UZI Talk Forums
+ Reply to Thread
Results 1 to 12 of 12

Thread: Tips on building a workbench?

  1. #1
    UZI Talk Supporter
    Gaujo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Location
    Raleigh, NC
    Posts
    3,906

    Tips on building a workbench?

    I'm planning to build my own workbench, both for gunsmithing and woodworking, and wanted to get some tips of any suggestions you have to make it the best I can.

    I'm planning on an L shape like this in the corner, but maybe nicer.


    I've had this one before, but it was only good for workspace, there was no space for having something in pieces etc, so I want something bigger. I also didn't use the holes for the dogs, am I making a mistake to avoid those or can i just leave them out?
    Check out my Youtube channel

  2. #2
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Posts
    844
    Unless you have the clamp on the end the dogs are not going to be useful. They are generally only used to secure a long board using the dogs as one "jaw" of the vise and dogs in the moveable part of the clamp make the other "jaw". There are also J shaped iron ones that allow you to hammer them down and then they jam in the hole, holding something down.

    The two things to remember on building a bench are make it heavy and secure it to the structure anywhere you can. Lag bolts into the wall studs, concrete anchors or lag bolts into the floor, etc. You want to be able to put a giant vise on one corner and beat the crap out of something without the bench flexing. BTW, mounting the vise directly over a "leg" directs any downward force into the floor, not flexing the top. You might also want to make a small roll around "workstation" the same height, that way if you have something long you can position it under one end to support it. When not in use it just sits at one end of your bench and is extra storage. Plus you can roll it to your car or whatever to keep your tools and parts handy.

  3. #3
    UZI Talk Supporter
    sniperdoc's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2015
    Location
    TN
    Posts
    5,318
    Before building it, work out the lighting and electrical outlet locations, as well as a vacuum system if you want one. (They are great for woodworking)
    44s for legs, cross braces, 26s for the top, 3/4" plywood covering the 26s attached with construction adhesive. Bolt everything together vs nails or screws. As mentioned above, attach the whole thing to the floor and walls, and mount your vise, drill press, etc over a leg. You should also add shelves under it, for often used tools.
    You can laminate the top, but I really don't recommend it because of chipping.
    Build it in place, and make sure you build it where you want it, because it will be heavy. However, it will last a lifetime.

    ETA, radius all outside corners, you'll be glad you did!
    Last edited by sniperdoc; 10-20-2022 at 12:14 AM.

  4. #4
    UZI Talk Supporter

    Join Date
    Jun 2020
    Posts
    263
    I have seen where a guy did a concrete top then epoxied it. Would give pretty good rigidity.
    Drawers below are better then shelving below in my opinion. Easier to keep and organize noodly things.

  5. #5
    UZI Talk Supporter
    sniperdoc's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2015
    Location
    TN
    Posts
    5,318
    Quote Originally Posted by ericthered View Post
    I have seen where a guy did a concrete top then epoxied it. Would give pretty good rigidity.
    Drawers below are better then shelving below in my opinion. Easier to keep and organize noodly things.
    Re: Drawers vs Shelves; I prefer wall mounted drawers for workbenches, simply because dust tends to collect in/on everything under the table.
    I personally wouldn't want a hard or abrasive surface such as concrete on a bench that would be used for gunsmithing

  6. #6
    UZI Talk Supporter

    Join Date
    Jun 2020
    Posts
    263
    I forgot to mention with the concrete top that it gets epoxied over.

  7. #7
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Posts
    107
    I am a huge fan of using a workmate work bench for actual reloading, and wood working. It has everything I need built into it.

    I cut plywood for the top and mounted my reloading equipment to it. So I can quickly remove the plywood and have a clean bench for wood working.
    I bought a bag of lead shot that I put on the legs. This means the bench didn't move when I was resizing tough brass.

    When I get to someplace I can reload and do woodwork again, I will buy 2-3 more. Then along the wall I will setup shelving units and fill them with lowes rugged totes for stuff, or maybe put wood for woodworking.

  8. #8
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Posts
    242
    Quote Originally Posted by sniperdoc View Post
    I personally wouldn't want a hard or abrasive surface such as concrete on a bench that would be used for gunsmithing
    I would never do Gunsmithing without a protective pad. Moreover, I wouldn't want a wood shop in the same place I am doing metal work or Gunsmithing.

  9. #9
    UZI Talk Supporter
    sniperdoc's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2015
    Location
    TN
    Posts
    5,318
    Quote Originally Posted by rockman96 View Post
    I would never do Gunsmithing without a protective pad. Moreover, I wouldn't want a wood shop in the same place I am doing metal work or Gunsmithing.
    1) Yes, you should use a pad, but if there's an accidental drop, scrape, etc, it's better to have that happen on wood than a hard, abrasive surface.
    2) It's better to have 2 separate areas, but the OP stated that he will be using the bench for both tasks.

  10. #10
    UZI Talk Supporter
    Roaster72's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Posts
    414
    I built 16 feet of workbench in my shop and I'm very happy with it. Here's some tips.

    !. Make you lower shelf flush with the floor. In your example of corner shelves, you would be continually on your knees getting things from under the shelf. My lower is absolutely flush with the floor so nothing can get under it.
    2. Install a back board on the upper and lower benches. Like above, little screws will find a way to get between the wall and the bench.
    3. Do your tops with plain plywood. 1/2 inch should be sufficient, if not laminate two 1/2 inch pieces. You will eventually damage the top. If you have built it with plywood its easy and relatively cheap to replace. You also may bolt on and later remove items such as a grinder, buffer, drill press, or other item. Later when you inevitably reconfigure your workspace you can replace the tops and start anew with a clean bench. I also find myself occasionally running screws into the workbench for an impromptu jig of some sort, You won't do that with concrete.
    4. Anchor the bench to the wall. I have no idea how guys use unbolted benches or worse benches on rollers. Those guys must be a lot less energetic than me.
    5. Plan your bench length and double it. I thought I was great with sixteen feet. 8 feet for metal/mechanical work and 8 feet for wood. Then my reloading setup was evicted from the house to make a mother in law bedroom. I quickly found 16 feet was insufficient.

    Hope those pointers help!
    My gun collection is one murderous rampage away from becoming an arsenal

  11. #11
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Posts
    242
    Quote Originally Posted by sniperdoc View Post
    1) Yes, you should use a pad, but if there's an accidental drop, scrape, etc, it's better to have that happen on wood than a hard, abrasive surface.
    2) It's better to have 2 separate areas, but the OP stated that he will be using the bench for both tasks.
    1) Oh, I agree completely. Either way I will use a mat.

    2) Sawdust and metal working (or gunsmithing) have no place in the same area. I invested my money in metal working equipment, if I need to build a speaker cab or do other type wood work, it gets done outdoors. You're asking for aggravation and potential issues mixing them.

  12. #12
    UZI Talk Supporter

    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    Posts
    259
    The top of the front bench should overhang, or extend beyond, the structural member that supports it. You want a lip that allows you to use a C-clamp to cinch something down to the bench to perform a piece of work.

+ Reply to Thread

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts


Please consider becoming an UZI Talk Supporter.