How to Build a Workbench

A workbench is the keystone for any woodworker's shop.

The workbench serves as a place to store tools and materials, and it provides the necessary surface to complete a wide range of projects. Workbench styles and plans vary. Look around at several different plans before choosing one to build. Remember that most plans can be customized to fit the height and width that's most comfortable for you.

Choose a wood you feel comfortable working with. Keep in mind that treated wood is best for workbenches that will be exposed to the elements. If using pine, search for boards that are as knot-free as possible. Always choose wood that's straight.

Assemble all your materials and tools. Be sure you have safety glasses and are on even ground. Know how to use all your power tools and have a clean, organized workspace.

Begin your project upside down. Create a rectangle to serve as a frame for your bench. (Sizes may vary depending on how you choose to customize your bench.) Secure two 2 by 4 inch boards, 60 inches long to 2 by 4s that are 22 inches long. With a clamp, hold the 32 inch 2 by 4s (the legs for your workbench) to the inside of your rectangle frame. The legs should be flush against the longest frame boards and squared with the shortest. Use bolts with washers and nuts to secure.

Turn your workbench over. Measure 8 inches up on the legs from the floor. Use clamps again to secure 2 by 4 pieces to the legs just as you did before. These two internal frames will provide the base for a bottom shelf and a top workspace.

Cut a center support beam from a 22 inch long 2 by 4. Place this in the center of your top rectangle frame. Next, cut a back support on a diagonal. Use a 6 inch 2 by 4 and attach it with screws. Now cut side supports on a diagonal using two 2 by 4 boards about 36 inches long.

Choose five 2 by 6 boards, laying their best sides face down. Create two supports for these boards with a 2 by 2 board that is 64 inches long. Place them about 2 inches in from the edges of the boards on either side. Secure for the moment with nails. Flip this right-side up and create countersink holes, being careful not to drill where you nailed. Insert the bolts and secure them.

Bolt the bench top support pieces to the sides of the workbench frame to secure. Begin constructing the bottom shelf by nailing nine 1x6 pieces 26 inches long side by side to the bottom frame of the workbench.

Things You Will Need

  • 14 2 by 4s = 4 at 32 inches, 4 at 24 inches, 5 at 22 inches, 2 at 36 inches and 1 at 6 feet
  • Clamps
  • Bolts with washers and nuts
  • Power saw
  • Safety glasses
  • 5 2 by 6 inch boards
  • 2 by 2 inch boards, 64 inches long
  • Nails
  • Drill
  • 9 1 by 6 inch boards, 26 inches long