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How to build a workbench This is the Metric version
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Simple but sturdy! woodworking bench
The average DIYer would probably be content with a less elaborate woodworking bench 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 100x50
(b)   Top front & back rails 100x50
(c)   Top side rails 100x50
(d)   Bottom front & back rails 100x50
(e)   Bottom side rails 100x50
(f)   Side diagonal bracing 100x50
(g)   Rear diagonal bracing 100x50
(h)   Shelf 150x25
(i)   Benchtop center support 100x50
(j)   Benchtop end supports 50x50
(k)   Benchtop 150x50
(l)   Galvanized coach bolts
parts for a woodworking bench

Cutting list
description size length quantity
legs 100x50 800 4
b & d
front and back rails for top and bottom 100x50 1600 4
c & e
side rails top and bottom 100x50 550 4
side diagonal bracing 100x50 900 (oversize) 2
rear diagonal bracing 100x50 1800 (oversize) 1
shelving 150x25 650 9
benchtop center support 100x50 550 1
benchtop end supports 50x50 750 2
benchtop 150x50 1800 5
Galvanized coach bolts 10mm 110mm

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

Four different timber sizes are used.
  • 50x50 (dressed size approx 46x46) for the benchtop end supports.
  • 100x50 (dressed size approx 90x46) for the legs, bracing, rails and benchtop center support.
  • 150x50 (dressed size approx 145x46) for the benchtop.
  • 150x25 (dressed size approx 145x20) for the shelving.
    Click on the thumbnail at the right to see the workbench plans and all dimensions. Refer to these plans for any required measurements throughout the project.

    workbench thumbnail
    click to enlarge
    Step 1. The frame
    make the woodworking bench frame
    Commence by making the frame upside down.
    On even ground nail the front and back top rails (b) to the side top rails (c) forming an oblong 1600mm x 650mm. 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 10mm diameter hole through the center of where the two members meet at each corner. Insert the bolts, add washers and nuts, then tighten.
    Turn the frame upright and clamp the bottom rails (d) and (e) to the legs (a) so that the top of the rails are 200mm 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 800mm to 900mm. The overall height of this bench is 850mm, 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 (90mm) 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 timber 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 50mm from each end. Note that the two supports should also be 1600mm 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 timber 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 10mm deep. This is so the bolt head does not protrude past the face of the benchtop. The remainder of the hole will be 10mm diameter (or the thickness of the bolt shank).

    bolt the benchtop parts together
    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 75mm 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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