Workbench kits

I am looking for a good heavy DIY Workbench kits.(Something simple with straight cuts) This one looks pretty good to me:
www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/B000150J50/102-7666448-5476109?v=glance
What exactly I should be looking for in this kind of a kit? Any recommendation is appreciated.
Thanks
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Home Depot is one such "kit", Lowes another. Seems like a custom workbench would always be better than some "weekend warrior" cludge made from heavily weined and barked #3 SPF.
Get a book of plans. You might even find that book at Lowes or Home Depot.
LLoyd

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Good advice, Lloyd. And while you are looking in books on work bench design think about this: Find an old dresser or other piece of furniture with drawers in it and consider using it as a drawer group to build into the workbench.
Bob Swinney

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Tried that. It wasn't built for 100 lbs of pipe fittings. OK for the carpentry and electrical stuff, though.
Best bench I've used was 1/2" steel plate welded to a frame of 2" square tubing.
jw
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| I am looking for a good heavy DIY Workbench kits.(Something simple with straight cuts) | This one looks pretty good to me: | www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/B000150J50/102-7666448-5476109?v=glan ce | | What exactly I should be looking for in this kind of a kit? | Any recommendation is appreciated. | | Thanks
Every kit I've ever seen didn't pass muster when looked at up close. They're probably fine for the casual user of a workbench, but I think that just by default, the folks on this newsgroup need a significantly heavier workbench. I've been disappointed with a very stout 2x4 bench I built because when I hammered on the vice, stuff all over the table jumped around. Not stout or massive enough, although I really do like the laminate counter top I used, although I wish it were deeper, especially the slight raised edge at the front. Weight/mass of the bench makes a huge difference when it comes to hammering and other heavy work. Perhaps I just need to attach it better to the frame. The best benches I've seen were made with whatever the owner felt comfortable working with. Steel for folks that have the goods and skills. Wood is simple enough, and can be built really stout. 4x4's are good for the frame, just make sure you have good plywood corner gussets and screws instead of nails. If you bolt it together, go with tight holes rather than sloppy ones. The framing brackets you see at the store are nice for putting it together, but will provide you insufficient stiffness. MDF layers provides great mass for a table top, but you still have to have a sturdy top surface and protect from fluid damage, which will ruin your bench in a flash. Lag screws have to be used carefully, as they will come loose from repeated pounding and movement, thus stretching the wood in the hole out, which is why bolts are better, in my opinion. Go with several smaller bolts rather than one or two big ones at structural joints. Sheet metal is good for top surfaces, but it's also a lot slipperier than wood or Formica, and dents get to be a real PITA.
The ultimate bench I worked on was made of a stout 4x4 wood frame, with top being a former bowling lane. These are expensive as hell new, so when an alley decides to change theirs, you really need the connections as folks will snatch the old materials up fast. You might be able to get a woodworker to make you one, but prepare to pay top dollar. There are also woodworking benches and kits that I think are far sturdier than the stuff you see at the hardware store, and the price reflects. Look at http://www.leevalley.com/wood/page.aspx?c=2&cat=1&pA637
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http://www.newyankee.com/getproduct3.cgi?1201 or http://www.newyankee.com/getproduct3.cgi?102 might save you a bit of ca$h!
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Since you are posting this to a metalworking news group, my assumption is that this is something that will be used for metalworking activities. My comments follow:
1. I question the wisdom of using a bench built out of combustable materials for metalworking, especially when metalworking activities often involve the use of open flame gas torches for soldering, brazing, welding, etc. You may not notice that your work bench, along with the rest of your building, is on fire, until you remove your welding goggles, or welding mask, by which time it may be too late to call the fire department. Lets just say I have some experience with this. Luckily, in my case, the building was of all steel construction so, my only heart stopping surprise, when I flipped up my welding mask, was a pile of smoldering ashes where my woodworker's bench had been. The item you point to at amazon.com appears to be a woodworker's bench. I would not recommend it for use in metalworking.
2. From personal experience, when working with long peices of metal, I find that a table on casters is much more convenient than an immobile bench placed against a wall. For example, to cut a 45 degree angle on a 15 foot long piece of tubing, I place my chop saw on the table and then rotate the table on casters for the 45 degree cut, rather than swing around the too-long-to-handle piece of metal I am working on. I purchase my metal in bulk, which means it comes in standard lengths of 20 feet or 24 feet, depending on what it is (flat bar, angle iron, tubing, etc). This may not be a consideration for your application if your metalworking activity involves creating jewelry from small spools of fine wire.
3. The bench you point to at amazon.com is a very simple design that is very similar to the table I built for metalworking. The design difference between the illustrated bench and my table is that my table does not have the "shelf" above the work surface.
The following are the components I used for my table:
Table Top: 1 piece 1/2 inch plate, 24 inches x 48 inches (1/4 sheet)
(Steel plate comes in 4 foot x 8 foot sheets. Steel retailors sell it in 1/4 sheet, 1/2 sheet, 3/4 sheet, and full sheet sizes, all 48 inches wide.)
Table Legs: 4 pieces square tubing, 3 inch x 3 inch x 1/4 inch wall Leg length = desired table height - 5 inches, to account for 4 inch diameter casters.
Leg Pads: 4 pieces flat bar, 5 inch x 5 inch x 1/4 inch
Casters: 4 pieces, 4 inch diameter casters, 750 pound load rating per caster
Assembly: a) Weld legs to table top, one on each corner. b) Using casters as templates, drill mounting holes in each Leg Pad c) Weld Leg Pads to each leg d) Bolt Casters onto Leg Pads
Optional Shelving (below work surface): For each shelf: 2 pieces angle iron, 2 inch x 2 inch x 1/8 inch x 42 inches 2 pieces angle iron, 2 inch x 2 inch x 1/8 inch x 18 inches 1 piece expanded metal, 5/8 inch x 24 inches x 48 inches
(Expanded metal comes in 4 foot x 8 foot sheets. Steel retailors sell it in 1/4 sheet, 1/2 sheet, 3/4 sheet, and full sheet sizes, all 48 inches wide. Each shelf requires 1/4 sheet.)
I've built two identical tables as per above dimensions. This gives me the following configuration options:
Configuration A: Placed apart, I have two tables, one that serves as a work surface for a chop saw, while the other serves as a "saw horse" to hold up the other end of a long piece of metal.
Configuration B: The two tables rolled/clamped together, can create a 2 foot x 8 foot "work bench"
Configuration C: The two tables rolled/clamped together, can create a 4 foot x 4 foot "layout surface" for welding.
From personal usage experience, at the start of a project, my tables are usually found in configuration "A" described above, as I use a chop saw to cut pieces of metal to the correct length for the project.
As the project progresses, the tables are usually found parked in the center of my work space in configuration "C" described above, so I can walk around my work in a 360 degree circle as I do the layout and weld procedures.
The tables are only found in configuration "B" described above, when they are NOT IN USE and parked against a wall. Based on my personal experience, there is some doubt in my mind as to whether or not a "work bench" is really that useful for metal working, considering that I never seem to configure my tables that way when working on a project.
Each table weighs about 400 lbs and provides a very solid/stable work surface for my purposes. What works for me, may not work for you. Standard disclaimers apply.
Tools required: Hacksaw (to cut notches for table legs in expanded metal for shelving) Welder
If you do not have a welding machine, you can have your table welded together commercially for very little cost if you supply all the metal pieces already precut/predrilled to the correct dimensions. A professional weldor, using precut pieces supplied by you, should be able to "glue" together a table (with shelving) for you in about half an hour -- it is a simple design requiring only basic welding skills.
I hope this is useful.
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I have spent great time researching workbenches for our factory. The best solution I have found is using cut down pallet racking. It has excellent weight bearing capabilities, cheap as can be, and available in several different sizes.
Several place sell work bench tops in different materials depending upon your needs. Make sure you get the cost of the top first before you start the project. Most places I looked had 7 foot long maple tops as a stock size, but when I wanted 8 feet long to fit the pallet racks I already had, the price went through the roof.
When the next earthquake hits, you will find me under this bench. I have never seen anything better.
Jason
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