Introduction: MDF Workbench

Picture of MDF Workbench

Build a workbench for a hobby room or workshop.

Step 1: MDF

Picture of MDF

Cut 2ft width pieces of MDF.

Step 2: Top Frame

Picture of Top Frame

Build a frame for the tabletop.

Step 3: Shelf Frame

Picture of Shelf Frame

Build a second frame to support a lower shelf.

Step 4: Legs

Picture of Legs

Attach legs to the top frame. The legs in the back extend higher for storage.

Step 5: Support Shelf

Picture of Support Shelf

Attach support shelf frame.

Step 6: Cross Beam

Picture of Cross Beam

Attach another beam to support the MDF top.

Step 7: Foot Pads

Picture of Foot Pads

Staple faux leather to the feet to prevent scratching the floor with movement.

Step 8: Shelf

Picture of Shelf

Attach the OSB lower shelf.

Step 9: Shelves

Picture of Shelves

Build shelves into the frame.

Step 10: Peg Board

Picture of Peg Board

Attach peg board.

Step 11: More Shelf

Picture of More Shelf

Build more shelves using the same principles.

Step 12: Sizing MDF

Picture of Sizing MDF

Mix 50/50 solution of wood glue and water. Brush on the edges of the MDF to seal. You can apply multiple coats sanding with 220 grit between if desired.

Step 13: Shellac

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Put a coat of shellac on the MDF top. It evaporates quickly helping to pre-seal the top, readying it for Polyurethane.

Step 14: Polyurethane

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Coat with polyurethane. The first coat will be partially soaked up by the MDF. Sand and apply a second coat.

Step 15: Glossy Sealed Tops

Picture of Glossy Sealed Tops

Tops are sealed.


rblubaugh (author)2017-04-04

I liked the simplicity of the design and especially the finish on the MDF. I'm wanting to make a hobby workbench for building radio control model boats and aircraft, the stability of MDF is ideal for such projects and sealing it to keep possible glue off of it is even better. Thanks for the idaes.

RMikeS (author)2016-10-02

Pardon my stupidity, but WTF is MDF?

Eh Lie Us! (author)RMikeS2016-10-02

No stupidity in asking. MDF is a good material for many purposes including carving. It's like a compressed cardboard. Head to your hardware shop to check it out. HomeDepot has it in full 4x8 sheets and smaller pieces too. two draw backs: its heavy as fugdebars and when you cut it, it creates a superfine dust that just suspends in the air and gets into everything. ive breathed in so much of that stuff i cough up miniature coffee tables.

RichardeM (author)Eh Lie Us!2016-10-04

Then you should wear a mask!!!

Not the best example to set. :-(

Eh Lie Us! (author)RichardeM2016-10-04

Indeed. I used to work more with MDF and just took the dust as part of the job. Very different now. I work more like a safety nerd. Ears, eyes and nose!

RMikeS (author)Eh Lie Us!2016-10-03

Thank you much. I'll make sure to have my son give me a hand with handling. I think if I cut it outdoors that should help with the dust problem. I just need a simple bench with out extensions or corner pieces, so I won't have to worry about coughing up mini furniture. ;)

MarkP800 (author)Eh Lie Us!2016-10-03

That dust really does get everywhere! It can be nasty stuff though, so I'd recommend anyone working with it to consider wearing a dust mask :)

RMikeS (author)MarkP8002016-10-03

I'll keep that in mind when making my own. I'll probably do my cutting outside.

cbowlin99 (author)RMikeS2016-10-02

Medium density fiberboard. A better grade of particle board really. When you look at it, the particles are smaller than regular particle board. You can also buy it precovered with a laminate product, usually white or wood grain.

RMikeS (author)cbowlin992016-10-03

Thank you. I can see why it was used. I am in need of a work bench myself. :)

47miky (author)2016-10-03

This items' instruction is incomplete. You have no sizes and tool information on here. What size MDF is used - 1/2" or 5/8" or what? What size boards for the legs and frames? What tools did you use to make the cuts and what did you use to sand with or did you? What about the size of the workbench other than 2' wide? What about the height? I'd love to make this for my craftroom but you have it soooo simple that there's no way to know what to use to make this. And as one of the others stated if you don't know MDF stands for 'medium density fiberboard'. And yes it's heavy no matter how thick it is. Home Depot sells it in different sizes besides different thicknesses. Also what size is the pegboard? And what tools do you need and things like screws or nails?

djpolymath (author)47miky2016-10-04

This instructable gives you the freedom to make a bench to whatever size is most ergonomically efficient to you. You can also use whatever tools you have on hand. If you want to cut your 2x4s with a steak knife, go ahead, but I'm sure you can think of more efficient methods. If you are having trouble with terminology, here or anywhere else on the web, I suggest using the following:

Johnyv33 (author)2016-10-03

Thank you

JohnE12 (author)2016-10-03

Great project, and so simple. Thank you.

Johnyv33 (author)2016-10-02

What are the dimensions of the benches?

djpolymath (author)Johnyv332016-10-03

3' high with tops at just about 2'x8'

permutation-jim (author)2016-10-02

Really like the simple/super effective use of the materials!

One tip, using real leather instead of faux leather has a huge advantage... faux leather (and other synthetics) can bond with the sealant in many floors, leaving a permanent mark when moved/removed. You can usually find an old leather coat or vest at a charity shop for just a few bucks as a donor (using strips from one to fix three pairs of hiking boots right now!).

Thanks for the tip.

Engineering (author)2016-10-03

You can get both 3/4 and with a bit of looking 1" MDF.

For a work surface material MDF is actually harder than Plywood and wears better than Melamine Particalboard in shop conditions.

As to MDF dust, well it is worse than a lot of other dusts as it is so fine. Just remember beside dust (all) being bad for you, wood dust especially MDF dust is flammable and explosive. Spend the time clean up and don't cut near open flames.

Nice write up.

FlyinngDolphin (author)2016-10-02

I watched my father make a work bench like this when I was a kid. I have made several over the years. I prefer to spend the money for plywood to avoid the finishing, strength and moisture problems of MDF. I use Tempered Hardboard for a finished top or to renew the top when the original gets chewed up.

3/4 inch ply with 2 X 6 under the table and 4 X 4s for the legs with 2 in the center. This supports my heavy lathe. Also good for hammering sheet metal on. Downsize the the plywood to 5/8 or even half inch for lightweight stuff like electronics workbench.

I like your shelf design and think I will build some of those.

psargaco (author)2016-10-02

Hi. Nice project, I didn't expect the MDF could be made to look so clean. Why did you do the shelves in OSB? Was it because it is cheaper, for aesthetic reasons, some other reason?

djpolymath (author)psargaco2016-10-02

Price was the main motivation for using OSB for the lower shelf.

bwh13 (author)2016-09-20

gonna get sawdust on your keyboard

Eh Lie Us! (author)bwh132016-10-02

...and? Yes, point out problems but also offer potential solutions. What ideas do you have? I for one would consider a low profile sliding drawer/tray under the bench top.Throw a simply towel on the keyboard when not in use. This person built this entire work bench, a drawer is easily in their building capabilities.

Did you see what I just did there?

nortonbk (author)2016-09-20

Nice job! As someone who has had a shop with multiple computers, and enjoy wood and metal work. I end up covering everthing up with old sheets. Seems like there should be a cheap dust collection system.

pfred2 (author)nortonbk2016-09-21

I have a computer under one of my table saws. So far, so good. But there's a fan that kicks on whenever the saw runs. So that might be what is saving it? I know it isn't ideal to have a computer running under a table saw.

djpolymath (author)nortonbk2016-09-21

I picked up a Harbor Freight 3hp dust collector for this reason. I plan to do some modifications to it, but for now the dust collector and box fan in the window really help keep the dust at a minimum.

seamster (author)2016-09-20

Excellent work, as usual. This setup looks fantastic :)

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