeps him out of trouble!

    Bookmark   July 28, 2014 at 3:29PM
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bobismyuncle

Height really depends upon what you are going to do (and how tall you are)

- Power height, e.g., hand planing chiseling, etc, Hold arms to your side, put your palms parallel to the floor, and that's the height.

- If you're using power tools (drill, router, sander, etc.) about navel height

- For detail work (intarsia, jewelry, electronics, other fine work) about chest high.

Another consideration is if you need an outfeed for table saw or support height for miter saw or drill press or planer, or support surface for the occasional or permanent benchtop power tool.

Do look at the "Shop Boxes article" for a neat multi-height system.

Here is a link that might be useful: Shop boxes.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2014 at 6:41PM
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