A Basic Bench You Can Build On!

Start with a simple workbench and add features as you need them.

Next Project
Time

Multiple Days

Complexity

Beginner

Cost

$101–250

Introduction

Start by building this sturdy workbench and add all the upgrades you need.

Tools Required

  • Table saw
  • Miter saw
  • Drill/driver
  • 18-gauge finish nailer

Materials Required

  • #8 x 1-1/4" wood screws
  • #8 x 2" Finish head screws
  • 1-1/2-in. 18-gauge brad nails
  • 1-1/4" diameter dowel
  • 1/2" x 4 x 8 plywood
  • 1/4-20 jig knobs
  • 1/4-20 threaded inserts
  • 2 - 4" fixed casters
  • 3/4" dowel
  • 3/4" x 4 x 8 birch plywood
  • 3/4" x 4 x 8 MDF
  • 5mm bullet catches
  • Polyurethane
  • Wood glue
  • Woodworking vise

After countless hours standing at a workbench, I’ve found some features I really like. The three properties I’ve got to have are rigidity, flatness and mass.

I hate working at a bench that wiggles or slides around because it’s not heavy enough. A workbench built with construction lumber like 2x4s will be solid, heavy and durable, but it won’t be flat. If you ever plan to build cabinets or furniture, which require accuracy, a flat bench gives you a leg up.

Cutting list Family Handyman

Materials listFamily Handyman

Workbench tech artFamily Handyman

This bench is constructed from plywood (Baltic birch) and MDF (medium-density fiberboard). Both are inexpensive, flat and stable. The design is simple, with rigidity in mind, and the double-layer top adds necessary mass. Build the basic bench and call it good, or add all the extras.

Workbench Fh21apr 609 50 003Family Handyman

Project step-by-step (24)

Step 1

Cutting list Family Handyman

Materials listFamily Handyman

Workbench tech artFamily Handyman

This bench is constructed from plywood (Baltic birch) and MDF (medium-density fiberboard). Both are inexpensive, flat and stable. The design is simple, with rigidity in mind, and the double-layer top adds necessary mass. Build the basic bench and call it good, or add all the extras.

Workbench Fh21apr 609 50 003Family Handyman

Build the platforms

Assemble the braces (A – C), then build the platform frames (D – G) and attach the braces using glue and screws. Glue and screw the corner braces (H) in place. Attach the lower platform top (J) by driving screws through the brace flanges and corner braces. (See Figure A.)

Build the platformsFamily Handyman

Step 2

Build the legs 

Glue and nail leg parts 1 and 2 (K and L) together in an “L” shape. To make assembly easier, support leg part 2 with a scrap the same height as leg part 1. Once the parts are tacked together with brad nails, add a few screws for strength.

Pro Tip: Customize the leg length to suit your height. I like my benchtop to be at wrist height with my hands at my sides. Once you’ve determined that detail, cut all the parts.

Build the legsFamily Handyman