I’ve been building a workbench in my garage for the last few months. For those who’ve never seen my old workbench in Illinois, it looked like this:
I built this bench based on an article in Workbench magazine (October 2006 issue). You can find the article online here if you’re interested.
Anyway, I liked the design of that bench a lot as it worked in a small space. With our new home in Colorado, I again have a garage space to work in. I used the opportunity to recreate my previous workbench, but with some improvements. Here is the new bench:
Follow the break to read more about it…
Obviously it is very similar to the old version, but I used the opportunity of building version 2.0 to add some improvements. The most obvious change is the use of pre-made cabinets. This was done more out of convenience because I just didn’t have the time to build cabinets from scratch, especially since I needed a place to put all my tools. I did hang the wall cabinets with french cleats, so I can move them around if the layout doesn’t work for any reason). Other changes are the addition of a tail vise and corresponding bench dog holes, and a fence for the miter saw.
Here’s a shot of the end of the bench (right side) with the tail vise and bench dog holes. I got the vise on sale at Rockler. It is a 12″ quick-release vise with two steel guide rods to prevent it from racking side to side.
Here’s a shot of the vise in the fully opened position so you can see the jaw opening and the two steel rods and center screw. If you turn the handle a quarter turn counter-clockwise, you can then pull it open or push it closed. Once you start turning the handle clockwise, it re-engages to tighten.
Here’s a shot down the bench showing the bench dog holes. Putting dogs in the holes allows me to hold most wood boards via the tail vise without needing special clamps.
Here’s a shot of the center with the miter saw (pretty much the same as the original bench). I haven’t created the cut-off bin that goes under the saw (where the shop vac is), but have the casters, so it’s practically done already 😉
Another new feature is the fence for the miter saw. This was in the original magazine article, I just never got that far with the old bench. One of the benefits of having a Rockler store a few blocks from work…
The fence uses the Kreg track system which I attached to two pieces of poplar for the fence itself. The system comes with a flip stop with a rule for the measuring tape. Just slide the stop so the red line is at the right measurement, tighten the black knob in this picture and go ahead and cut the correct length as many times as needed. The flip stop has a curved front edge, so you can also just push a board against it and it will raise up and out of the way.
To allow utilizing the left bench when not cutting at the miter saw, the fence is screwed into the benchtop with three of these star knobs. The knobs have bolts that screw into threaded inserts embedded flush with the bench service. This means it is very quick and easy to remove the fence to use the workbench and then add it back just as easily. Again, knobs and inserts courtesy of Rockler.
Unlike the original bench which had just an end panel on the left-hand side, the new bench has a cabinet on both sides. The end panel was part of the design from the original magazine article but also forced on me because of the limited width of the garage space in Illinois. Since the new garage space gives me a lot more width, both benches are longer (with more space for the tablesaw) and I was able to put an extra cabinet on the left-hand side.
This is the space in front of the workbench. The tablesaw is pushed in as far as it goes. It is on wheels, so I can pull it out as far as I need. This section of the garage is the third car bay. There is plenty of room to work and if I really need to spread out, I can take the cars out of the garage and have the full space to work.
Hope you enjoyed this peek at my new workspace. My next project is the bookcases for the study. Now that I have everything set up, I’m sure this next project will be super speedy 😉 Stay tuned!