DIY Work Bench

After doing our first few small projects we decided we needed an official work station for our future  projects.  We found a simple work bench tutorial at the Family Handyman.

First, we wrote out our detailed plan of attack…  The Family Handyman plans made this project pretty idiot proof.  Very little wood is wasted which is awesome!

We headed off to the hardware store with our plan and purchased all necessary supplies.  The tutorial estimated that the cost would run anywhere from $20-$100 (not sure how you’d get away with spending $20); we spent about $76 on supplies.

Tools Used:

    • Miter saw(You could also use a circular saw)
    • Cordless drill
    • Tape measure
    • Circular saw
    • Straight edge
    • Putty knife

Cut List Key:
Key     Quantity            Length

Required Supplies:

    • (15) 2x4s  (Cost: $2.92 x 15=$43.00)
    • (1) 4 x 8 x 1/2-in. plywood (Cost=$24.07)
    • (Approximately 100 screws or 2LB) 3″ Wood screws  (Tutorial calls for drywall screws)  (Cost: 100 x $0.11per screw=$11.00)
    • (Approximately 50 screws or about 1/4LB) 1-5/8″ Wood screws (Tutorial calls for drywall screws)  (Cost: $1.10)
    • Wood filler (We already had this, the amount used is miniscule)

Optional Supplies (Just extra things we added; these aren’t included in the cost):

    • Shop light
    • Peg board
    • Surge protector


$43.00 + $24.07 + $11.00 + $1.10 = $79.17 + 5.54(7%TAX) = 84.71 – 8.47(10%Military Discount) = $76.24

The above picture shows all the lumber we needed to complete this project.  Just fifteen 8-ft. long 2x4s and one sheet of 1/2″ plywood.  Super simple!  We took careful measurements to ensure we were able to fit it all into our Volvo wagon.  The Volvo never disappoints 🙂

After grabbing all the supplies move onto making your cuts! Go to The Handyman and check out Figure C: 2×4 Usage Diagram, and Figure B Plywood Diagram.  They show you how to use every last piece of your 2×4’s and plywood, If you don’t follow their diagram you’ll probably end up needing an extra 2×4. There is almost zero waste if you follow these diagrams!

After making all the cuts we started putting together the frame.

The tutorial says you can either screw the framing together with 3″ screws OR nail it together with 3″ nails.  We used 3″ screws with our cordless drill.

TIP: To keep the bottom frame up while drilling it in, we used paint cans to keep it evenly propped up.

Next, screw the plywood down with 1-5/8″ screws.  Instead of using a counter sink bit, we drilled a pilot hole and then used a larger diameter bit to make the counter sink.  To fill in the counter sink we used wood putty.  However, if we could do this over we would use wood filler.  It dries better, stains better, and in our opinion is easier to use.

Things we found out while putting this together: when picking out 2x4s do your best to pick STRAIGHT boards (Ours were not straight). We were able to make it work, but it made things difficult.

Starting in on the top frame.  In order to negate the crooked 2x4s we used a lot of clamps.

Attaching the legs

And there you have it!

We sanded and stained the main level top and also added a work light, peg board, and drilled a surge protector on the right side. We cut a small hole in the corner of the peg board to allow for the power cords to pass through.  Below is the fully functioning workbench.

Messy, but it’s definitely getting used 🙂


  1. Anonymous says

    Great stuff…I am actually building this same workbench. I can’t wait until it is finished!

  2. says

    Thanks for the easy to understand instructions. I am a total beginning at wood crafting. But after three very small recent projects, it’s clear that a workbench would be helpful. I think I’m going to go for it. After all, it’s for me so it doesn’t have to be perfect AND it’s practice for getting better at measuring, sawing, using the bigger screws, etc.

  3. says

    I really enjoyed this walkthrough. We just relocated and I need to get my new workspace efficient again.
    This DIY bench is just what I needed. Love Internet finds like this! Kudos!

  4. says

    Very Cool. For people who can’t do this level of assembly, something like the makerbench from would be a good alternative.

    • says

      Work Surface: 30″x6′ Lower Shelf: 18″x 6′ Upper Shelf: A combination of 12″x4′ and 12″x2′ pieces You end up with 12″x2″ of waste if you buy one full sheet of plywood.

  5. Anonymous says

    The overall height can easily be figured out by looking at the parts cut list.. The A beams are the tallest ones and that is what is used for the top shelf, they are just about 72 inches tall.

    A question i had for the owner here.. Do you find the workspace to be plentiful? I was considering making this bench but modying the plans in 2 ways. One i was going to extend the work surface out another 6 inches so i could have a full 3 feet by 6 feet.. I wonder if you feel at times this extra space could be usefull or not..

    Also have you done any hammering on it or put anything very heavy duty weight on the main work area.. I was also considering re-enforcing the legs by putting a 2nd 2×4 directly under the main the frame for the main work space (nothing supports this area except that it is screwed onto the legs..

    • says

      A few things I think I would change is using a halflap joint which would make the entire design much stronger and enclosed the top and sides added another shelf on the bottom asd also enclosed it with doors

      • huthbert says

        I’ve never actually thought about closing off the bottom shelf. I like the idea though! Another place to store stuff that won’t get sawdust all over it!

    • John says

      I love the idea of a 2nd 2×4 under D & B! I’ve gather the wood today and I’m not doing the top section ( with the A’s) however I’m going a full 8 feet- no plywood scrap,

  6. Anonymous says

    hello, European here getting counfused with the metric system…
    when you write 71-7/8″ do you actually mean 71 inches + 7 fractions of one inch divided in 8 ??
    I mean for our metric system that sounds like you have to divide one inch in 8 and then count 7 parts of it !!
    help please 🙂

    • huthbert says

      Yes, 71-7/8 means 71 inches + 7 fractions of one inch divided by 8….haha, wow, That makes it sound a lot worse than it is. If you’d like to convert any of these measurements into metric go to and type in “how many centimeters is 71.875 inches” and google will give you the measurement in metric. Also, on the tutorial, for clarity: 7″=7 inches and 7’=7 feet. When we lived in Germany for a few years I spent a lot of time on converting things on this site. Good luck! Let me know if you have any other questions or clarification!

      • Ricky moBbs says

        The whole world really needs to start working in millimetres. It’s such a better measurement. Instead of saying 71- 7/8, we would all just say 1803.5.

  7. Dave says

    Loved your design, just finishe my version of yours, and made another as well. Whish i could post but dont know how

  8. Jordan says

    This plan calls for 9 total of “A” but for some reason only 7 get used according to the diagram. Little to no waste seems farfetched. The length of the new 2×4’s for materials needed could possibly be a help as well. Awesome design though. I will have mine completed today.

    • Jon says

      I noticed in the diagram the two “A” pieces that run just under the top shelf and on top of the main work area aren’t labeled.

  9. Ricky moBbs says

    It’s a pretty good design. Haven’t built it myself but, having a look at it, it seems to be pretty practical. Nice

  10. Jon says

    I just built this same bench myself and I left out the 3 “A” pieces that run across the back of the workbench. The extra “support” is not needed IMO, mine came out sturdy as could be and I can’t imaging them making any difference. This also gives you more peg space as there isn’t a 2×4 running right through the middle of your pegboard. I did use a piece of 2×3 (rather than 2×4) to run across the back of the work area and set it up vertically to save bench space. I mostly just did this so I had a place to mount my 12 outlet power strip and to keep “stuff” from getting lodged between the bench and pegboard.

  11. Rob Evans says

    Hi, I wanted to let you know that the workbench plans you have provided are some of the best ones I’ve used. I built three of them this weekend. After building one on Saturday and finding out how easy it was to assemble, I went out Sunday and bought enough materials to make two more. I didnt build the shelves for the other two, but its only because I didnt need it for my application. For me, the cut list and the photos of your notes made an entire world of difference. I stiffened mine up because I am using it for working on car parts, building things and reloading.

    I will probably be building 2 or 3 more once the weather is warmer. Since the plans are so easy, I am going to stick with this design for any other bench I build in the future. The plans also allow me to build other items that can be attached to the bench, like a swing up additional bench that can be used if I need more space.

    Thanks again.

    • huthbert says

      We never stained or sealed the work bench space, we weren’t too concerned with it getting beat up. If you’re concerned about protecting the wood I’d put a couple coats of polyurethane down.

  12. Ronald Smith says

    I like the plan, made only two changes. On the front between the two legs I added another 2×4 to beef up the front and to keep that i-1/2″ lip from being damaged. I also used wood glue on all of the structual joints.

  13. Nic says

    Is ctually built this bench without the hutch about a month ago. We wanted the bench to be mobile and to allow us to work on The bench from all sides so the hutch would be in the way. Very good plans and makes a sturdy bench to work on! I also added a retractable caster system so it can be easily moved from area to area. Got 3 or 4 in casters mounted to 4 2x4s below the bottom leg braces. 2 hindges on on the front leg on the top of the 2×4 with a caster on the bottom then another hindge on the underside of 2 2x4s with a caster on the back 2×4. Tough to explain but when the bench is off the casters the 2x4s make an upside down V. Attach 2 pieces of flat steel to either side of the caster 2x4s coming forward to the front of the bench on either side of the front legs attach a stop block and put a foot pedal attched to the steel in front of the front leg. Stop block attached to the back leg as the back side is attached to nothing and need a block I. The back leg so the table will rise when the pedal is pressed down. I would post pics but I can’t in this post. Got it from YouTube an older man demonstrated it and I copied what he did from scratch….research retractable caster work bench…works nicely.

      • Nic says

        I would say it should hold a decent amount. I have about 200-300 lbs on the bottom shelf alone then another 100 or so on top. I would bet it could gold at least another 400 to 500 without batting an eye. All in all the bench is extremely stable and if glued and screwed good will hold up for a long time.

  14. Chris says

    Am I the only one who can’t seem to find the “cutting details” in the supposed “additional informational” section? I’ve searched high and low of the family handyman site but can’t find the cutting measurement details for the 2 x 4s.

    • Ginger & The Huth says

      It’s been awhile since I looked on Family Handyman. I tried clicking around and couldn’t find it either. If you scroll down to “Cut List Key” on our site you’ll find the 2 x 4 cutting instructions.


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