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Building a workbench for all this bass stuff..

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by knucklehead G, Oct 29, 2010.

  1. Thus far I've been doing all my wood work on top of an old IKEA dresser in the garage, which has already cost me a belt sander as the thing wobbles a lot and it fell off the top. I'm a believer in doing the best you can with what you have, so it hasn't bothered me too much, but I've kept an eye open for alternatives.

    My neighbors just finished building a huge front porch onto their house, and in exchange for getting it out of their garage they let me have most of the scrap wood. I did some measuring, and while there are some odd lengths which limits things a bit, it is all nice pressure-treated pine and I'm going to make a workbench.

    I took my measurements into SketchUp and laid this out... The work surface runs about 52x23". All of my wood is 1"-1.5" thick and the top is made from two layers of 1" since that is what I had the most of. The way the wood is arranged might be a bit odd, but I'm going off whatever was cut off this guys house.

    Since I can't start on the sawing unil Sunday, do y'all have any recommendations? It stands 38" high at the main surface, and because lighting in my garage is horrid I planned to add at least one light up under the shelf. I might be able to add drawers on later, but for now I'm out of usable pieces of wood.

    Will the legs need more support? They're all 3.5x3.5". Also, I've never tried before but can you run power tools out of an outlet strip? I've got access to two outlets in the garage, so I figured I'd put some more on the bench itself.

    Any guitar-specific features I should plan into this thing? Basically, if you have feedback or suggestions, I'd love to read them before Sunday.


    Attached Files:

  2. phmike


    Oct 25, 2006
    Nashville, TN
    Whatever you use to join it together (screws, nails, etc) I would also use construction adhesive in the joints. I have a bench very similar to the one in your plans. It was fine the first year but after a couple of years of use, hot, cold, dry, humidity, etc it began to get a little loose in the joints. I took it apart and put construction adhesive in the joints and 6 years later it is a stable as when new.

    Since you will probably only be using one power tool at a time (drill, saw, router, etc) a good 15 amp power strip will most likely be fine.
  3. What kind of adhesive? Titebond?
  4. I would personally make it higher, so it is comfortable to stand at and work without bending over too much. It is easier to get a high stool than it is to cut your legs shorter.

  5. phmike


    Oct 25, 2006
    Nashville, TN
    I like 'Liquid Nails' from Lowe's, Home Depot, etc. It comes in a tube you put in a caulk gun.
  6. I would like it higher too, but I'm working with what I was given. My shortest 4x4 is 37 1/4", cut at a weird angle so I can get about 36" usable from it. I figure I can only make it as tall as the longest piece of wood I have for a leg, unless there are some groovy ideas for a slanted bench out there I've not considered. I tried to build it up more by making the top thicker, and it stands at 38" which as counting as much material as I could stack on it.

    Thank you, I'll check it out.
  7. Raccio14


    Mar 3, 2010
    If you're buying caulking adhesive, would it really be that big of a deal just to buy a couple pieces of wood for legs? It's not like 4 leg-length 2x4s or whatever type of wood you want to use would be too expensive. Overall the whole bench is gonna turn out to be constructed for virtually nothing...
  8. If I add some more supports to the underside of the top and stick this sheet of MDF I've had in the garage forever on the top, I can get it to about 42" at the surface. I know MDF isn't super durable but its something I can feel free to write on or whatever, its dry in my garage and worst case scenario I can drop $15 in a year or so and put a new top on it, or replace it with plywood later.

    Attached Files:

  9. moonshinegtrs

    moonshinegtrs Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jan 28, 2009
    White Bluff,Tn.
    Owner: Moonshine Custom Guitars

    I just built new benches for my shop; 42" is what I placed them at...just right!

    Moonshine :bassist:
  10. mid_life_crisis


    Jul 8, 2010
    Break down and buy a solid core door for the top and use all the wood for framing and shelves. Cover the door with a piece of 1/2 inch mdf. Replace the mdf every time it starts to get too beat up.
  11. Stone Age

    Stone Age

    Apr 13, 2008
    This would be very good. Spruce 2x4's are only a few dollars too. You can make it any height you want for about $6-8.
  12. Rickett Customs

    Rickett Customs

    Jul 30, 2007
    Southern Maryland
    Luthier: Rickett Customs...........www.rickettcustomguitars.com
  13. Infidelity

    Infidelity Supporting Member

    Jan 14, 2010
    Melbourne, FL
    Don't forget a cup holder for a can of beer.. ;)
  14. Building one of those into that "tool tray" hanging off the side.
  15. powerbass


    Nov 2, 2006
    western MA
    Never use pressure treated wood where you will come into contact with it - it is pressure treated with toxic chemicals - not good to be touch this stuff on a regular basis. A top surface made from MDF or maple ply is good. A high bench is good for assembly work, not so good for routing or other woodworking where you want to get your body weight over the tools. Bolting the base together is a good idea, a rock solid bench is a beautiful thing.
  16. pilotjones

    pilotjones Supporting Member

    Nov 8, 2001
    Is this true?

    I remember, when last I worked with it 15 years ago, you weren't supposed to breathe the sawdust, but there was nothing wrong with normal contact. Then about ten years ago, there was a ruckus as one semi-politician "activist" woman made her way across New York state, getting towns to replace their beautiful playground structures because they were "dangerous to kids." But, it turned out, her husband had a plastic/metal playground equipment business, so her motivation was extremely questionable.

    Since then, hasn't the impregnated chemical changed from copper cyanate? Is what they use now actually dangerous?
  17. Either way its okay, I'll just have to remember not to work on it nekkid. The MDF top is the only thing I'll be leaning on.

    As soon as the inlaws depart from their, "Surprise! ...Oh, you didn't magically predict we were showing up without warning and clean the house for our arrival?" visit this fubar'd Sunday morning, I'll be heading to the garage to start working on this.
  18. I will read this thread in depth when I get around to replacing my ghetto/garage sale POS Barbie workbench, but will say that when I do build a real one I will not make it strictly for instrument building but for anything up to & slightly larger than whatever instrument(s)I might intend to make. Also, there's a very nice book- I'll dig it up for specifics- IIRC, it's published by Taunton Press, called The Workbench Book. Tons of info there.
  19. This isn't specifically for instrument building, as I am also the official repairman for wooden bits for the family. If it was, I'd probably have a guitar rack on the side of it and probably a neck support off the end. I just plan to put together a lot of instruments on it.

    I've read a few of those books, and I borrowed a few ideas. The tops in most of those are 3-5" thick for stability, and I'm going to be hitting 2 3/4", which is all I have wood for currently, but it keeps with the spirit of the project.
  20. Awesome. Ispirational progress pics, please.

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