A Multifaceted Workbench Design

This workbench design is our answer to the nagging problem of combining adequate workspace and storage.

| May/June 1981

069 workbench design - photo 2

Our workbench design has an "X"-shaped base that provides space for drawers and tool storage on pegboards.


There's an old adage that goes something like this: "You never know just what tools you'll need until you begin a job." And in most workshops, when that saying proves true, the craftsperson finds him- or herself getting up to search for the required implements. The continual ferrying back and forth of materials and tools that results can mean constant interruptions in concentration and a pretty danged cluttered work surface.

Well, our workbench design—which has been a vital part of several of our research staffers' own home shops for years—is an answer to just such a dilemma. By incorporating large storage areas beneath the tabletop in the form of drawers and shelved cabinets, and by constructing the sides of the assembly from pegboard panels (which can be equipped with hooks for hanging up tools), a worker can keep all of the equipment needed for a project close at hand without littering the work area.

Like many of the shop projects that are presented in MOTHER EARTH NEWS, this bench provides only one among many possible methods of constructing a convenient worktable. And we're sure that many of you will want to incorporate your own bits of inspiration in the design in order to make your bench best suit the kinds of projects you most often tackle.

The Top

To provide a very stable working surface, we built the bench's top from a 4' X 8' sheet of 3/4" interior A-B plywood, which we cut in half and sandwiched (using glue plus nails set from the underside) with the grain of the top half at a right angle to that of the bottom layer. The resulting 1 1/2"-thick plank was then fitted with molding made from a 49"-long 1 X 8 board, which we ripped to 1 1/2" widths and mitered at 45° to form the corners of the tabletop.

The Base

The base of the workbench is X-shaped. The foot was built by first constructing a rectangular box from two 54 1/4"-long pieces of 1 X 8, with a 12" length of the same dimension wood butted across each end of the assembly. Next, two three-sided frames of 1 X 8 were made, each consisting of a pair of 21 1/8" boards with a 12" length across one end. The two smaller structures were then butted—open end in—to the 54 1/4" long box and secured with three wood screws in each joint. Finally, we closed in the "X" from above by laying appropriately sized sections of 1/4" plywood across the framework and tacking them to the tops of the 1 X 8's.

Pegboard Sides

We used eight 21" X 28 1/2" pieces of pegboard to close in the sides of the bench and support the top. Segments of these dimensions produce a table 36 1/2" high, but you could add to or subtract from the longer dimension of the pegboard to alter the bench's overall height.

6/29/2016 2:42:21 AM

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