Workbench #2 – Bench Top

I have now completed the benchtop. Two key parts dictated dimensions and part locations: the countertop that I picked up from Ikea, and the large front vise from Lee Valley.

Here is the countertop – solid beech:

Beech Countertop from Ikea

There was a small gap on the underside of the countertop that I filled with epoxy:

Two pieces of MDF were cut to the same dimension as the countertop. On the underside of one piece of MDF, I layed out where the vise would be along with the legs and apron, then determined where I would want dog holes. Once all of those locations were determined, I laid out a grid for attaching screws.

Next, I aligned the two pieces of MDF and the countertop and put a cabinet maker’s triangle on each edge:

I pre-drilled and countersunk some of the screw location holes in the MDF, laminated them together and used screws as clamps. Then, I aligned the MDF lamination with the countertop and drilled pilot holes for the larger screws to attach the MDF to the countertop. Removing the MDF from the countertop, I widened the pilot holes to clearance holes in the MDF and countersunk the holes. To account for any movement in the solid beech top, I slightly widened the clearance holes moving out from the lengthwise mid-line in the MDF. Aligning everything together once more, I sunk in the screws to attach the MDF and countertop together (no glue).


To give the edges a clean look, I added a beech surround to the benchtop, gluing the long edges (beech to beech—no glue on the MDF) and bolting on the short sides. The gluing proved to be interesting as I only have two bar clamps and they aren’t quite long enough to span the width of the benchtop. I clamped on some scraps near the ends to help align the edging with the top of the bench and made some quick clamp extenders:



For the short edges, I once again sunk the center bolt straight in, but elongated the holes into slots for the outer bolts to allow for any seasonal expansion:

Here is the wood for the base:

Next up – cutting the legs. Here is the leg stock:

Workbench #1 – Intro

I’ve decided that I really need a workbench if I’m going to be doing any amount of ‘real’ woodworking. A board slapped on top of the tablesaw isn’t really cutting it, and I could really use a vise. I’ll be following the ‘Getting Started in Woodworking’ workbench design loosely with many of my own modifications. Much of the design will come out of the components that I have selected for the bench. First, I want a solid wood top rather than MDF, but I don’t want to do the lamination and flattening myself. I found a beech laminated counter-top at Ikea for $39. Sized at 25 5/8” by 49 5/8”, I thought that this would make a good size starter workbench. Other items of interest that will affect design choices: Bench should be usable as an out-feed table for the tablesaw Bench should be heavy, but able to be moved Will use the large vise from Lee Valley Desire to be able to level the legs of the workbench on an uneven floor I don’t have access to any of my photos at this time, but will post some with the next entry.