How to Build a Workbench

Carpenter building a workbench out of wood

Arguably the most important tool in your workshop is the workbench. It is the place where you put together the many things you will build over the years. While you can purchase a workbench from most hardware stores, they are usually not customized to fit the space that you have. This is why building your own workbench is preferable for at least three reasons:

  • Fits to the Size Available
  • Offers the Features that You Want
  • Is far more Affordable compared to Purchasing a Workbench

Considering that most workbenches only take a few hours to build when you have the materials available, the only real challenge is knowing how to put one together. What follows is a simple, step-by-step process of creating a workbench for your needs.

Get Everything Ready

You cannot start on your workbench until you have all the tools and materials needed to build what you want.

Tools

If you have worked with tools before, then you may have these around your garage or shop area. To create a proper workbench, you will need the following tools;

  • Cordless Screw Gun
  • Power Mitre Box Saw
  • Cordless Drill
  • Tape Measure, Carpenter’s Square, and a Pencil

You might also need a brad nailer and brad nails, but this is an optional choice. Cordless tools are generally preferred because they are easy to maneuver and use compared to their corded counterparts. However, they are not necessary if you want to stick to those that use your wall outlets.

Materials

Now that you have the tools, the next step is gathering the material. A good workbench is crafted from solid wood which will last for a long time with minimal maintenance. Remember that you can size the bench to fit your needs, but what follows are the materials to create a 36” x 80” workbench that is relatively cheap to create;

  • 10 2x4s: 8’ long
  • 36” x 80” Wooden Door: solid core
  • 6 Steel Angle Brackets
  • Box of 2 ½” Coarse Thread Drywall Screws
  • Box of 1 ¼” #6 Drywall Screws

If you want to add a shelf, then you can use some ½” or thicker plywood that covers a space 76” x 32” that will be used for your shelf.

Using a solid core wooden door is a cheap way to create a good workbench. You can find such doors at any location that donates materials, such as Habitat for Humanity Restore. You may also find such doors at garage sales or other places where remodeling has occurred, and they no longer need the old doors.

If you need something a little smaller, you can cut off the sections of the door needed. But for most people keeping the door intact will save you time and effort in creating your workbench. The rest of the materials are fairly inexpensive as well. You can find them at your local hardware store.

Understanding how to build a workbench means that you can create a new one to fit your workspace or replace an old one for a fraction of the cost. All you need are the tools, materials, and steps needed to create the size and type of workbench that works best for your needs.

Create the Frame

Now that you are ready, the next step is to build the frame for the workbench. The frame provides the structure that will hold the door in place at the top. You will need to create two identical 76” x 32” frames made from the 2x4s. You’ll notice that the frame is 2” smaller than the door, which means that there will be an overhang which allows you to clamp items to the bench easily.

  • Create Four 76” Pieces from the 2x4s
  • Create Four 29” Pieces from the 2x4s
  • Use 2 ½” Drywall Screws to Put them Together

Cut two more 2x4s at 29” to place in the center of the rectangles. Remember to pre-drill the wood before placing the screws to prevent splitting.

Create the Legs

Now that you have put together the frames, you need to create the legs to make the workbench. Start by cutting eight pieces of 2x4s to 32” in length. Now, screw two of the pieces in an “L” pattern. Repeat until you have four “L” corners completed.

Now, attach each “L” 2x4s to on one corner of the frame. Put one frame at the top and the next about 8” off the ground. This will make the top and bottom frames for the workbench. The lower frame is important because it keeps the legs of the workbench in place.

Add the Door

Now you are ready to add the door as the bench of your workbench. The easiest way to do so is by putting the door on the floor of your garage or shop and flipping the bench until it sits on top. Center the frame until you see about 2” of room on all sides.

Now, attach the six angle brackets to the top of the frame using the 1 ¼” #6 drywall screws. Each angle bracket will need four screws, two for the frame and two for the door. This will secure the door tightly to the frame. When completed, you can flip the workbench right side up, although you may need some help as it will be heavy.

At this point, you can add a couple of power strips to provide electricity for your tools. Add a polyurethane finish to protect the wood. Or even apply some plywood to the top for additional protection.

If you want a bottom shelf for the workbench, this is where the plywood comes in. You will need to size and place the plywood so that it fits over the bottom shelf of the workbench. This will give you a place to store needed materials, including tools and supplies if you so desire. Adding a shelf to the bottom frame of your workbench provides additional storage space, but it is not necessary if you decide not to use it for that purpose.

You have now created a workbench. For a fraction of the money compared to purchasing a fully completed one, you now have a solid bench for your needs.

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