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Sturdy Work Bench

March 30, 2011 |
posted by pericles49
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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.

Sturdy Work Bench

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Projects built from this plan. Thank you for submitting brag posts, it's appreciated by all!

Dimensions

Dimensions: 
Sturdy Work Bench
Dimensions: 
24W x 48L x 34H

Materials and Tools

Shopping List: 

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

2 1/2 inch screws
wood filler
120 grit sandpaper
wood conditioner
paint brush
Tools: 
measuring tape
pencil
drill
circular saw
countersink drill bit

Cut List

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.

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!

Step 1

Sturdy Work Bench

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

Sturdy Work Bench

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

Step 3

Sturdy Work Bench

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

Sturdy Work Bench

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

Sturdy Work Bench

Now it's time to add the shelves. These will determine the length of your project so, again, 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 sides so, subtracting four inches for the legs, I cut my shelf supports to 40-inches each.

Step 6

Sturdy Work Bench

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

Step 7

Sturdy Work Bench

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

Sturdy Work Bench

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.

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I love this workbench!!  Nice

I love this workbench!!  Nice job!  Thanks for the plans. :)

posted by Lori E. (not verified) | on Wed, 2011-03-30 14:54
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claydowling's picture

Workbench Plans

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-to...

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.

posted by claydowling | on Wed, 2011-03-30 15:20
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claydowling's picture

This bench is full of "gadgets"

http://www.finewoodworking.com/Workshop/WorkshopArticle.aspx?id=28530

No plans here either, but it takes an ingenious approach to clamping your work that's worth remembering.  You could spend a lot of money on vises, or just do it the easy way like they did here.

posted by claydowling | on Wed, 2011-03-30 16:18
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amadorgirl's picture

table top

Is there a reason you can't use particle board or just a cheaper than $20 table top?

Erica

posted by amadorgirl | on Thu, 2011-03-31 18:46
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claydowling's picture

Particle board

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.

posted by claydowling | on Thu, 2011-03-31 19:01
clips

I was JUST searching for

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!

posted by JoyofBaking | on Fri, 2011-04-01 17:26
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Workbench

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!   

posted by Semonurse | on Mon, 2011-04-11 09:40
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claydowling's picture

A good starting point

http://www.amazon.com/Hand-Tool-Essentials-Techniques-Woodworking/dp/155...

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.

posted by claydowling | on Mon, 2011-04-11 09:49
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Book

Okay I just ordered the book.  I hope it really does help me!  Any other books that might help me?  I've googled stuff until I'm sick of looking at the computer screen! And still don't know the answers!  I really appreciate your advice on the book though.  And about him keeping his hands off my tools,  My new tool box has suddenly become "our" tool box!

posted by Semonurse | on Mon, 2011-04-11 17:53
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claydowling's picture

Helpful sites/information

I'm not sure which other books to recommend.  The web article series "I Can Do That" from Popular Woodworking is worth reading.  They start from the assumption that you're ignorant and seeking enlightenment.  They also have really cool projects, often a simplified version of a professional project featured in the same issue.

There's a series of videos at Logan Cabinet Shoppe that are really good for learning basic skills.  The author does really good work, and shows how it's really just a series of very simple skills that you can learn with a little practice.

Other consistent sources are harder for me to recommend.  When I want to learn a new skill I tend to start hunting videos.  Although considering that you're concerned with the proper way to attach screws, let me advise you to use great caution in your search terms.  What has been seen cannot be unseen.

Also, for the keeping of the toolbox, mouse traps may be a good bet.

posted by claydowling | on Mon, 2011-04-11 21:10

Thank you so much

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.

posted by Guest (not verified) | on Thu, 2011-04-14 13:27
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mama2twins's picture

This saved me a lot of money!

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!!!

posted by mama2twins | on Mon, 2011-09-19 09:19

Great Bench!

I built/finished this bench in about 4 work hours about 4 months ago. Thank you so much I LOVE IT! Mounted my Kreg on one end, very handy. Finished the top with Johnsons Paste which is holding up great. This bench has proved to be VERY useful and was SO simple to build using your plans. Thank you so much for taking the time to post them!

posted by Larissa (not verified) | on Wed, 2011-10-12 11:13
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Jodieth's picture

Cutting table

I love this easy idea for making a cutting table in my sewing room. It would work well for storage underneath. I have this on my to do list and am going to skirt it in fabric. My dimensions will have to be a little different to match my cutting mat size.

I would love to know if anyone has built anything for a sewing room. Thank you for the plans and comments above.

posted by Jodieth | on Fri, 2012-02-10 15:21

Here goes nothing

I am going to take this on as my first project this weekend. Will report back with my success (or failure).

Thanks Anna for the inspiration.

posted by RandyE (not verified) | on Wed, 2012-03-28 12:24

My husband wants to make this

My husband wants to make this work bench, but since he's over 6' tall he wants to add about 3-4" in height. Does he need to modify anything else other than the height of the legs?

posted by Kerry (not verified) | on Wed, 2012-03-28 18:36

I just wanted to add that I

I just wanted to add that I just completed this project and only used 6 2x4x8 boards, no need for 9 of them. Depending upon where you purchase your 2x4's the price for them can vary greatly. I paid almost $4 a board and bought 3 more than needed, while the $12 dollar up cost doesn't bother me because I will use the 2x4's for another project at some point, some who don't build frequently and may have to save up for supplies could be upset by spending the addition cash when it isn't needed, just a suggestion is all. And also it is suggested to cut the top supports 4 inches shorter than the side supports and that is too short. I cut mine exactly four inches shorter and really only needed them to be 2 inches shorter. My table was built following these very instructions but I added a half an inch to the sides because I am using something different for my topper. My sides measure exactly 16 1/2" and the top supports need to be 14 inches so only 2 1/2" smaller than the side supports.

posted by Guest (not verified) | on Wed, 2012-04-04 00:55
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jwbrett's picture

Measure Twice, Cut Once

As the above comment mentioned, the TOP SUPPORTS may not be 12" as in STEP 7. Depending on the true size of your 2X4 this can vary greatly, so please do yourself a favor and measure the area before you cut! :) For me, the perfect top support came in at an even 13".

Also, as also mentioned above, this project only needs 6 2X4's to complete...with scrap left over. Oh...and you need 95 screws!

Very pleased with the sturdiness and raw design of this plan! I thank you, my garage floor thanks you, my back thanks you.

posted by jwbrett | on Sun, 2012-05-20 07:58

Fantastic Article

Fantastic article and that is one good looking work bench. Have you ever made a cutting board before? The ones at End Grain Cutting Board are beautiful and seem like an easy starter project for someone!

posted by EndGrainJoe (not verified) | on Mon, 2012-07-23 18:17

Shopping list

I just built this work bench today. The plans are easy to follow but the shopping list should be 6 2x4s instead of 9. Also there are some cuts missing from the cut list (step 7 cust are not on the list). Otherwise the plans are awesome and easy to follow.

posted by Steve069 (not verified) | on Sat, 2013-01-19 22:43

Useful sharing

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..... cell phone spy software
cell phone listening

posted by taniajelro | on Tue, 2013-05-07 23:25

Very interesting. During

Very interesting. During renovation, you need to consider important things such as materials, tools, safety and etc. We need to use something solid and reliable to avoid accident. Most individuals and companies are using cheap materials to lessen the costs of the renovation but this is not advisable.We must not only consider the price of the materials because the most important is the quality.

devis entreprise électricité

devis installateur chauffage

posted by karenwalker | on Mon, 2013-07-15 04:35

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