A cabinet maker friend advised that I have the biggest work/assembly bench that would fit in my shop and so I built one that is 4' 4" wide by 7' 4" long. The top is two layers of 1 1/8" ply glued and screwed together and a 1/4" melamine sheet screwed to the top ply as the working surface. The top is framed with rounded over douglas fir - soft enough to not ding pieces being lifted/slid up onto the bench.
Here's what the bench normally looks like - cluttered
I put a bench vise at the far end (it's open in this shot so you only see the support and threaded rods). The bench side jaw is inset into the table so that a board in the vise will be flush up against the side of the bench. I put my belt sander upside down in the vise when belt sanding small stuff or freehand shaping parts.
The lamp on the front end of the bench provides good task light for doing fine detailed work. The rod at the bottom of the lamp base fits in a hole in the bench frame and is easily removed - necessary because the bench also serves as an outfeed table for the table saw/shaper on the X31 in front of the bench.
The notches you see along the left banding had to be cut to accommodate Tru-Grip (tm) clamps (those flat ones that clamp to the bench on the bottom and to the working material on the top). Turns out those clamps are made for stock 4x8 ply - not 4x8 PLUS 2 inches on all sides - OOPS!
The top sits on a doubled 2x4s glued and bolted together base with a 1" ply bottom shelf. Under one side I built a 4 drawer slide in module for files, screw drivers, pliers and other small stuff. Under the other side I made a cabinet for storing pneumatic tools. Between them I put in a shelf so that I could store routers and the biscuit cutter on the bottom and small pieces of "can't throw away" wood.
There's also a small shelf right under the center of the side . It's a handy place to put bench pins and a place to get small stuff out of they way but still handy when assembling things on the bench top.
Under the other half of the bench I store blocks and slabs of "the good stuff" (claro walnut, camphor, cedar, madrone and manzanita (sp?) as well as miscellaneous stuff - old Baldor polishing motor, some Corian etc..
I have an oiled compressed air hose and a dust collector hose over the bench. Very handy
If you'd like to see how this bench was made click here and then select Projects