Photo of workbench

Preface

None of this is The Right Way (tm). I am just documenting what I did.

I’m a complete novice when it comes to building stuff with lumber. I have some framing, drywall, and workworking experience from my teens, but that was decades ago. This was my first project of any note.

Planning It.

I toiled over different plans and sketches on what sort of workbench scheme I wanted. Everything was a compromise.

I eventually settled back onto my original plan, the infamous $50 Family Handyman workbench with some minor modifications.

It is not a $50 workbench. It will cost you close to twice that amount. It will also likely take you twice as long to build it as they claim. It took me about 6 hours to build. I built it across two afternoons during the week of Thanksgiving 2013.

Materials Used

  • 16 x 2x4x8 cheapo lumber (~$2.53 ea. Buy a few extra boards for mistakes and a cutting table for the plywood and pegboard).
  • 1 x 4x8 3/4” sanded plywood (~$19 ea)
  • 1 x 4x8 white pegboard (~$17)
  • ~250 x 8x3” drywall screws (Don’t, buy wood screws instead)
  • ~100 x 8x1.75” drywall screws (See above)

Tools Used

  • Miter saw
  • Circular saw (Bought a cheapo, but highly-rated Skil saw off of Amazon for $42)
  • Cordless drill
  • Square
  • Level (You can get a 4 foot aluminum level for about $12 at most big box stores)
  • Clamps (The expensive Irwins are nice, but the old school cheapo C clamps work just fine, too)

Building It.

Cut everything first. I cut everything according to the cut list before ever drilling a screw.

Pay attention to your framing (how the boards meet). Place things together on a level surface to see how boards meet. Measure twice or even thrice before cutting and screwing.

Observations & What I’d Do Differently

  • The bottom shelf is a lot more spacious that I thought it would be. I can easily store my 10” miter saw and my shop vac down there.
  • The bench is surprisingly sturdy and very heavy. It easily supported my ~230lbs and I’ve already used it to beat things into submission with heavy hammers.
  • Use better lumber with fewer knots.
  • Don’t use drywall screws. Use proper wood screws.

Modifications

  • 3/4” plywood, instead of the 1/2” stuff.
  • I braced the legs/shelving/benchtop with extra 2x4s.

I am planning for further modifications over time as needed.