Construction Grade 2x4 Workbench Project

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Project by Jerry posted 10-08-2009 01:29 PM 36576 views 46 times favorited 36 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Here is a Doug Fir 2×4 bench top lamination using West Epoxy system, splined ends and purpleheart butterfly’s to lock the three separate glue-ups together. I have finished it and it has proved to be a very stable and useful bench after the addition of an end and side vise. I use and abuse it since it only costs a few dollars to make out of construction grade 2×4’s and a little epoxy.

-- "The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives should be a Store, Not a Govt. Agency"

36 comments so far

View KellyS's profile


78 posts in 4200 days

#1 posted 10-08-2009 01:55 PM

Very nice looking top. I like the butterflies. I need to add those to my top.(Laminated Poplar from old Skids) Very nice! What’s going in the notch? Big vise? Looking forward to seeing more.


-- He who dies with the most tools wins!.....Just wait, I'm going to win!..ERR my wife will at least.

View rainman's profile


54 posts in 4131 days

#2 posted 10-08-2009 02:08 PM

Man,thats my kind of of bench… strong,beautiful and doesn’t cost an arm and a leg. Super job!

-- So much wood, So little time

View wallkicker's profile


121 posts in 4121 days

#3 posted 10-08-2009 02:09 PM

Nice job and nice price !

View woodworm's profile


14477 posts in 4558 days

#4 posted 10-08-2009 02:34 PM

Looks very strong & heavy. Very eager to see the complete bench soon.

-- masrol, kuala lumpur, MY.

View Jimi_C's profile


507 posts in 4202 days

#5 posted 10-08-2009 03:04 PM

I second woodworm, and more info on the construction method! It looks like you ripped all the boards down to 1×2’s before laminating? Did you plane/joint the boards before cutting/laminating, or did you just slap it all together and then flatten it?

-- The difference between being defeated and admitting defeat is what makes all the difference in the world - Upton Sinclair, "The Jungle"

View SgtSnafu's profile


960 posts in 4239 days

#6 posted 10-08-2009 03:26 PM

Very nice top – Would love to see the rest of the bench..

Thanks for sharing !

-- Scotty - aka... SgtSnafu - Randleman NC

View Dennis_MGWW's profile


90 posts in 4385 days

#7 posted 10-08-2009 03:46 PM

Great idea for a bench top. Did you let the 2×4’s dry for a while before gluing up? I know construction grade lumber is usually a little wetter than what woodworking lumber is.

Great job!

-- Dennis,!/MpleGrvWoodwrks

View nmkidd's profile


758 posts in 4140 days

#8 posted 10-08-2009 03:46 PM

A little money, a little work, and a Great bench!!

-- Doug, New Mexico.......the only stupid question is one that is never asked!........don't fix it, if it ain't broke!

View dbhost's profile


5777 posts in 4199 days

#9 posted 10-08-2009 04:04 PM

Can’t wait to see the completed bench! Love the top design for sure!

-- Please like and subscribe to my YouTube Channel

View Jerry's profile


80 posts in 4120 days

#10 posted 10-08-2009 04:31 PM

Hi Guys,

Thanks for the comments, yes, I did plane the 2 by’s to size, sticker and air dried them for about 4 months in the attic of my barn before glue-up. Out of the lumber yard you could hit one with a hammer and produce a “Wet Spot”. I used CA on the loose knots and installed patches of doug fir on the big boo boo’s. The large purpleheart butterfly’s help keep all three lamination’s together, they are about 1.5” thick, installed on the top and bottom of the three lamination’s. The purpleheart spline along the ends was epoxied in to help keep everything flat and together. I have not had any trouble with the durability or dimensional stability since I have been using it. I built some legs in a similar fashion out of 4×4’s that I will post in another “project” since the pictures here are maxed out. Once I had the three lamination’s (less than 13” to fit my planer” I planed each lamination to keep “Flattening” them after putting them together to a minimum. I did have some 8 quarter maple I was going to “Band” the entire thing with but decided against it since durability has not been an issue. I probably have less than $100.00 in lumber in the entire thing. Yes, the large cutout in the end is for a nice vise that I have installed. I also installed a smaller side vise on the other end that has proved invaluable. I have not needed any dog holes yet but still may drill a few for those times they come in handy for planing something or large glue-ups. I did not finish it with anything yet but may put a few coats of satin poly on it to seal it up before winter sets in. Its heavy as all get out, I have not weighed it but I bet its close to 150 lbs, I guess compared to a solid maple top thats light but this works for me. It was fun to make and did not take long to do. Unlike a zillion dollar piece of art workbench I am not afraid to saw, drill, sand or otherwise “Use” it for its intended purpose. If I accidentally make a “hole” in it I just use my router to inlay another little doug fir butterfly or whatever other material I have laying around handy, popular, oak, even pine. It has quite a few “Patches” in it now and I think it give it a nice character. I used West systems epoxy to glue the entire thing with, if I had it to do over again I would use titebond or even Gorilla glue, its a lot cheaper. I love that epoxy but man is it messy…Invest in a box of latex surgical gloves if you play with it much, vinegar removes it very well if you catch it soon enough.

-- "The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives should be a Store, Not a Govt. Agency"

View ChesapeakeBob's profile


369 posts in 4450 days

#11 posted 10-08-2009 04:32 PM

I love your work bench! Just great! I also commented on your mallets projects!

-- Chesapeake Bob, Southern Maryland

View a1Jim's profile


118153 posts in 4544 days

#12 posted 10-08-2009 04:45 PM

That’s one great bench .


View scrabby's profile


42 posts in 4153 days

#13 posted 10-08-2009 05:50 PM

Sweet bench, Jerry. I appreciate the write-up, and am going to start air-drying my own 2×4’s.

-- Jim, North Vancouver, BC

View TheDane's profile (online now)


5912 posts in 4630 days

#14 posted 10-08-2009 06:04 PM

Jerry—This is a terrific looking bench top … I like the butterflies and splines. Wish I would have thought of that when I built my bench ( I used TiteBond III when I did my laminations, and it is holding up well.

-- Gerry -- "I don't plan to ever really grow up ... I'm just going to learn how to act in public!"

View NBeener's profile


4816 posts in 4141 days

#15 posted 10-08-2009 06:05 PM

Wow, Jerry. Great job! Thanks for sharing … and … enjoy!

-- -- Neil

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