George Vondriska

Electrify Your Workbench

George Vondriska
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Duration:   2  mins

Do you find yourself reaching for an extension cord every time you want to use a power tool at your workbench? And, when you’re done, coiling it back up again? Here’s one of many cool workbench ideas we’ve come up with at WoodWorkers Guild of America. It’s a very simple way to provide power to your workbench, and it includes a simple way to wind up the cord when you’re done. It’ll definitely make your woodworking projects easier.

A little wiring

In order to take advantage of this tip you need to be comfortable doing a little bit of electrical work. Specifically, you’ll need to install a plug and a receptacle onto a cord. Not too tough, but ask someone for help if you need it.

More on workbenches

We’re pretty pleased with this idea, but we’ve got a lot more cool workbench ideas. If you want to know how to install holes for bench dogs, how to make specialized vise jaws, how to install a vise, and more, have a look at our video on how to build a workbench.

What to build on your bench

Once your bench is built and accessorized, put it to work by building one of the great woodworking projects we offer. From bowls to planters to book cases, we’ve got lots of great projects for you.

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13 Responses to “Electrify Your Workbench”

  1. Kenneth G Erickson

    I just installed a cord reel to my ceiling (12 AWG) and I ran 12 AWG wire in conduit from a 20A receptacle on the wall to a receptacle on the ceiling. The reel end is plugged into the ceiling, and I pull down the required amount of wire. No need to swap ends on the cord, and the wire is out of the way until needed. My other workbench has an extension cord plugged into a wall plug and fastened to bench. I placed a safety cord rubber floor cover over the wire.

  2. Brian White

    I have the cord reel mounted on the ceiling in close proximity to my bench(s). I would not recommend attaching the cord reel to the underside of the bench since connecting the cord to a wall outlet presents a trip hazard.

  3. Edward VanEssendelft

    Agree with other comments about getting power to the ceiling. The cord on the floor is a tripping hazard.

  4. Michael Kratky

    Great suggestion, did that years ago but mounted "them" over head in my shop, wired one for 120 volt 20 amps and modifying the other for 220 volt 20 amps using reels from Rockler with 12 gauge wire.

  5. john

    Hi It would make more sense to attach the reel to the celling and plug it in there. You could then pull the cable out to use it and you would not introduce a trip hazard in your shop

  6. Ken

    I did just the opposite in my shop. I mounted the cord reel in the ceiling above the workbench, then ran another extension cord from the reel' male plug to a nearby wall outlet. With some adjustment of the ball on the cord reel, the outlet on the cord reel is at a handy height, but not so low I hit my head on it. In addition, the cord from the reel to the outlet is not on the floor and a possible trip hazard. Of course, the cord running across the ceiling and down to the wall outlet needs to be secured so it doesn't droop down. As you say, the cord reel is real handy. (There, I beat you to the pun.) Ken

  7. Ron

    Maybe I'm dense, but I'm not seeing how this is much different from simply running an extension cord. You still have to pull the cord out of the reel and take it over to the wall outlet to plug it in. I guess the reel part is somewhat more convenient than having to wrap/unwrap an extension cord, but like Howard said, that's a pretty expensive fix for what you're gaining here, especially if it's safer from an overheating standpoint to pull the cord out fully anyway. I'd rather spend the money on wood. Just my humble opinion.

  8. Ken

    If you reverse the cord, won't the tools run backwards? JUST KIDDING! Great idea!

  9. chris pring

    I was always told that extension leads must be fully extended when used. If you leave coils on the reel, they will heat up with prolonged use of power tools and could melt and catch fire. Regards, Chris

  10. Howard

    Whoa Baby! That's some expensive fix! $50-$75 for the cord reel, then what, $10-20 for the connectors? I have a 15-foot three-outlet cord hanging from a bicycle hook in the garage ceiling (plugged into the same outlet from the door opener) and then if I need more outlets, I have a 4-outlet portable reel ($20) that can go another 10 feet or so. Attached to a leg of my bench is a simple 6-outlet grounded power strip. I plug the bench leg into the ceiling cord and power everything on the bench, if I need power across the shop, I plug in the reel and reel it to where I need it. I manage to cover the whole garage shop this way, and it's a much cheaper, more versatile solution.

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