With all the woodworking and DIY projects we plan to tackle this year, the one thing at the top of my list has been a proper workbench. Somewhere I can work and not worry that I’m going to get paint on the table or cut a nick in the wood. I looked around for a while to find some plans that would be simple enough to follow and as inexpensive as possible. I initially stumbled onto this link from The Art of Manliness. The plans were simple enough, the only thing I didn’t like was having to cut the corners on the inside shelf. Also I wasn’t a fan of the metal brackets but you have to admit that they do look “manly”, haha. Then I found these Workbench Plans from Shanty2Chic. This table looked massive and I wouldn’t have to cut out the corners. Also I get to use my Kreg Jig a little more as well.
The closest home improvement store to me now is Lowes, so I grabbed the supplies I needed which were:
- 2 – 2x6x8
- 7 – 2x4x8
- 2 4×8 sheets of 3/4″ MDF
- 4 5″ locking rubber casters
The total cost came to just under $150. The casters alone were $40 and the MDF ran about $35 each. Just for the wheels and tabletop I spent about $110.. which means the bulk of the wood was the cheapest part of the entire order!
Once I got back home I started by cutting to size all of the wood. The framing for the tabletop and shelf was pretty easy but when it came to the legs I went off plans. I had read somewhere that a good workbench should come up to your wrists, and while the ladies at Shanty2Chic make awesome DIY projects, neither of them is as tall as me. The original plans called for 26.5″ legs but after checking my height and deducting the height of the casters + footer + tabletop, I landed on 31″ legs. At this point I will say that I probably could have went at least an inch lower – the top is slightly raised above my wrist – not sure where my math failed me but it’s not a deal breaker.
Once everything was cut I assembled the frames for the top and bottom. I used the Kreg Jig to make pocket holes but you can just as easily screw them in from the outside and forego the cost of a Kreg Jig completely.
After framing I attached all the legs to the tabletop frame. I didn’t get a shot of this but you can see below connecting the bottom shelf to the legs. And this is where another “gotcha” came into play! I re-read those instructions many times and nowhere did it say when or how to put the bottom shelf in. So after adding the legs I put the bottom shelf in place to see if I would be able to slide the shelf in from the side or top… the answer is NO. Before attaching the bottom frame, be sure to put that shelf in. Also try to get it as close to the bottom as possible. You may even be able to nail it to the frame at this stage but I didn’t want to chance screwing something up. With both the shelf and frame in place, go ahead and screw in the frame.
Almost at the finish line, I went ahead and put the footer piece and attached the casters. Here’s another tip.. make sure you get washers for those casters, the holes are pretty big and all of my screws when right through – I had to cobble together what loose washers I had to save another trip to Lowes.
The final step was to flip it over and nail in the tabletop. I have one of those Ryobi Air Guns that the ladies at Shanty2Chic have so it was very simple to just pop in a few nails. They’re also very tiny and dig in deeper than the surface level so you don’t notice them at all. I altered the plan once again at this stage – instead of making the tabletop the exact measurements of the frame I added 2″ to three of the sides. This way I have some overhang for clamping as well as coverage for a power strip I plan to attach to one side.
And there you have it – a $150 sturdy workbench! I really like how the top can be replaced pretty easily later if need be, the only thing holding it down are the brad nails so if the top ever gets totally destroyed then I can grab another $35 MDF, cut to size and nail in.