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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2019

    Default Workbench Advice

    Hi All,

    Going to be building myself a workbench soon and have the rough design in my head, but just need some advice to finalise it so I can start drawing plans and getting a part list together.

    1) Bench top material - I'm still unsure as what to use for the bench top, I am currently thinking either a piece of 18mm MDF or having a plywood bottom layer with some melamine on top. What would you all recommend?

    2) Frame materials - In the past I have built most of my projects from pine that I got from Bunnings and this has always been warped to hell and near on impossible to make anything that is square. Is there any particular grade of timber that would be best to use as bought so I can get the base as square as possible? Also, any recommendations for a supplier that isn't Bunnings (I'm in Western Sydney)

    3) Size - What does everyone find to be a good size bench to work with? I was thinking, to make my life a little easier, to make the bench 2400x1200 so I don't need to cut down my bench top material and can just through it straight on the top, but not sure if this may be too big.

    4) One piece or two? - I am contemplating making the bench in two parts that can join together with magnets so I can have a bit of flexibility on arrangement if needed and to make it easier to store in my garage. Has anyone done this before and is it as practical as I am thinking or does it just become a pain in the ass?

    5) Table Saw - I am going to be buying a table saw that I want to fit into the workbench so that it can also be used as an infeed/outfeed table, but I can't decide where to put it. Should I place it centrally on a edge to have equal rip/crosscut capacity? Do I place it in a corner and go for one over the other? Should I place it on the longer edge to have more rip/crosscut capacities or do I place it on a shorter edge to have more out feed surface?

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Adelaide - outer south


    Howdy, and welcome to the forum.

    I notice there have been quite a number of views but no replies yet. It may help to provide some details of the type of woodworking you want the bench for and the amount of space you have. This helps people to give appropriate advice.

    On the issue of the top I would consider 18 mm MDF to be too thin but it may be OK if there is a lot of support under it.

    As for size the 2400 x 1200 seems enormous to me but again it depends on usage and the amount of space you have. Mine is about 1500 x 600 and this works well as it is not too wide to reach across. For assembly of large items a longer, wider bench would be handy but the need is rarely there for me.

    I think there is a thread here that has input from various members describing their benches along with the pros and cons. It may be of some use to have a look at that.

    Good luck with it.
    Cheers, Bob the labrat

    Measure once and.... the phone rings!

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2018


    If you do a search here for ‘Paulk workbench’ you’ll find some discussion about a bench that may meet all your needs. It’s a 2400x1200 torsion box design that splits into 2 x 2400x600 pieces, indexed and joined with a couple of wingnut/bolts (I don’t think magnets will be strong enough).

    It has options to hang a contractors saw off the end so it acts as an outfeed table.

    Very simple to build. Ply with MDF top if you want (original is all ply), super strong, super light.

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Darkest NSW


    If you do a forum search on "workbench" you'll find many, many threads covering all these issues and more. That might explain the lack of responses

    For example, there was a thread only a couple of days ago regarding choice of material for the top (which I remember responding to).

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2018


    I'd also suggest a look at Paul Sellers workbench as a good option or even just as extra input into your thoughts. is the videos for the one I was thinking about, but he has made vids for a couple of different variations

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Melbourne, Australia


    PAULK workbench is what you want

    <font color="#333333"><span style="background-color: rgb(250, 250, 250);">

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