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Workshop Companion Bench
Posted By Ethan On June 3, 2013 @ 7:00 am In Garage & Workshop | 10 Comments
Today we’ve got a guest contribution from Ross, one of our regular readers. Ross built the OPC workbench, and then he followed it up with a terrific companion workbench of his own design.
When setting up my garage workshop after a recent move, I first made the heavy-duty workbench  following the tutorial Ethan wrote. It’s already seen a fair bit of usage and I’m sure it will be used for many years to come. If you haven’t made one already, I recommend it!
If you follow the plans to make the heavy-duty workbench, you’ll find that after buying two 4×8′ plywood sheets, you’ll rip them down to four 2×8′ sheets and use three of them (two for the shelves and one for the torsion box on the top shelf). Wanting to further compliment the garage with another workbench, I set out to make a smaller workbench with the remaining 2×8′ sheet of plywood.
In addition, I also had the following goals:
The bench I made has a final length of 40″ and is about 29″ high (I kept the width the same–24″). Specific dimensions may vary based on the height of the bottom shelf of your heavy-duty workbench as well as the desired height of the companion bench.
(Note: the design isn’t perfect and could certainly be improved upon. Share your ideas in the comments section below!)
First, I cut the plywood sheet to the desired length. This was easily accomplished with a circular saw, and I clamped a spare board to act as a straight edge for the saw.
I cut the 2×4 sections to length, waiting on the trusses until after attaching the body frame.
After cutting the body sections to length, I laid out the pieces to make sure they looked about the size I wanted.
When I was happy that the length and height would work, I went about attaching the tie connectors in the 4 corner joints. As a small tip, I’ve found it easiest to drill in the inside screw after attaching just a couple of screws on the outside. If you save the inside one for the end, it might be hard to line everything up.
It was at this point that I realized that my initial plans for the bench didn’t take into account that the tie connectors extended below the joint (silly, I know). I had been planning on placing the casters right on the rear joint. I improvised a fix by adding some bottom trusses for the rear casters. I mitered two boards with 45° ends, approximately 20″ on the long side, and I attached these to the bottom of bench.
I used the 3″ screws for the trusses, and I drilled pilot holes to prevent any splitting. After attaching all the tie connectors and bottom trusses, here’s how it looked.
When planning the bench, I asked my engineer brother-in-law about the trusses and he said: “If you were to place a 300 lb load on the front edge of the bench you would create about 1000 lbs of internal force in each of the lower corner joints.” While I’m not planning to put that much weight on the bench, I wanted to be sure it would hold up. Without side trusses, the bench would be pretty weak so I cut some pieces about 20″ long.
Additionally, I screwed a small section of 2×4 in the very bottom corner joint. My thinking was that it would help support the downward force of the truss and further reinforce the joint.
At this point I attached the plywood top to the frame. I countersunk holes around the edges, laid down a bead of Liquid Nails, and screwed on the top.
Because of the added truss for the rear casters, I needed to attach a few blocks to the 2×4 side pieces for the front casters. I used Liquid Nails and some longer screws (pre-drilling the holes) to accomplish this. It isn’t an ideal solution, but it seems to work.
Next, I attached the casters. For the rear ones, the further back they are positioned, the better the weight distribution will be.
If you’re following along, hopefully all your measurements were correct and the bench fits well under your heavy-duty workbench!
What do you think? Would a companion bench work well for your workshop? How can the design be improved for rigidity (trusses, casters)?
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 heavy-duty workbench: http://www.oneprojectcloser.com/how-to-build-heavy-duty-workbench/
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