I'd been keeping my eye open for an affordable workbench that was both large and sturdy. Anything I liked was over $300 and anything under that price was small and/or not very sturdy.
I was very encouraged when I accidentally stumbled on Ana White's plans for a sturdy workbench made from 2x4's and a piece of plywood, estimated to cost around $50. Best of all, the plans looked so simple, nothing but straight cuts and all fastened together with 2.5 inch wood screws. While I've become fairly handy with a saw and screwdriver renovating my house, building a piece of furniture seemed a little more daunting than a frame for a bathtub.
The project was as easy as advertised. So simple in fact, that I was able to easily modify the plans a bit on the fly to change the approach for the bottom shelf. In stead of just two lower braces on each side with a few 40" 2x4's spanning the width to make the lower shelf, I framed in all four sides with 2x4's in order to suport a solid shelf made from a single sheet of melamine board (24" x 48" trimmed in both length and width to fit the spot). The melamine board shelf is sturdy and will be easier to keep clean.
I also opted for only one cross support in the centre of the top of the frame since the instructions suggested that more or less cross supports can be used depending on the sturdiness of the material used for the top. I chose a 3/4 inch Russian Birch plywood (24" X 48") which is thick, solid, hard, smooth and has a beautiful wood grain pattern. I am considering adding 8 right angle triangular pieces of 2x4 into the insides of the 4 corners of both the bottom and top frames for added rigidity.
In the future I plan to add a shallow, light weight drawer for hand tools, just under the top.
I have not yet applied a finish, but the time estimate of 3-6 hours includes the time required to stain it.
After posting a picture of this, my first ever attempt at a functional piece of furniture, on facebook I received many "likes", positive comments, and one inquiry from a friend as to whether I might be able to build him an aquarium stand.
Ana White - you are amazing, thanks for creating your website and sharing your many plans and thanks also to your followers for posting their projects which are both beautiful and encouraging.