1. I’m very impressed with this project. I’ve always been interested in the use of laminated wood for structural work, so it makes great sense to me to use plywood to build a first workbench: great strength, great tension compensation, little movement from variations in moisture, and all at comparatively little cost. What I’m stumbling over is the use of a bandsaw. If I have a workspace that is fitted out with a bandsaw, isn’t it likely I will already have a bench? And if I have a bench, why do I need to build another?

    1. I have had a band saw for 6 years, a table saw for 9 years and a router w/homemade table for about 12 years and I just finished building my first workbench about three weeks ago. Not everyone follows the same progression in putting their shop together.

    2. I agree. In fact, although we see many very functional, original and decorative workbenches in magazines and on websites like youtube few of them are any more functional than this one- (think the difference between the wife and some beauty queen on TV). Whether it be Roubo style, Old English like this one or any other design they can all be duplicated using plywood which depending on the resins etc could well be stronger as is the case for engineered beams and joists.

      As an “apprentice piece” perhaps this bench too can show off many more basic essential skills often lost due to the use of machines.

      Furthermore, using ply as a base one can also add whatever other woods one wishes for adding a bit of “style” or colour and at a fraction of the cost. You could, if really paranoid about the lifetime of a bench surface, put together a hardwood top made using similar strips of say 1/2” square Iroko or similar wood (even scrap hardwood flooring) and drop it into two extra “dog holes” using registered pins on its underside. You would then have something that would really last for generations. I get the feeling though it would probably in some future find itself on a “gumtree” or “Craigslist” unappreciated but, who knows it could even end up on the Antiques roadshow!

      I’m just kitting out my garage and this will be ideal for it and save some money towards power tools.

  2. I am looking this to learn new tricks as I have made a solid wood workbench from your 2012 video and blog.
    You have taken the time and effort (thank You) to convert the Imperial measures to International ones.

    That is nice to have an idea of the general dimensions but,
    if I were doing this workbench I would modify the dimensions to have whole numbers in cm or at least to the half centimeter taking of course into account the thickness and dimension of the Plywood sheet I would have found (18 or 19 mm).
    For instance you will have a workbench width (between aprons) of 635 mm; I would target 60 or 65 cm.
    The space under your bottom rail is 229 mm, I would make it 23 cm or maybe 25 cm and so on.

    I hope everybody is able to make those small adaptations.
    When I made my workbench, i have only used the general dimensions available in your (2012) blog and adapted them to the (recycled) material available and my needs (single side one).

    I wander why people doing woodworking would work in mm? If you go shopping for furniture, the dimensions are given in cm (look for instance on the web site of the well known Swedish society).
    Centimeter is what kids learn to use at primary school, it is concrete. Millimeter is good for metal working/engineering (i have done some) but is somewhat more abstract.


    1. Wouldnt it be a a gappy joint if you only used cm ? 20’cm one side 21 cm on the other would be pretty crooked if that was your variance.
      In reality measurements are meaningless. You want the shoulder lines of paired styles to be the same length. No matter the number value assigned.

      1. The idea is that instead of simply converting the imperial measures in mm it would have been better to have slightly different measures in the International system for those outside USA who would build the workbench.
        Why would you want the bottom of the rail precisely 229mm above the ground while the goal is to have enough space for the broom. You would have find it ridiculous if P.S. had asked, for instance, to place the rail 9″ 5/32 above the ground.
        Of course you have to use the same dimension on the two legs.

    2. Why use mm? The very simple answer is that with mm you almost always are dealing with whole numbers, with cm you would often need a decimal point (e.g. 1.9cm for your plywood), and an opportunity for error. Industry, both woodworking and engineering, use mm and whole metres, and don’t really use cm at all, except for interaction with customers. (It would be quite easy to mistake 5mm for 5cm, while the difference between 5mm and 5m would be very much more obvious) There are parts of the trade, upholstery and soft furnishings in particular that do think in cm, but they don’t require the same degree of precision in their measurements.

      1. “with mm you almost always are dealing with whole numbers”
        That is just the point having workbench dimensions adapted to have hole numbers in cm for those outside USA; because it is easier to grasp.

        As I see it, working in mm is like working all the time in 1/32″, although it is easier to add and subtract mm.

        In scientific calculation, I have always used “1 E-03 m” instead of “1 mm”, to avoid magnitude errors.
        I recommend it: always use the base units (m, kg, s, A, …) when you need to combine them to calculate speed, acceleration, energy, power, etc.

        “Industry uses…”, that is because they use machines not (hand) tools.

        I can use mm, but I don’t like it for woodworking.

        1. I think it is a European thing mostly to use cm. My mother asks me the same thing ‘why use mm’ – she builds things in cm. I tend to use mm to overcome the issue of magnitude error. There is nothing smaller (in everyday use for woodwork) than a mm.

    3. Benoit, I believe the main reason that Paul works in Imperial units is that the majority of his audience is in Great Britain, The United States, and Canada. While I know that Canada uses the Decimal system, many woodworkers in Great Britain and Canada use the Imperial system when they do a project. I think the Imperial system is preferred for woodworking because it is easier to halve a measurement and still have a meaningful number on your ruler.

      I use both systems, depending on the project: Imperial for working on old American or British cars, old tractors, carpentry and woodworking; Decimal (or International, if you would rather) for newer cars, bicycles, and motorcycles. It is my opinion that a well-rounded craftsman or handyman can work well with either system.

      I am guessing, from the tone of your comment, that English may not be your first language. If that is the case, I congratulate you for your skill with it. I have seen a LOT more errors in spelling, grammar, and usage from native English speakers from both sides of the pond. Well done!

      1. I have nothing against giving one set of dimension in Imperial units or any other unit.
        My point was the dimension in the various systems don’t have to match precisely because it will have no influence on the workbench usability.
        As I said above:
        “Why would you want the bottom of the rail precisely 229mm above the ground while the goal is to have enough space for the broom. ”

        Where possible, whole number (in cm) could be used in SI units to make life more easy for non Imperial people.

        1. Let us be positive.
          Here are dimensions more palatable for SI unit users:
          – bench-top
          18 strips 60 X 1600 mm laminated together to form a 60 mm thick top
          – leg, each;
          5 strips 75 X 870 mm laminated together while leaving 150 mm mortises for top and bottom rails in the central strip;
          If You are taller then Paul, you might want to make longer workbench legs. The total height here would be about 870 mm + 60 mm + two ply thicknesses (bearers)
          – top rail, each
          3 strips 150 X 630 mm laminated with the two outer strips shortened to form a 75 mm long tenon at each end;
          – bottom rail, each
          3 strips 150 X 650 mm laminated with the two outer strips shortened to form a 85 mm long tenon at each end;
          – Well board, to be adjusted as the last piece to take into account the real width of the bench-top. Assuming 19 mm plywood, about 288 X 1600 mm and about 306 X 1600 mm for 18 mm plywood
          – outside apron boards (front and back), each,
          ply thickness X 290 X 1600 mm
          – inside apron boards ( to be cut and glued to the outer apron boards to form the angled recesses), each
          ply thickness X 230 X 1600 mm
          – bearers, each
          {width of 5 laminated strips forming the leg} X 630 mm, two strips laminated together each
          – stops, each
          one strip ( 60 mm minus one ply thickness) X 1600 mm
          – runners, each
          one strip 50 X 1600 mm
          You might want the workbench 50 or 100 mm longer, change the 1600 mm dimension in each instance accordingly.
          All dimensions in mm as it seems I am the only one (and Flemming Aaberg’s mother) to like cm.

    4. If you are buying furniture centimeters are close enough in terms of precision but for construction mm is more adequate.
      I’m in/from Sweden and if you buy lumber or cabinets etc the sizes are given in millimeters. Plans for buildings, bridges etc are always in millimeters.

      A 2″x3″ is for instance 45×70 mm.

      I think that if you give measurements in centimeters you assume whole centimeters but it is not always a given so to avoid misunderstandings millimeters are used.

    5. Saylvain

      The millimeter is the SI unit and most technical measurements if cited in mm avoid decimal fractions. It is more convenient. Only when doing very precice work with metals would one work in fractions of a mm because it is the nature of metal that one can. Wood being more organic is not amenable to measuring any more precisely than in mm because of the material and the machines used. Even the figure for ply 18/19mm are always nominal because of natural variations such as humidity.

  3. For those who don’t want screws (for whatever reason) you could simply remove them after the glue sets. They’re only used for clamping so providing you use enough glue you’ll be fine. Assembly will take longer because you’ll need to wait before adding the next piece. But otherwise no difference. And you can reuse the screws so that might save you a few pounds.

  4. I’d assume that if you weren’t demonstrating how you laid out the legs initially, you’d transfer the marks from the completed leg to the new legs as has been done in other projects requiring stretchers.

  5. Hi Mr.Paul I wish you will live long next 70 years more in order to educate us. You are master of woodworking, greate concept of aligning method with nail point. Waiting for episode 3. Thanks in advance.

  6. I have had a fully fitted workshop for the last 14 years that anyone would be proud of ,but for one thing a workbench . I have just been working on an old door and saw horses. Just never jot around to building one , think I will have to .

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