How to Build a Workbench/Storage Shelf





Introduction: How to Build a Workbench/Storage Shelf

We have been busy brainstorming ideas of how people can use Kee Klamp fittings to build a whole bunch of cool things for their homes. Tricia has started to come up with a whole line of items that can be used in the basement/garage. She has also been thinking about a whole bunch of kitchen ideas.. but those are coming later. In the process she came up with this cool shelf design that can be used just about anywhere in the house.

All said and done this project should cost you less than $200 and will provide you with a quality piece of furniture that you can break down and setup again and again!!

Step 1: The Plans

Tricia made the plans for this is Google's Free SketchUp program. We modified the design slightly for our project. That's the great part about Kee Klamps, you can completely customize the project.

Step 2: The Parts and Tools

Part of this project was an experiment. One of the things we've constantly been told is that the cost of the pipe often makes the project very expensive. Well, with this project we decide to see if we could cheapen it up a bit. We were successful! We found that top rail fence post that you can buy from Home Depot works just fine with our size 6 fittings.

Raw Materials (from Home Depot)

1 x 4x8 Sheet of Plywood.
3 x 10.5 foot pcs of top rail fence post (1-3/8")
10 x Screws (with washers)

Kee Klamp Pipe Fittings (from

4 x 20-6 Side Outlet Elbow 1"
8 x MH50-6 Swivel Member
4 x 61-6 Flange 1"
2 x 105-6 Sheeting Clips


1 x Allen Wrench (for Kee Klamp fittings)
1 x Tape Measure
1 x Pipe Cutter
1 x Latex grip glove (for holding pipe while cutting, very handy)

Step 3: Cut the Pipe

There is flexibility in designing your shelf. We chose the sizes below because it allowed us to efficiently use a 4x8 sheet of plywood.

Here are the pipe lengths that we used
Qty | Lengths
4 | 39" (legs)
2 | 20-1/2" (side rungs)
2 | 44-1/2" (runners)

While cutting the pipe use a latex grip glove; it will make it much easier to hold. You might also have someone else hold the pipe for stability while cutting.

Step 4: Build the Bench/Shelf Top

Using the 2 runner pipes, the 2 side rung pipes, and the 20-6s assemble the bench/shelf top.

Step 5: Assemble and Install Legs

Mark the shelf height on each leg. Again you can be selective about how you want to do this. For our shelf we simply divided the pipe into thirds and made our marks there.

Insert the leg into a 20-6 fitting that is a part of the top rectangle.

Slip-on the first MH50 onto your shelf mark and tighten the set screw.
Slip-on the second MH50 onto your second shelf mark and tighten the set screw.

Attach the 61-6 Flange the bottom of the leg and tighten the set screw.

Repeat this four times.

NOTE: your legs may initially be somewhat crooked. To rectify this tip the bench over on it's legs and adjust the how far some of the pipe is going into the fittings. You can do this by loosening and re-tightening the set screw.

Step 6: Cut and Install Shelves

Cut the shelves to length.
We had Home Depot cut our 4x8 sheet into 4 pieces. We did the trimming ourselves with a circular saw. We took off about took off about 3-1/2" on the bottom shelves to make them fit.

NOTE ABOUT PICTURE: Yes we are a bunch of geeks who decided to where our cool Instructables T-shirt on the same day.. and no we didn't plan it.

Installing the Shelves
To install the shelves we simply placed the boards on the MH50s and screwed up through the whole with a screw (with a washer on it). If you want to make it easier (we did) you can tip the entire shelf on it's side and screw that way. Predrilling your holes will help the wood to keep from splitting.

Also helpful is to screw on the higher shelf before the lower (we learned this by experience).

**Make sure your screws are short enough that they don't poke through the top of your shelves.

Note that if you loosen the set screws of the MH50 you can move the shelf up and down.

Step 7: Install Top

Finally place the top on the bench and attach with the 105-6 (one on each side). The 105-6 is a clip that uses tension to hold the top down. Again, use a screw small enough so it doesn't poke through the top.

Note: One cool thing we discovered after attaching the 105-6 to one side is that you can use these clips as hinges (see picture).

Step 8: Your Done!

That's it..

There are probably some other things you could do to spiff this thing up. Tricia has a design for adding doors to the front. You might also consider finishing the wood if you're going to use this in a living space.

Have fun with it and tell us about your experience!

The guys a Simplified Building Concepts (Sam and Chris are in the pictures)



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    I'm a fan of the design. I'll probably just do the pvc route though, just b/c I'm a poor college student. Shouldn't be too tough to sturdy it up, and if not, I'm not using it for anything too extreme or heavy anyway (a little hobby bench for when I'm NOT studying).

    The only problem I could think of would be the limited stability it would have. PVC tends to bow pretty easily.

    But what if you assembled it and then filled the pvc with concrete? It wouldn't take much concrete and could possibly be even stronger. But I'm not really the one to know.

    BTW You can get the same fittings some times cheaper at McMasterCarr. Not only that but You can find Aluminum Tubing cheaper than McMasterCarr or at of all places Aircraft Spruce. I was thinking of building a desk using some Al tubing. I was going to try some bends to cut down on the expensive fittings. Yes I know that 2x4s would be cheaper but I want the ease of disassembly, low weight, and frankly for looks.

    There are other structural pipe systems.  I am planning a desk for my office and wanted to use Kee Klamp, but it is just too expensive.   I did some google-ing and found something similar at about half the price.  I thought I'd post it here in case someone else was looking at bring down the costs of a project like this.  The system is called Quick Klamp.  Here is the URL:;ft1_hardware_fasteners;ft1_quik_klamp_pipe_fittings_1.html

    You can definitely put wires down through the pipe, though you have to cut a small opening. Here's an example of one of the ways that a customer of our is doing what you suggested. You can check out his work at


    What do I need to cut this hole? Dremmel? thanks.

    Drill press and a centering jig.  There's about a dozeninstructables on how to make a centering jig for a drill press and a fewmore for how to turn a regular drill into a drill press using 2x4's (orprobably Kee Klamps, too :)

    thats really kool, my monitor is really low and does not swivel just the screen moves back and and forth, and it has mounts like that, i should look into that

    Did you guys ever post your plan to put doors on this thing?

    That's useful info, thanks!