Posted by: Mike | April 28, 2009

Questing for a Workbench

I was fixing a piece of junk Linksys Gigabit switch that had popped caps when I became incredibly frustrated with the small worksurface I threw together in a day a few years ago. It was great for the cramped spaces of an apartment but it’s too small to be usable when I’ve got both my soldering and desoldering iron hot. (Luckily no appendages were harmed in this experiment).

So I have sought to complete my Geek man-cave with a nice usable workbench. But I don’t have $1K to spend on it. I’d like to top out at $200 total. So I hit the net and look for plans or at least ideas. I find thousands of them and they all categorically suck in one of two ways.

1) They are master-craftsman style woodworking benches complete with bench vises and mortise and tenon joints and crap like that. This sucks because a) I’m not that skilled b) I don’t want to be that skilled c) they presuppose an existing workbench as well as a few thousand dollars worth of tools and d) if I built something that nice I sure ad hell wouldn’t break out the soldering iron on top of it.

2) Built by a moron with a circular saw with particle board and some scrap 2 x 4’s. These folks actually show me how to slap together crap to make a pile of it.

My plan: to build a decent looking but not “master quality” workbench for general geek projects. I’ll build stuff out of wood. I’ll play with and fix electronics. I’ll need to store a lot of tools because one can never have too many screwdrivers. It’ll need to be a reasonable size to spread out on. It will need to b a good height to stand at or sit at with a stool. It will need to have plenty of access to power, but be able to hide it when working on other stuff. It needs to be able to be built with basic power tools (circular saw, drill, etc.) and without complex joinery. I would also like to at some point integrate a small wall-mount shop-vac I saw the other day as well as a small air compressor.

If you know of an awesome plan, please let me know. In the meantime I’ll be spending more time looking around and playing in Sketchup.


  1. There’s gotta be some designs out there that are suitable for you, though Sketchup is a good way to go as well. At least you’ll be able to get YOUR ideas down that way. There’s a good book you can get in regards to workbenches. It’s called, appropriately enough, “The Workbench Book”, by Scott Landis. Sure it’s got your high-end stuff with lots of fancy joinery, but it’s also got some good, practical, low-tech ideas as well. You might not want to buy it but you might be able to find it at your local library.

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