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With $100 in lumber and two days, you can build this sturdy stowaway bench.

Many knockdown workbenches suffer from unfortunate compromises.

Inexpensive commercial benches that can be knocked down for shipping use skimpy hardware and thin components to reduce shipping weight. The result is that the bench never feels sturdy. Plus, assembly usually takes a good hour.

Custom knockdown benches, on the other hand, are generally sturdier, but they are usually too complex and take considerable time to set up.

In other words, most knockdown workbenches are designed to be taken apart only when you move your household. When I designed this bench, I took pains to ensure it was as sturdy as a permanent bench, it could be assembled in about 10 minutes and you would need only one tool to do it.

The design here is an English-style workbench that’s sized for an apartment or small shop at 6′ long. It’s made from construction lumber and uses a basic crochet and holdfasts for workholding. As a result, the lumber bill for this bench is about $100. You’ll need four 2″ x 12″ x 16′ boards and one 1″ x 10″ x 8′ board.

I used yellow pine for this bench, but any heavy framing lumber will do, including fir, hemlock or even spruce.

The hardware is another $75. The supplies list notes high-quality hardware from McMaster-Carr; you could easily save money by doing a little shopping or assembling the bench with hardware that is slower to bolt and un-bolt.

About the Raw Materials

Mounted for work. The ductile mounting plates are easy to install and durable.

The core of this workbench is ductile iron mounting plates that are threaded to receive cap screws. This hardware is easy to install and robust. The rest of the hardware is standard off-the-rack stuff from any hardware store.

No matter where you buy your lumber, make sure it has acclimated to your shop…

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