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How to build a workbench This is the ft and inch version
Click here for the metric version
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Simple but sturdy!

woodworking bench The average DIYer would probably be content with a less elaborate workbench than a woodworker might otherwise demand. The average DIYer does not know what a mortise and tenon joint is, or a lapped dovetail joint, or a blind mitre joint, or a bridle joint. In fact, he doesn't want to know. The average DIYer secures all joints with bolts and nails. He is usually a jack of all trades and generally useful at most of them.

This workbench is put together in typical DIY fashion. It is basic, requires the minimum of tools, is easy to construct and very, very sturdy. There is also some helpful input from other people's comments

Note: There is now a reformatted version of this article at https://www.buildeazy.com/workbench.php

Identifying the members:

(a)   Legs 2x4
(b)   Top front & back rails 2x4
(c)   Top side rails 2x4
(d)   Bottom front & back rails 2x4
(e)   Bottom side rails 2x4
(f)   Side diagonal bracing 2x4
(g)   Rear diagonal bracing 2x4
(h)   Shelf 1x6
(i)   Benchtop center support 2x4
(j)   Benchtop end supports 2x2
(k)   Benchtop 2x6
(l)   Galvanized carriage bolts
identifying the members of a woodworking bench
Cutting list
item
description size length quantity
a
legs 2x4 32" 4
b & d
front and back rails for top and bottom 2x4 5'-4" 4
c & e
side rails top and bottom 2x4 22" 4
f
side diagonal bracing 2x4 36" (oversize) 2
g
rear diagonal bracing 2x4 6ft (oversize) 1
h
shelving 1x6 26" 9
i
benchtop center support 2x4 22" 1
j
benchtop end supports 2x2 30" 2
k
benchtop 2x6 6ft 5
l
galvanized carriage bolts 3/8" 4 1/2"
6 1/2"
34
4

The lumber
The lumber sizes used for this project are the sawn (nominal) sizes. Dressed or surfaced lumber is slightly smaller in size and if used, make allowances for the difference in lumber thickness and width. A lumber such as pine would be ideal. Untreated lumber may be used if the table is for inside use (garage, work shed etc.) whereas a pressure treated (PT) lumber is preferable for outside use. All sizes in this project are standard sizes and should be readily available at most lumber yards.

Four different stock sizes are used.
bullet 2x2 (dressed size approx 1 1/2"x1 1/2") for the benchtop end supports.
bullet 2x4 (dressed size approx 1 1/2"x3 1/2") for the legs, bracing, rails and benchtop center support.
bullet 2x6 (dressed size approx 1 1/2"x5 1/2") for the benchtop.
bullet 1x6 (dressed size approx 3/4"x5 1/2") for the shelving.

THE PLANS
click on to enlarge
work bench thumbnail Click on the thumbnail at the left to see the workbench plans and all dimensions. Refer to these plans for any required measurements throughout the project.

assemble workbench frame THE INSTRUCTIONS

Step 1. The frame
Commence by making the frame upside down as shown in the drawing.

On even ground nail the front and back top rails (b) to the side top rails (c) forming an oblong 5'-4" x 26". Clamp a leg (a) to the inside edge of each corner (note that the table is currently being built upside down) and secure the legs to the rails by first drilling a 3/8" diameter hole through the center of where the two members meet at each corner. Insert the bolts, add washers and nuts, then tighten.

Then....
Turn the frame upright and clamp the bottom rails (d) and (e) to the legs (a) so that the top of the rails are 8" up from the bottom of the legs. Fasten the bottom rails in a similar way to how the top rails were fastened in 'Step 1'.
Nail the benchtop center support (i) in place. Refer to the drawing 'Identifying the members' at the top of the page, if necessary.

Note: About the bench height.
Most workbenches range in height from 32" to 36". The overall height of this bench is 34", however, the overall height can be changed to suit yourself by cutting the lengths of the legs accordingly.


Step 2. The bracing
Ensure all parts of the workbench frame are square. Hold the bracing members (f) and (g) which are all over length, diagonally in place against the legs to enable each end to be marked. Cut to size, drill and bolt in place.

Note: About the bolts.
The bolts are a contributing factor in ensuring a sturdy workbench. They are also a major cost in relation to the overall project. If cost is a main consideration, then nails (3 1/2") can be used in place of the bolts. The workbench will still be sturdy, but not AS sturdy.


Step 3. The top
Lay all the benchtop members (k) on level ground, upside down and so that each piece of lumber is hard up against one another and all the ends are flush.
Place the two end benchtop supports (j) on the benchtop members (remember, the benchtop is upside down) so that each support (j) is in 2" from each end. Note that the two supports should also be 5'-4" apart which is the length of the bench frame. See plan

Fix the bench supports (j) to the benchtop members (k) with nails. This is just to hold the top in place until it can be drilled and bolted, so ensure the nails are at a length that will not go all the way through the benchtop, and are placed so as not to be in the way of the bolts.

Turn the benchtop over (upright) and place off the ground on lumber blocks to enable drilling. Mark for drilling, two holes at each meeting. (See the drawing 'Identifying the members' at the top of the page.) Start each hole with a diameter slightly bigger than the bolt head and about 3/8" deep. This is so the bolt head does not protrude past the face of the benchtop. The remainder of the hole will be 3/8" diameter (or the thickness of the bolt shank).

drill the bolt holes Start each hole with a diameter slightly bigger than the bolt head

When the benchtop is bolted firmly together, place it on top of the bench frame and fasten in place by bolting the benchtop end supports (j), to the top side rails (c), using two bolts (horizontally) each end.

Step 4. The shelving
Nail the shelving (h) to the top of the bottom front and back rails (d). Use flathead nails 3" long. The last shelving member will need to be cut lengthwise to fit snugly in place.

All done. Eazy with a "Z"!

Related topics:
How to make a wall mounted folding work bench
Author: Les Kenny
Editor: Maree Anderson

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