I'm looking to build the "Simple, Sturdy Workbench" from Getting Started in Woodworking, Season 2 - http://www.startwoodworking.com/getting-started. The design attaches the bench top to the frame using s-clips, drilled to the bench top and slotted into the frame (with appropriately routed slots in the frame).

My question is: Is there any particular advantage for this method of attachment over using right angle brackets attached into both the bench top and the bench frame?

Unfortunately where I'm currently located, such s-clips may not be as easy to procure as right angle brackets. And I would have thought that right angle brackets would provide a more solid attachment given the multiple potential attachment points on both the bench top and frame. Also s-clips don't really aid in removing the bench top - if so desired - as one would still have to crawl underneath the workbench to unscrew the s-clip to remove the top. Or have I misunderstood something?

  • The link is to a nightstand, not a workbench, is this the right video? My answer is based on the link, if the workbench has different joinery, the attachment can be different too, possibly. And... you will need to go under any table to remove a top unless you can flip it over. Otherwise, it sounds as though you are suggesting screws or bolts that go all the way through the top, not desired in furniture making or building a work bench.
    – Jack
    Feb 8, 2014 at 13:31
  • I just seen the video for the workbench, if you are using the MDF, it is less likely to move as wood is. you can fasten it from the top with screws if you like, though I would not. The screws CAN NOT be at or near the corners. The can be no closer I would say than 18" from the corners. That would only allow screws on the 2 long sides. This detail would allow the long apron to "bow" in or out as humidity changes in the MDF. I would only use 2 screws on each side for this, I would still recommend using clips of one sort or another.
    – Jack
    Feb 8, 2014 at 13:44
  • Indeed the link is not quite correct, although @Jack it would appear you found it in the end. For completeness it is episode 9 of season 2, available here. The plan for the workbench in question is also available here.
    – bitcyber
    Feb 8, 2014 at 16:31

1 Answer 1


The clips that are used in the nightstand in the video are so the solid wood top can move. If the top is secured too tightly and when seasonal movement occurs it will crack. The slots in the apron that the video shows allows for the movement. The slots don't have to be all the way through, it just as easy while machining the wood.

There are other ways to fasten tops and still allow movement, slotted screw holes and there are washers that look like there are two together and look like a figure 8. One side attaches to the apron, the other to the table top. The clips in the video are available online, as are the ones illustrated below.

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  • Thanks for the answers. I understand it now: use of s-clips allow for (slight) movement given any changes in size due to changes in humidity, temperature, etc. Thanks!
    – bitcyber
    Feb 8, 2014 at 16:33

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