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.
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.
- 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)
- Miter saw
- Circular saw (Bought a cheapo, but highly-rated Skil saw off of Amazon for $42)
- Cordless drill
- 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)
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.
- 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.