Introduction: Simple Workshop Workbench
Runner Up in the
Hand Tools Only Contest 2017
I have been needing to build some solid workbenches for around the workshop for quite a while now. The benches I was using previously were flimsy, narrow and not portable as thew didn't have wheels.
I completed this workbench using only hand tools so I would meet the requirements for the "Hand tool only" contest, but you could make life easier on yourself by using a mitre power saw and a circular saw/table saw to help cut the sheets and all the timbers to length.
The measurements of my particular bench are 1800mm x 600mm with a height of 870mm
Step 1: Tools and Materials
I used a small selection of hand tools as you can see in the image above. I also used a clamp which I have not shown in the tool image but does appear throughout the following steps.
- Japanese pull saw
- Tape measure
- Speed square
- Sharp pencil
- Countersinking drill bit
Please remember to always use PPE (personal protective equipment) whenever you are doing any work like this. One simple accident can have ramifications for the remainder of your life so don't take the risk.
- Safety glasses
- Ear protection
The materials I used to build my benches were leftover from a neighbours renovation and were mostly going to be taken to the tip. The OSB brace board and the Yellow tongue sheet were off-cuts which I asked if I could have and their initial dimensions were the driving factor that dictated the size of my benches.
- 6mm OSB brace board - 1800x600mm
- 20mm Yellow tongue sheet - 1800x600mm
- 90x45mm x 3020mm structural pine
- 90x35mm x 2700mm structural pine
- Caster wheels x 4. 100mm finish height
Step 2: Material Cut to Length
I am not a huge fan of mess and dust in general but seeing as I was cutting all the lengths by hand (and not using my power saw with a dust extractor attached) I decided to do all the cuts at once so that I could clean up and continue to work in a dust free environment. I measured out the required lengths on the timber and using my speed square quickly marked up all the timber ready to be cut.
The lengths I needed for my bench were:
- 90x45mm x 750mm by 4
- 90x35mm x 1730mm by 4
- 90x35mm x 600mm by 4
- 90x35mm x 530mm by 2
- 90x35mm x 150mm by 4
Step 3: Leg Construction Pt 1
I made a drill hole guide for myself out of a scrap piece of cardboard I had lying around so that could quickly mark out all my screw locations. I did this so that all my screws would be in uniform locations and I wouldn't have to be constantly measuring all the lengths of timber. This is a real time saver, especially when building multiple workbenches.
Using the cardboard guide, countersink all the screw locations into the 90x35x150mm lengths and attach them to the 90x45x750mm lengths using 57mm chipboard screws.
Step 4: Leg Construction Pt 2
I made another cardboard guide. This time the screw holes were placed so that they finished up on a diagonal to each other, this was to stop any lateral movement of the timber when screwed together.
I used a clamp to temporally hold my speed square to the leg I had already completed in "leg construction pt 1" and braced the 90x35x1730mm length against it before making out the holes, countersinking and screwing. Do this again four more times until you have one side of the workbench complete.
Repeat this again so that you have two sets of long legs.
Step 5: Caster Wheels
Screw the caster wheels into the bottom of each leg using 25mm chipboard screws. Make sure you place these in the middle of the base to reduce the chance of splitting the timber by accident.
Step 6: Finish the Main Frame
I found it easiest to do this next part with the legs upside down (caster wheels in the air). Using a clamp, brace the 90x35x600mm lengths against the ends of the legs and screw in place, making sure to keep the frame square.
Once all the 90x35x600mm lengths are screwed in place flip the frame over and place it on the ground. It should be starting to look like a workbench.
Screw one your remaining 90x35x530mm lengths into the middle of the bottom shelf to help square up the frame and get ready for the next step.
HINT: Do not screw in the top 90x35x530mm brace as it will make it impossible to add the bottom sheet.
Step 7: Cutting the OSB Brace Board
Mark up and cut out each corner of the 1800x600mm OSB brace board. This is to allow the sheet to fit around the legs of your workbench. The cutouts should be a 130x80mm rectangle with the long side going with the length of the sheet.
Step 8: Finishing Off the Workbench
Insert the OSB brace board by angling the sheet through the hole in the top of the frame. Once in place, screw the sheet down using 25mm chipboard screws. Don't forget to add a screw or two into the centre brace length.
Screw the remaining 90x35x530mm length of timber into the middle of the top level to make the bench even more ridged.
Finally, place and screw down the 1800x600mm Yellow tongue sheet to the top of the workbench.
You should now have a finished bench that you can be proud of. Congratulations!
Step 9: Bonus
If you build more that one of these workbenches, you might find it helpful to attach some small fastening devices to the legs to keep multiple benches together. This allows you to move multiple workbenches all as one around your space or just keep the benches close to eachother.
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Please be positive and constructive.