How to Build a Woodworking Bench

work bench
This is just one of many wood workbench plans I have in mind to create and make available here on this website.

When it comes to wood benches to build, here is one that is extremely simple and functional. It is the same workbench plan I have used for years but this one is improved in a way where you can build it easier. I have free workbench plans included to help you for your weekend wood project. See plans here for how to cut legs.

[#WB201 WorkerBench© Plans] 14 1/4 Inches Wide X 23 7/8 Inches Long X 24 Inches Tall



This is a really fun project and you can even make the cuts with a jigsaw but a best circular saw or best electric miter saw is recommended. All your cuts are square cuts except for the bottom of the legs which are simple cuts to make. I use screws so a battery powered drill makes this project a real breeze. You can also nail this bench using #6 finish nails or box nails. You need to pre-drill the holes if possible.

This project takes four 1X4 pine 8′ long or 32 feet. I paid about 20 cents a foot at my local Home Depot. You’ll need some 1 1/4 inch coarse thread drywall screws. One small box is enough. Glue is recommended to ensure the workbench doesn’t loosen up over many years of use.

Here’s Your Cut Sheet

*Legs: 4 @ 23 1/4 inches long
Horizontals: 4 @ 22 1/4 inches long
Horizontals (ends): 4 @ 12 3/4 inches long
Top: 4 @ 23 7/8 inches long

This leaves 48 inches of stock left you can use for extras or use to re-cut pieces you cut the wrong length. One tool you really need is a framing square. This makes your job simple and critical to ensure your workbench is square itself. The horizontals are glued to the legs and 1 1/4 inch screws are used. Each end horizontal is held back from the edge 3/4 inches. I use a drill bit that has a beveled collar but it’s not necessary. Drill a pilot hole is helpful but don’t drill into the second piece. Only drill the piece laying on top or your screws may not hold well.

I attach the top longer horizontal piece with the workbench laying on its top. I place two screws into the horizontal piece directly into the adjacent horizontal end piece. I also place one screw through the leg from the end into the long horizontal piece in the middle of the board.

Then add the rest of your horizontal pieces by screwing them into your end horizontals. It is highly recommended that you check your workbench with a framing square as you are constructing the parts. Often, you will discover that one piece may be slightly too long or short. You have a bit of extra and could make an adjustment to improve your bench. As soon as you have inserted all the screws, stand your workbench up and make sure it is sitting firmly on a flat surface. [Fast Fix – How To]

I use plenty of glue on all the joints and especially the top. Here you can see the glue applied before screwing on the top pieces.

When you lay your top pieces on, the ends may not line up perfectly across the narrow end. This is ok. You can draw a straight line and trim it slightly. The lengths of the tops pieces should be slightly longer than the outside length measurement of your existing bench you just constructed.

This allows for a simple trimming or sanding because it is much easier to construct a rectangle that is is more a parallelogram than a perfect 3 dimension rectangle. I commonly use long pipe clamps to force parts back to square using cross clamping techniques. By allowing your top pieces to overlay your sides slightly, you build your workbench more like a real table and allow some of imperfections. I usually sand the edges flush and then hit them with the Porter Cable Sander.

This design allows for you to lay your 4 top pieces and the spacing between each piece will allow you to install them without worrying about the 4 pieces being too wide. Mark your screw line 1 1/8 inches back from the edge and insert two screws in each board at the end. Keep all your screws about 3/8 inches from edge of the board.

Your horizontal ends required you to drill your pilot hole 3/8 inches from the end of the board also. This centers your screw into the 3/4 inch material you are screwing into.

I add a handle in the middle by cutting the two center boards. Simply use a compass, draw a perpendicular line 1 3/4 inches back at the center (11 15/16″), and draw an elliptical curve on each piece. This is the most comfortable handle and doesn’t require special sanding requirements such as inside corners. This requires a jigsaw. If you don’t have one and would like a handle, notch this area out with a chisel or other cutting tool. Make your handle at least 4 inches long from long point measurement.

Here I clean up all the corners by sanding a small bevel with my Porter Cable Heavy Duty 7 Inch Disc Sander. [See Close Up Picture]

With this particular tool, this function takes seconds. This is a very powerful tool that moves some serious wood. I have used this for grinding wood down for carvings and it really saves time.

I add a lower shelf in my workbench to throw stuff while I’m working with the bench. You only need for smaller pieces of scrap to nail or screw in the inside lower banding.

Here I have ripped 1 inch wide strips from the left over 1X4 pine, glued and nailed to the inside flush with the bottom edge of the horizontals. Then, I cut a piece of 1/4 Birch plywood 12 3/4 inches wide X 20 3/4 inches long. Any piece of material up to 3/4 inches think will work fine. It’s nice to keep your workbench lightweight because you will be moving it around a lot.

Lastly, you can always add additional screws into the ends as I have done below right here.

Surprisingly, these workbenches last forever if you keep them dry. If you leave them outside, they can rot out in just a year or two. Store your workbench out of the rain! This is critical to its life.

Please refer back to the [plans] to help you build a basic workbench you can use for all kinds of tasks around your home. I still have two older ones around that were built with a solid piece on the end. They however are not as wide, not as stable, and not as lightweight as this workbench.

Your workbench will become even more stable by standing the bottom of the legs inside corner at the corner of the bevel. Once your workbench ever starts to become unstable or loose, remove the screws and install 1 5/8 or 2 inch long coarse drywall screws. All the screws are there to hold the boards in place until the glue no longer is working. Remember, you have screws on the inside also.

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