Sturdy Work Bench

Submitted by pericles49 on Wed, 03/30/2011 - 10:53
Difficulty
Starter Projects
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I've built a few of Ana's projects so far, and a couple of my own as well.  When I work on them, though, I've had to drag my saws and drills all over the house, and sawdust gets everywhere.  What I've needed, is a work-bench.

Dimensions
24W x 48L x 34H

Preparation

Shopping List

9 - 2"x4"x8' (about $2 a stick)
1 - 24"x48"x1" laminated pine board from the Home Depot (about $20)

Common Materials
2 1/2 inch screws
120 grit sandpaper
wood conditioner
paint brush
Cut List

8 - 2x4 @ 33"
4 - 2x4 @ 3"
2 - 2x4 @ 16
4 - 2x4 @ 40
4 - 2x4 @ 12

Cutting Instructions

All of the cuts I've described use true-measurement 2x4s. If you purchase 2x4s that are in fact only 1.75"x3.75", the cut list will still work, but your base will contract by an inch in each direction.

I've listed all the cuts as being made by a circular-saw. In fact, I used a miter saw and, if you prefer, you could use a simple chop-saw as well.

Tools
Tape Measure
Pencil
Drill
Circular Saw
Drill Bit Set
General Instructions

Please read through the entire plan and all comments before beginning this project. It is also advisable to review the Getting Started Section. Take all necessary precautions to build safely and smartly. Work on a clean level surface, free of imperfections or debris. Always use straight boards. Check for square after each step. Always predrill holes before attaching with screws. Use glue with finish nails for a stronger hold. Wipe excess glue off bare wood for stained projects, as dried glue will not take stain. Be safe, have fun, and ask for help if you need it. Good luck!

Instructions

Step 1

First, cut two 2x4s to length (I picked 33 inches). Fasten them together at a ninety-degree angle (I used three equally spaced 2.5 inch construction screws).

Step 2

Lather, rinse, repeat: you need three more legs to build the bench.

Step 3

Next, cut a 2x4 into four sections, each three inches in length. Secure them to the bottoms of the legs using two construction fasteners to keep them in place.

If you'd like, you can skip this step. I find, though, that adding cleats to the bottom of the legs is helpful for three reasons: (1) because it's easy to make sure every cleat is the same size, it makes leveling the stretchers easy; (2) they support the stretchers better than screws would by themselves, and (3) they add surface area to the feet of the legs, which makes the whole project sturdier.

Step 4

Now it's time to add shelf supports. The length of your shelf supports will determine the width of your project, so consider how long you want them to be.

I knew that I would be using a 24"x48" top, and wanted a two-inch overhang on the front and back so, subtracting four inches for the legs, I cut my shelf supports to 16-inches each.

Step 5

Step 6

Next, cut stretchers to the same length as you chose for the shelves, and fasten them to the top of the legs.

Step 7

Now add supports for the top. These should be four inches shorter than the shelf supports you originally cut so, in my case, 12 inches each. I've found, thus far, that four were sufficient to keep my pretty flimsy top secure but, depending on the material you use, you might prefer more (or less).

Space them evenly, and secure with two screws..

Step 8

I added a 24"x48" top made out of laminated pine 1x2s from the Home Depot. They're cheap and, after I varnished it, reasonably hard. I was also in a bit of a hurry to get the project done, so speed and ease of construction were issues for me. I joined the top to the stretchers and supports with counter-sunk screws that I filled with wood-putty and sanded flush.

If you'd prefer, you can build a top yourself, in any of a number of ways. I considered using 2x4s joined to one another, but was concerned that the grooves would trap nails and saw-dust.

Another idea would be to stack three pieces of plywood on top of one another, cut to size. That would provide strength and durability that my flimsy one-inch top will ultimately lack.

Finishing Instructions
Preparation Instructions
This isn't a project that you'll want to display in your dining-room so, if you prefer, you don't have to finish it much.

The top, though, should be reasonably smooth and, if you used pine to top it, could stand some wood hardener. I filled the holes on the top with wood putty and then sanded them smooth. Once the top was wiped clean, I applied a coat of wood hardener, and then a single coat of water-based polyurethane.

Comments

claydowling

Wed, 03/30/2011 - 13:20

This plan is pretty nice, although you might find it small for some projects.  If you reach that point, here are some other resources to consider:

There are quite a few good books on the subject, and your local library probably has one or two.  There are also some pretty neat plans on the web for easy to make workbenches.

This one looks complicated, but it's actually made up of a bunch of really simple parts: http://americanwoodworker.com/blogs/projects/archive/2009/03/04/tom-s-t…

I love this one too, and it came very close to being my workbench: http://thewoodwhisperer.com/torsion-box-workbench/  The vises that are built into that bench can be skipped to make it very simple.  No plan, but lots of photos that will show you how to build it.

claydowling

Thu, 03/31/2011 - 17:01

Any kind of sheet goods tends to work pretty well.  The thicker the better.

A really good choice is to take a 4x8 sheet of 3/4" MDF, cut it in half, screw them together, and then build the legs under it.

JoyofBaking

Fri, 04/01/2011 - 15:26

I was JUST searching for plans on how to build my own workbench.  I should've known to come here to find it!  Thanks so much for this! 

I just ordered my very first routher.  I'm praying that someone will have mercy upon us and provide us with a router table plan, lol.  All of the plans I've seen online so far are either too complex or not detailed enough.  :o(

I'm adding this workbench to my to do list and can't wait to get started, thank you!

Semonurse

Mon, 04/11/2011 - 07:40

For the last week I've been struggling just to build the $10 shelves.  I decided to print out the workbench plans. I jokingly wrote a note on them telling my husband that I thought he needed to build me this.  Well guess what?  He built the workbench in less than an hour!  While I am happy and excited about my new workbench, I still haven't even figured out how to hold my boards together so I can  drill the holes in them or how to countersink or if I'm even using the right drill bit!!  And here my husband goes and builds this workbench in no time!!  It's very aggravating!!  And yes, I have asked for his guidance, however, he wants to take over and build it himself. I'm so ready to just forget about this new hobby. It's a shame too because I do have this awesome new workbench!   

claydowling

Mon, 04/11/2011 - 07:49

http://www.amazon.com/Hand-Tool-Essentials-Techniques-Woodworking/dp/15…

There's a lot of stuff in there that will help you.  The tools, and therefor the techniques, are different than what Ana uses.  But they work.  I use them.  Hand tools are cheaper, generally safer, and don't require a major investment.  As somebody who didn't have power in his workshop for a very long time, hand tools where a major salvation.

The most important thing is to get out there and build something.  Build something simple.  You'll learn from the process, and your next project will be easier.  A box is a good start, because you can always find a use for a box, and they're pretty easy. 

And tell your husband to keep his hands off your tools unless he wants to draw back a stub.

Guest (not verified)

Thu, 04/14/2011 - 11:27

I finally had enough of my husband leaving tools and renovation supplies in every room of the house.  I found this plan and set to work.  This was so simple, even for a novice like me.  I used mostly what we already had on hand so I only spent around $10 for a few extra 2 x4's.

Thank you so much for the clear instructions and diagrams.  It's a very simple design, but very efficient. It's also an extremely quick build.

mama2twins

Mon, 09/19/2011 - 07:19

I store my miter saw on the top, my jigsaw, toolbox, Dremel box and other things on the bottom shelf. I attached a few hooks for quick "go to" tools such as a pencil & sharpener, measuring tape, running square, etc.
A few weeks ago we had some minor flooding after a hurricane. Then we thought we were in the clear and went about our business and put things back....then out of the blue that we had another flood which was deep. This workbench saved all of my tools! Normally they would have been in the basement stored on the floor...thanks to these plans, my tools were safe and dry!!! Thank you so much for the best site ever!!!