Plywood Workbench Such a Success

You can watch the 3rd episode of building the plywood workbench on YouTube now and the 4th episode on woodworkingmasterclasses as well. I hope you enjoy both. Both are of course free.

The plywood workbench has really hit the mark. To those who are following and making I will gladly show pictures here if you send them in. I could never have imagined it would be so well received and if course I am using both of mine day to day when I can. The amazing thing is that there is absolutely zero wood movement in any of the component parts. I have been testing the moisture levels in the plywood periodically and the atmosphere varies quite a bit. I measure the same piece of plywood at 10% MC and then when it was down around 5% and there is no difference in size be that width, length or thickness. That is never the case with solid wood of course. This is the Finnish birch 13 ply plywood I am using. Well worth the extra. So with all of the parts remaining exactly to size there is no discrepancy and no distortion either.

On the upgraded version, the apron drawer and sliding well boards open exactly as they did on day one. Again this shows the absolute stability plywood brings to the project. I do compare both my secondhand wood version made from pine or spruce, with my pine one and then my plywood one and of course these benches are near perfect with regards to functionality. There is a little more movement with the softwood versions and of course there would definitely be with hardwood ones too. i have enjoyed the plywood look as well. So get on your bike down to the plywood store and pick up the wood. Better still, get it delivered!

6 Comments

  1. George wilson on 24 March 2019 at 3:46 pm

    I have so enjoyed watching the videos of building the plywood bench. Alas, although I would love to make one, Finnish Birch Plywood is a rather expensive commodity when purchasing from Scotland, added to which I couldn’t even afford it!

    Health issues would also make it a problem for the foreseeable future.



  2. Phill on 24 March 2019 at 4:49 pm

    Paul — you know you’re going to need a drawer and some saw holders — why not incorporate into the initial build while it’s easy to reach the underside?



    • Paul Sellers on 24 March 2019 at 5:24 pm

      It’s a question of feeling for other people not me. yes, I could do as you suggest, but a novice just needs to keep it simple, build a workbench, buy some hand tools and follow my courses. it really was not difficult to add the additional enhancements and it can be done when more skills and tools are acquired.



      • Sylvain on 25 March 2019 at 1:21 pm

        – Indeed, it is much easier to make a drawer with half-blind dovetails, the drawer runner etc , when you have a good workbench;
        – One can use the video of the solid-wood workbench to make and install a drawer.
        – Although, it would be easier to cut the opening for the drawer before assembly. One, of course, need to take into account the space necessary for the vise and the wedge (with enough shouldering) near the vise.
        – Once the workbench is assembled, one can still knock it down. See the pictures on:
        https://paulsellers.com/2012/10/the-long-and-short-of-bench-heights/
        – After a first assembly, I flipped and pivoted the L-beam (composed of the front-apron and workbench-top) on the two leg-frames while the back-apron was still bolted and wedged. It was easier for installing the vise. Otherwise, one can turn the workbench like Hannah does in the video here:
        https://paulsellers.com/2017/08/update-hannahs-progress/

        Sylvain



  3. Alister on 25 March 2019 at 5:14 pm

    Where did you source the Finnish Birch Plywood? In my experience it is hard to find.



  4. Will on 25 March 2019 at 9:27 pm

    Hi!
    I look forward to making this workbench soon! I am quite desperate for a solid bench for working on!!! I was wondering though – could I use yellow tongue flooring work to make this bench? I have some spare boards lying around and was considering using them, at least for the legs, as they are extremely strong. What do you think?
    Cheers!
    Will