Before building my latest workbench I watched literally dozens of workbench build videos from around the world. They ranged from recycled pallet wood benches to heavy timber beams mortised and tenoned together demanding hours of machine or hand tool work.
I sat back and pondered what I had seen. I decided there had to be a better way that required a screwdriver and a hand saw with no need for safety gear, power tools or elaborate jigs.
What I came up with is a brilliant kit sold by Simpson called the Strong Tie workbench kit. It costs just $40 and comes with 8 steel brackets and all the screws to build any size workbench. You just add 2″x4″s that you can cut to length with an old fashioned hand saw and assemble with a simple screwdriver.
I had my lumberyard cut a 4’x4′ sheet of 3/4″ MDF (Medium Density Fiberboard) in half giving me my workbench top and bottom shelf. I did purchase a set of nice swivel casters that raise or lower the whole bench with one foot.
So for under $200 and two hours build time I have a sturdy, versatile, moveable workbench with a flat top and bottom shelf that I can move anywhere with one finger and one big toe. No power tools, safety gear, sawdust or noise necessary. I used my Japanese back saw to cut the pieces to length and a screwdriver to put it all together like a jigsaw puzzle. I couldn’t ask for a better bench at any price. I can add drawers, a back with pegboard and/or French cleat storage system and a power strip for my power tools. It’s totally versatile and customizable. It works for me. The more I think about it I should have video recorded the build and put it on YouTube.”The no tools, no fuss workbench in 2 hours”!
I’ve received a number of responses to my bench asking how I clamp anything to it to do work. Although there are dozens of ways to clamp work without huge vises hanging off a workbench, there’s a simple, versatile way to secure your work on a clean workbench such as the one I use. My favorite method utilizes MicroJig’s MatchFit Dovetail clamps.