Workbench Customisations: Bench Drawer Episode 1


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How do you go about adding a drawer to a workbench? First step is to cut the hole in the apron and then build the framework to support the drawer.


  1. Darren on 7 September 2018 at 10:11 am

    HUZZAHHHH!!! It’s here! 😀

  2. theojo65 on 7 September 2018 at 11:15 am

    Great way to start up my Friday, been looking forward to this one

  3. Greg Jones on 7 September 2018 at 11:28 am

    Looks like the bench now has a lower shelf also!

  4. btyreman on 7 September 2018 at 11:31 am

    that’s my weekend sorted out now, going to make this! will there be a technical drawing at some point? regards, Ben.

    • Philip Adams on 11 September 2018 at 12:38 pm

      Hello Ben, the dimensions will depend on the size of bench and stock used, so there are no current plans to do a technical drawing.

  5. caerlynnfibers on 7 September 2018 at 11:34 am

    Great episode. It is very pleasant to get ever more insight from this side of the bench. It’s great to see the costumisation process unfold. I just wondered if, having another workbench to work on, you would prepare the drawer opening into the apron before assembling the bench. Kind regards

    • Philip Adams on 11 September 2018 at 12:46 pm

      Paul said that he wouldn’t as it unnecessarily complicates what is essentially a simple bench build. He would do it exactly as shown.
      Best, Phil

      • Benoît Van Noten on 19 September 2018 at 3:54 pm

        I would think it would be a good idea to make the drawer hole in the apron when installing the vise.

        • gbuck on 28 January 2020 at 9:54 pm

          I cut the vice and drawer openings in the front apron before assembly. It wasn’t difficult. For the drawer opening, I cut 2 off, 3/4″ square through-mortices at diagonally opposite corners, then the key hole saw until I could fit a hand saw, cross- or rip- cut, as appropriate to the grain direction. It was very convenient being able to orient the apron and hold it in the optimum position for each step.

  6. beach512 on 7 September 2018 at 12:38 pm

    I was so happy to see this drawer episode this morning. I have looked forward to it since Paul mentioned it awhile back. I was tempted to start one but I am glad I waited for this instruction as the ideas on construction are really great. Thank you so much for this episode. This will be such a nice add to my workbench and another fun project to add to my experience in building hand tool skills. Outstanding video work on this too.

    • beach512 on 10 September 2018 at 1:26 pm

      I just completed the work from part 1. Paul makes it look easy, but it was definitely a challenge. Lots of weird positions, bench lifting, in and out under bench, head banging under bench, etc. but I have it now.
      The drilling against the aligning stop board did not work well for me as I still went over my line. Make sure you keep drill bit well clear of line before you clamp on that aligning board. Also my chisel cuts in the vertical openings really teared out the end grain. Not sure if my construction wood is too dry. Following Paul exactly with a sharp chisel but still lots of tear out on that vertical wall of front apron opening. Not the front face of apron as that came out good using knife walls. Even though these sections are not really seen, I would hope to get better at this.

  7. William Antonacchio on 7 September 2018 at 12:39 pm

    Looks like a lot of people have been patiently waiting these several months since Paul promised the drawer project. Many of us committed to building this unique styled workbench because of our trust in Paul.

    Logic would have put the drawer project before hanging the saws so that the saws could be properly placed, but at least we have the locations now.

    Usually, a new project begins with a parts list and drawing so that as the episodes become available the properly dimensioned and machined parts are ready for assembly as demonstrated in the video. Could we possibly get at least the dimensions for the existing first episode parts?


    • Greg Jones on 7 September 2018 at 8:30 pm

      I expect the dimensions for the parts in the first episode are going to be entirely dependent on your bench. The depth of the bench, the width of the drawer, the location of the opening distance from the bottom of the bench top to the bottom of the apron will not be the same from bench to bench. Rather than measuring his own bench, Paul shows in the video how to cut a story block to set the distance of the frame from the bottom of the top on the back of the bench.

      • William Antonacchio on 8 September 2018 at 1:08 pm

        Yes Greg, I understand the dimensions from bench to bench will not be the same. But that’s not what I’m referring to, the width and height of the bearers for example: are they 2″ x 2″ or are they 1.5″ x 1.5″. That is what I was referring to and believed to be worth knowing.


        • Greg Jones on 8 September 2018 at 2:21 pm

          Got it. I expect that Paul was just using whatever scraps he had available. He did mention that the runners were scrap pallet wood, 1/2″ or 5/8″. The more weight the drawer may hold, the larger the bearers and runners should be. My thoughts are that the bearers at a minimum should be at least twice as thick as the runners, so that the notch for the runners doesn’t unduly weaken the bearer. Since this is a single drawer in a large bench apron, I don’t see a downside in going with larger stock if one has it available. Hopefully one of the team can chime in if I’m mistaken on this point.

  8. michael on 7 September 2018 at 12:46 pm

    So simple and effective!

  9. Christoph B. on 7 September 2018 at 1:52 pm

    Isn’t it just great to watch Mr. Sellers do some – I hesitate to spell it out – rather quick and dirty work? It’s the underside of a bench, mate.

    • Ecky H on 7 September 2018 at 2:09 pm

      That gives us the opportunity to perceive the top-notch work of the filming crew: camera work, lighting, scripting, cutting, directing – and last but not least it shows that some of the inconvenient or awkward working positions of Mr. Sellers is to make it easier for the camera – thus for us viewers.


      • Tom Hitchner on 7 September 2018 at 2:53 pm

        Totally agree. Tough one for the film crew.

        Really nice to have some idea how to set up the drawer glides. I lot of good details in this one.

  10. Richard Harris on 7 September 2018 at 4:33 pm

    I appreciate Paul’s attention to detail in all his projects. I notice a shelf has been added to the workbench. Is there an episode for that addition?

  11. jarkema on 7 September 2018 at 6:13 pm

    This a great episode, I plan on doing this to my bench. As impressive as Paul’s work is, the really impressive part of this project that is not in the video is watching Paul lift the workbench on and off the sawhorses.

  12. Kathleen Basiewicz on 7 September 2018 at 8:36 pm

    When I build another work bench I believe that I will put the draw in while I assemble it, not later. Paul made it look rather simple.

  13. Giorgio on 7 September 2018 at 9:13 pm

    It’s nice to see how many useful additions can be made on this workbench. I am just finishing my own workbench and this video really comes at the right time. Hope to add the photo to your workbench gallery as soon as I’ll finish it! In the meanwhile I just want to thank you for helping us growing in our woodworking skills and just can’t wait for the second part.

  14. Chris Stasny on 7 September 2018 at 9:21 pm

    You showed a few things that I was having trouble figuring out in advance. The back spacer that kept everything level was good info. Your method for the slides was clever. Don’t ever think that throwing in basic stuff is a waste of time. If it is, I’ve had a refresher. If it isn’t, then I learned something.

  15. Noel Rodrigue on 8 September 2018 at 2:26 am

    As mentioned above, would it not have been easier to install the support before putting on the top? And, would you consider using some wax on the runners to ease the sliding action?

    Looking forward to drawer construction!

    • Alan on 9 September 2018 at 2:17 am

      Ball-bearing drawer slides are an option too.

    • Philip Adams on 11 September 2018 at 10:48 am

      Hello Noel, you could likely do a lot of the drawer work before the bench is constructed, but many of the reference points are taken from the bench when together, so you would have to be very careful in your alignment.

      You certainly can use wax on the runners.

  16. Brian A on 8 September 2018 at 3:01 am


    Not to supplant Paul’s reply, but I believe he was, and is, showing us how to customize an existing, and fully functional and highly-used bench. Many of us, myself included, need any sort of solid bench at first, before we can learn the deeper mysteries of woodworking required for this project.


  17. ngreene on 8 September 2018 at 5:13 am

    Not only learning woodworking but just realized that “customization” out side the States is customisation.

  18. William Snelling on 8 September 2018 at 6:23 am

    I just love the way you mix metric with imperial Paul. I find I do the same.

  19. jeffdustin on 8 September 2018 at 12:21 pm

    Can we use a wide chisel and knifewalls instead of the electric drill to get clean crisp sides for the opening?

    • harry wheeler on 8 September 2018 at 12:41 pm

      Do you mean chisel completely through the apron for the sides of the opening without using a saw?

    • Tad on 11 September 2018 at 11:16 pm

      Yes you can use a chisel for the whole thing, Paul mentions this in the video

  20. David B on 8 September 2018 at 1:51 pm

    Wow. Now I see how much goes into drawer making! Having not installed a proper one before, nor watched any episodes on it, it was eye opening to see the “drawer infrastructure”. Needless to say, the drawer I cut in my own bench needs a lot of more work! Can’t wait for part 2 of this.

  21. Flemming Aaberg on 15 September 2018 at 10:21 am

    Very therapeutic watching Paul work. I particularly like watching his technique and comments on the techniques. I’d never heard the expressions ‘knife wall’ or ‘registration face’ before watching these videos but now I find that my ‘mind chatter’ throws them in when I’m working – with Paul’s accent and all!

  22. Tom Hitchner on 18 September 2018 at 4:47 pm

    I noticed in pictures that Paul’s earlier workbench had a frame inside the drawer opening. I was thinking about doing this so that I could use the apron cut out as the drawer front. I just think it would look nice to do it that way.

    Appreciate thoughts… Tom

    • Andy McKenzie on 20 January 2020 at 7:40 pm

      I’m thinking much the same… if I do end up building this style of bench (which I likely will), I’ll probably cut some very small holes, then use a jigsaw at least to get the cuts started. That should leave the cutout clean enough to use as the drawer front.

      • gbuck on 29 January 2020 at 12:24 am

        There’s a better alternative to match your drawer front grain to the surrounding apron. Laminate your apron from 3 boards:

        Top Board – Same width as Bench top thickness
        Middle Board – Same width as drawer height
        Bottom board – Balance of apron width

        Before gluing these boards to form the apron, cut the drawer front out of the Middle Board at the desired location of the drawer. So, the middle board will consist of 3 lengths that I’ll call L, DF and R.
        At glueup, set aside DF, but make sure it fits exactly between L and R.

  23. chason Hayes on 13 October 2018 at 9:50 pm

    What about rebating the runners instead of using 2 pieces?

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