A workbench is one of those “must-haves” when doing any sort of wood working. It does not have to be large, but you want to have enough space to do any clamping or sanding. The main key overall, is to have the bench be sturdy and functional.
For the longest time, my workbench consisted of an old bathroom cabinet and just had a piece of plywood for a top. It had worked for the time being, it was something at least. However, it wasn’t very sturdy, nor was I able to clamp anything to it. I think the worst thing, that really drove me insane was the lack of organization with it. Everything in the cabinet was hard to find!
Finally, I started taking the steps to get the organization in the garage that I wanted! The first thing, taking a hammer and destroying the already falling apart vanity cabinet.
Slowly but surely I have been making the storage systems that I have wanted, most of it out of scrap wood. I’ll do another post soon giving a tour of my workshop/garage, but for now here is the How-to on a nice sturdy workbench. I made my bench 8′ long, but feel free to downsize for your own needs! Always just make sure that the leg spread is as large as possible to get give the most solid frame.
This DIY Tutorial is based upon my second workbench. My first bench, is identical to this however the top is made of 2″x3″x8’s instead, which weighs quite a bit more, and only costs slightly more. Both of my workbenches are 8′ long, so just size and cut down yours according to what will be more functional for you.
6 – 2″x 4″x8′
12 – 2″x 2″x8′
8 – Hex Bolts
8 – Nuts
Drill & Screw Bit
Drill Bit – To drill the holes for the Lag Bolts
Step By Step How To
1. The first thing you are going to do is glue the 2x2s together and clamp them thus ensuring that I got a good adhesion and that the boards were as level and flush as they could be. If you don’t have a flat table to do this on, clean off a large area of floor space and do it on there. I glued the boards together one at a time. This way is more time-consuming but ensures that straightest top. I allowed 20 minutes for each piece to have the glue to cure before I went on to the next piece. The good thing about this is that you do not need to sit around twiddling your thumbs, you can prep and get the base ready while you are making the top.
2. Its time to get the legs ready. Figure out the height that you want your bench to be; For me it was 38″. Plan accordingly to account for the thickness of your top. 2″x2″ boards are actually 1.5″ x 1.5″ therefore my legs would have to be 36.5″ to get me the 38″ Height.
3. Measure and cut your 2x4s for the legs. You will need 2 pieces of 2″x4″ for each leg.
4. Clamp the 2 cut boards together ensuring that they are flush on all sides. You are now going to drill your holes for the Hex Bolts. You want the Drill Bit you use to be just slightly larger then the hex bolt. Now measure out where you want to have the holes to be located. I placed them at 6″ from the bottom and 9 inches from the top.
5. Once your holes are drilled you are going to unclamp the boards and put wood glue in between them. Put the boards back together and re-clamp, again ensuring that they are flush. Now you are going to put the Hex bolts in with making sure there is a washer on both sides against the 2″x4″s then tighten with the nuts.
6. Repeat steps 4 and 5 for each legs.
7. This is where we are going to use the extra 2x4s we have to attach the front legs together and the back set of legs together. I wanted an 6″ overhang on the ends with my table so I cut my 2 boards down to 7′.
8. Laying the 2 front legs on the ground I screwed the 7′ 2″x4″ to them, then repeated the step with the back legs.
9. Now is the time to attach the front and back legs together. Your top should be 17.5″ wide in total, and you do not want too much of an overhang in the font and the back. Note: remember larger leg span means sturdier workbench. I decided that the total width should be 17″ leaving a 1/4″ overhang in the front and back. Measure and cut the piece out for this and screw it in.
10. You also need to put in a blocking piece just above the bottom Hex Bolts on the legs to give the legs support down there. This is where the left over cut pieces are going to come into play. With 17″ total you need, minus the front & back trim and the legs thus leaving you with an 8″ piece on either side. Screw and attach this board in, however you may need to counter sink it since you are going through 2 pieces of 2″x4″s (legs)
10. Here is the last step for preparing the base. You are going to be screwing the top to the base later, but you will need blocking pieces to do so. You need to measure out the distance between the front and back trim pieces and cut and screw the blocking about a 1/3 of the way in on either side. Small pieces needed at the ends as well. See photo.
11. You also need to put in a blocking piece just above the bottom Hex Bolts on the legs to give the legs support down there. Now, this is where the left over cut pieces are going to come into play. With 17″ total you need to minus the front & back trim and the legs. This should leave you with an 8″ piece on either side. Screw and attach this board in, however you may need to counter sink it since you are going through 2 pieces of 2″x4″s (legs)
12. Now that the base is ready to go, your top should be as well. Next, place the top on the base and measure to insure it is even on all sides.
13. From underneath you are going to screw the blocking to the top (NOTE: remember to use screws that are only about 1.5″, so you don’t go through the top)
14. If you want you can give your workbench a light sanding to make sure there are no rough points, however it isn’t needed.
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