Building your own garage work bench

I’ve got this thing framed out now and I was going to just do 3\4 plywood on top, then I got to thinking about using different top materials. Is plywood the best bet or is there something else I should be considering as an alternative? I don’t mind spending a little extra to get me something that’s more durable to last for a long long time.

Anyone have access to any government referbbed work benches? That butcher block style bench would be great! I also plan on eventually creating a fly tying area out of part of this bench, so I’m trying to do something different there I guess.

The bench I’m building is going to be 35" wide x 16’ long with storage room underneath.

Thanks for any good ideas.

i topped mine with 2x6’s running the short distance, I can drill it, hammer on it, burn it, drill it, whatever

when a board gets torn up just pull it off and replace it

you could do one section like this and a nice surface for the other area

Pioneer 197SF

I have plywood on mine with a four inch overhang on the front for clamping. I added a 12x12 piece of oak on the corner to mount the vice clamp. The bottom has a sliding platform sized for rubbermaid containers. It works great! The key for using plywood is a solid frame with stringers 16" OC.

Mark Ingle
NauticStar 1810 Merc 90

I purchased a metal desk from a thrift store and put 4x4 longger legs on it and oak 2x6.s on top. plenty of storage - very solid

tongue and groove oak flooring

It ain’t no mystery…this beer’s history!

i had some leftover formica laminate laying around, so i put that on part of my workbench. its more durable than i thought, and it is much easier to keep clean. i use that area for meticulous work, like rebuilding carbs, but it is also fine to hammer on and cut on.

I have an area on my bench that I work on guns that is plywood topped with 1/4" HDPE (Starboard). It’s a very forgiving surface.

Wadmalaw native
16’ Bentz-Craft Flats Boat

I used formica on mine as well for my “assembly” work bench. I do have a second work bench tat is topped with 3/4" plate steel, my “disassembly” workbench…

I bought a preformed section of formica counter top. It has been down 15 years and still looks great. Don’t go with anything with a shiny finish though. Mine has some texture and is dark.

“Apathy is the Glove into Which Evil Slips It’s Hand”, but really, who cares?

I used SS as I wanted a surface that was durable and easy to clean. I worked on a lot oily parts rebuilding cars, so this may not be as important for you. Formica might be about the best option for cost, durability, and ability to clean. I hate working on wood. Always feels like a dirty surface. My workbench for reloading inside the house is plywood topped and I hate it. Will be covering it with Formica soon.

1979 17’ Montauk
90 Johnson

Wilderness Ride 115

Years ago they filmed the Hunley movie at the old Navy base. They left a mock up town on site so I went and scrounged all the wood I needed for my bench (and other projects). It has a 34" x 8ft x 3/4 inch plywood top. Framed out with two by fours attached to eight 4 x 4 legs but with an overhang for clamping. Two shelves were installed under the bench top, one on either side with an open space in the center for a repurposed drawer and benchstool storage.

It is heavy and solid. I don’t worry about banging on it, drilling, cutting, painting, etc.


Make a section that is lowered just a bit to be chop saw friendly.

Down here is where a signature goes but they can confuse and anger some people so I don’t have one.

Through the years I’ve had work benches covered in steel, stainless steel, plywood, and laminate. For cost vs durability, it’s hard to beat laminate. This is especially true if you buy a countertop with backsplash from the change out/ scratch and dent section at Lowes.

If you plan on serious work, fabrication and welding a 3/8" steel plate section is nice to have. you can build almost anything on a 3x4 foot fabrication section. When it starts getting too beat up, you smooth the surface with an angle grinder flat on the surface. Welding dingle berries come right off. You can tack weld your work to the table instead of clamping.

For sanitary work, nothing beat stainless steel.

Boat drinks, Waitress I need 2 more boat drinks!

This is exactly what i did, works great and any issue just pop the screw out and replace it. I spaced the boards out so sawdust would fall through instead of gathering on the table, and put a tray i made underneath the 2x6, catches the sawdust so i can just take out the tray and dump sawdust in the trash can, and also will catch a bit or screw if i drop it through the crack.

Pretty effective and cheap as well

Look at where Jesus went to pick people. He didn’t go to the colleges; he got guys off the fishing docks.

Forgot to mention in my comment above, if you want a smooth surface with no gaps, I called Southern lumber and they got me a birch door slab that i used as a top, and put hinges on the back so i could lift it up and have storage underneath

Look at where Jesus went to pick people. He didn’t go to the colleges; he got guys off the fishing docks.

There are lots of great ideas here…I was just going to throw this thing together in a couple of hours, but you guys have my brain working overtime now. I don’t do a lot of heavy duty stuff, but I am building this bench because I always find myself working from the truck tailgate. I want something durable of course, but I don’t want to overcomplicate it either. But now I’m starting to think about the little things like power strips, cabinets/shelving for above the bench, installing a vice, installing a grinder…lots of things to consider here now.

I also have a piece of granite that I’ve been storing for about 8 years now thinking I’d do something with it. I might make that the surface for my fly tying station; I don’t know yet. Not sure how I’d secure the granite in place or if it would look funny surrounded by plywood.

This is the frame; I still need to add the 2x4s for top support.

You can make a pretty durable surface with 3/4 MDF. I built a car on a MDF topped table.
You could put supports for your granite piece in. Drop them the thickness of the slab and keep your surfaces flush.

Boat drinks, Waitress I need 2 more boat drinks!

You should consider dropping the height of the top at the window, to maybe desk height as it crosses the window…To have to move that thing to get access for a window replacement would be a real pain…

Originally posted by Area 51

You should consider dropping the height of the top at the window, to maybe desk height as it crosses the window…To have to move that thing to get access for a window replacement would be a real pain…

I can still open and close it easily at this point. That’s a new window as of five years ago, so I don’t plan on having to replace it unless I break it. :face_with_head_bandage:

Ok 23, I was just looking to the future when your wife turns the work bench into a craft table and she stacks all her plastic bins in front of the window…