When we purchased our home, the previous owners left their old workbench in the garage for us to use. It was a simply built 2x4 bench with a plywood sheet top and
two large drawers that were barely hanging on for dear life. While it wasn't the highest quality bench by any means, we did our best to make use of it. It quickly
became apparent that storage would be a problem. While the large drawers could hold a bunch of stuff, they were simply too large to sustain any sort of meaningful
organization strategy. As I got more into woodworking, the storage issues only got worse and worse. For years, my miter saw simply migrated from spot to spot in the
garage, usually somewhere right in the middle of the floor under a bunch of junk. Moving it around and clearing out space for cross-cutting lumber was an annoying chore.
I desperately needed a better bench.
The old workbench.
The inital model for my miter bench. Packing as much storage as possible into the bench.
Mockup of the recessed miter saw table, the bank of cubbies built into the fence and storage for the planer below the miter saw.
The guiding principle of my new bench needed to be focused entirely on storage. Lots of smaller, defined compartments to hold a wide variety of woodworking and household
tools in a logical way. It also needed to serve as a functional miter station, with a fence system to support a stop block and long outfeed tables to support the work
and cutoff pieces. The bench design has a total of 24 drawers, consisting of a bank of 14 main drawers, 1 accessory drawer to the right of the miter saw, and a bank of
9 cubbies built into the fence system. The cubbies are a great solution to make use of the space that frequently gets lost behind the fence on many miter saw station plans.
In addition to the drawers and miter saw storage, I also needed a place to store my planer. I placed the planer beneath the miter saw and simply pull it out onto the floor
as needed. It's a bit of a pain to pull out each time, but for now it will have to do until I have a bigger shop. In the future if I ever get a shop large enough to give
the planer a permanent home, the space below the saw can easily be converted to either dust extractor storage or an additional bank of drawers.
The new bench mostly assembled.
Still needs drawer fronts and the fence / cubbies.
To construct the bench, the main cabinet is built from 3/4" birch plywood from Home Depot. It simply consists of 5 main verticl panels, connected with a toe kick, a few
pieces of strapping on top, and a 1/2" cheap pine plywood backing board to give it rigidity. The workbench top is made up of two IKEA Gerton solid beech table tops. The
main surface on the left side of the bench perfectly fits one full Gerton table top, and the second table top was used for the recessed miter table and right hand surface.
The fence. Melamine top with Incra T-track for a stop-block.
The cubbies are great for holding random odds & ends.
The fence system simply sits on top of the workbench top. It is constructed from more 3/4" birch plywood with a bunch of cubbie holes to house small drawers. I chose
a scrap piece of melamine for the top of the fence, with a rabbet cut into the front edge to house an aluminum t-track for a stop block to slide in. The cubbies are constructed
from 9mm (3/8") plywood and a simply glued together with butt joints and slide along the worktop into the cubbies without any sort of guides. I drilled a 3/4" hole
into each cubby drawer to serve as a finger pull.
Lots of drawer parts
All the drawers mounted in the workbench
The drawers will never been this clean again
Building 24 drawers was by far the most time consuming part of the project. All the main drawers are built using 1/2" plywood for the sides and bottoms. The drawers
are build in various depths to help maximize the amount of storage I can get. The top 3 drawers are only 1.25" deep for holding various hand tools. Next are two 2.75"
deep drawers used to hold boxes of screws and stuff, followed by a 5.5" drawer for medium sized tools and finally an extra deep 9.5" drawer for large tools like circular
saws, routers, etc. The drawer boxes are constructed with reinforced rabbets, and mounted to the cabinet with over-extension drawer slides.
Milled up the edge banding for the drawer fronts to 1/4"x7/8" thick
Drawer pull blanks ready for shaping
Had to attach some extra wood to securely mount the pulls.
The finished pulls mounted to the drawers.
The last step was to build the drawer fronts for all the drawers. They are all constructed from 3/4" MDF-core maple plywood, wrapped with cherry edge banding and cherry
drawer pulls. The drawer pulls were made following these instructions from Rockler
. I ran into a few issues
while mounting the drawer fronts and needed to glue on some extra blocking to support the drawer handles as they attached to the drawer boxes, but all in all it turned out great!