Build This Shop Bar-Workbench

Belly Up to This Shop Bar-Workbench Combo Made From Reclaimed Barn Wood

Dan Miller
By  Dan Miller , Progressive Farmer Senior Editor
Canadian farmer John Bergen built this bar and workbench from reclaimed barn wood complete with power and great storage ideas. See the video, too. (Photo courtesy of John Bergen)

It was a tough year for John Bergen and the family's McKnight Farms. An hour north of the Canadian-U.S. border near Carman in Manitoba, Canada, a deep drought hurt the crops last growing season. With less grain to haul this winter, Bergen found some unexpected time on his hands.

So, he built a bar. With a workbench. And not just any bar-workbench combination. This is the type of thing a guy builds when he has time on his hands. With January temps in the single digits and gale-force winds blowing snow across the prairie, a guy has time to think.

See the video here:….

Bergen's bar-workbench is a winter project way better than say, "15 brilliant things to do with 5-gallon buckets." (It's a real project someone else dreamed up -- Google it.)

"We always thought of building an island for the shop," Bergen said. "Something where the guys can eat lunch, have a cup of coffee." Or some other beverage.

Bergen married into McKnight Farms when he married his wife, Laurhys. They, with a son and daughter, live on and work a family business going back six generations. The farm lies in the north Red River Valley and yields oats, canola, soybeans and 72- to 85-day corn. The operation has been here at Carman since the early 1950s.

The workbench and bar occupy a 12-foot-long corner of the 9,600-square-foot shop. It's built of reclaimed barn wood that has been sitting around the farm. "We couldn't throw it away," Bergen explained.

Here's a tour of the bar-bench Bergen built.

The bar and workbench feature two levels. The bar area has space for several stools standing on a raised platform. Notice, Bergen installed the barnboards horizontally under the bar top. Nice touch.

Moving around the work side of the project, you'll notice nooks and crannies for storage -- rags, tubes of grease, anything.

There is a place to hang a mechanic's creeper on the side of the bench.

See the circular slots cut into the top of the bench. They are for grease guns. Notice the hole for trash and the trash can below. Bergen also puts the grease tips down there. Any grease that drips from them falls into the can.

Under the bench is a rolling toolbox that can be taken out into the shop.

On the bench are a pair of power strips to charge to the tools -- nice Milwaukee tools, by the way -- cellphones, etc.

Then, nearby, a couple more cubby holes and a very nice, illuminated McKnight Farms Ltd sign.

That is the tour. Nice project. Thanks, John.

If you're interested in sending us your project ideas, we'll pay you $400 upon publication. To submit a Handy Device, please send clear photographs, detailed drawings and a complete explanation of your idea. We'd like to see a video, too. If you have published your idea on social media (Twitter, Instagram, Facebook), send us the link.

With each entry, include your name, address and telephone number. Send Handy Device entries to:

Sorry, but we cannot acknowledge submissions or return photographs, drawings or documentation.

Dan Miller can be reached at

Follow him on Twitter @DMillerPF

Dan Miller