My New Workbench

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Project by AngieO posted 07-18-2012 04:31 AM 5204 views 9 times favorited 36 comments Add to Favorites Watch
My New Workbench
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I finished up my box today and headed out the door. Went to the the local lumber store and picked up some 2”x4”s. Then I headed to Lowe’s. Picked up a box of screws and a sheet of 3/4” plywood. I had them cut it into two 2’x5’ pieces.
I got the plans for this over on It was super easy to follow the instructions even though there weren’t a lot. And for a newbie like me… I was kinda concerned at first. But I think I did alright. The screws may not all be aligned in a pretty way… but it’s a workbench. It’s not for looks. I got the important things.

#1 – It’s sturdy. #2 – It’s functional. I’m going to be able to use the bottom shelf to store things #3 – It’s square! I’m pretty excited that it came out square. Only off place is that the top plywood piece is about 1/8” short the back side. (but we will just blame that on the Lowe’s guy :) #4 – It’s portable (or at least it will be tomorrow when I add the casters.

All-in-all I think it was a success. It took me about 4-5 hours to build. I mainly did this by myself. I had a couple of my kids hold some things for me. I need MORE CLAMPS!!!!

This was super fun to make and now I’m “jonesing” for the next build. :)
Here’s a few pics of the process

All the boards after measured and cut

Me screwing the legs together while my girl Jenna holds the leg. We were working on a plastic folding table. A SMALL one. Limited space. Like my OLD “workbench” in the background? A stack of pallets. I love that the one says “DO IT”

Bottom half complete (Had to take it inside due to storms

And of course… the finished project! SMALL space in the garage. Sorry for the horrible pics. And it’s only a mess in there because I came in and trashed it. The hubby usually keeps it pretty clean. He plays music out there so can’t be throwing any sawdust in there. See my little box on the workbench? :)

36 comments so far

View CplSteel's profile


143 posts in 2732 days

#1 posted 07-18-2012 05:29 AM

Nice bench. I built my first bench without a bench and unless you have done it, no one appreciates how hard it is to screw two things together square when you don’t have a bench, vise, press, or something to clamp to. So good job. It looks like a good place to make some sawdust.

A couple thoughts, you may want to avoid any casters if you are going to do any sort of work that would rack the bench. If it might rack without the casters, it definitely will once they are on. I would add another section of plywood on top, just glue it on, to give the bench more weight and it will give you a bit more leverage for your bench dogs. Of course, if you are not doing any of those types of projects, please disregard my thoughts.

View Blackie_'s profile


4883 posts in 3080 days

#2 posted 07-18-2012 12:03 PM

Nice and looks very sturdy, have you done the workbench dance test on it yet? LOL I’m kidding.

-- Randy - If I'm not on LJ's then I'm making Saw Dust. Please feel free to visit my store location at

View Bennie Woods's profile

Bennie Woods

63 posts in 3241 days

#3 posted 07-18-2012 12:11 PM

Looks like a sturdy workbench. Great job! This will be become even more useful as time goes on. I’ve used a number of Ana White’s plans and she does a great job making an easy to follow plan.

-- Bennie Woods, US Navy, GUAM

View Jamie Speirs's profile

Jamie Speirs

4168 posts in 3424 days

#4 posted 07-18-2012 12:19 PM

Great bench

Your doing really well

It is going to get you up and running.


-- Who is the happiest of men? He who values the merits of others, and in their pleasure takes joy, even as though 'twere his own. --Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

View AngieO's profile


1267 posts in 2715 days

#5 posted 07-18-2012 12:47 PM

CplSteel – I don’t know what kind of work would rack the bench. What do you mean? The only reason I’m putting casters on is to make it movable. I have about enough space to put it in the garage and that’s it. So I will have to wheel it into the driveway to work on anything. If it wasn’t for that I don’t know that I’d put them on. Dang things were expensive. The bulk of my cost.
17.90 – lumber
40.03 – plywood and screws (bought 3” and 1 1/2”)
30.52 – casters and bolts.

Blackie – maybe I will today! Lol! My daughter got up on it.

Thanks for all the encouragement guys!

View Ethan Harris's profile

Ethan Harris

300 posts in 2712 days

#6 posted 07-18-2012 12:48 PM

Very awesome! I look forward to seeing what you build using it!

-- Ethan, CT: Check out my Small Business at & also follow me on twitter

View AngieO's profile


1267 posts in 2715 days

#7 posted 07-18-2012 12:51 PM

CplSteel – and yes…. VERY hard to get it screwed together. Had to use a little 4ft plastic table that’s ess than 2 ft wide…. My workbench is 2’x5’. So glad to have a proper workspace.

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile


16262 posts in 3186 days

#8 posted 07-18-2012 01:01 PM

2×5 is a nice dimension for a workbench. Not so deep that you can’t reach all the way to the back, and wide enough to have at least a couple things going on at once. Looks like the front left corner would be a perfect place for a small Wilton-type vise, flush to the front. Any plans for work holding additions?

Congrats on the build!

-- Don't anthropomorphize your handplanes. They hate it when you do that. -- OldTools Archive --

View AngieO's profile


1267 posts in 2715 days

#9 posted 07-18-2012 01:41 PM

There seem to be so many options to do many things. I don’t have any plans of other additions…yet. The hope is that I will have some kind of dedicated work soace before winter. So I was thinking that I needed a workbench now… And after using it and more tools that I’ll have a better understanding of what else I need.

Another thing I learned on this project is that I need more clamps. And I learned which of the three that I have that I like the most. The $4 ratchet bar clamp I picked up at the flea market is my favorite. I like the C-clamp but it’s heavy and big. So if I’m by myself it’s just not what I’d grab for first. I don’t like the spring clamp except to clamp down a stop block on my miter saw.
I have 4 medium sized spring clamps and two little ones. I don’t see me buying anymore of those anytime soon. I only have one each of the others. I’ve been waiting to see what kind to buy. now I know. I haven’t tried the quick release bar clamp but they look like something I would have liked to had yesterday. And I saw a couple of Jorgensen handscrew clams at the flea market for $4-6. May go back and get them.

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile


16262 posts in 3186 days

#10 posted 07-18-2012 01:47 PM

Oh, man, there are all kinds of options out there for clamps! I’ve focused on Jorgensens, both their pipe clamps and their bar clamps. Love ‘em, can’t go wrong anytime you can pick some of those up at a good price.

-- Don't anthropomorphize your handplanes. They hate it when you do that. -- OldTools Archive --

View SuburbanDon's profile


487 posts in 3561 days

#11 posted 07-18-2012 01:50 PM

Very good. The trick to having Lowe’s cut something is, if you want it precise, tell them it doesn’t have to be precise. Otherwise…

-- --- Measure twice, mis-cut, start over, repeat ---

View sb194's profile


197 posts in 3586 days

#12 posted 07-18-2012 03:07 PM

Nice job. A bench is a bench, no matter what it looks like. It is more about function, than looks. Great spot for building more things.


View GrandpaLen's profile


1652 posts in 2840 days

#13 posted 07-18-2012 04:47 PM


Great job on your Bench build.

The ‘racking’ that CplSteel refered to is the movement caused by hand/power sawing, planing, or leaning on your bench, if the casters don’t lock or if you don’t block them with something to restrict them from rolling.
It’s a safety consideration and that type of movement can affect your accuracy. Locking casters would minimize this movement.

Aside from that, it looks quite solid. Well done. – Grandpa Len

-- Mother Nature should be proud of what you've done with her tree. - Len ...just north of a stone's throw from the oHIo, river that is, in So. Indiana.

View stefang's profile


16899 posts in 3902 days

#14 posted 07-18-2012 05:25 PM

Great bench build. Not meant as a criticism, but a heaver top could be an advantage for some types of work, but you will know it if and when you need it. Casters is a good idea, especially if they are put on hinged extenders so the bench won’t move around a lot while you are using it. You might also consider using casters at just one end and just lift the other end off the ground to move it.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View CplSteel's profile


143 posts in 2732 days

#15 posted 07-18-2012 06:06 PM

just to be clear, because the internet fails to convey tone, I was not criticizing in any way shape or form. It is a good build and that much more impressive because it was done without a bench to build on.

My comment was, much as GrandpaLen and stefang noted, is that the downside to a lighter bench is that it might move when you put some force onto it, called “racking”. This can happen when you are planing, sawing, etc… Not only can it hurt the accuracy of your work but it can cause a slip and you put a chisel into your thumb (speaking from experience). If you aren’t doing work that can rack the bench, then this is not a concern. Same with a thicker top, if you add weight then it is less pron to racking, but that makes it heavier to move. Casters will make racking more likely and I like stefang’s idea of fold-away casters. That way the casters can be folded down to roll the bench and flipped up to make the bench more secure. This project shows just one of the many ways to make them. and Here is a video of how they work

A thicker top also allows better leverage for things like bench dogs and hold-fasts/valets which are useful and cheap ways to clamp things to your top. I made bench dogs out of 3/4” dowels with a rubber-band as an O-ring. A couple of cheap tricks like that will save you a lot of money on clamps.

I hope that helps

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