I actually made two workbenches to the pattern we’re giving in the video series. It follows the same principle pattern as my earlier models made from solid and laminated wood because my research via questionnaires and such showed that we had hit the mark with regards to the important factors. Three decades ago we tackled the misinformation with regards to workbench work heights. After careful study our work showed that the majority of hand tool enthusiasts were indeed working at workbenches that were far too low and that in itself was causing severe back and neck pain. I already knew much about it because as a practising craftsman I kept coming up against super-low benches and found them so difficult to work efficiently at. Functionality wise 6,500 students over 30 years attested to the comfort of an average height of around 38″. They worked at them anywhere form a single day workshop to month-long classes. I never had a single complaint with regards to comfort or functionality. Having worked at every other kind of manufactured and home made workbench, I found that 99% of them were just too low for me and I am Mr Average height. Alternative heights proportionally for taller and shorter students than 5’10” always resulted in improved wellbeing.
I am still not certain why I am so enjoying the look of the plywood but more than that I like the functionality too. I doubt that you will ever see me use MDF for any of my work but plywood is extremely practical and long lasting if you buy the right grade.
Making the second workbench for the series has been very well received with only the odd criticism mostly to do with personal preferences rather than improvement. Whereas the basic bench works totally well, my first bench was inline for my customary upgrades. End of bench shelving, sharpening plate holder stowage, Under bench shelf and then the bolt on tool well in addition to the regular well for daily-use tools.
Of course I could not live without my apron drawer, a non-negotiable for me. I customised the handle and then the drawer front and dividers are also plywood, which I like too.
Then there is a hidden element I have never added before. My tool well is not a continuous board. I cut it in two half way so that it slides in and out from either end.
I added a board from the underside of the aprons to create a hidden tool storage area for the lesser used tools like plough planes, routers and much more. In this one bench I can hold all of the tools I might ever need to make any project I care to and they are really quite readily accessible.