- Ideas & How-Tos
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Your work bench is the most essential part of your workshop. It should match your space and the type of work you do and should be at a comfortable height for you and your work piece. If you haven't been able to find a bench that's right for you, try custom building your own.
Use this checklist when you go to the store and purchase your items.
Most work benches range from 28 to 36 inches deep, 48 to 96 inches wide and 28 to 38 inches tall. The amount of space you have usually dictates a bench's depth and width. Size your bench so you can move material and equipment past it freely. Find a good working height. You'll probably spend a good deal of time at the bench so it's important to be comfortable there. Everyone's measurements will vary; for clarity we used 30 inches for depth, 60 inches for width and 34 inches for height.
Face-glue and clamp the 2 x 4s for the top substrate so they give the appearance of a butcher-block top. The substrate gives the bench strength and stability.
Use a belt sander or hand plane to flatten the top of the substrate.
Lay the substrate out, top side down. Align the short 2 x 8 top rails flush with the short sides of the substrate and use 3-inch wood screws to secure the rails to the substrate.
Align the long 2 x 8 top rails with the long sides of the substrate. The ends of the long top rails should be flush with the outside face of each short top rail. Secure the long top rails to the substrate with 3-inch wood screws.
Insert the rail stretchers between the long rails, positioned 1/3 of the way in from each end of the bench. Drive 3-inch wood screws through the long rails into the ends of the rail stretchers.
Construct four leg assemblies. Butt the edge of one 2 x 4 leg piece to the face of another and line the ends up flush. Screw the leg pieces together with 3-inch wood screws.
Set the legs inside the corners where the long and short top rails meet. The joints between the leg assemblies should be visible from the short sides of the bench. Bore 3/8-inch holes through the top rails and legs. Insert 3/8-inch x 4-inch carriage bolts from the outside face of the top rails through the leg pieces. Install a washer and nut on the backside of each carriage bolt and tighten.
Measure 12 inches from the bottom of each leg and mark. Align the tops of the long 2 x 4 bottom rails flush with the marks and use 3 inch wood screws to secure the rails to the legs.
Insert the short 2 x 4 bottom rails between the long 2 x 4 bottom rails. The outside face of the bottom rail should butt to the inside face of the leg. Secure the short rails to the legs with 3-inch wood screws.
Stand the work bench right side up. The bench will be heavy, so have someone help you. Align the edges of the 1/2-inch plywood top flush with the edges of the bench. Secure the top to the substrate with 1-inch flathead screws. If the plywood top is damaged later, it's a simple task to remove and replace it.
Position the bench in your workspace and use it for all your projects.