Welcome. This is the third and last article in the series about the modular woodworking bench. Like I said in the previous article, I’ll try to show everything it can offer and how to join the modules together.
When I finished my previous multifunction woodworking bench, some of you asked me whether it could be scaled for smaller workshops. Well, my first idea was to make it modular, and finally, using the same building system, I’ve designed this modular bench.
Approximate weight: 80kg. (without storage)
Overall dimensions: 900mm high, 1000mm width and 600mm depth.
It’s an addition system, where pieces are glued together until they reach the desired thickness, so it’s going to be easier to build and will require fewer tools.
If you’re interested in making this bench, I recommend watching all the videos for my previous multifunction bench. The design is very similar, but some steps were different and you might find ideas that are better suited for your tools or the way you work.
Here’s the 3D file you’ll find in the plans that you can buy on my website. It’s built using the same system as the Multi-Function Workbench I made, but this one is smaller, about 100cm long and 60cm deep.
Scaling the modules is very easy. You only need to print out the cutting list and the exploded 3D drawing that shows the reference of each piece. If you want to make it wider, look for all the horizontal pieces and add or subtract the difference.
If you want to change its height, do the same with all the vertical parts, for example, if you want to use different wheels. You can also make the legs longer and not install wheels, or you could make one longer module with a leg in the middle.
I’ll use it as a mobile tool stand so that I can work more freely with tools on the table, like a lathe. Attaching the modules to one another is pretty easy. First I have to loosen and rotate these two plywood pieces.
Now I must lock the wheels of one of the modules and bring the other closer until they touch, and lastly, fasten the connecting screw. This kind of wheels allows us to adjust their height so that the modules are level.
That’s one of the advantages of using these wheels; though they’re harder to lock than others, once they’re locked they provide more stability to the bench, and their height can be adjusted.
If the floor is perfectly level, you might be able to use an ordinary set of wheels. As you can see, I have made a wrench to regulate this type of wheels more easily, here you can download the free printable template.
I’ve installed this gear-driven vise. It’s called Twin Turbo Vise and offers a wider range of advantages compared to a regular vise. We can choose between two speeds depending on our needs, it has wide opening jaws to hold large workpieces.
The separation between the threaded rods is also wider than usual, meaning it can hold wider workpieces, and you can hold pieces on their ends without the vise tilting to one side.
Of course, you could also install a normal front vise. With this vise I can use the bench dogs I made for my previous multifunction bench. They will allow me to hold pieces in various ways for many kinds of jobs.
The joining mechanism is sturdy enough to hold large pieces spanning both modules. I will also be able to use the holdfast clamps I made a few months ago. With them I can hold long pieces on the front of the bench.
I’ve also attached two t-tracks profiles on the front to allow for more versatility when holding workpieces.
I’ve bought two small cast holdfast clamps that will also come in handy. They’re even faster and easier to use, and are just as good at holding. The plans for this modular bench on my website include all of these accessories, and I’ll also leave links to the materials I used in the video description.
The modules have great storage capacity, with removable drawers of various sizes. I can swap drawers or take them out so I can have my tools on hand anywhere. I’m planning on make all the stands in the same way, so I can swap drawers and boxes between all the stands and benches in my workshop.
I installed organizer boxes inside that I can also move around and swap. I won’t lock them so I can access their contents quickly. This time I’ll use grooves rather than drawer slides; I think both approaches have their advantages and disadvantages.
Of course, slides make it easier to open the drawers, but by doing this I can have bigger drawers, at the same time reducing weight and costs, besides obtaining more mobility, like I said earlier. I can also remove them to use clamps between the top and the bench.
We should be careful when opening them completely, because they don’t have stops. I applied some grease on the grooves, and they open with relative ease, considering the weight that some of them bear.
For the sake of aesthetics, I’ve glued veneered beech MDF to the fronts of the drawers. We could also just make trays to place the organizer boxes on, or doors instead of drawers, this is completely optional.
I didn’t attach a back part to the modules, I left very little space between drawers, so they’ll barely get any dust, and I didn’t think it was necessary for stability and firmness reasons.
Now I’ll show you another configuration when joining the modules. To do that, I’ll remove the two back parts that allow us to insert our saws and chisels to keep them on hand at all times. They’re also meant to leave a small gap between the modules and a wall. These pieces are completely optional as well.
I unlock the wheels and use the same screws to join the modules. I made two holes in each leg, but I think that fastening the bottom screws is enough. We can lock and level the wheels again or leave it mobile.
I’ve made two modules for now. The advantage of this system is that little by little you can make more modules and they will always be compatible with one another.
I’m going to continue building the modular bench where I left off in the previous video. First I’ll leave the beech finger joint top completely flat with a hand plane. After that, I’ll mark all the holes on the top for the holdfast clamps and the bench dogs.
I’ll drill the holes with my drill press stand to ensure they’re straight and square. I’ll also use a hand router to chamfer the holes. Now I can sand the bench tops and apply two coats of my oil varnish blend.
I’ll cut the back parts of the benches from the same board I used for the top. After cutting them to size, I’ll use the planer to shave them down to the required thickness.
From the same board I’ll also cut the small pieces that will acts as spacers. Once they’ve been cut down to size, I can glue them together. I’ll mark each of the pieces with numbers so that I will know which module they belong to.
I place the pieces in each module so that I can mark the holes I already drilled in the modules in order to join them all together. First I make sure they’re at the same height as the top. I drill the holes with the column drill.
I have to remove the tops momentarily so that I can place the threaded inserts that hadn’t been placed yet. After cutting the t-tracks to size, I fasten them to each of the modules. Now I can cut all the drawer parts.
There’s a lot of drawers, so this will take a while. I’ll also sand all the visible edges in groups of 20 pieces so I can finish sooner. I’ll use my 3D Router and a countersink bit to drill all the holes that will allow me to join the drawers together…
…and with the band saw I’ll machine the sides of the necessary drawers so that I can place the organizer boxes. To make this joining process faster, I’ll use my old jig. As always, I predrill the position of the screws first with a bit, apply a little wood glue and place the screws. This way, the bond will be stronger.
Now I’ll cut the drawer fronts. I’ll use 4 mm thick beech veneered MDF. This step is completely optional, and I’m only doing it for the sake of aesthetics. I’ll cut and mark them ensuring there’s continuity on the veins. I apply glue and stick them to the fronts of the drawers in twos.
I’ll use my old multifunction workbench to cut the drawer bottoms. This way I can show you how it works. I think the idea would be easy to adapt to these modular benches, but naturally we wouldn’t have such a big support surface for the board. I’ve varnished the bottoms with matte water-based varnish, and drilled one to use as a reference to drill the rest.
I’ve also varnished the rest of the drawer parts, so all that’s left is to fasten the bottoms. I’ll use a jig so that they’ll jut out the same length on both ends. Now I can insert them in the modules and attach their handles. In order to do that, I made a very simple jig to speed up the process. That’s all for today. See you soon!