Trays and lower shelf
Some people will tell you that they hate tool trays. They call them mean things like Hamster traps and blame them for hiding tools from them and causing them to throw out tools along with wood shavings that accumulate in the tray. Pshaw! They’re also the same kind of people who will claim that a shelf under the workbench will just accumulate junk and become a dumping ground for lazy woodworkers. In my mind they have just admitted that they are lazy and have no self control. Just sayin’.
Let’s start with the shelf. A few strips of maple, shiplapped and resting on a rabbet in the front and back stretchers is all it takes, there is absolutely no rocket science here. I like shelves, it gives me somewhere to put things that I need to keep at hand without keeping them on the work surface.
The trays are a little more interesting, in my simple way of looking at things. I liked the trays that Bob Lang uses in his 21st century workbench. They can be used as trays to hold whatever you need, or they can be flipped over if you want a flat surface. I decided to build mine in a similar fashion. The main difference is that I included an additional slot across the length of the tray that acts like a tool rack/slot. This way, I can put tools in the rack to keep them readily at hand and visible, but also remove the entire thing if I need to.
All in all, the trays are not rocket science either, they are dovetailed and pin nailed together since the wood is pretty thin at about 3/8″ thick. The trays rest of a few strips of wood jutting out from under the slabs, glued in place and shimmed to hold the trays level with the surface of the bench. So far, I love them!