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Nov 18, 2010, 11:28 AM
Chuck 'Em and Chase 'Em
Fly2High's Avatar

Harbor Freight workbench - how bad is it?


Anyone have any experience withthis bench?

Can it be used for building or if it cannot as is, what needs to eb done to it to make it useable (besides throwing it away and gettting a real bench !)

any input pros/ cons would be appreciated.


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Nov 18, 2010, 12:53 PM
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Originally Posted by Fly2High

Anyone have any experience withthis bench?

Can it be used for building or if it cannot as is, what needs to eb done to it to make it useable (besides throwing it away and gettting a real bench !)

any input pros/ cons would be appreciated.


Hi Frank,

It's hard to tell from just a picture whether it would work in your application or not. Most important is a true, flat, top that will resist warping. As for strength of the piece, it can always be fortified to make it stronger.
Nov 18, 2010, 03:05 PM
Registered User
It will be a good woodbench, but you won't be able to stick pins in it. They say it weighs 121 lbs so it should be plenty stable.
Nov 18, 2010, 03:06 PM
B for Bruce
BMatthews's Avatar
It's too small a top surface for building anything but the smallest of models and too small, flimsy and light to serve well as a proper heavy wood working bench. Look at the top size. It's only 60 x 20 inches.

If you wanted this as a "work island" to complement a kitchen counter style wall bench for model building then fine. But as it sits now I'd suggest that it's too small a work top.

If you have nothing at all at the moment I'd suggest you go around to a supplier of used construction materials. They all have collections of old kitchen cabinets and counters. Make a deal on a few cabinet lower drawer units and a few uppers depending on what your shop area can use. Get a damaged "second" of pre finished counter top. When you install the cabinet lowers pay particular attention to shimming them all up to level and matching. Leave a 30 inch leg well so you can sit at the bench at one spot. This will all fit against a wall and serve well since it'll be a much more useable size and provides far more storage. Upper cupboard units provide more storage and a place to mount the bench working lights and valence to avoid blinding yourself.

A setup such as that would run you about double or perhaps triple the cost of that HF bench but it would be a Cadalac solution that would last you for years instead of a Yogo used bucket of bolts solution that you'll outgrow or find inadequite within weeks.

I know you didn't want an alternate but really the size of this thing makes it more a "scale model" of what a real proper wood working bench truly is. And as for a model building bench it's a disaster that can't be modified to be even passingly adequite unless you only build a few extra small models a year or perhaps if it would be an island workplace addon to an existing shop.
Nov 18, 2010, 03:22 PM
I use an old drafting table -- from the days before computers were king. Flat, stable, big enough -- and inexpensive.

I agree with Bruce, the HF one is too small.

Good luck
Nov 18, 2010, 10:55 PM
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Buran's Avatar
Try starting with a solid core door.
Nov 19, 2010, 01:12 AM
Registered User

Have you seen the Harbor Freight bench in person, I've seen them in the store, the top looks solid but it is only about 3/4"thick with a 3/4" thick border. The bench is made of some type of wood that looks relatively soft. I don't know how long it would stay true. The term "hardwood" can be a little bit misleading, Keep in mind that Balsa is botanically a hardwood! Personally, after seeing one, I would pass on that one.

I agree with Buran, a solid core door is the way to go. Sturdy, stable, flat, and heavy. You can put it on a two by four framework or do like BMathews said and use cabinet modules for a base. Just make sure the base is shimmed so that the door is not stressed or it will eventually warp. Make sure the door is flat to start with. Used doors from a re-model can be had for next to nothing or even free.

I found my two doors when they were left out on the street for the annual city "Big trash day" pickup.

Now if you are really serious about a true stable building surface......
I heard Eugene Verbitsky, (A gentleman who has been flying for the former Soviet Union and now Ukrainian FAI free flight teams since the sixties) explaining how he built such true, warp free wings. Seems he sometimes uses a large machinists "proofing" table. Something like a six foot long very thick granite block with a surface finished flat to within "Zillionths" of an inch.

Last edited by Oian; Nov 19, 2010 at 01:23 AM.
Nov 19, 2010, 09:29 PM
Registered User
bullseye000's Avatar
I'd pass on this one too. For some reason my father felt compelled to buy one. It looks nice but as the others said it's not really a hardwood bench and wouldn't stand up to the abuse that oak would.

I used to have a piece of slate from an old pool table. Works really well. Had to get rid of it because it was too expensive to move. I bought myself a 72" Gorilla workbench and replaced the 3/8" particle board top with a 2" Formica covered particle board top. Very heavy and very stable. I glued ceiling tiles that are smooth on both sides with spray adhesive. I think the style was called Stonebridge. I want to replace them but can't seem to find them around here. I really want to try magnets so I may strip the tiles off and glue a piece of sheet steel to the top of my bench with contact adhesive. IIRC I paid less for the Gorilla bench than my father paid for the HF bench. That was about 10 years ago though.
Nov 19, 2010, 11:16 PM
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RogueTitan's Avatar
Originally Posted by Fly2High

Anyone have any experience with this bench?

Can it be used for building or if it cannot as is, what needs to eb done to it to make it useable (besides throwing it away and gettting a real bench !)

any input pros/ cons would be appreciated.



I have had this bench for a few years now (got it on sale for 139.95) and I love mine! It is very high quality work bench made from white oak heavy and stable and nothing flimsy about it as other posters who have commented that apparently don't own one otherwise they would know how heavy duty it is actually is.
Grizzly has the exact same bench at double the price.
I use it as is to build from except I have a piece of 10 Ga metal I use as a magnetic building board sitting on top but ya it can be used as is for building R/C airplanes or guitars
I am building 5' and 6' wing span planes on this bench.
Last edited by RogueTitan; Nov 19, 2010 at 11:30 PM.
Nov 20, 2010, 05:05 AM
Will fly for food
I have one of them and it works OK. Yes, it is small, but I don't build large models.

The big complaint I have is, it is fairly low (as work working benches typically are) so I have a couple of pieces of 4x4 under the legs to raise it up. The drawers don't open as far as they should.

But, I got mine on sale, and for the money, it was a quick bench to put into use.
Nov 20, 2010, 09:53 AM
Registered User
Few things to consider:

-How much room do you have for your bench in the room. (width, depth)
-How many tools/equipment do you have/use/need to have on or near the bench and a means to keep them out of the way and organized (easy to find at need).
-Are you able to expand the work area around it. (pegboard on the wall, place to stage parts/items as u build or glued parts setting up, storage of materials like foam sheets, etc)
-Size of your items being built.

Finally, will it meet your needs now and going forward, how much money do you want to put into it and/or are you willing to put time into construction. Having something that is Heavy, Solid and Hugh, is nice but for RC craft builds... is not really required.

Using a solid door is an great idea, can also go with one of those folding tables from an office supply store (come in diff sizes).
Nov 20, 2010, 09:58 AM
Foam Av8r
RogueTitan's Avatar
I agree the drawers need to come out farther
however the height is just right for me since I sit down when I am building.
Nov 20, 2010, 10:31 AM
Registered User
I got an old metal desk at a garage sale for about $10.00.(the same kind they used to have in some schools for the teachers) I put it up on large cinder blocks to get the height I wanted, then put on a solid wood door with ceiling tiles on top. The nice thing about the desk is it has drawers for storage and adjustable metal feet for leveling.If you have room you may want to consider a Island style bench that you can walk around. I am considering this because I tend to build bigger kits(60-120size) and maybe scratch build some day.
Nov 20, 2010, 10:49 AM
Registered User
LesUyeda's Avatar
Marion. Do you still have the parallel rule off of that drafting table. I do mine. Somewhere!!!!!:-))))))))

Nov 20, 2010, 12:10 PM
Looks good to me for the price.
I payed alot more for benches.
I got one for $400 years ago.
You find these on sale.

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