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Using Reclaimed Wood To Build Your WorkBench – Part 1

workbenchYour work bench is more than a table for your shop. It is another tool. Once you have a good bench, you will realize the importance of it.

This post will be about getting the materials for the workbench that you see on the left. It is mine. I made it from reclaimed wood. I am going to show you how I did this and saved a good bit of money in the process, and you can do the same. You don’t have to use reclaimed wood, but a solid, well built workbench will cost a good bit.

I have some bins that are far too large for what we need in my shop, so I am going to size them down, and because of this I will be able to use the materials from the bins to build most of the workbench, if not all of it.

Another advantage is it will add about 40 more square feet to the shop. So that is great as well. That being the case, I can replace the space with the workbench itself. And I want it to be huge. Almost the size of a sheetgood – or 4×8.

You will see just a piece of the old bins I had below, instead of the old bins. That is because I forgot to take any pictures before tearing down the bins. So “Oops!” – But that is ok. You get the picture.

But here was the process:

To start, I tore the bins apart. The framing was all of 2×4’s, and we will use those for the workbench’s frame.


The image below is of the two by’s that I got out of the bins framework. They don’t have any nails in them here, but they did at the start of course.

Even the small pieces were salvaged such as in the image below in case I needed a cleat or a brace for the table – which I did.


I started out with this pile below of two by’s that had a bunch of nails and screws embedded in them:
The shelving in itself for the bins was great. They were almost 1 inch thick OSB High Density Flooring. Advantech is the maker – an extermely heavy and durable sheet good that will be used as the bottom and top of our workbench. It weighs roughly 100-125 pounds or so. Better than 3/4 plywood for sure.
I started to pull the nails with a claw hammer – but that didn’t work out so well. The nails were 3 inch nails with glue on them – so I had to break out the crow bar.
Make sure that if you are pulling nails you use a pair of safety glasses like I have pictured below – you don’t want a nail flying out suddenly into your eye.
You can run across the problem with unclaimed wood of the nail head or screw head breaking off. If this is the case you can do a number of things to get the nail out. I just cut them myself with the recip saw and made sure when cutting on the chop saw I didn’t hit any nails. That is going to be something you have to make sure to watch for yourself.


Note below that the nail was cut flush. The hole is the one on the left at the bottom. Again, make sure that you remember that the nail is there. You may want to make a mark on the board so that you will see it when you go to cut it on the chopsaw.


All the nails below are the ones that I pulled from the boards. Most are at least a little bent. Even so, I am going to even reclaim these nails for use. No sense in using new nails right? We are trying to get the bench as cheap as possible – free if possible!


This is a way to reclaim the nails. Get a piece of metal – or if you have an anvil that is fine too – but many don’t so just get one with a ridge on it to bend them out like this one I found below:


The elevated point on the metal piece definitely helped me out. It was just the right height to get most of the bent ones straight.
About 3/4 of the nails were able to be salvaged as you can see here:
Stay tuned to the next post! You will find how we build a tough, sturdy work bench that will last for a long time!


DO YOU HAVE a woodworking project or tip that you would like to submit to WooDesigner and get it added to our site? Then go to the contact tab below OR at the top of this page and let me know. Just make sure you are able to give us step by step instructions on it, as well as images as you see here, and we will put it on this site just like you have read on this page! As long as it is clear and concise like you just saw, it will go up. Your name will be credited to the project, as where you live. (Please include that.) Also include the type of lumber you use for the design. We look forward to hearing from you! (Take note that the tip and images and instructions have to become ours. I do hate that so much but in today’s society so many will sue, and yes, you can sue for a lot of money over images.) The tips will need to include YOUR IMAGES that you take. They can’t be images from somewhere online. Remember, we have to go through these images and if they aren’t your own, we will not be able to use them. This is illegal and it won’t be tolerated and you will be banned from this community by being blocked. We can get sued for this, and just one bad apple can ruin our community.

Ted Leger –


Updated: November 10, 2014 — 1:22 pm
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